In Part 2 of my Sage One Accounting software review, I’ll discuss invoicing, billing, payments, getting data in and out, reports, sales taxes, accountant features, and present my recommendation. If you missed Part 1, you can see it here.
Below is a summary of what the video includes. Please watch the video for a more in-depth review (as well as to see visuals).
Invoicing, Billing and Payments
Creating a sales invoice or entering a vendor bill is largely the same in Sage One, so I’ll only really talk about invoicing, which could benefit from some streamlining. For example, a good chunk of the invoice screen is used on addresses, perhaps a carryover from the day when most invoices were physically mailed. Also, there’s a special area just for searching and creating products and services, which could have been combined into a single item field.
Something that’s not a surprise for micro business software is that only income accounts can be used on invoices and only expense accounts can be used on bills. I would have liked to see the ability to use all five types of accounts on invoices and bills (income, expense, asset, liability, equity).
What I do like about the invoices is that each line item can use a different tax code, and the tax on each line can be manually adjusted. This provides some good flexibility. In addition, contacts, products, and services can be assigned tax codes. This makes it a lot simpler to get taxes right.
Most online accounting software has online invoicing, and Sage One is no exception. The emailing aspect could be improved, since you can’t create a default message (you need to manually craft one each time). In addition, the email received from the customer comes from a email@example.com email address (meaning that your customer can’t reply to your invoice email). Once the customer clicks to see the online invoice, things are better, since Sage One has a few professional looking invoice templates to choose from. Oddly, if a customer decides to pay online (if you’re using Sage Payments), the interface goes back to what looks like a 10-year-old design. The PayPal option redirects to PayPal’s interface. As a whole, Sage’s online invoicing works, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a better designed experience for both the small business owner and customer.
Beyond invoices and bills, you can create quick entries, as well as quotes and credits. Quick entries are a bit of a unique thing, as it allows you to create single line item invoices/bills in batches. I’ve never really seen this type of feature for creating unpaid invoices/bills, so I’m having trouble seeing how useful this would be for manual entries. However, it does have an import functionality, so that could potentially come in handy.
Reports, Sales Taxes, Getting Data In and Out, and Accountant Features
Sage One has all the basic reports that a micro business would need, but what sets it apart is its cash flow reports. I like that the cash flow reports can be toggled between summary and detailed view. One drawback to the cash reports, however, is that expenses paid for using a credit card are treated as cash flowing out instead of as a liability. So, if you had $5,000 owing on credit cards, but $2,000 in your bank, it would show you have negative cash—which is kind of true I guess, depending on how you look at it. Fortunately, you can toggle which accounts to show in your cash reports, so if you toggle off your credit card accounts this should give that view.
Sage One always had a profit analysis report that shows you the profitability of invoices (when selling products with costs associated with them). Additionally, you’re able to set up analysis types, which are tracking categories to help you analyze profitability by department, cost center, or project. All these reports mentioned are ones that you don’t normally find in micro business software.
Sage One provides a sales tax report with both a detailed and summary view, so you should be able to get the sales tax numbers you need for filing purposes. I would have liked to see a special sales tax center that makes it easy to file and pay, but this really isn’t a common feature amongst its competitors either.
When it comes to importing data and exporting data, there’s not a ton of functionality. As I mentioned previously, you can import some batch invoices and bills, but since they can only contain a single line item, I don’t know how useful that feature is. You can also import contacts and items, but not much else. You can export all the reports, contacts, and items—as well as the details of any table that you might see. There’s no public API that I’m aware of that can be used, which is also probably why there are no add-ons, besides being able to use Sage Payments and PayPal for online invoices.
For the accountant, Sage One provides a single login, a certification system, and a discount for clients. Like other micro business software, there’s not much more accountant-specific functionality than that.
On the mobile front, I can’t review the mobile app at the moment, as it’s being reconfigured to work with this new version of Sage One. But I’m told it will be available shortly.
Sage One Accounting is an all right piece of online accounting software for micro businesses. If the Banking page were improved to address some of the matching issues I addressed in the first part of the review, I’d probably upgrade that verdict to good. If all the little things I mentioned throughout the entire video review were improved, I think Sage One could fall into the territory of great.
The price point of Sage One is quite intriguing, as it’s free for up to five invoices a month and one connected bank account. After that, you’ll have to upgrade to a premium subscription, which is $10 a month or under, depending on when you’re reading this. At these price points, it’s hard to get hung up on the product’s shortfalls. For that amount of money, it can do a lot. If you’re willing to pay two to four times that price, you move up into small business online accounting software, which will get you features like better bank reconciliations, basic inventory, and access to add-ons that can expand functionality.
I’m really glad that Sage One Accounting is now using the same code base as the U.K., as this iteration is so much better than the previous one. If you’re a professional services business, this is a viable choice.