Every client is different. There might be no greater truth than this when it comes to your client list. Granted, there are many similarities between clients, and I’m sure you bucket them together as best you can—service-based clients, retail, restaurants (we are accountants, after all, so organization is what we do!). The lists go on.
With categorizing your clients in mind, let’s talk accounting software programs. For one client, Sage 50 might be a perfect fit and the exact wrong thing for another. The same goes for QuickBooks and other accounting solutions out there. What works for one client may not work for another.
That brings me to a solution that could be THE perfect fit for your next new client, or maybe even for some of your current clients. So let’s talk about Sage One.
Finding a Good Fit for Sage One
Finding the right clients for Sage One is actually pretty simple (keep that word in mind – simple – as it’ll be a recurring theme throughout this post). Here are a few characteristics of my clients that I’ve found to be perfect fits for Sage One:
- Small owner-operated business or sole-proprietorship that is service-based with no inventory needs
- Need for simple invoicing that allows them to get paid on-site
- Open to new technology (they don’t need to be a tech-nerd, just someone who is open-minded to “working in the Cloud”)
There are other characteristics, but these are the big ones for me. Check off these three and Sage One could be the accounting solution of choice. So, if you have clients like these, then chances are they’re a great fit for Sage One.
To help even further, there’s a really good infographic/checklist available in the Sage One section of the Sage Accountants Tool Kit on Sage City, called How to identify a Sage One client. It’s a great resource you can use to help guide you and your clients into Sage One.
Simply Put, It’s Simple
Sage One is all about simplicity and ease of use. I truly believe some of the commonly used software started out easy, but as the customers grew into larger businesses, those softwares were asked to grow larger as well in order to accommodate them without moving into ERP systems. As a result, many of those softwares became pricey and, although not the hardest systems to run, were certainly no longer simple. “Simple” is usually the very first thing my clients on Sage One mention about it. Setup is fairly simple. Clients are very happy with that. After the initial setup, the screen below can run you through taking the next steps. Pretty intuitive.
Let’s take one of my favorite clients, a small electrician who we’ll call Steve. Steve’s wife, Andrea, is his internal bookkeeper. As you probably know by now, I’m all about how no one gets into business to do accounting by accountants. Steve did not become an electrician to sit at home and reconcile books, invoice clients, and push paper. Being a service-based business that “goes where the work is,” he spends almost all of his time out of the office. It takes time to drive back and forth to customers. Time to make repairs. Time to order parts. Time to eat lunch (when he gets a chance). His wife also has better things to do than wait on him to come home at night, tell her what to do the next day, and who to invoice for how much. She wants to take care of the business, but also wants to take care of her family and use her time wisely when working on business matters. See? It’s all about time, and that’s where the simplicity and ease of use of Sage One has made Steve and Andrea’s lives so much easier.
Steve is an amazing electrician. Seriously, I love him. He’s my go to. He can diagnose and fix a problem with expertise that he has honed over many, many years. Ask him to do a bank rec? Or analyze cash flow? How about checking out his general ledger? Nope, not an expert! And Andrea really isn’t either. They want to do the work, get paid, and live their lives.
However, with Sage One, there are all the functions, including some basic reports, that they need. In fact, it only took them a few minutes to get up and running with Sage One. Neither of them needed to be an accounting expert to use Sage One. Just about everything they needed to run the accounting part of their business was a click or two away. And I was able to show them some reports to let them know how they were doing in the business, not just if they have cash in the bank account. But speaking of cash, it is what clients are most concerned about.
Cash Flow Is King
Another feature Steve and Andrea love about Sage One is the invoicing. As with most online accounting software products, Sage One lets them invoice a customer on the spot. Even better, an invoice can be created and paid by the customer immediately. Did I mention this is cloud-based?
Formerly, my electrician would run home after the day was over and tell his wife who to bill and how much. She used a desktop program to create an invoice and then mail it (or email it, but mostly mail) to the client and wait to get paid. Now, with Sage One, Steve invoices on the spot. He can accept payments via cash, check, or credit card. If the client is sent an email bill, the client can pay by clicking on the link in the emailed invoice, the invoice gets automatically updated, and Steve gets to keep rolling.
I realize this is a feature you can find in lots of other similar cloud-based accounting products, but Steve found the interface in Sage One much easier to use and configure for his business. Andrea loves it, too. She can see all of the transactions in real time. They have cut their time in half on invoicing their clients; what previously took two of them, now only takes one and it’s fast. In addition, the speed with which they are getting paid is almost instant versus sending out invoices and waiting for payment to come in. Steve now gets paid in about a third of the time he used to, and cash flow is one less thing for him to worry about in his business. Many of us have clients like this.
Real Time Info
As a cloud-based solution, Sage One provides both you and the customer with real-time data. With tax time right around the corner, it’s going to be such a relief for me to be able to access Steve’s financials myself, in the Cloud, without having to wait for him to deliver receipts to me. When I open up Sage One Accountants edition, I can see all of my Sage One clients on the screen. I can pick which one I’m working on, run the reports I need, and never miss a beat.
As with most small businesses like Steve’s, tax season can be, well, taxing! Having financial data under my control makes it much easier for me, and frees up Steve to help his customers, instead of digging up financials to deliver to me.
This sort of real-time info doesn’t cost much, either. With Sage One Partner Packs, as an accountant I can get 25 Sage One subscriptions for $25 for the first year. I’m then able to pass these on to my clients so they can take advantage of the savings. This is a cool deal. After that, Sage One is still really affordable. Here is their pricing page for the premium service.
A Few Extra Thoughts
Sage One works with Sage Payment Solutions and Paypal. Also, although I don’t have clients using multiple currencies, Sage One has this. It is mobile – phone and tablet. And it works with Sage View, which I blogged about previously.
Again, Sage One isn’t for everyone. A lot of clients are beyond this kind of program, but every year at tax season I see all of these little Schedule C (Profit or Loss from Business) clients pass through my office. They come in with handwritten sheets of paper or an excel spreadsheet. Some of them have dug through receipts and have had to work really hard to put the information together (because I don’t do shoeboxes). I always think, “boy, their life would be much easier if they had a little program to keep track of this stuff.” And here is that little program, and it’s cheap, but packed with value. I look like a hero when I give it to them and get them to use it. But really, let’s face it, it also benefits me to get them on the right track. It makes my job easier and their job easier.