Sage Business Cloud Accounting is an accounting software made for startups and small businesses, as well as lone wolf freelancers. It’s just one of Sage’s accounting offerings–they also have enterprise level solutions and options with more advanced accounting options.
Sage has been around for a long time. The company was founded in the UK back in 1981 and has long been the reigning accounting software across the pond. In the US, however, competitors like QuickBooks are much more popular.
This tool is a barebones solution that provides flexibility and a low price point. Still, we’re not convinced of its accounts payable capabilities. At a glance, it has some features aimed at maintaining vendor relations and staying organized, but it seems this functionality is kind of thin.
That said, we’ll look more closely at the tool to see–is Sage Cloud Accounting a decent piece of AP software? Or should you look elsewhere?
What is Sage Business Cloud Accounting?
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a piece of bookkeeping software that claims to help you spend less time on accounting tasks and more time attracting new customers. The affordable solution comes with all of the trappings you’ll find with accounting software. For example, you’ll get expense tracking,
What’s more, Sage Business Cloud Accounting makes it easy for business owners to stay in compliance with tax laws.
Still, there are a few weaknesses. For example, the UK-based software company doesn’t provide US users with the ability to connect their payroll to the tool. It also has limited integrations and payment portals—which in this day and age, might be kind of a deal breaker.
However, Sage Business Cloud Accounting does come with some key benefits and it’s pretty affordable. Below, we’ll dive into the software and learn whether or not this is a viable option for businesses with a need for a strong accounts payable tool.
It’s Easy to Get Started
Getting your Sage account up and running is fairly painless. The system will walk you through each step of the process. You’ll need to be prepared to offer your basic company details, location, and more.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting takes you through the process of linking all relevant accounts, importing client and supplier details, and gives you the rundown on generating reports.
The Sage dashboard is pretty straightforward. It comes with five navigation tabs: Cash Flow Statement, Cash Flow Forecast, Expenses, Sales, and Getting Started. Getting Started is where your account information lives, by the way.
These categories make good sense and are easily accessed through the drop-down menus from the top toolbar. That said, it’s not a super slick, modern interface. Sage is no-nonsense and it shows.
The platform’s interface is labeled clearly and it’s pretty easy to locate the features you need without much effort. The dashboard summary presents you with some starter tasks, as well as some graphs–a snapshot of your overall financial picture.
From there, you can navigate to other features–create quotes, estimates, and invoices. Additionally, you can customize your invoices by adding a logo and contact details. We should mention that customization is not a core feature of Sage Business Cloud Accounting.
This tool comes with two templates and that’s it. You won’t find much in terms of appealing graphic design here–which may be seen as a real negative by a certain subsection of consumers.
It’s a Solid Tax Management Tool
One of Sage Business Cloud’s strongest suits is its use as a tax management tool. It works to calculate taxes owed based on transactions and your location.
Commitment to Security
Sage has issued a lengthy statement on their website mentioning that they’re committed to keeping your data safe. The software uses 128-bit encryption to protect your data. That said, other accounting software we’ve seen use 256-bit–which is much stronger.
Additionally, all data is managed by Amazon Web Services and monitored around the clock. Plus, redundant servers add an extra layer of protection. So–if something breaks down, you won’t lose your records.
As we take a closer look at some of the features, it’s important to note that Sage Business Cloud Accounting isn’t necessarily built to be an accounts payable solution. So, it may be unfair to evaluate the tool as such.
Sage brings a decent stable of features to the table, reporting, tax automation, and invoicing Plus, there are a couple of unexpected additions, like packing slips and expense tracking.
Here’s a look:
Sage Business Cloud Accounting makes it easy to add vendor bills into the system, but it’s not so hot for keeping track of due dates.
You really need to scroll through the system to find due dates, as there is no automatic reminder function. You also cannot pay your bills directly from the software and will need to record payments made from your bank accounts or wherever you pay from.
Still, the Quick Entry option (found in the expenses section) will allow you to add notes and record bills by the batch.
Automatic Report Generation
Sage Business Cloud Accounting can automatically create a number of useful financial reports, including income statements and balance sheets.
Automating Accounts Payable
Interestingly, Sage does mention that their Business Cloud Accounting software is a good solution for accounts payable. How they help you manage AP includes the ability to collaborate and share documents with contractors and vendors.
Price breakdown for the add-on:
They also mention that this is an effective tool for keeping track of what needs to be paid—which, as we’ve mentioned, does not mean that the software gives you a friendly reminder.
Still, the reporting feature can give you a snapshot as to who needs to be paid, how much money is in the bank and when payments are due. It’s a bit clunky, but it’ll do in a pinch.
