Sage 50 Review
Sage 50 Introduction
Sage 50 was designed for business owners that want to streamline finances and workflow in the same program. Overall, it combines work flow, inventory and project management with accounting as an all-in-one resource for larger companies. While they have impressive features, their high price, limited demos and unclear price sheets may make them unappealing to small businesses on a budget and even large companies.
Innovative accounting from the experts at Sage (aka Peachtree).
- Free Interactive Trial/Demo
- Project and Inventory Management
- Industry Solutions for Manufacturing, Distribution and Construction
- Demo Doesn’t Work for Everyone
- Limited Features for High Price
- Payroll and Credit Card Processing Extra
- Confusing Prices
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Scoring and Rating
Accounting and Business Tasks: (Rating: 9/10)
Sage 50 includes basic and advanced accounting features, but the amount of features you unlock will depend on which plan you have. Essential accounting features include AR/AP, cash management, invoicing and estimates, cash flow, system checks, customized reports, document storage (receipts too), budget spreadsheet creators, internal accounting reviews, inventory, email alerts, etc.
Invoicing: (Rating: 10/10)
Invoices can be customized with Sage 50 to match your company’s brand and you can add a company logo.
You can also create estimates and convert them into invoices. Sales orders, purchase orders, shipment updates for orders and recurring invoicing is also available with Sage 50.
They support multiple currencies and tax rates as well.
You cannot integrate with PayPal, but you can sync up for transaction downloads and you can accept payments if you sign up for Sage’s payment processing (additional fee).
Management: (Rating: 10/10)
There are a lot of management features with Sage 50 – which is what they use to justify their higher pricing. Unlike other software, Sage 50 is an all-in-one solution that offers inventory management, assemblies, costing methods, back orders, etc.
You can also manage your projects, workflow and assignments in Sage 50 – as long as you have the Premium or Quantum versions. Multiple companies can be managed from a single Sage 50 account as well with Premium and Quantum, jobs can be priced out for better budgeting, etc.
Employees, job reporting, time sheets, task management and multiple dashboards are available only with the Quantum account.
Ease of Use: (Rating: 4/10)
Ease of use is not Sage 50’s strongpoint. While they say it is an easy-to-use accounting software, there are much easier programs out there and Sage 50 has a less-than-attractive interface. You can only customize your dashboard and change around the modules if you purchase the highest level, which is Sage 50 Quantum.
They do have a lot of advanced features that help you double check and even audit your own company’s finances, but they are very complex and novice accounting users would find them really difficult to figure out. Their knowledgebase online is not as impressive as others either.
For most, a professional class or Sage 50 expert will be needed to even run the software. Sage 50 is hard to navigate and takes a lot of time. Even accountants that are unfamiliar with Sage 50 find it too complex.
Overall, there are much easier programs out there and while they have excellent features, those features may be too complex for new users to figure out – and some small business owners may feel they don’t have the time to decode such complex accounting processes.
Access: (Rating: 7/10)
Access is limited for the Sage 50 Pro account to just one user. You can get up to five users with Premium and up to 40 users with Quantum. Users include accountants, so if you have an accountant, your Premium account goes down to just four users so you have a space for your accountant.
You can access Sage 50 via mobile, but only for issuing sales. Their app is very limited and numerous bugs have been reported – in fact, it has a three-star rating and that is never a good sign.
You can only assign roles and permissions with the Quantum account, which means lower level plans cannot assign. This is something most companies offer without forcing you to pay thousands each year.
Taxes: (Rating: 5/10)
Despite the high cost, you cannot prepare or file your taxes with Sage 50 on any of the three plans. You also don’t have built in payroll or payroll taxes; instead, this is on top of the already high prices.
You can give access to an accountant as long as you have a Premium or Quantum account. If you have the Pro account, which is limited to just one user, you will have to download and email the file.
They do have reports and audits for in-house workflow and expenses, which will help make tax time easier. But, for the price, we would assume they would have more tax-prep features.
Pricing: (Rating: 6/10)
There’s no introductory rates with Sage 50 and while they say you can try for free, it’s not a true free trial. Instead, it’s an interactive trial online that doesn’t even work for most people – forcing you to purchase the software if you really want to give it a whirl.
Prices for Sage 50 are extremely high compared to other programs when you compare the features.
Sage 50 Pro starts at $299 per year for just one user and only includes basic accounting features. Payroll and credit card can be added at an additional cost. Sage 50 Premium allows access for 1 to 5 users and unlocks more useful features, but also starts at $449 per year for one user and up to $1249 per year for five users. Sage 50 Quantum allows up to 40 users and more advanced features, but comes at a price of $1499 per year for three users and up to $3249 per year for 10 users.
