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Sage 50: An Alternative to QuickBooks

Sage 50 is a line of small business accounting software. It’s one of the most popular alternatives to QuickBooks, the SMB accounting software market leader. All versions of Sage 50 include these basic accounting features:

  • Accounts payable (check writing, bill payment, purchases, and purchase orders)

  • Accounts receivable (quotes, invoices, receive payments, and sales orders)

  • Cash flow management

  • Credit card payment processing

  • Payroll

  • Reports

Like QuickBooks, Sage 50 comes in three different versions: Pro, Premium, and Quantum.

Pro is the entry-level version; Premium is the Pro version with additional archiving, audit trail, billing, budgeting, change order processing, customer management, and inventory management features; and Quantum is the Premium version with additional automation, dashboard, job management, project management, and security features, as well as increased performance, industry-specific features (for the manufacturing, construction, and distribution industries), and support for larger amounts of data and up to 40 users.

Sage 50 is primarily designed to be used by small business owners with no accounting training, though it’s powerful and extensive enough to be used by accountants as their primary accounting software, too. The software makes it easier for small business owners to monitor their finances, make and receive payments, and manage customers, vendors, and employees—improvements that in turn allow small business owners to make quicker, more informed, and more effective decisions, and increase overall business success; these capabilities may also result in speedier customer payments and more total income. It also eliminates the calculating errors that can occur with paper and pencil bookkeeping.

If you’re trying to decide between Sage 50 and QuickBooks, Kathy Yakal, PCMag’s resident accounting software expert, wrote in a review for Sage 50 Quantum in 2013 that Sage 50 has better automation, inventory management, job management, reporting, and security features than QuickBooks, though it lags behind QuickBooks when it comes to “complex financial processes like revenue recognition,” customizability, and customer management, e-commerce, and financial planning features. Your selection will therefore probably depend on which features are most important to you, though the applications are similar enough that most companies will probably be satisfied no matter which option they go with.

There are three main ways for a small business to deploy Sage 50: one is to install it on each user’s PC; another is to host it on a server at one’s of the business’s offices; and the last is to pay an IT hosting company like Iron Orbit to host it for you.

In our next article, we’re going to explain why the best option for most businesses is to pay a hosting company to host Sage 50 for you. We’ll describe the benefits of this approach, as well as the steps you need to take to sign up for it.