Sage Business 50 Cloud Accounting Software Review

I learned a very valuable lesson early in my business career and that for every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned! 

Perhaps this was my accounting teachers in University that taught me this. Seeing that it is currently tax time, I can attest to this. 

For years I have used Sage Accounting software and it is essential in my business operations. In fact, I have used them for so many years… I still refer to them as Simply Accounting (aging myself here).  

Sage has come a long way over the years from their original desktop software.  Now in the cloud, they continue to improve their services so that all business owners should be able to keep track of their finances.

Sage also has been famously known as the accounting software of accountants. But that is a common mis-conception.

Learning a new program, or just simply figuring out how to reconcile your bank accounts can be a major headache. With the Sage University and in depth tutorials, you can use their customized check and balances to make sure your financials are accurate. 

Another benefit of cloud accounting? You can easily share your books with your accountant or bookkeeper anytime.  Gone are the days of taking a USB drive to your accountant at tax time. This makes filing a breeze and saves a lot of money in the process.

What is Sage Accounting 

Sage is an award winning cloud accounting software and is most popularly used by accountants all over the world. 

Founded in 1981 in Newcastle England, they have grown to the biggest enterprise accounting software in the world with 7+ million customers.   

In fact, it is rated the #1 accounting software for small businesses because of their security, stability, reporting, and excellent support.

What is the Difference between Cloud Accounting and Desktop Software? 

In the past, you would purchase and install the new yearly software every year for your accounting program.  It was only available on one computer.  If you wanted to have multiple people working on the same program, you then needed to have it hosted on a server.  Things could get complicated fast. 

And then what was worse, if you were at home there’s no way you could access any reporting or data from the program. Unless you were to use remote desktop software, which is just another expense. 

Enter cloud accounting. 

You can access your accounting easily from any desktop with your username, allow multiple user accounts at the same time.  You can even access from your phone with the app.  

You can access your accounting by: 

  • Windows
  • Mac
  • iOS
  • Android

The data is always synced and updated in real time. This will save you a lot of time.

What do you use Sage Accounting For?

Financial Reporting - Creating and monitoring financial statements from your phone or desktop in real time sync including:  

  • balance sheets
  • income statements
  • accounts receivable
  • accounts payable 
  • cash flow
  • owners equity 

Cash Flow Manager - Use their AI technologies and run “what-if” scenarios to plan for both incoming and outgoing cash for forecasting cash. Then you can easily manage your cash flow.  

Remote Access & Planning - You can use the accounting software and collaborate with other users or your accountant anywhere! You can even view your financial statements from your smartphone.

Invoicing and Payments - Get paid faster and never miss a payment again. You can process credit cards to receive payments and send with invoices and pay now buttons that integrate with Paypal or Stripe. 

Bank Reconciliations - You are able to connect your bank account and have it automatically match all transactions from your credit cards or count you may have missed. This is the biggest time saver as you (most of the time) can do this in minutes, not hours or days. 

For most smaller businesses you will not need these add ons. There are a lot of additional features that you can add on for larger businesses and accountants. 

Instead of hiring a payroll service with payroll direct deposits, you can simply add this single upgrade.  The upgrades include:

  1. Employee Direct Deposit

  2. Customer Pre-Authorized Debit

  3. Vendor Direct Deposit

  4. Invoice Payments

  5. Accounts Payable Automation

Sage adds ons are great and gives you the option to add additional functionality to the software.  

However, sometimes you might find that you are already using a payment processor or a direct payment system.  Or maybe you want to also integrate Sage with an existing time tracking system or sales CRM.

Because Sage works as a cloud software, it can integrate with over 100+ applications.  

Some of the top apps include: 

  • Stripe
  • Receipt Bank
  • Auto Entry
  • Lightspeed
  • Clockodo

Pricing:

I am currently on the pro package, and that has everything that I require for my business. 

Larger companies with multiple users will most likely need the Premium Accounting Plan

The premium plan also has one of my favorite features. Audit trail. If you have multiple people working on the accounting, this is especially handy. You can look at any entries that have been changed and an audit log of every action made.  It’s also handy so you can see what changes were made internally or externally by your bookkeeper or accountant.

If you need a very simple software with invoicing and expenses, there are entry level options:

Pros 

  • More robust accounting option than competition
  • Easy invoice entry, enter invoices in just a few clicks and add Pay Now button to invoices
  • Bank connection, download transactions directly from your online banking.
  • Broad set of reporting options including “what if” cash flow reporting
  • Easy to use interface
  • Simple payroll system with employee direct deposit 
  • Detailed inventory reporting
  • Job Tracking
  • Streamline transactions by creating recurring entries
  • Add multiple users and accountant access

Cons

  • More expensive than software versions of Sage.
  • The reports setup can be tedious.  You might want to tweak your reporting settings to fit your needs.  
  • Job costing can be confusing 
  • Does not have an accountants “version” so accountants are making year end changes in real time before being reviewed by the business.

I think I’m being picky in the cons that I have listed above.  Overall I really like Sage accounting.  An effective accounting software that’s reliable is so important for every business.  Sage is reliable and as of writing this Sage Review (May 2020) they serve over 3 million customers.

Editorial Remarks

The cloud software might add an extra expense over the previous desktop software, but in my opinion, it’s worth it.  It has saved me at least a couple hours each month with the automation and syncing that more than makes up for the additional cost. 

Not only that, because of the additional invoicing add on or Stripe app integration, you can invoice and get paid faster.  Cash flow means money. 

Plus Sage is the chosen accounting software among accountants and bookkeepers for a reason.  It has a lot of advanced accountant features that won’t constrain your financing by too much simplicity.  

Even if you didn’t study accounting in school, Sage is pretty intuitive and easy to use.  The learning resources that they make available also ensure that you will have no problem using this software.

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