Sage One Review
- Decent feature selection
- Estimates and quotes
- Strong accounting
- Affordable payment processor
“You didn’t go into business to crunch the numbers. Sage One helps you breeze through admin tasks, nail your finances, and run your business like a pro.”
There’s certainly food for thought there. After all, why did you go into business? Because you love accounting? I’m guessing not. If you started a business to build a life doing what you love, Sage One might be one of the many accounting software options that lets you succeed. Might.
Sage Group was founded in the UK all the way back in 1981 — quite the record for an accounting software company. The company is still predominantly used in the UK, though since the 80’s, the company has acquired tons of smaller accounting software companies (like Peachtree) to expand their realm across multiple countries. Now used by 230,000 people, Sage One still seems to be going strong—but not as strong as other software options, particularly in the US.
This cloud-based software offers most basic accounting features including expense tracking, invoicing, accounts payable, reports, tracking, contact management, and more. Sage One even comes with a few extra treats like packing slips and tracking. It is generally easy to use and has quality customer service support. Sage One has also updated their bank reconciliation and email automation features since our last review, making the software a more viable option for many small businesses.
However, there are a few major weaknesses in the software. First of all, there is no payroll support for US users at all. Limited payment gateways and integrations could also be a big problem for some business owners. In previous reviews, Sage One’s saving grace was affordable pricing. They had a free plan and a $10/mo plan. Now the free plan is completely gone and replaced by $10/mo and $25/mo options. Furthermore, estimate and quote features only come with the most expensive plan, which is ridiculously stingy compared to other software options. (Even the most basic accounting software companies include this feature to some degree.)
If you’ve looked into other accounting options previously, and if these weaknesses don’t scare you away, then please read on. You can also check out this video to begin your research about whether Sage One is good for your business.
Sage One offers a free 30-day trial with no credit card information required. After that, you can select from two pricing plans. The software is subscription based, and no contract is required. It’s worth noting that payments are automatically drawn from your credit card until you discontinue your service.
Note: Prices and features vary country by country. This review focuses on the US plans specifically (and most of the pictures featured in this review are from the Sage One Accounting plan).
Sage One Start:
- Expense tracking
- Live bank feeds
- Contact management
- Items list
- Sales tax
- 10 reports
- 1 user, plus accountant access
Sage One Accounting:
- Expense tracking
- Live bank feeds
- Contact management
- Items List
- Sales tax
- 20 reports
- Estimates and quotes
- Cashflow forecasts
- Vendor bills
- Unlimited users
Sage One has been known to offer discounts (like 30% off the first six months), so be sure to check out the pricing details and fine print before buying.
Sage One also has a unique gift card program for loyal customers that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Go here to look at this feature in more detail.
Web-Hosted or Locally Installed:
Web-hosted. No downloads or installation required.
Hardware or Software Requirements:
As a cloud-based software, Sage One is compatible with nearly any device. The company recommends the most up-to-date Internet browsers for the best speed and use. Supported browsers include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. (Older version of Explorer are not compatible with Sage One, so double-check these system requirements before buying). There is also a Sage Expenses and Invoices mobile app for iPhones (iOS 9.3+) and a Sage Invoices app for Androids (4.2+).
Specific Size of Business:
Sage One is geared toward small to mid-sized businesses. The Sage One Accounting plan is feature-rich and has strong accounting capabilities. With unlimited users to top it off, this plan could be a great option for some businesses. The Sage One Start plan is more limited when it comes to features and users. If the price of Sage One Start appeals to you, I highly recommend taking a look at Wave or Zoho Books instead; you’ll get more bang for your buck.
The software is particularly well-suited for UK users. However, most US users can make the software work, so long as they don’t want payroll support.
The Sage One Start plan only offers cash basis accounting, while the Sage One Accounting plan offers both cash basis and accrual accounting options.
Ease of Use:
Sage One is generally well-organized, albeit a little difficult to navigate at times. Some of the UI could be significantly streamlined, but the features are there and that’s what counts.
- Set Up – Setting up your Sage One account is easy as pie. Simply enter your contact information and let the Getting Started summary screen guide your way (see picture below). Although the Getting Started screen is a good place to start, I also recommend spending some time in the settings section (sound familiar yet?). In settings you need to mark important preferences like default invoice settings, email customizations, and navigation. You also should double check your chart of accounts and add open balances before making use of the software.
