Best Accounting Software 2021

QuickBooks Online vs. Sage Business Cloud

Is QuickBooks Online or Sage Business Cloud the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best accounting software for your business.

All businesses should use accounting software in order to manage invoices, track finances, and prepare for tax season. As a business owner, you’ll use accounting software to send invoices to clients, upload receipts for business expenses, and record financial information. Your bookkeeper or accountant will likely be given access to the software and will likely do most of the heavy lifting regarding the reporting and tax preparation.

Most accounting software platforms for small businesses will include a combination of the following features:

  • Accounting Reports
  • Expense Tracking
  • Invoicing
  • Payment Processing
  • Bookkeeping Services
  • Basic CRM
  • Project Management
  • Time Tracking

This article will discuss the main differences between QuickBooks Online and Sage Business Cloud by highlighting differences in features, pricing, and usability. We’ll highlight notable strengths and drawbacks of each tool and make recommendations to help you pick the best software for your business.

QuickBooks Online & Sage Business Cloud Comparison Summary

QuickBooks Online and Sage Business Cloud are two big players in the accounting software space. QuickBooks Online received a rating of 94, our highest rating in the accounting category, while Sage Business Cloud received an 83.

QuickBooks Online received the highest score because it’s the best all-around accounting platform for most small businesses. Though freelancers and other small business owners will likely find it difficult to use, it has the most features, the best reporting section, and live bookkeeping services. Conversely, Sage Business Cloud is more basic, easier to use, and cheaper. There are not as many features—for example, Sage Business Cloud lacks built-in time tracking and services—but the functionality is likely sufficient for small businesses without particularly nuanced requirements.


Here’s a breakdown of our review criteria and how QuickBooks Online and Sage Business Cloud performed in each category.

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support
QuickBooks Online94108910
Sage Business Cloud837.5998.5

QuickBooks Online is the most established accounting software for small businesses. With the most powerful accounting features and bookkeeping services, it’s a one-stop shop that makes it easy to do most of what you’ll need in one platform. However, QuickBooks Online may be cost-prohibitive and it’s not very user-friendly.

Sage Business Cloud, on the other hand, is not as feature-rich but is much cheaper at just $10 to $25 per month. With invoicing, payment processing, expense tracking, inventory management, and more, this is a software for those who need moderate functionality. The software is much more user-friendly than QuickBooks Online and we were able to get in contact with the customer support team in about five minutes.

A few brief points summarizing who we recommend each tool for are below:

You'll prefer QuickBooks Online if:

  • You want the most advanced accounting software for small businesses
  • You’re somewhat tech-savvy, as QuickBooks Online is difficult to navigate
  • You can afford to pay between $25 and $150 per month for your accounting platform

Try QuickBooks Online Today

You'll prefer Sage Business Cloud if:

  • You’d like a more budget-friendly tool
  • You want a platform that’s easier to navigate and will take less time to learn to use
  • You want a cash flow forecast that provides 30-day visibility into your finances

Try Sage Business Cloud Today


Table of Contents

Who Should Purchase QuickBooks Online?

We recommend that almost every small business consider QuickBooks Online. It’s the most established player in the accounting software space by a long stretch, and many accountants and bookkeepers are trained in using the software. There are more than 70 reports included in the platform and businesses have the ability to customize their own reports if need be.

The biggest complaint customers had with the tool is that it’s not user-friendly. The software was built with accountants in mind, so it’s not quite as intuitive to use as more entry-level tools like Wave or FreshBooks. Because of this, we suggest that freelancers choose Wave or FreshBooks to get the more basic features that they’ll require for a much lower cost.

Who Should Purchase Sage Business Cloud?

Sage Business Cloud is a mid-tier tool that’s ideal for those looking for moderate functionality at a very reasonable price. While not quite on par with the reporting section from QuickBooks Online, Sage Business Cloud has a newer feature called Sage Intelligence, which lets its customers build custom reports. You’ll likely need to integrate with a third-party CRM system for full capabilities, because the in-house CRM is basic, but otherwise the features are relatively strong.

As a company, Sage shines with their enterprise-level software solutions, which larger companies appreciate. Sage Business Cloud is a newer spin-off from these larger solutions, having been released in 2018, so it’s not nearly as established as QuickBooks Online. However, at just $25 per month for unlimited users, invoicing, expense tracking, back reconciliation, and advanced reporting, it’s a great value.

QuickBooks Online & Sage Business Cloud Price Comparison

QuickBooks Online is the most expensive accounting software, with pricing starting at $25 per month and topping out at $150 per month. Conversely, Sage Business Cloud is one of the cheapest, as the most expensive plan is $25.

QuickBooks Online Pricing Details

The least expensive QuickBooks Online plan is $25 per month and the most expensive is $150 per month. Their Plus Plan, which is $70 per month, is the most popular option and has enough functionality for most small businesses.

