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Online accounting review: SageOne

8th Mar 2011
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Nigel Harris gets to grips with SageOne, 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. The application comes in three variants: a basic £5 a month Cashbook; the core Accounts version (£10 per month), and an Accountants’ edition, which is required to carry out journal entries or alterations to the chart of accounts. 

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)

Sage One Accounts

● 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

● 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

SageOne has been designed for use in collaboration with the user's accountant as certain operations, such as journals and editing the chart of accounts, are only available from the accountant's version of the app. This unfortunately renders what is a promising looking application virtually useless to anyone who doesn't have an accountant, or whose accountant doesn't have the Accountant Edition (£250 pa, or free to Sage Accountants' Club members) of SageOne.

As a brand new product SageOne is likely to evolve and improve in response to user demands and it will be worth revisiting later in 2011 to see if its shortcomings have been removed.

Getting started

  •  Quick and easy. Only minimal details are required to set up a new business. Customer and supplier details can be entered on the fly as sales and purchases are posted, and can be created with as little as simply a name.
  • The default chart of accounts is supplied, only the accountant can edit this (via the Accountant Edition). Users can create additional sales and expense accounts, although this facility is hidden at the bottom of the screen “Enter opening balances – Add unpaid invoices”!
  • Sage says, “When your clients use a SageOne service, we don’t show them the nominal code numbers or anything too daunting like assets or liabilities”, which effectively renders the application almost useless as the client cannot enter postings to balance sheet accounts, such as fixed asset purchases. User feedback is likely to demand a change to this policy.
  • VAT can be accounted for on a cash or invoice basis, using the standard method or the Flat Rate Scheme.
  • Payment for SageOne is by monthly direct debit, not credit card as tend to be the norm with other cloud applications.
  • No contract tie in, subscription can be cancelled at the end of a month.
  • Users have 24/7 access to telephone support on an 0845 number
  • Comprehensive online help articles, some with video walkthrough

Entering data

  • Entering invoices is intuitive and quick
  • Entering payments is also intuitive and should be easy to follow for a non-accountant – provided they don't want to post a capital purchase!
  • Postings cannot be edited by the user once made
  • No sub-code/job/department analysis possible
  • As you might expect, users don't have access to journal entries. As Sage says, “only you their Accountant can perform these entries. Journals require proficient accounting knowledge; so we keep this feature just for you.”


  • Bankings are tricky, as cash and cheques have to be received first into 'cash in hand' and then banked from there, which duplicates the entries and might be tedious for a mainly cash sales business
  • Reconciliation feature shows a list of transactions that can be flagged to reduce the unreconciled amount; currently not able to import electronic statement data.


  • VAT reporting is good, including a VAT return report and full itemised analysis of all entries for that period.
  • VAT returns can be filed online from within SageOne, or a VAT Return report printed out for manual entry either online or on a paper return.
  • Manual adjustments can be made to any box on the VAT return.
  • Entering a VAT transaction for a previous return period generates a familiar Sage notification, asking the user if they wish to include the transaction in the current return, although clicking yes does not seem to achieve this!


  • Very basic – just profit and loss account, balance sheet and trial balance.
  • No drill down facility to view transaction level details
  • Reports can be printed or exported to Excel as CSV
  • The home or Summary screen shows year to date sales, expenses and profit, the number of days remaining in the current VAT period (with a link to run the VAT Return to date), the top five unpaid sales invoices and a chart showing bank account movements over the last eight weeks.
  • A future enhancement to the Accountant Edition may be to add some sort of integration with Sage SAP and SAPA final accounts software.

Replies (14)

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Nigel Harris
By Nigel Harris
08th Mar 2011 20:06


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.

Thanks (1)
Adrian Pearson
By Adrian Pearson
09th Mar 2011 08:53

Fear of error needs to be removed

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.


Thanks (0)
By carnmores
09th Mar 2011 13:26

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

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

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By nogammonsinanundoubledgame
10th Mar 2011 08:14

I repeat here ...

... 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

Thanks (0)
By bduncan
10th Mar 2011 10:40


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

Thanks (0)
By kevin503
10th Mar 2011 11:01

No error correction?

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.

Thanks (0)
By v008370
10th Mar 2011 11:42

Thank you

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 

Thanks (0)
By v008370
10th Mar 2011 11:46

re: Reliability

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

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By User deleted
10th Mar 2011 13:02

Can't help thinking...

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

Thanks (0)
By Magnesium
10th Mar 2011 13:42


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

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By chatman
10th Mar 2011 19:59

No mention of importing transactions

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

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By spuddle
11th Mar 2011 09:18

Sage One

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.

Thanks (0)
By lordlancaster
28th Mar 2014 15:17

Sage One has changed since this review was done!

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


Paul Lancaster
Content & Social Media Specialist
Sage One UK & Ireland


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By Chukwuma Chukwuekwu
08th Dec 2015 10:56

importing Journal into Sage One Acconting

I have being importing date from excel to Sage One Accounting; I got stocked when I wanted to import transactions with an amount from N20,000. The error message reads "description can not be more than 100 characters". It is a Journal upload. Please I need help.

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