- Organization – As mentioned above, the organization is mostly intuitive. The UI is divided into tabs titled Summary, Sales, Expenses, Contacts, Products & Services, Banking, Journals Reporting, and Settings. (The Sage One Start plan has a simplified version of these tabs that reads Summary, Sales, Cashbook, Contacts, Banking Reports, and More.) Almost every tab has a drop down menu, and some features can get lost in these. There is a big plus button on the left side of the screen that serves as a quick create shortcut. You won’t find a dashboard in Sage One, however, which is one of my issues with the software. The summary section (or dashboard substitute) is well organized into different categories, but there is still no way to look at your company as a whole. It’d be much nicer to see everything in one place.
- Instructions and Guidance – Besides the awesome Getting Started guide within the software, there are also plenty of instructions and support options available. There is an in-software chat feature for quick responses. Phone support responds quickly and thoroughly. This also a Help Center, Knowledge Base, and Community Forum to cover just about any questions you might have. More details below.
- Problems – I have a hard time putting to words the problem I have with Sage One. It’s not that the software is bad, by any means. It’s just that others are better. UK users may have a different experience, but in my opinion, Sage One would be more of a contender if they addressed these issues:
- Invoice Customization – The only invoice customization Sage One offers is the ability to add a company logo. There are basically only two templates to choose from and no further customization options available. (This wouldn’t be quite such a big deal if it weren’t for the limited color schemes available. Bright green, really? That’s the color you are going to choose for your invoice template?)
- Too Much Support? – Sage One has great phone and chat support, but after that, it’s a bit difficult to find what you’re looking for. Between choosing the right Sage software, the right country, and navigating a confusing main website, customer support becomes quite an adventure. I wish they would make it easier to navigate their site and consolidate their webpages instead of making customers jump all over for the information they need.
- Not Always Intuitive – Sage One claims to be an incredibly simple accounting software. However, I did not always see that as the case. Smaller features are hidden in drop down menus or settings.
- Could Be Streamlined – With Sage One it’s nearly impossible to get a full view of your business as there are five separate “dashboards” under the Summary page. This is a place where I’d really like to see Sage One consolidate. The intense contact importing process could also use some serious consolidation as it is currently incredibly time-consuming.
- No Payroll for US – There is no payroll for US users, and it doesn’t look like this feature is coming anytime soon.
- Project Feature Lacking– The project features in Sage One seem to be no more than glorified tracking tools. Without a projects tab, the ability to add tasks, or project-based reports, Sage One has a lot of improving to do before it can compete with software like QuickBooks or even Zoho Books.
Sage One offers a good amount of features, automations, and accounting necessities (including a strong chart of accounts and reports). There are even a few extra features, like tracking and packing slips, that I was not expecting to find with an accounting software at this price level. Below are some highlights, but for a full list of features, go here.
- Dashboard – If you’ve grown accustomed to cloud accounting software, there isn’t really a typical dashboard in Sage One, Instead you’ll find a summary page with tabs for Getting Started, Sales, Expenses, Cash Flow Statement, and Cash Flow Forecast. Each of those tabs looks like a sort of individual dashboard with real-time graphs and charts about your business. The Sage One Start plan looks a little different, with each tab consolidated into a single Summary page.
- Invoicing – This software makes invoicing easy, especially with the many default settings available. You can automate emails for nearly everything in Sage One. You can also set default terms and conditions and notes to appear in each invoice. Invoices can be printed or sent via email (clients will receive a .pdf attachment of the invoice and a link to the invoice). Four template choices are available: two for service-based invoices and two for product-based invoices. This is where Sage One could use some serious improvement. The only invoice customization available is the ability to add a company logo. (You cannot change the predetermined invoice colors and must choose between a boring black color scheme or blinding, bright green.) There also is no way to schedule invoices or set recurring invoices.
- Estimates & Quotes (Sage One Accounting Only) – Unlike most software, Sage One actually differentiates between estimates and quotes, which is a nice feature (especially if you think about the fundamental difference between the two). Both documents allow for default terms and conditions and can easily be converted to an invoice. (Although you can’t convert an estimate > quote > invoice. It just goes straight from estimate > invoice.)
- Contact Management – Sage One has a great contact management section. You can add traditional contact information as well as customer notes. You can create credit limits for each customer and set default tax rates. Contacts are given their own sort of individual dashboard, and Sage One also offers the unique option to see how many sales they’ve brought you that year.
