Businesses have been spending increasingly more money on financial and accounting software like Sage; this sector experienced the second largest increase in spending across the board, with only education services seeing a greater increase. But how exactly does software like Sage help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and their finances?

Well, whilst it is possible to run a small business without accounting software, doing so is much more time-intensive and prone to accounting mistakes. For example, excel spreadsheets will not update in real-time and so cannot be used to automatically conform the many payments occurring across a business’s plethora of bank accounts. Modern day accounting software makes this process much easier, and can save small businesses up to five hours a week spent on admin alone.

How Does Sage Help SMEs?

Sage leads the world in business applications and software for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and has been masterfully designed to meet all a business’s accounting needs. Some of its most notable, unique features include: balanced scorecards, manufacturing modules, front-line control and project accounting.

Whilst its price dictates that it is primarily a premium product, as it ranges from $10 per month to $842 per year, it also offers a number of solutions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). These consist of accounting, invoicing and payment processing through various integration partners, as well as a number of other functions to help SMEs manage and track their finances with perfect accuracy.

Sage has been specifically designed to be suitable for any business of any size. It offers two cloud-based programs that are perfect for startups: the basic Sage Accounting software, and the more comprehensive cloud-based, desktop hybrid Sage50cloud software. The latter is more advanced and provides financial and accounting information and insights to management and executives.

What makes this perfect for startups and SMEs is certainly the cost. The software provides an abundance of accounting solutions in its packages for small businesses for a pittance; the pricing starts low and runs higher depending on the package chosen by the customer. However, only bigger firms are likely to get use out of the features on the more expensive packages anyway.

What About the Alternatives?

Quickbooks is fairly similar in price, at $15-$50 per month, however its main attraction is that it is very easy to handle and almost all accountants are familiar with it. This means that if your business is planning on hiring an accountant, this should be your choice.

It is excellent for businesses who need premium business accounting software that has a long-standing history in the industry and accountant-friendly features. Therefore, it is not the best choice for smaller businesses who will often not have a need for these premium accounting services due to their size alone.

Another alternative, Freshbooks, is the cheapest of the bunch at $7.50-$25 per month. Its well-organised and comprehensive dashboard enables its users to easily monitor all their money in real time, whenever they want. Plus, it provides all the tools necessary to manage and control the business’s time, finances and transactions optimally.

This software allows for easier management of your business’s cash flow than most of its counterparts, primarily because it offers a dedicated support team that is tailored to your business. They also offer a free 30-day trial to test out the software and decide whether it is the right thing for your business.

This would be the main competition in terms of accounting software for small businesses purely down to the amount of utility it provides for such a low cost.

Final Statement

On balance, Sage is the perfect accounting software for SMEs. Whilst it is rivalled by Freshbooks in terms of price, it edges it out simply because it offers so much more for the money, even if it is a couple of dollars extra per month. It would not be a fair comparison to compare Sage to Quickbooks as they were designed for different demographics.

Where Quickbooks was designed as a premium product with the biggest businesses in mind, as illustrated by its price, Sage is designed for small businesses who only need the most basic features. Sage can be the only recommendation.