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QuickBooks vs Sage: the pros and cons you must consider

5 mins read
by Unbiased Team
Last updated Thursday, May 9, 2024

Struggling to choose between Sage and QuickBooks? We reveal the pros and cons of each accounting software so you can find the right fit for your financial management needs.


  • QuickBooks is ideal for small businesses that require pure accounting software.

  • Sage is a decent choice for businesses of any size that require software capable of managing all aspects of their business operations.

  • A qualified accountant can help you choose the most appropriate software for your business.

What is QuickBooks, and how does it work?

QuickBooks is an accounting software package designed by Intuit that many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK and worldwide use to manage their finances.

It has tools for invoicing customers, paying bills, generating reports, payroll management, and printing reports necessary for tax preparation, to name a few.

This software is online and cloud-based, but until recently, it also had a downloadable desktop version, which was discontinued in mid-2023, and all users migrated to the cloud.

The cloud-based solution requires no software installation, so users can securely log in from any device with an internet connection. 

The products are aimed at various business types, and the operating systems required are Windows 10 or Mac OS “Big Sur” 11.1 or at least Mac OS X El Capitan.

The software can also be accessed in the web browser of an Android, iPhone, or iPad.

This is an excellent solution for businesses without complex job-costing needs and those with stakeholders in various locations rather than one central office. 

QuickBooks has a five-tiered subscription structure with the following levels:

  • Self-employed

  • Simple Start

  • Essentials

  • Plus

  • Advanced

The pricing tiers start at around £10 a month, excluding VAT, and there is a 30-day free trial.

Clients may cancel at any stage with no cancellation fee. They also have an initial offer of 75% off for six months.

What is Sage, and how does it work?

Sage is a robust software package with a wide array of financial capabilities, making it suitable for businesses of various sizes across all industries.

Its comprehensive features include bookkeeping, invoicing and billing, payroll solutions, bank reconciliation, expense tracking, financial reports, and business insights and analysis.

Sage comes in cloud-based and on-premises options, allowing businesses to select the method that suits their IT, general preferences, and infrastructure.

The cloud-based option allows users to operate from any location with an internet connection, while the on-premises option provides better security and control of data storage. 

Sage has various versions, including Sage 50, Sage 100, and Sage 300, each suitable for different types and sizes of businesses.

Sage runs on Windows, including any of the following variants:

  • Windows 11 (not Windows 11S)

  • Windows 10 (not Windows 10S)

  • Windows Server 2022 (except Essentials)

  • Windows Server 2019 (except Essentials)

  • Windows Server 2016 (except Essentials)

Businesses can choose from three plans: Accounting Start, Accounting Standard, and Accounting Plus.

Prices range between £14 and £36 per month, excluding VAT. Prospective clients have three months free before deciding on a package.

There are no contracts, and clients can cancel at any stage with no fee.

What are the key differences between QuickBooks and Sage?

While QuickBooks and Sage Accounting are both good business packages, there are some critical differences between the two.

Understanding the differences between QuickBooks and Sage can help business owners choose the package most suited to their company.

  • QuickBooks is accounting software at its core, while Sage is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. It features tools for managing all aspects of running a business, including inventory, project management, and HR.

  • Although both packages allow some customisation, Sage provides software designed for specific industries, such as wholesale distribution, manufacturing, construction and non-profits.

  • Sage offers solutions to businesses of all sizes, while QuickBooks is more suitable for SMEs.

What are the pros and cons of QuickBooks?

To decide which is right for your business, let’s look at QuickBooks’ pros and cons first.

The pros of QuickBooks

  • Its intuitive interface makes it accessible to users with little accounting knowledge.

  • QuickBooks offers competitive pricing, making it suitable for startups and small businesses.

  • It integrates seamlessly with many third-party apps, enabling users to connect with popular tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), e-commerce, and more.

  • QuickBooks Online allows users to access their accounts from anywhere using their mobile devices, providing flexibility and convenience.

  • It works well with both Windows and Apple devices.

The cons of QuickBooks

  • It lacks business-specific features.

  • QuickBooks only provides accounting reports.

  • It has less scalability and is built mainly for businesses that are not expected to grow.

  • It has limited technical support.

What are the pros and cons of Sage?

We’ll now assess the pros and cons of Sage.

The pros of Sage

  • Sage offers solutions suitable for companies of various sizes, from small startups to large enterprises.

  • Users can customise reports, workflows, and dashboards to suit their requirements.

  • It has many more features that address various aspects of running a business.

  • It does not limit the number of users in Sage Accounting.

  • It has good customer phone support.

The cons of Sage

  • It is more difficult for new users to operate, especially those with limited accounting knowledge.

  • It has limited third-party integration.

  • Sage is more expensive than many entry-level accounting packages.

Sage vs QuickBooks: which is better?

Although these packages overlap in some functions, each is more suited to specific sizes and types of business.

Therefore, it is difficult to compare QuickBooks and Sage and say one is better than the other, as it depends on the user’s needs. 

Seek financial advice

QuickBooks and Sage are the world’s most renowned accounting software packages. 

However, when we compare Sage and Quickbooks, QuickBooks may be better suited to small businesses as it is user-friendly and budget-friendly. 

Sage may be more expensive, but has extensive features for companies with complex financial and business requirements. 

If you need advice about which accounting package to choose or have other financial queries, Unbiased can match you with a qualified accountant, so you can get expert guidance based on your unique needs. 

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Unbiased Team
Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing, retirement and pensions, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.