- Items List – You can add items by product or service. Information includes product description, code, default tax rate, default sales and expense accounts, price, COG, and comments. I was pretty impressed by this, although I’d like to see an inventory tracking feature added.
- Packing Slips – You can create and print packing slips directly from each invoice.
- Accounts Payable (Sage One Accounting Only) – It is very easy to add vendor bills in Sage One. It is less easy to see when these bills are due. You have to hunt down the due date, and there are no automatic reminders. There is also no way to pay directly from Sage One. The Quick Entry option under the Expenses drop down menu allows you to create batch vendor bills and credit notes.
- Bank Reconciliation – This feature is vastly improved since our last review. You can now import bank statements as well as credit card statements in order to balance the books. If you’d rather go the live bank feed route, that’s an option too. The software remembers past transaction categorizations, but you can’t set any actual bank rules. There is still no duplicate transaction detection, but the new import capabilities make the feature much more worthwhile. Note: Like all software using bank live feeds, Zoho Books partners with Yodlee, which may violate some banks’ Terms and Conditions. Consult with your bank to see whether live bank feeds are a good choice for you.
- Reports – Sage One features 11 or 19 reports depending on which plan you choose. Essential reports like a Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet are included in both plans. Sage One Accounting gives you access to reports revolving around the accounts payable feature (like Aged Payables and Aged Receivables). You can mark certain reports as favorites and export all reports via .csv or.pdf.
- Tracking (Sage One Accounting Only) – Sage One offers an unexpected but welcome surprise in their Analysis Types (or tracking) feature. You can analyze sales, expenses, bank transactions, and journal entries. You can customize and personalize these categories as needed. To learn more about how tracking works, check out this video below.
- Journal Entries – Sage One makes it easy to create journal entries.
- Sales Tax – Sage One has some of the best sales tax capabilities I’ve seen. Not only does it automatically grab sales tax prices for you depending on your address, you can also add as many additional tax rates as you’d like. Additionally, you can assign default tax rates to both customers and products.
- Multi-Currency Support (Sage One Accounting Only) – Sage One is compatible with 30+ currencies around the world. (Number may change depending on the country you live in.)
- API – Sage One doesn’t have an open API, but they do have what they call a “uniform, RESTful API” for developers.
Customer Service and Support:
Overall, I am pleased with Sage One’s customer service. In my experience, phone calls are answered promptly, and representatives were patient, kind and informative. The in-software chat support is also a quick solution to most any accounting question. When I was testing Sage One, these were my go-to support sources.
To be fair, though, I went to these sources first because it is often difficult to find the information you are looking for on Sage’s confusing website. Not only do you have to weed out information about other Sage accounting solutions (like Sag 50c), you also have to triple check that you are using the right country’s support system. Hopefully, your lives will be a lot easier and your customer service support search a lot simpler with the following links already tracked down:
- Phone – US users can reach customer service at 1-888-212-1743. UK can call 0845-111-6611. (Some Sage webpages advertise the contact number 1-866-996-7234. This number is NOT correct unless you want to hear about some weird medical scam.)
- Support Form – Sage support can be contacted here. Responses are usually thorough and, in my experience, take between 12-24 hours.
- Chat – The in-software chat feature is very prompt and helpful. Make sure you minimize the chat screen instead of exiting it or you’ll close out your support inquiry.
- Help Center – A help center features dozens of articles ranging from getting started guides to feature how-tos.
- Knowledge Base – There is also a US knowledge base with information similar to the Help Center, only specific to the US Sage One features. There are also videos and troubleshooting tips.
- YouTube Videos – Sage Group has a YouTube channel featuring customer reviews, business advice, and a few how-to videos. It was a bit difficult to find the videos I was looking for and I was disappointed in the small amount of videos allocated to Sage One.
- Community Center – Sage One’s community forum lets you ask advice and questions of other Sage users. The search bar could use improvement.
- Feedback Form – There is an in-software feedback form. Representatives are quick in responding to requests, and in one instance, I was asked to beta test the upcoming solution to my request.
- Sage One Blog – Sage one has a very small blog with a few articles offering helpful business advice and several announcing Sage events.
