This week I took a look at SageOne, a new online accounting tool from Sage Software. I really enjoy working with Peachtree, now known as Sage50. So I was thrilled to see Sage’s announcement of offering online bookkeeping software. Sadly, I was extremely disappointed with SageOne. It is easy to use and has a beautiful screen appearance. However, the software’s simplicity is too basic and is missing a lot of important accounting features that have become the norm with other cloud based accounting software providers. As I played around with SageOne, I kept thinking this is very similar to FreshBooks, yet FreshBooks is one hundred times better. I have hope for SageOne and believe it will improve with future developments. I think there is future potential for SageOne, but Sage needs to quickly get the ball rolling if they want to have a chance to compete in the online accounting software market. The competition is fierce.
Cost: $29/month, Free Trial
What I Love:
- The online accounting interface is very pretty and easy to navigate.
- Very simple to set up and get started. They offer a video tutorial to walk you through a couple of steps, then you’re up and running. Piece of cake.
- The ability to track Projects and Tasks is a cool idea and has lots of potential. SageOne lets you create projects, assign tasks to employees, track hours spent on the tasks, has a message center to communicate with your employees, and you can attach files. The collaboration tools are a great way to keep track of your team and the work being done.
- Invoicing customers is easy. You can enter the amount to bill, or pull hours worked from the project and task center. You can add your own logo and have a choice of a couple different invoice layouts. Invoices can be emailed from SageOne and sent to customers as attached PDF documents.
- Easy to manually enter your expenses to keep track of where you spend money. There was an option to link the expenses to your projects. This seems like a great idea, but you can’t pull up these linked expenses later to invoice to the customer, there were no reports to see profit/loss per project, it didn’t show up on the project window to compare against your estimated project expenses, etc. So I’m not sure why this option was there, except for future development maybe?
- Easily record transfers between bank accounts.
- Standard bank reconciliation feature, which is a great double check that you recorded all of your deposits and expenses. It was easy to add missing deposits, checks, and a link for accountants to make an adjusting entry.
- The dashboard offers a graph so small business owners can see their profit/loss during the year. You can also easily see which customers owe you money and track your projects from your dashboard.
- I’ve heard rumors of an accountant portal coming later this year. This would be a great tool so SageOne could keep a basic interface for small business owners, while giving accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs more advanced tools.
- SageOne offers the ability to set up email notifications to be reminded of past due invoices, upcoming project due dates, and when you receive project messages from your team members. Don’t want a lot of emails? You can opt for the daily digest email and get all notifications in one email instead.
- A sad array of reports. Yes, they offer the top 3 reports, but that’s it. Currently SageOne only offers a balance sheet, income statement, and aged receivables (money owed from customers) reports.
- What, you can not download your bank transactions? SageOne doesn’t automatically connect to your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and PayPal? Seriously? Isn’t this industry standard? Very disappointing. Data entry is a thing of the past, this alone could kill their product.
- I guess they’re trying to offer a more cash based accounting model. When you enter an invoice, the income does not appear as income on the profit/loss (Income Statement). Instead, it shows up on your balance sheet as “potential sales” under your liabilities. I found it interesting when creating an invoice, you don’t have the ability to record the sales to an income account. Then, when you record payment from your customer, you get the option to post the sales to an income account. Therefore, after you receive and record the customer payment, then the work shows up as income on the profit/loss statement. I understand most very small businesses operate on a cash basis (or checkbook accounting as I like to call it), but this makes it really difficult to track how much money you’re actually making each month. Not to mention, would I remember a month later what services where for each invoice, especially if I work with a lot of clients?
- Along the same lines as above, you can not record one customer payment against various income accounts. For example if you run a landscaping company, you might invoice your customer for landscape design services and installation. On the invoice, you can break out different projects. However, you can not record income from these two services to different income accounts when your check arrives.
- No online payments from customers available.
- SageOne does not integrate with any of the other Sage products.
- There is no import/export function.
- SageOne does not support payroll. This is really surprising since their projects and tasks are built to support employees and team members working together. So, if you have employees, you will need another accounting program to account for payroll.
- Small business owners can not enter bills and keep track of money owed to vendors, utilities, rent, etc. Only cash expenses can be entered in SageOne.
- I would love to see the Projects/Tasks tracking features expanded. It’s nice you can enter estimated hours to complete, estimated expenses, and estimated billable fees. However, it would be great to easily see how much you’ve actually spent on expenses and billed for the project/tasks as compared to your estimates. SageOne will compare your estimated time against the time already spent. However, tracking hours is a manual task and there is not a time clock.
- I don’t believe SageOne has an iPhone, Droid, or other smartphone apps.
My Wish List:
I’m sad to report that at this time I would not recommend SageOne to my customers. It’s very similar to FreshBooks, but FreshBooks offers a lot more services and at a better price. For that matter, at $29/mo you could also use Xero and get a full accounting package. I’m disappointed with Sage. It’s almost as if they threw together an online accounting software so they could say they offer cloud based accounting solutions. I have a feeling they hoped customers would not see past the pretty interface and user friendly application. SageOne has some good ideas, but has a long way to go to be competitive with other cloud based accounting solutions that are currently on the market. I’ve heard rumors Sage is continuing to develop this product, so hopefully the future will bring better news for this poorly created cloud based accounting tool.
Michelle Edwards, CPA is the owner of Trailhead Accounting Solutions CPA, LLC, an Erie, CO based CPA firm focused on providing small and mid-sized businesses with day-to-day accounting, bookkeeping, and Virtual CFO solutions. Michelle is a CFO turned consultant who loves working with small businesses and entrepreneurs. When she’s not crunching numbers, she can be found hiking, remote camping, gardening, home brewing, quilting, and hanging out with her family.