Considering that the Sage company specializes in small business accounting specifically, it is no wonder that its cloud-based program,Sage One, is considered one of the top options currently on the market for small business accounting software. Though it doesn't offer everything that Xero and QuickBooks Online do, Sage One offers enough to fulfill perhaps the very small business's accounting needs.

Instead of offering three versions of its services as most accounting software do, Sage One only offers two. However, as usual, both versions are accompanied by a 30-day free trial. The basic version is called Accounting Start, which is offered at a very affordable $10 per month. With this version, you can only have one user, but it does offer bank reconciliation, automatic backup, and expense record keeping.

The advanced version, Accounting, is offered at an also affordable $25 per month. This version includes everything from Accounting Start, as well as quotes and estimates, unlimited collaboration among users, the choice between cash or accrual accounting, cash flow forecasts, and vendor bills. At that cost, Sage One is a pretty fantastic value.

At a glance, the first thing you'll likely notice about Sage One is that it's quite simple. The dashboard is clear and functional, and the overall display is comparable to other accounting software. The program works quite well, but it doesn't necessarily stand out from its competitors in terms of display. 

Indeed, the biggest drawback of Sage One is that it is considerably less user-friendly and easy to understand than its competitors. That is to say, instead of being geared toward the layman, it almost feels as if it were designed more for accountants. Since accounting already tends to feel intimidating and foreign, a program that is difficult to understand could pose some serious problems down the road. Not to mention that many users have reported that the program occasionally runs slowly and can feel quite dated. One other downside is that there are no integrated payroll or time-tracking features.

That said, Sage One is superior to its rivals in terms of initial setup support. To a degree, this could make up for the program's jargon-y language and accountant-geared interface. For example, upon setup, Sage One offers numerous import options - it supports many different types of files and data. As well, the local sales tax is automatically determined based on your location, which is a feature unique to Sage One. Sage One also offers great customer support.

Sage One also offers a number of different types of reports and records. The customization capabilities are very lacking for the reports, however, the records are very thorough. As well, Sage One offers bank reconciliation with thousands of banks, which cannot be said for many other comparable accounting programs.

One thing we really liked about Sage One is its innovative "three item-price levels" feature. This means that you can input three different prices for one particular product or service, and then choose which price-point you want to charge a certain customer. This can come in handy if you've offered a discount to a particular customer, would like to charge new customers less, etc.

Though it lacks some features that other programs don't, Sage One is, overall, pretty great quality for what you will pay.

See our selection for Best Accounting Software.

Published on: Sep 24, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.