We’ve had a look at Xero and Quickbooks, so now we move onto Sage One.

All things Sage One: 

Sage One states “Sage is the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll, and payment systems, supporting the ambition of the world’s entrepreneurs.” And this is true, they have a fully integrated payroll and payment system, unlike Quickbooks and Xero who integrate with third parties via their app or add-on marketplaces.

Sage One is a UK developed software. Sage One bought out the South African desktop software Pastel. Pastel was the most widely used software in South Africa for small businesses at one point, however they failed to see the trend of moving into the Cloud. Sage One realised that Pastel did have a market share (albeit desktop based) that they could effectively “buy” and therefore made the acquisition with the idea that they would take and move the desktop market share over. 

Sage One has been around for a long time and the software is still traditional and mainly based on an accountants requirements or needs, as opposed to a business person on the go. Sage One is solid and keeps to the basics, whilst providing reporting on important items and balances.

Some stats (which we will use to compare all packages):

Number of subscribers worldwide
(this is not users, but actual businesses making use of the software)
Over 6 million (last reported in 2009)
Number of apps that connect to Quickbooks 12 add on solutions that we could find (this would be payroll, manufacturing, point of sale etc)

Sage One does however not only focus on small or medium sized business, they focus on medium to large businesses as well and their offerings include Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. This is very much like using apps, but they are all part of the Sage One “family”.

As with Xero and Quickbooks, I want to look for what the software providers offer as basic features for a start, and then what the top end packages offer. Pricing obviously also comes into play. 

Sage One’s packages (note that pricing excludes current offers and discounts):

Price (ZAR/m) R270 R360 R405
Invoicing Unlimited invoices  Unlimited invoices  Unlimited invoices 
Quotes Yes Yes Yes
Bills Yes Yes Yes
Purchase orders Yes Yes Yes
Bank reconciliations Yes Yes Yes
Currency ZAR ZAR ZAR
Users 2 (+ accountant) 4 (+ accountant) 5 (+ accountant)
Reports Yes Yes Yes
Basic inventory management Yes Yes Yes
Tracking of income and expenses Yes Yes Yes
Tracking by area Yes Yes Yes
App Yes Yes Yes

It is an advantage for Sage One that it’s packages are offered in ZAR as Xero is currently only offered in USD. This brings about stability for the user and costs can be identified and budgeted for accurately.

Other things that Sage One offers (in the South African market)

Price (ZAR/month) From R57 for 2 employees to R480 for 20 employees Transaction based
What does this extra offer? South African compliant payroll software. Ability to accept payments online and via credit card.

Let’s dig a little deeper…

Quickbooks covers most of the basics on a high level, but how about on a deeper level? Let’s dig in to the details and find out. 

Notes on what you get, and what you don’t get

Dashboard (summary of everything) Yes – Bank balances, sales invoice summary, supplier bills summary, To do list
Bank Feeds Yes
Reports Yes
Fixed Asset Register No
Invoice reminders to customers Yes
File storage (not relevant to a specific transaction) Yes
Direct link to other Quickbooks users No
Tracking options Yes
Shortcuts Yes
Basic Inventory Yes (buy and sell)
Attach documents to transactions Yes
Ability to edit postings Yes (audit trail kept)
Statements with ageing Yes and terms can be added
Customisable report Yes
Customisable templates Yes 
Notifications Yes
Help Yes
Budgets Yes
Time tracking Yes
Product release training/webinars Yes
Advisor certification Yes

Does Sage One shape up?

Just like Xero and Quickbooks, Sage One has all the basics and more. Sage One does however seem to be lacking in innovation and non-accountant user experience. We think this is because Sage One offers the ERP option, and therefore it’s focus is split between small and medium/big business offerings.

Customer statement and ageing

Sage One statements split out debtors ageing per month or days, and you can assign terms to customers just like Quickbooks. 

Time recording

Sage One allows users to record time spent on items or customers, which is great, but only if it is going to be used somewhere or for something. Sage One links directly to its own payroll software, so the time tracking option (if employees are paid per hour) can utilised to generate payslip information. 

Report and templates

Sage One reports and templates are customisable, but are lacking when compared to Xero and Quickbooks.  

Training and certification

Sage One’s training platform competes with Xero and Quickbooks. There is definitely a need to educate users so that they make the most of the software and experience the benefits. Support is available via a Chat option in the software which is very nifty.


(5 stars being excellent, 1 star not so much)


If you are an accountant and like seeing and doing things in the traditional way of accounting, then Sage One is for you. If you are an on-the-go user, perhaps Xero or Quickbooks would work better. In saying that, Sage One is a vast improvement from Pastel, so if you are a loyal Pastel user, but are looking to move into the Cloud, try Sage One, you won’t be disappointed. 

If you’d like to learn more about Sage One, and our find out what our advice would be regarding using the software, get in touch below.