Online accounting review: SageOne

Nigel Harris gets to grips with Sage One, the new web-based accounting program from the industry giant.

SageOne is brand new application developed from scratch by Sage. Launched on 18 January 2011, it is aimed at small businesses with no accounting background or time for software training.


SageOne Accounts

Target market Very small businesses supported online by their accountants.

Cost £5/month Cashbook edition; £10/month Accounts; £250/year Accountant’s edition (free to Sage Accountants Club members)

Strengths
● Simple interface supporting quick/easy data entry
● Summary home page (pictured above) presents good overview of company info
● Competitive price
● Can handle cash or invoice-based accounts, with VAT reporting for both
● 24 hour telephone support lines

Weaknesses
● Journal entries and changes to the chart of accounts can only be carried out in the Accountants edition
● Inability to post transactions to specific nominal ledger accounts
● Limited reporting; no drill down to transaction detail
● Banking command requires a two-step process to bank cash
● No integration with Sage accounts production programs - yet

For free trial and more info, visit www.sageone.com

Continued...

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Comments
nigel's picture

Postscript    1 thanks

nigel | | Permalink

I had a chance to quiz the SageOne product manager at their iXBRL roadshow today and voice my reservations. They are very clear that the launch version of SageOne is targeted at simple sole trader and micro business accounts. The functionality is well short of Sage Instant Accounts, and that is a deliberate policy decision. A future development (SageTwo maybe? - there are plenty of numbers available up to Sage 50!) may well cater for more sophisticated businesses.

The launch has been targeted at accountants, the service is definitely aimed for distribution via accountants who can set it up and look after the tricky bits, rather than for businesses looking for a DIY solution who don't use an accountant.

My gripe over the double handling of cheque receipts fell on deaf ears though, this is apparently the way the overwhelming majority of those they spoke to during the initial six month research phase preferred it. However, there are a number of other enhancements which have already been requested by early adopters that are likely to make it into future updates, such as more reporting options in the Accountants Edition, and payroll and CRM functionality, maybe as add-on modules.

I was impressed by the very detailed work done on security aspects of the service, much of which is ongoing to ensure that it stays ahead of each wave of new online nasties. Data encryption, backup and server security have been set up at the same level as online banking services so it's about as secure as you can get at the moment.

Overall impression - I like the pricing, it looks good and is easy to use. I'd just like a few of those niggles sorting out before I roll it out to too many clients, but I am optimistic that Sage will get there later this year.

Fear of error needs to be removed

Adrian Pearson | | Permalink

The most important limitation highlighted in the review above is "Postings cannot be edited by the user once made".

Small business owners worry about making mistakes in their bookkeeping systems and want the comfort of knowing that they can easily be corrected. The ability to easily edit entered transactions (in QuickBooks) meant that I was able to persuade clients to "take the plunge" on moving from paper records to software in the past (a major advantage of QuickBooks v Sage).

Until the fear of error is removed, there will be a barrier to adoption of Sage One.

Adrian
http://www.adrianpearson.com

carnmores's picture

your reviewer is wrong about receipts too and shows a ceratin na

carnmores | | Permalink

the problems in the past trying to reconcile a bank account were legendary as say 3 cheques could be banked together and the total on the bank statement would be 75 but sage would  show 25 , 30 & 20 so it got very difficult when that sort of situation arose

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

I repeat here ...

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

... what I said in the Cloud discussion group:

In your course Defending Investigations 101, rule number one that is drilled into you as soon as you can walk is not to provide HMRC with more information than they have requested and to which they are entitled under statute.  *OR* if you decide to volunteer additional information over and above that which has been requested, and there may be strategic reasons for doing so, then maintain control over that information to prevent additional leakage beyond the planned disclosure.

One might be forgiven for "forgetting" this principle if you are trying to modernise an existing product already riddled with spaghetti code.  But here we have a product designed from scratch and built from the ground up, and yet they have built in absolutely no provision to enable the taxpayer to restrict HMRC's access to data relating to the period under enquiry in the event of an audit.  And this despite their publicity machine waxing lyrical about how security conscious they have been.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

Reliability?

bduncan | | Permalink

I heard that they have pulled it offline for a couple of days already. Not very good if the user wants access.

kevin503's picture

No error correction?

kevin503 | | Permalink

Re. no error correction. If users can't directly correct their mistakes, they will do so with additional postings. Entered a purchase at £50.56 instead of £56.50? Users will soon work out that entering an opposite transaction, say a purchase credit can correct the mistake. Having no accounting knowledge, they wont reverse the whole entry using the same date to the same nominal, they will more than likely enter a value to acheive the required adjustment and leave teh rest as default. Result is a mess of reversing and adjusting transactions with a random selection of dates and (hidden) nominal allocations.

Good value? £120 a year - same as initial cost of Sage Instant, but most users will use a PC installed version for 3 years at a time.

Thank you

v008370 | | Permalink

Hi Nigel, 

Thanks for this balanced Sage One review.  Reviews like this are of great help to us in the Sage One team.

I just wanted to add to a point you made in the review.  "Postings cannot be edited by the user once made".  

Until a posting has been VAT reconciled, postings can be edited throughout the application. 

As we said at launch, we are committed to improving the services and because it’s online we can do this often.  So far we have made 7 updates to the service and during the course of the spring and summer we will be addressing a number of the weaknesses you highlighted, so watch this space!

Thanks again for the balanced review,

Chris Challis, Sage One team 

re: Reliability

v008370 | | Permalink

Hi @bduncan – contrary to what you have heard this certainly isn’t the case.  Since launch on the 18th of January we have had 100% uptime. 

Chris Challis, Sage One team

Old Greying Accountant's picture

Can't help thinking...

Old Greying Acc... | | Permalink

... they would have spent the time better meeting the iXBRL deadline first!

Reliability?

Magnesium | | Permalink

@bduncan - I heard that Elvis works down my local chippy.

No mention of importing transactions

chatman | | Permalink

So I assume it cannot. I am always amazed that in the 21st century there is accounting software that cannot do this easily. 

Sage One

spuddle | | Permalink

I signed up for the Accountants' edition for a new client on the Accounts version as it sounded like the program would be suuitable but it wasn't possible to properly assess it before signing up. 

Having started entering data several shortcomings are evident:

It isn't possible to produce an aged debtors / aged creditors report at any time - something that is obviously useful for the client and essential at the period end.

It isn't possible to produce a "general ledger" to show the composition of the TB headings.

I have voiced these issues with Sage and I am amazed that the product was launched in the present format.  I will be transferring my client off the system if changes aren't made very quickly.

lordlancaster's picture

Sage One has changed since this review was done!

lordlancaster | | Permalink

Please note this is an old product review that was done way back in 2011 and Sage One has evolved considerably since then with improved functionality and a wider range of services.

For a more up-to-date review, please read the one published by AccountingWEB on 17th March 2014 at http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/article/sage-one-accounts-extra-first-time-review/555482

Thanks

Paul Lancaster
Content & Social Media Specialist
Sage One UK & Ireland
http://uk.sageone.com/blog/