Payroll services start at $250 per year.
To make matters more confusing, Sage 50 has listed multiple prices all over their site and the numbers don’t match up. One page has one price, another various prices and another a completely different price – making it next to impossible to find out just how much you’ll really pay unless you click the “buy now” button and go through the process. This is something they need to correct.
Customer Service: (Rating: 8/10)
Sage 50 does have an online knowledgebase and it is classified based on the year of software you have. They also have online video tutorials, but they can be difficult to navigate. Sage 50 does offer chat and community-based support and you can call them with questions.
As of 2016, Sage Accounting had an A- with the BBB.
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Sage 50 Specifications
Regular Pricing(after intro): Pro $299/year, Premium $449/year, Quantum $1499/year
Introductory Pricing: None
Free Trial: None
Score Based out of Total of 10
# of Users Per Account
# of Clients/Customers
# of Invoices
Basic Accounting Features
Can Import Bank Transactions
Estimates or Quotes
Converts Estimates to Invoices
Managing Bills and Paying Bills
Credit Card/Paypal Processing: Added Fee
eCommerce or POS Compatable
Provides Employee TimeSheets
Prints Payroll Checks or Process Electronically
Can e-file or Manually File Payroll Taxes
All (Cloud Based)
Mobile Expense Tracking
Help and Support
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What Type of Business Could Use This Software?
Sage 50 isn’t ideal for freelancers or even small business owners looking to do their own accounting. Instead, it is ideal for a company with an in-house bookkeeper or accountant that has had professional training and knows how to properly work Sage 50. Also, with its higher price and features that are inapplicable to some industries, Sage 50 may only be ideal for large manufacturing, distribution or retail companies.
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Sage 50 Pricing
Sage 50 Pro: Offers basic accounting features, managing contacts and sales, customizing vendors, automating purchasing and shipping, tracking jobs, etc. Payroll and credit cards may be added on. Starts at $149 to $299 per year for one user.
Sage 50 Premium: Offers basic accounting as well as budgeting, strategic planning assistance, employee management, inventory management, financial statements, progress billing, better inventory, employee compensation tracking and more. Starts at $449 per year for one user, $849 per year for three users, and $599 per year for five users.
Sage 50 Quantum: Offers everything that Sage 50 Premium has as well as automated workflow management, task and project management, and top of the line support. Starts at $1499 per year for three users, $1999 per year for five users and $3249 per year for 10 users.
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What We Like About Sage 50
Workflow and Finances in One: We like that Sage 50 combines your workflow, tasks, inventory and accounting in a single program. This eliminates the need for multiple applications and could help simplify running a business altogether.
Designed for Small to Large Businesses: Most accounting software will max out at about 100 employees, while Sage 50 could easily accommodate up to 499 employees and features unlimited inventory databases. This is an impressive feature that makes them more suitable for larger companies that often find limited accounting solutions available to them.
Strong Inventory Reporting: Sage 50’s inventory is impressive compared to other programs out there. Once you have it set up, they have numerous reports, in-house audits, automatic ordering, etc. that you can use to practically have your inventory run itself.
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What We Don’t Like Sage 50
Not a True Free Trial and It Doesn’t Work Anyway: I was excited to give Sage 50 a whirl for free, since Sage offers it. But, it’s not even a true free trial. Instead it’s a live demo you use via your web browser. Worse, it doesn’t work. It says it’s loading and then the screen will keep closing itself out. I tried it on several computers and several browsers and it turns out to be a common issue. This is disappointing, because most people would like to try a software fully before committing – especially with the high price of Sage 50’s products.
High Price: Yes, Sage 50 does have a lot of features that other companies don’t and they are known for streamlining finances, but they are by no means cheap. When you compare their total annual cost to similar products, they are on the higher end and their basic account has limited features and still a very high price tag – making them unideal for companies on limited budgets.
Job Costing Nice, but Too Difficult: The job costing feature is always a plus – because most business owners want to know how much a particular job or project will cost them. But, the feature itself is overly complicated and requires you to input everything from raw materials to tracking work in progress to finished phases and more. Most people skip over the feature because it’s too confusing.
Complex Installation: Installing Sage 50 is no breeze. In fact, there are numerous complaints about how difficult it is and from the amount of information on their site guiding you through the process, you can already tell it will be a serious headache.
Training Required: Sage 50 usually requires a professional class or training course to use – it isn’t user friendly at all.
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Sage 50 is designed for the small business that needs a little more from their accounting. With features like inventory and project management built-in, it could be the only program you'll ever need.
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