Looking for cloud-based accounting alternatives to QuickBooks Online? Sage has an answer for you: Sage Business Cloud Accounting, which was known as Sage One until 2018. But while Sage Business Cloud has some standout perks, like a $10 starting price and built-in inventory tracking, it lacks third-party payroll integration and a few other standard software features. So is Sage Business Cloud Accounting a good fit for your business? We dig into the nitty-gritty in our Sage Accounting review below.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting Review 2021
Sage Business Cloud Accounting plans and pricing 2021
Number of users
|Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start||$10.00/mo.||One||Bank reconciliation, expense tracking, invoicing||View Plans|
|Sage Business Cloud Accounting||$25.00/mo.||Unlimited||Start + quotes, estimates, forecasting, receipt tracking, inventory management||View Plans|
Data effective 12/12/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is best for sole proprietors of product-based businesses
Do you sell products (say, yarn or used books) on your own, without any employees? Sage Business Cloud could be a good fit for you. Unlike QuickBooks, Sage Business Cloud includes inventory tracking with its $25-a-month plan, plus key features like expense management, invoicing, and payment acceptance.
On the flip side, Sage Business Cloud doesn’t integrate with any payroll software besides Sage’s. And while Sage Business Cloud Payroll is fine, it’s not as flexible (or affordable) as Gusto. So while Sage Business Cloud can work for businesses with employees, businesses that want more payroll options should look elsewhere.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting plans and pricing
Sage Business Cloud has two plans: Accounting Start and Accounting. Both plans are cloud-based, meaning you can securely access your data from any web-enabled device, and include 24/7 customer support over chat.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start
At $10 a month, Sage Business Cloud Accounting provides a handful of features for freelancers or sole proprietors:
- Payment acceptance
- Automatic bank reconciliation
If those seem like only the most basic accounting features, well . . . they are. Sage itself describes this plan as entry level accounting software, so it won’t work for businesses with more complex financing needs. And even if you are a freelancer or sole proprietor, you’ll get more features than just these with Wave’s free accounting software or Xero’s $11 plan (which also includes inventory management).
In other words, Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start is fine, but that’s about all it is.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting
At $25 a month, Sage Business Cloud Accounting is just $15 more than the Accounting Start plan. Its expanded features are also far more useful to small-business owners than the Start plan’s limited accounting tasks. Along with the three main actions you get with Start, the full Accounting plan lets you tackle tasks like these:
- Creating quotes and sending estimates
- Forecasting your business’s cash flow
- Scanning receipts for automated data entry
- Managing inventory
The Accounting plan also includes unlimited users. If you have a larger team where multiple people manage finances—instead of just you as a sole proprietor or freelancer—you’ll definitely want the Accounting plan over the basic, user-limited Accounting Start plan.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting pros and cons
Sage Business Cloud Accounting pros
Sage Business Cloud has an accessible dashboard and relatively low learning curve—great news for business owners new to this whole bookkeeping thing. Sage’s accounting reports are easy to generate, access, and interpret. It includes automatic bank account reconciliation, so no worrying about tedious by-hand data entry, and its accounting app lets you invoice clients on the go.
Sage also includes one key feature most small-business accounting options either leave out or include only with their priciest plans: inventory management. Sure, you can always use a third-party inventory management app to track stock and tally sales. But accounting software with built-in inventory tracking means each sale automatically adjusts your inventory log and gets logged in your general ledger while saving you the trouble of finding a separate third-party app with less-than-smooth integration.
Like Sage Business Cloud Accounting, Xero also includes unlimited users and built-in inventory tracking with each plan—and does so starting at $11 a month. Price isn’t everything, of course, and Xero definitely has both limitations and features that Sage doesn’t (and vice versa). Check out our Xero review for more info.
So Sage’s software is user-friendly with some solid features that other providers lack—but do customers like Sage? On the whole, yes. Sage has pretty solid customer reviews. On the review site Trustpilot, for instance, users give Sage 4.8 stars out of 5.1 Compare that to QuickBooks, which gets just two stars on Trustpilot and one star on Consumer Affairs, and you can see why we (and many small-business owners) are impressed with Sage’s top marks.2,3
Sage Business Cloud Accounting cons
Sage Business Cloud integrates with dozens of third-party apps (which you can browse on Sage Marketplace), but there’s one notable exception to its integration option: payroll. If you choose Sage Business Cloud Accounting, you can choose only Sage payroll as your payroll provider.
And while Sage’s payroll plans aren’t bad, they’re pricier than many other payroll options, especially those built for small rather than midsize businesses. For instance, Sage People—Sage’s HR and workforce management solution for multinational businesses—is way outside many Sage accounting customers’ budgets and needs.
