Over the years, Sage 50cloud’s name has changed from Peachtree to Sage 50 to Sage 50c to the Sage50cloud we know today. The one thing that hasn’t changed is this accounting software’s advanced feature set and strong reputation.
Sage is one of the big names in the accounting world and has been around since the 1980’s. In 1988, the company acquired Peachtree which allowed it to move into the US market. Since then, the company has launched dozens of other Sage products and continuously updates Sage 50cloud.
Sage 50cloud is true accounting software that offers traditional accounting, advanced features, and a high degree of customizability. With strong inventory, reporting, and unique tools like a cash flow manager, it’s easy to see why the software has been so popular.
Exceptionally sophisticated feature set.
In-depth contact and item records.
Unusually strong inventory management tools.
Multiple pricing levels.
Good (mandatory) support options.
Office 365 integration.
Deep and Complex Accounting
The Sage 50cloud line consists of three plans: Pro Accounting, which is priced at $503.23 per year for a single user (paid annually), Premium Accounting, which starts at $778.63 per year for a single user (paid annually), and Quantum Accounting, which starts at $1,981.75 per year for three users. Monthly pricing is available but a one-year commitment to Customer Care is required. Paid monthly, the Pro Accounting plan costs $50.58 per month for a single user, the Premium Accounting plan costs $78.21 per month for a single user, and the Quantum Accounting plan starts at $197.55 per month for three users. Integration with Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium adds $150 per year to each plan. These prices are significantly higher than the last time I reviewed these apps, owing to their expanded reach.
Each plan offers full accounts payable and receivable functionality, as well as inventory management, integrated payroll, and reports. Premium Accounting adds numerous features, such as an audit trail and advanced budgeting and job costing. Quantum Accounting is the most sophisticated, with additional functions like multicompany access, role-based security, and industry-specific support.
In a nutshell, the Sage 50cloud family does just about everything a small business would need from an accounting program. If you need more than it offers, you should probably look into solutions that fall into the midrange accounting space, which are more expensive. Sage itself offers some of these more sophisticated apps.
Thorough Records, Standard Transactions
Sage 50cloud offers great depth in its customer, vendor, and inventory item record forms. Only Intuit QuickBooks Online and Zoho Books are superior in this area. Take customer records, for example. The first screen in each contains standard contact information, with the exception of the five custom fields that you can define and use. Click on the second tab in the record window, Contacts, and you can add information about multiple additional contacts at that company. The History tab opens a page that displays total sales and receipts by month, as well as Average Days to Pay Invoices and other information. Click on the Sales Info tab, and you can designate customer preferences, such as sales rep, preferred shipping method, and price levels (Sage 50cloud lets you define multiple price levels per item). Finally, the Payment & Credit screen contains fields for personalized information about credit cards, terms, discounts, and more.
Inventory item records, too, can be defined and tracked in far greater detail than on most accounting websites. On the first screen alone, you can enter details like UPC/SKU, item type, location, and weight, in addition to the number of units that are currently on hand and committed on sales orders and purchase orders. You can track serial numbers, view item histories, build assemblies, and define item attributes, among other things.
Cloud-based accounting solutions do a good job of providing detailed templates for transactions, such as quotes, invoices, bills, and purchase orders. Sage 50cloud’s templates are slightly more complex because of its expansive capabilities. So, an invoice, for example, could contain a field that assigns that transaction to a job and another indicating that the order should be drop-shipped. You’re able to enter freight charges and view each customer’s balance and credit limit on the invoice screen itself.
And just as Sage 50cloud’s record forms let you perform related tasks directly from the data-entry screen, transaction forms help you save time by branching off into other tasks without leaving the current page. On an invoice, for example, you can receive payments, bring in existing time and expense tickets, and customize your layout.
Working With Office 365
The integration between Sage 50cloud with Microsoft Office 365 involves primarily three apps. You can view Sage contacts from Outlook, view some Sage reports in Excel, and back up files using OneDrive. (I did have to upgrade my Office subscription to Business Premium for the integration to work, which cost me a few dollars more every month). Once you’ve made this connection and your Sage data is stored in the cloud, you can invite remote users to access that data through their Office 365 accounts without having Sage 50cloud installed on their PCs.
Sage 50cloud’s integration doesn’t change the look of the software itself. Except for a few extra entries in the Windows File menu, you wouldn’t know it was there. Clicking the Office 365 Integration entry in the File menu opens a screen that provides access to your Office 365 integration tasks. Making the initial connection just involves clicking a link. Once your integration has been established, you’ll click another icon to sync your data. This process can take some time. Even when it’s finished, you’ll need to give it some more time for your Office apps to be populated (the company says up to 24 hours; I didn’t find it took nearly that long).
Excellent Desktop Accounting
Sage 50cloud is a comprehensive accounting program, capable of doing more than many small businesses need. In addition to sales, purchases, and inventory management, Sage 50 has its own payroll module and payment services. This is becoming a bit of an outdated approach, as cloud-based accounting solutions provide core bookkeeping tools that are not as complex as Sage 50cloud’s. They’re not meant to be. Rather than try to be all things to all people, the trend these days is to provide a good, solid, generic base that may be all that some companies need. But then they also offer integrated third-party add-ons that extend their usefulness in every area, such as inventory, payroll, time tracking, expenses, and billing.