Best Accounting Software 2021

Sage Business Cloud vs. Xero

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

No matter your business size or industry, you should invest in an accounting software to manage your finances. This software facilitates invoicing, expense tracking, payroll, and lessens your chances of financial mismanagement. You’ll likely grant your accountant access to the software so they can keep your books balanced, prepare your business for tax season, and identify opportunities to improve the financial health of your business.

This article identifies key differences between Sage Business Cloud and Xero, two popular choices. We’ll compare and contrast their features, pricing, usability, and customer service availability. We’ll also make recommendations about who each tool is best for based on hours of in-house research and product testing.

Sage Business Cloud & Xero Comparison Summary

Sage Business Cloud and Xero are two accounting software tools that we personally researched and tested. We also interviewed current customers of both solutions.

Sage Business Cloud was given a rating of 83, while Xero received a rating of 91.

Sage Business Cloud received its score because it’s not nearly as advanced, user-friendly, or powerful compared with its competitors and alternatives. However, it’s a great value as all features are included for $25 per month. Xero is much more reliable and detail-rich, and though it’s more expensive, it’s a better software solution overall.


Below is a breakdown of our four review criteria and the ratings that Sage Business Cloud and Xero were given in each category.

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support
Sage Business Cloud837.5998.5
Xero9199.599

Sage Business Cloud is a somewhat basic accounting software that offers invoicing, expense tracking, foreign currency transactions, and a dashboard that shows an overview of your business finances. It lacks a few crucial features like in-house receipt capture and time tracking, and we found that the application sometimes took a while to load. Sage Business Cloud is ideal for those who want unlimited users for just $25 per month.

Xero is an accounting software that’s well suited for businesses of all sizes, as well as both product-based and service-based companies. You’ll have access to all the standard features like invoicing, expense tracking, receipt capture, and billing. Along with a reporting section that can generate more than 50 reports, Xero’s Marketplace has pre-built integrations with more than 800 third-party software tools.

Here are a few quick points to summarize who we recommend each tool for:

You'll prefer Sage Business Cloud if:

  • You don’t need advanced functionality
  • You want to pay $25 per month for unlimited users
  • You want advanced reporting with Sage Intelligence

Try Sage Business Cloud Today

You'll prefer Xero if:

  • You want more functionality and more features
  • You are willing to pay up to $62 per month
  • You want to leverage integrations with the Xero Marketplace

Try Xero Today


Table of Contents

Who Should Purchase Sage Business Cloud?

Sage Business Cloud is ideal for those who need entry-level functionality. It’s one of the most cost-conscious options, as there are two plans for $10 per month and $25 per month. The best feature is Sage Intelligence, the reporting feature that allows customers to create advanced, customized reports. Choose Sage Business Cloud if you want unlimited users and an advanced dashboard for $25 per month.

Compared with Sage Business Cloud, Xero is much more sophisticated. You can track time with Xero, and you will not need to pay for a third-party receipt capture tool. Most businesses will find Xero more valuable because, though it’s more expensive, it’s worth the higher price.

Who Should Purchase Xero?

Xero is one of the best accounting software platforms for small businesses, and we recommend it to most small businesses. Though freelancers might not need something so advanced, it’s still user-friendly enough even for entry-level entrepreneurs. There’s a varied reporting section, the software and dashboard are highly customizable, and it comes at a great value.

Choose Xero if you do not want to pay the high price of QuickBooks Online, but want more than Wave and FreshBooks can offer.

Sage Business Cloud & Xero Price Comparison

Sage Business Cloud is cheaper than Xero, but it also lacks some of the features and nuances that Xero does. Sage Business Cloud pricing ranges from $10 per month to $25 per month, while Xero’s plans run from $11 per month to $62 per month.

Sage Business Cloud Pricing Details

Sage Business Cloud has two plans: the Accounting Start Plan and the Accounting Plan. Because the Accounting Start Plan is fairly elementary, we recommend choosing the Accounting Plan because it’s only $15 more per month for significantly better features.

PlanPricing
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

Xero Pricing Details

Xero has three plans to choose from. We personally recommend either the Growing or Established Plans, as the Early Plan is severely limited in the number of invoices and bills you are able to manage.

Early Plan
  • $11 per month
  • Send quotes and 20 invoices
  • Enter 5 bills
  • Reconcile transactions
  • Capture bills and receipts with Hubdoc
Growing Plan
  • $32 per month
  • No invoice or quote limits
Established Plan
  • $62 per month
  • Use multiple currencies
  • Track projects
  • Claim expenses

Sage Business Cloud & Xero Feature Comparison

Sage Business Cloud has fewer features overall than Xero. The most notable of these lacking features are the time tracking and receipt capture features. Neither option offers bookkeeping, tax, or accounting services, which some competitors do.

FeatureSage Business CloudXero
InvoicingYesYes
Expense TrackingYesYes
Accounting Reports15+ - more with Intelligence50+
Vendor & Client CRMYesYes
PayrollYesYes
Project TrackingYesYes
Time TrackingNoYes
Receipt CaptureNo - AutoEntryYes
Inventory ManagementYesYes
Accounting & Bookkeeping ServicesNoNo
Mobile ApplicationYesYes
Accountant AccessYesYes

Top Features: Sage Business Cloud

Sage Business Cloud has one of the best dashboards across accounting software tools, because it gives the easiest-to-digest cash flow forecast and layout of finances. Along with that, Sage Business Cloud also has detailed invoices and a sales tracker. Check out our full Sage Business Cloud review for more information about the features.

Invoicing

Sage Business Cloud’s invoices are fairly customizable, and the capabilities are relatively the same in Xero. You’ll input the product or service you’re selling, select the correct ledger account, and assign the proper tax rate to items.

Sage Business Cloud Invoice

Dashboard

While the Sage Business Cloud dashboard is not nearly as customizable or advanced as Xero’s, it gives a more visually appealing graph overview of your business finances.

Sage Dashboard

You’ll be able to see the cash flow into and out of your business, your liability to offset, and a color-coded graph of these statistics.

Sales Tracker

The Sales Tracker shows the status of all of your sent invoices. You’ll be able to see when an invoice has been sent and whether it’s been paid or is overdue. This simple visual will let you know when it’s time to follow up with clients who have not yet paid their invoices.

Sage Sales Tab

Top Features: Xero

Xero’s best features are the customizable dashboard and the Marketplace. The reporting section is also very strong. To read further into Xero, check out our full-length Xero review.

Receipt Capture & Time Tracking

These two features are the major positives to Xero that Sage Business Cloud lacks. You can purchase a third-party receipt capture tool with Sage Business Cloud, but most other accounting tools include that for free. Xero also has time tracking, which is crucial especially for service-based businesses that want to manage projects for clients.

Dashboard

The Xero dashboard, as you can see below, offers graphs and information regarding payments, your accounts, and your invoices. You can not only see your overdue invoices and bills, but add customers, vendors, send invoices, and more. Unlike with most other tools, you can drill down into each section and rearrange the sections so that your preferred information is near the top of the dashboard.

Xero Dashboard

Marketplace

There are more than 800 pre-built integrations with software tools across categories like inventory, reporting, and documents. This makes it easy to add Xero into your collection of current software tools.

Bottom Line

Between the two options, we recommend Xero in almost all cases. It’s more powerful than Sage Business Cloud, and the extra cost is worth it to get more advanced reporting, built-in receipt capture, and time tracking functionality.

If you do need a cheap software solution, however, Sage Business Cloud’s Accounting Plan offers much more value than their less expensive plan.

If you’re interested, visit Sage Business Cloud or Xero 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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