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Both Sage 50cloud and QuickBooks Online are powerful accounting solutions for most small businesses. Even so, there are a few factors worth considering so you can feel confident about your decision now and down the road.
QuickBooks Online is the stronger candidate for business owners who prioritize scalability and the ability to easily loop in accountants. And if they want to gain deeper insight into the logistics behind their business as it grows, QuickBooks Online’s reporting capabilities scale up with each plan level. However, Sage’s unlimited-users feature renders it a winner among larger businesses and well-established small businesses that require more than 25 users. QuickBooks Online is less expensive, though.
Sage 50cloud vs. QuickBooks Online overview
Maximum number of users
Sharing with accountants
Good. Users can customize password lengths and expirations, and create and assign roles with specific access rights, to control which features and functions are available at the employee level. Sage is well-known but not as popular as QuickBooks Online.
Excellent. Email your accountant a link to log into your QuickBooks account. QuickBooks has 4.5 million users worldwide, meaning your accountant is likely familiar with it.
Good. Sage’s plans give small businesses room to expand with the option of upgrading down the road.
Excellent. Advanced, customized reporting capabilities in higher-tier plans could be a big asset to experienced business owners interested in running more complicated reports down the road.
Ease of use
Excellent with a 9.0 usability rating from TrustRadius.
Excellent with an 8.3 usability rating from TrustRadius.
Extra note on ease of use: If you want to get the most out of your accounting software product, regardless of whether you choose Sage, QuickBooks Online or something else, you’ll have to invest some time learning accounting basics. The information on Sage and QuickBooks dashboards can be overwhelming if you don’t brush up on the terminology and why it’s important.
Maximum users: Sage wins
If you need to give accounting access to more than five people, Sage could be the better option for you. QuickBooks Online’s most popular Plus plan tops out at five users, and the highest-tier Advanced plan, which is expensive at $180 per month, allows up to 25 users. In contrast, Sage’s highest-tier Quantum plan is more expensive but puts no cap on the number of users. All things considered, however, user limits shouldn't be a huge deal unless you have a larger business.
Reporting complexity: Tie
As business owners learn more about accounting, they might want to run more detailed reports, and that capability increases with each of QuickBooks Online’s four plan tiers. Sage provides over 150 reports, including specialized ones for businesses in construction, manufacturing or distribution industries. Reports can be customized, grouped, filtered and combined.
Working with accountants
Popularity: QuickBooks Online wins
QuickBooks is an industry standard with 4.5 million users worldwide. With more than two million users worldwide, Sage is also popular but not as ubiquitous. The numbers alone suggest there’s a better chance your accountant has worked with QuickBooks.
Ease of use
When you finally decide on an accounting software product, the hope is that you’ll be comfortable using it. Before making any decisions, it’s worth taking a test drive of each software product to check out its dashboard and shortcuts. While both Sage and QuickBooks Online are user-friendly and have a clean look, you might find you prefer one layout over the other.
Integrations: QuickBooks Online wins
QuickBooks Online gives you access to an impressive marketplace of over 600 apps — including third-party tools as well as QuickBooks add-ons. Sage 50cloud touts 13 other applications, such as Stripe and VeriClock. You’ll have to have a Microsoft 365 subscription and integration in order to use the Premium version, though.
Mobile app: Tie
Both providers offer mobile apps, which can be really helpful for checking on things outside of the office or when you’re away from your computer. Both apps are also highly rated in the Apple App store, though QuickBooks has far more reviews than Sage 50cloud does.
Free trial: Tie
Both providers offer free trials, which is huge for switchers wondering if these offerings will work for them. QuickBooks Online offers a free 30-day trial for new customers (or 50% off of a 30-day subscription, your choice). Sage also offers a free 30-day test-drive.
Support: QuickBooks Online wins
Business owners who prefer working through a hiccup on the phone will favor QuickBooks Online, which has longer hours during the week (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time) and is open on Saturdays; Advanced plan owners get 24/7 support. Sage also offers phone support from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday; each call is limited to an hour.
Lending resources: QuickBooks Online wins
Both platforms have partnerships in place to help you access capital. Sage’s setup with Biz2Credit is more oriented toward helping your accountant help you, however (the partnership is for members of the Sage Accountants Network). With QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, you can arrange financing yourself directly through its Intuit Financing arm or through other lenders that QuickBooks partners with.
A closer look at Sage vs. QuickBooks Online
13 other applications, such as Stripe and VeriClock. Microsoft 365 subscription and integration required for Premium.
More than 600 apps including QuickBooks Time, QuickBooks Payroll and Gusto.
Yes. Apple’s App Store gives it 4.5 out of five stars, though that’s based on just a couple reviews.
Yes. Apple’s App Store gives it 4.7 out of five stars based on more than 126,000 reviews.
New users get free trials of Sage for 30 days before deciding on a plan.
50% off for the first three months or try out a 30-day free trial.
Phone support from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday; each call is limited to an hour.
Simple Start, Essentials and Plus offer customer support via phone or messaging Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT and on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT. The Advanced plan has 24/7 support.
Clients of accountants in the Sage network get access to capital through Biz2Credit's small business funding platform.
Apply for small-business loans directly through QuickBooks Capital (not available in Nevada or Alaska, though).
How QuickBooks Online compares
Read more about how QuickBooks Online stacks up with the competition.