- Social Media – Sage Group has a Facebook page with blog posts, news, advice, webinars and free guides. Sage Group also has a Twitter with overlapping news and blog posts. On both sites, representatives are quick to respond to customer suggestions and complaint. Sage also has LinkedIn and Instagram pages. The Instagram account is set up in humans of New York style and features the hashtag #humansofbusiness—stories of everyday businessmen and women sharing their lives and advice.
Negative Reviews and Complaints:
Sussing out reviews specific to Sage One was surprisingly difficult for such a well-known company. And once I found reviews, finding reliable and up-to-date comments was even more challenging, especially considering there is no real way to tell which country each user is registered in.
The few reviews I did discover were primarily negative, which was quite a flip from the last time we reviewed this software. However, it is important to remember the role of negativity bias in reviews. (Check out Understanding Negativity Bias to learn more about how this concept affects our lives.)
All that said, here are some of the most common complaints about Sage One:
- Downtime – There are several reports of downtime and server crashes. According to customers and announcements on the Sage Facebook page, such downtime is fairly frequent (the most recent crash being December 9, 2016).
- Mobile App Crashes – Reports of mobile app crashes also abound. Android users in particular report bugs, crashes, and limited functionality. Android users also wish their invoice app was as good as the invoice and expense app for iPhones.
- Poor Customer Service – A few people complain about Sage One’s customer service, though the number of positive customer service encounters outweigh these by a long shot.
- Limited Features – Some users are disappointed in Sage One’s features set and want the company to include things like payroll and inventory tracking.
Note: On sites like Trust Pilot, customer complaints were often personally addressed by Sage One representatives and marked as updated or resolved by Sage One representatives (and usually by the next day). This is a very encouraging sign.
Positive Reviews and Testimonials:
Usually, in this section of the review, we post software ratings from popular review sites to give you a more representative idea of how customers feel about the product in general. But this is the first software I’ve reviewed where I feel uncomfortable sharing that kind of information.
To illustrate my point, while Sage One receives a 7.2/10 on TrustRadius, every single reviewer was invited by the vendor to comment. PCMag, Capterra, and Serchen have each received only one comment, putting PCMag’s Sage One rating at 3/5, Capterra’s at 4.5/5, and Serchen’s at 5/5.
With the unreliability of these sites and the limited number of reviews out there, I’ve tried to compile the most reliable comments possible to give you a fair understanding the customer experience at Sage One.
- Good Customer Service – This is by far the most common praise of Sage One. Users love the quick responses and helpful representatives.
- Mobility – Many users also like the mobility of Sage One, especially in comparison to Sage Group’s other locally installed accounting programs.
- Easy to Use – A few Sage One customers also praised the software for being simple and easy to use.
Here is the Sage Group’s collection of customer testimonials if you’d like to see what kind of companies are succeeding with Sage. (Note: Not all videos apply to Sage One specifically.)
Integrations and Add-Ons:
If you are looking for integrations, Sage One is not for you. It seems the company has passed over their US users here. Instead of the 25+ integrations available for UK users, US users are left with only three add-ons.
- Sage Payment Solutions – Sage’s personal payment processor. Transaction fee: 1.9% + $0.15/per transaction. Monthly support fee: up to $12.95/mo (maximum).
- Paypal – Accept online payments and enable electronic payment of invoices. (Read our review here.)
- Google Drive – Integrates with Google account to allow online storage and invoices amending.
Sage One uses data encryption, extended validation certification, automatic backups, and 24/7 monitoring as security measures. Servers are hosted by Amazon web services. More information about Sage One security can be found here.
Sage One has definitely improved over the years. They’ve updated their bank reconciliation features and email automizations and offer great customer service. The software also supports some advanced features, especially considering the price range. Advanced contact management, tracking, and sales tax capabilities, as well as invoicing, packing slips, and journal entries are just a few of Sage One’s good feature offerings. But in this case, I’m still not convinced that good is good enough.
Sage One has a measly two payment gateways, no additional add-ons, and no payroll support for US customers, which I anticipate will rule the program out for a lot of mid-sized businesses. Other potential issues include limited invoice customizations, no dashboard, spotty mobile apps, and the lack of estimate and quote support for the Sage One Start plan.
Moreover, Sage One has reverted from its competitive pricing plans and has completely gotten rid of their free plan. At the more expensive pricing level, Sage One hardly holds up to cheaper software options like Wave and Zoho Books, both of which have way better features for US users. I highly recommended doing your research with this one and taking advantage of the Sage One free trial before committing. And let us know what you think in the comments below!