Friday, 4 November 2011

SageOne vs Xero Cloud - Accounting Goes Sexy

Recently, I moved my accounting into the Cloud from my old Sage accounting package, TASbooks, to a new and sexy company called It was a painless and actually exciting process for a non-accountant as it moved from fuddy-duddy double entry stuff to whizzy cashbook accounting. For the non-accountant type like me this is a far more intuitive way to run a small business. It's quick, easy and very understandable. The interfaces are easy to understand, the product is easy to navigate and the reports are detailed and great. All single button stuff with multi-currency, pay runs and standard invoice creation as part of the package.

I had looked for some time for a Cloud based package and had trialled NetSuite but found it too complicated and expensive for my small business needs. Xero was recommended by a colleague and I got involved via a friendly accountant they recommended on their website. The net result is that I have a Cloud based accounts package available to me on PC, Mac and with apps on my iPhone and iPad. It's actually made accounting exciting for an old fart like me. To boot, I had halved my annual accounting costs in the process.

You may ask - why did I change from Sage? While TASbooks was initially cheap, to get support per year it was costing a lot and that included about one annual upgrade. The reporting was clunky and it took a long while to consolidate my management report and do my expense stuff each month. I wanted to go Cloud anyway and to my mind, Sage had no offering - or none that I knew of.

How daft was I? A friend and former colleague is now running the Small Business Sage company and when I spoke to him recently I scoured the websites. I found SageOne online and suddenly it's appearing everywhere. How did I miss it?

And it's good. It's even lower cost than Xero. It's British whereas Xero is a New Zealand company. The approach is very similar - cashbook accounting with reduced levels of accounting categories to make life simple. I have signed up for a 30 day trial for free and it looks every bit as simple as Xero, albeit with a slightly different angle on the whole thing.

My old problem with reporting looks solved with a button press for year to date. Xero may actually give slightly more ways to skin a cat but SageOne is actually really neat and very easy to use. It also has a better way of accounting for spends by giving you 3 ways to spend money whereas Xero relies on you knowing which bank account or method to use at the start.

The pricing is even more sexy as it starts at £5 per month for cashbook only whereas standard accounts is £10 per month and this includes VAT returns and invoice generation. You can get an Accountant edition for professionals but if you are in the Sage Accountant's Club (and there's over 10,000 of those) then it's free. I pay £24 per month for Xero in comparison, although it starts at half that.

SageOne takes the same approach as Xero in working with Accountants although Xero gives a login for mine to use which hasn't been used yet.

For those of you who have used Sage before, the support is superb if sometimes a little long hold on the phone for - SageOne comes with support included and, of course, it is browser based so there is no installation. It works on any browser so you can work it on your tablet device too though I haven't seen any Apple or Android Apps yet.

If I hadn't moved to Xero a short while ago, SageOne would have been ideal at less than half the cost and working with a company I trust with local North Easterners supporting who are just fabulous in their knowledge of the product and patience with novice accountants like me.

So if you are a small business and want simplified, low cost accounting, I can recommend either SageOne or Xero. If I had to make the call again, SageOne would have been the way to go. 

One minor issue with both is that there is no easy way to transfer history. It's a manual  process and I haven't had the time or willing to do it yet. That makes year on year analysis tough. Any differences worth having in Xero's extra cost? Well I think multi-currency is different and there is a detailed budget tool which is good too for planning and comparisons.

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1 comment:

Paul Donno said...

Agree with your comments Nigel, whilst Xero is good we have a few clients on that platform. SageOne has appealed to a market that wants a simple no fuss online accountancy solution. We have also developed an Accountancy Solution to compliment SageOne from £25pm including the software so for £1 more than your Xero subscription, Sole Traders get the software, Year end Account, Tax Return making SageOne very attractive in my opinion.