Add inventory items as a service, product, or part. You can include a description, code, and the expense accounts linked to each item. This is especially useful if you’re building a product from several raw materials. It can paint a picture of the cost of goods sold versus total sales.
That said, it feels somewhat incomplete. There’s no comprehensive inventory tracker, which would really take this to the next level.
Sage’s Bank Reconciliation feature allows you to import credit card and bank statements, making it pretty easy to balance your books from the platform.
If you prefer, you can hook up your account to live bank feeds. This option means the software will remember past transaction labels–but it’s up to the bank to establish those rules.
At this point, the tool can’t tell if you’ve entered a duplicate transaction–which might cause some trouble down the road for less-than-diligent bookkeepers.
Sage Business Cloud comes with either 10 or 20 reports based on the plan you have. Both come with statements and balance sheets. The Sage Business Cloud Accounting plan comes with additional reports relevant to accounts payable. You can also export reports into an Excel Sheet or .CSV file.
Some users feel that these options don’t provide enough in terms of customization and some people have reported that exporting the reports is rather slow.
Tracking (Not Available in Start Plan)
This tracking feature is somewhat unique. Found within the Analysis Types feature, you can view expenses, sales, bank transactions, and more. You can also customize these categories based on personal preference.
You can also set this tool up to track inventory—and set up reorders. It’s a bit clunky, as you’ll need to manually adjust your stock quantities or import them via spreadsheet. Sage considers this a timesaver, but we wish it did more of the heavy lifting, here.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting offers a free-30-day trial, so you get the chance to explore the features before taking the plunge and committing. Even better, they don’t take your credit card information until you decide to pay for the service—we appreciate the lack of trickery, here.
Users can choose from two plans. Here is a quick look at each option:
Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start, $10 a month
The basic plan, which used to be offered for free, grants access to one user, plus accountant access. At this level you’ll get invoicing, expense tracking, live bank feeds, items list, sales tax, and contact management.
This plan makes sense if you’re a freelancer, one-person operation. It lacks all of the purchasing features you’ll find with a more robust software. You’ll also get ten reports.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting, $25 a month
At $25, the full version of Sage Cloud Accounting seems like a better buy. You’ll get unlimited users, plus all of the features of the basic plan. Additional features include the ability to pay vendor bills, get cash flow forecasts, and provide estimates and quotes.
While it’s not the best piece of software for extensive payables activity, it’ll do if you’re on a budget and do a minimal amount of purchasing.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting exists 100% in the cloud. No need to download and software. By contrast, Sage also offers Sage 50c, which is a hybrid solution that’s part cloud, part desktop-hosted.
Because Sage Business Cloud Accounting is based in the cloud, you can log in from just about anywhere. The makers of the product do recommend that you keep your internet browsers updated for optimal speed.
Sage Business Cloud works with all of the usual browsers: Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. You can use Internet Explorer, too, but older versions may be incompatible with the software.
Additionally, Sage provides an app: Sage Invoices and Expenses, which works on both Androids and iPhones.
Sage bills on a monthly basis, no contract required. You can cancel or upgrade anytime. There is no discount available for paying for a full year upfront.
Who is this Best for?
Sage Business Cloud is most appropriate for small businesses. Yes, it comes with limited features, but those who want to keep track of invoices, expenses, and taxes should get their money’s worth.
The company website hosts a robust knowledge base, a blog, and several how-to and training videos. You can also purchase additional courses through Sage University.
Sage does a good job providing walk-throughs to new customers, but if you need help with something, it may be challenging to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Additionally, the customer support forum is host to several unresolved issues. It seems that Sage could improve a few things about the customer care experience on the whole.
Across the web, people have complained about the learning curve and the challenges in finding the information that solves their problem.
What’s the Verdict on Sage Business Cloud Accounting?
Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a solid accounting system for solo and small businesses. That said, there are a lot of things—like billing reminders and auto-populating dates that come standard with competing software.
We suppose you can say that Sage Business Cloud Accounting is a decent tool. It just doesn’t feel as modern or useful as some of the competing tools. And, until a few years ago, Sage offered the software for free. Still, at $10 and $25 a month, it’s one of the more affordable options out there.
Larger business will find Sage to be lacking in features like payroll, inventory, and accounts payable/receivable. If you’re juggling bills and looking for an automated payables solution, this isn’t the tool for you.
Sage is perfect if you want a bare-bones, affordable solution for your tiny business. Additionally, you can take advantage of the free trial–which gives you 30 days to decide if it’s too basic, or just what you need.