Simple Start Plan
  • $25 per month
  • One user
  • Track income and expenses
  • Manage cash flow
  • Run general reports
Essentials Plan
  • $40 per month
  • Three users
  • Manage and pay bills
  • Track time
Plus Plan
  • $70 per month
  • Five users
  • Track inventory
  • Track project profitability
Advanced Plan
  • $150 per month
  • 25 users
  • Most powerful reports
  • Exclusive premium applications
  • Customized access
  • Dedicated account team
  • Automated workflows

Sage Business Cloud Pricing Details

Sage Business Cloud offers just two plans, which are priced at $10 per month and $25 per month.

Sage Accounting Start
  • $10 per month
  • Ideal for those who are self-employed
  • Invoicing
  • Expense Tracking
  • Bank Reconciliation
Sage Accounting
  • $25 per month
  • Unlimited Users
  • Free AutoEntry for 3 Months
  • Send Quotes & Estimates
  • Cash Flow Forecast

QuickBooks Online & Sage Business Cloud Feature Comparison

QuickBooks Online offers a fuller list of features and integrations. Sage Business Cloud doesn’t have an in-house receipt capture functionality, which is a significant downside as that will cost at least $12 extra per month.

FeatureQuickBooks OnlineSage Business Cloud
InvoicingYesYes
Expense TrackingYesYes
Accounting ReportsYes - advancedYes - advanced
Vendor & Client CRMYesYes - basic
PayrollYesYes
Project TrackingYesNo
Time TrackingYesNo - extra cost
Included Receipt CaptureYesNo
Inventory ManagementYesYes
Accounting & Bookkeeping ServicesYesNo
Mobile ApplicationYesYes
Accountant AccessYesYes

Top Features: QuickBooks Online

The top features included with QuickBooks Online are the dashboard, live bookkeeping services, and extensive reporting. For a full description of what QuickBooks Online has to offer, check out the full QuickBooks Online review.

Dashboard

When you first sign onto QuickBooks Online, you’ll immediately see a dashboard that displays information about incoming payments, your profit and loss statement, time tracking analytics, and more. Just as with Sage Business Cloud, you can’t drill down into each section, which makes it more tedious to navigate to different parts of the software.

QuickBooks Online Dashboard

Bookkeeping Services

For an additional fee of $200 per month, QuickBooks Online will provide you with an industry-specific bookkeeping expert to keep your books on track. While this is fairly expensive, many businesses will find this service worthwhile to avoid the stress of incorrect bookkeeping. Sage Business Cloud doesn’t offer this same service, so if you’re looking for that, QuickBooks Online is the better choice.

Reporting

QuickBooks Online includes 70 accounting reports, as well as a section to customize even more advanced reports. This is a bit stronger than Sage Business Cloud’s accounting functionality, though that one is also strong, particularly for a cheap tool.

QuickBooks Online Reporting

Top Features: Sage Business Cloud

Sage Business Cloud includes features like invoicing, reporting, inventory management, and more. There are features advanced enough that most small businesses will not need to plug into more advanced third-party applications, except for possibly a CRM tool or a more advanced inventory management tool for larger businesses with lots of stock.

However, Sage Business Cloud lacks accounting and bookkeeping services and receipt capture functionality must be purchased through a third-party vendor. For a full description of Sage Business Cloud’s features, check out the full Sage Business Cloud review.

Dashboard

Like QuickBooks Online, Sage Business Cloud has a comprehensive dashboard that gives customers a 30-day visibility into the expected cash balance for their business. While testing the tool, we found that while the included information is extremely helpful, you can’t drill down into each section to get more information.

Sage Business Cloud Dashboard

Invoicing

Creating invoices with Sage Business Cloud is not quite as simple as it is with competitors like Wave, but it’s got more functionality in regards to what you can include. You’ll assign the invoice to a customer, set the due date, and then input your products or services into the invoice. A particularly helpful detail is that you’ll assign a ledger account to each line item, ensuring that your transactions are properly recorded to the correct account.

Sage Business Cloud Invoice

Reporting

Sage Intelligence, a newer addition to the Sage Business Cloud reporting section, provides advanced, customizable reports that go beyond the included financial and accounting reports. You can export your reports as a PDF or download reports to Excel, where the formatting will be retained. You can save recurring reports and will have access to Sage’s Management Report Packs.

Bottom Line

QuickBooks Online is an all-around better accounting platform. It has all the features you could need to manage your business finances, many integrations with third-party software tools, and the most advanced in-house reporting section.

Compared with QuickBooks Online, Sage Business Cloud is more basic, though it is still a mid-tier option. There are fewer payment processing gateways than other tools offer and the application can sometimes be slow to load. However, the price is nearly unbeatable as it tops out at $25 per month.

  • QuickBooks Online is the best accounting software for most small businesses. Freelancers might want to opt for a more user-friendly option, though, and it is the priciest tool on the market.
  • Sage Business Cloud is a user-friendly, though more basic, accounting system for those who want a budget tool that still works reliably well.

If you’re interested, visit QuickBooks Online or Sage Business Cloud today to get started.

Katelyn Anderson

Katelyn is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit, where she conducts in-depth analyses of technology markets & products and writes software-related content. She graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and Psychology. Her main areas of interest are content creation, user experience, and search engine optimization. You can connect with Katelyn on LinkedIn.

Katelyn is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Accounting software
  • Live chat software
  • Vacation rental software

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