Sage Australia, best known for its Handisoft practice management software for accounting firms, has released an online accounting program called Sage One.
The cloud accounting app will compete against Xero, MYOB Essentials, Reckon One, Intuit QuickBooks Online and Saasu for the hotly contested small business market. (For an overview on how cloud accounting works, read our Beginner’s Guide to Online Accounting.)
Sage One has already been on sale in South Africa and the UK and has sold more than 120,000 licences to date.
“With the launch of Sage One in Australia, it is now a three-horse race. Small business owners and their accountants have long needed a more reliable and easy-to-use solution that lets them focus on the business of doing business.
Sage One manages all of the necessary and daunting financial components of running a business in a timely, accurate and cost efficient manner,” said Alan Osrin, managing director of Sage Australia, in a press release.
Sage has appointed Lukas Taylor as general manager of Sage One Australia. Taylor was previously chief strategy officer at the Netsuite offshoot JCurve Solutions where he was responsible for educating small businesses and accounting firms on cloud accounting. Previous to that role he worked at Macquarie Telecom as national partner manager.
The software was designed jointly in the UK and South Africa and has strong connections to the South African developer team that wrote the Pascal desktop accounting program, first launched 1989 and which has about 80 percent market share in South Africa.
The Australian version has been localised for tax compliance and awards interpretations in payroll.
Sage hopes to win the market by offering a comprehensive set of modules at a lower price than rivals. The accounting program includes bank reconciliation, bank feeds, light inventory (items), accounts receivable and payable (quotes, invoices and bills), customisable dashboards, document storage, contacts, reports and a mobile app for A$15 a month.
“This has the potential to save small business an estimated $550-$800 per year compared to current solutions available in the market,” the company claimed in a press release.
The program launched with a third-party payroll, Sky Payroll, which will be replaced with a native payroll most likely by the end of the year.
The pricing structure is somewhat unusual for the small business market. The standard package includes a licence for two users only; most of its rivals offer unlimited users. Additional users cost A$3 each a month.
Sage also charges separately for more storage at $1 a month for each 1GB over the included 1GB. Companies consume storage by attaching documents such as sales proposals and images of receipts to invoices, bills and expenses.
Most other cloud accounting software have a soft limit on storage and don’t advertise the option of buying more storage.
Sage One users can also add additional companies for A$15 a month beyond the one company included in the licence. Sage includes phone support as well as the standard email support.
Sage has released an accountants’ edition of Sage One with customisable dashboards showing how clients are performing in real time. The dashboard comprises six widgets displaying bank account and credit card balances, profit and loss, scheduled tasks for the accountant to perform in the client’s file, notes and high-level company information ( FY year end, ABN, ACN, BAS frequency, tax number, etc.)
The South African developer team is working on a cloud-based practice management module that will integrate workflow with Sage One.
Disclosure: Sholto Macpherson has consulted to accounting software companies including Sage Australia in the past year.