Another shortcoming? In spite of its pricey add-ons, Sage Business Cloud doesn’t offer as many features as competitors like Xero or QuickBooks Online. For instance, you can’t track mileage, track project time, or manage bills—all of which are pretty crucial for freelancers, small-business owners, and sole proprietors.
Speaking of crucial features, Sage accounting’s basic plan doesn’t include a cash flow statement. We agree that graphic design freelancers who tackle just a few jobs a year don’t need to track cash flow as closely as, say, mid-level marketing companies, but cash flow statements are among the most important financial statements for any business. It’s just silly not to include it.
With plans starting at $15 a month, FreshBooks is well-suited for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small-business owners alike.
- Track time and expenses
- Create custom invoices
- Accept online payments
Sage Business Cloud Accounting FAQ
What does Sage Accounting do?
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is Sage’s cloud-based accounting software for small businesses. Starting at $10 a month, Sage Business Cloud lets users send invoices, accept online payments, and track business finances. For $25 a month, Sage Business Cloud Accounting adds features like inventory management, quote and estimate generation, and in-depth financial reporting.
Is Sage Accounting easy to use?
Per online customer reviews, most users agree that Sage Business Cloud Accounting (Sage’s cloud-based accounting solution) is easy to use. The dashboard is pretty scannable and straightforward, which is particularly important to new business owners without an accounting background.
Reviewers on Trustpilot also say that Sage customer service representatives can handily guide users through software problems over the phone, which also indicates a user-friendly, accessible product.1
Is Sage Business Cloud better than QuickBooks Online?
The answer depends on your priorities. If you need affordability more than anything else, Sage Business Cloud could be a better fit for you. But if you want more comprehensive features, or if you manage employees and contractors, QuickBooks Online is probably a better pick.
Looking for a more in-depth answer? First, know that Sage Business Cloud and QuickBooks Online have a lot in common. Both include features like invoicing, payment acceptance, and automatic bank account reconciliation. And they both have a $25 a month plan, though QuickBooks starts at $25 while Sage Business Cloud tops out at $25.
But the two software products definitely differ in some important ways. For instance, Sage Business Cloud Accounting includes unlimited users, which makes it well suited to collaborative teams. But QuickBooks Online’s $25 plan gives you just one user, and you’ll have to pay at least $70 for a plan that allows just five users.
Sage Business Cloud also includes features QuickBooks lacks, like inventory management. Of course, the reverse is also true: QuickBooks Online offers mileage tracking, 1099 contractor management, and sales tax tracking, all of which Sage Business Cloud leaves off. Plus, since QuickBooks Online is the more popular software, it has more integration options—including payroll integration—than Sage.
How much does Sage Business Cloud cost?
Sage Business Cloud’s basic plan, Accounting Start, costs $10 a month. Sage’s more comprehensive cloud-based plan, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, costs $25 a month.
What is Sage 50cloud?
You wouldn’t know from the name alone, but Sage 50cloud Accounting is Sage’s desktop-based accounting software. Sage Business Cloud integrates with Sage 50cloud to give desktop users a taste of cloud access, meaning they can access some (but not all) of their business’s financial info from a web browser.
So which Sage product is better? Well, Sage Business Cloud is certainly more affordable: the Accounting plan costs $300 a year for unlimited users while Sage 50cloud Accounting starts at $567 per user per year. And Sage 50cloud has a few more features, like job costing and payroll, though it shouldn’t be too hard to find more affordable cloud-based services to add on to your Sage Business Cloud plan.
In sum, Sage Business Cloud is more affordable and more flexible than Sage 50cloud, which makes Sage Business Cloud a better choice for freelancers, solopreneurs, sole proprietors, and small businesses.
What is Sage Intacct?
Sage Intacct is Sage’s comprehensive, cloud-based finance and HR management software. It’s much more comprehensive (and expensive) than either Sage 50cloud or Sage Business Cloud, and it includes more complex features like human resource management, billing, and budgeting.
In spite of its price, Sage Intacct is our favorite accounting software for nonprofits. It’s also a good fit for large businesses that want to roll accounting, HR, and advanced financial planning into one. But it’s both too bulky and too expensive for the smallest of small businesses, including sole proprietors and freelancers. If that describes you, we recommend sticking with Sage Business Cloud Accounting.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a well-rounded, affordable accounting solution for small-business owners—particularly those who sell inventory and prefer financial collaboration to solo bookkeeping.
But if your business needs more payroll flexibility, heftier accounting features, and more comprehensive plans that can handle growth, check out a more comprehensive accounting software provider like Xero, FreshBooks, or QuickBooks.
Want more QuickBooks alternatives than Sage Accounting? We’ve listed the year’s best alternatives to QuickBooks—where we review nine other top brands for you to explore.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.