Sage North America rolled out a new online accounting and invoicing solution for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) today, aiming to help them get paid faster.
Branded as Sage One, the new solution allows SMBs to bill their customers with email invoices, who can then directly pay their bills by clicking a link within that email. The Canadian edition is bilingual, in both English and French, and it takes provincial sales tax into account, based on where an SMB is located.
But it also aims to be a full-fledged service, giving SMB owners the ability to use the solution to monitor their income and expenses and to track their bank and credit card transaction through most major Canadian banks. The solution is available now online as software-as-a-service, with customer data stored on Amazon’s servers. It’s compatible with Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, and Internet Explorer.
“The main focus for Sage One is that it was meant to be easy to use,” says Alistair Ellis, senior product manager for Sage One. He adds the solution has been in beta mode since October 2013, getting updates at least once a month.
“When we add a feature in here, how can we make sure it is focused on saving the business owner time from doing data entry and help them run their business?”
For example, sending a quote to a customer is as simple as sending an email with a quote attached. The customer will then choose whether to accept the quote. If yes, the SMB can then send an invoice.
Invoices are also simple – anything that’s been paid is colourcoded in green, while anything outstanding is orange. Any overdue invoices are red.
While things have been kept simple for SMBs, they’re also simple for customers. When they receive an invoice email from an SMB, they can just click to a link, enter their credit card numbers, and receive an approval from Sage Payment Solutions.
Beyond invoicing, SMBs can also use Sage One to keep a record of their own expenses. They’re able to see profit-loss reports, balance sheets, and summaries of outstanding invoices.
There’s also a collaboration function as well, with an SMB able to contract work out to someone else by giving them limited access to their Sage One account. For example, if an SMB sent work to a freelancer, the freelancer could view the task online and mark off when it was completed, automatically updating Sage One.
“In a lot of ways, it’s quite comparable as far as being able to generate an invoice and send it off to a customer. The online payments is unique – there’s a couple of us in that space,” he says, adding Sage also has a bank integration feature too, so businesses don’t have to go check through their transactions and ensure the details match up with what’s in their bank account.
However, he notes Sage One doesn’t have a feature for managing inventory.
“It’ll come down to what the business owners are specifically looking for in a solution.”
Pricing for Sage One starts at around $24 a month, and that includes access to support by phone and online. However, if an SMB prefers to just use the invoicing feature, they can pay $9 a month.
Alongside Sage One, Sage has also launched an extension to the solution for the accountants who might be keeping track of the books for SMBs. The Sage One Accountant Edition allows accountants to see SMB clients’ data in real time, and it also provides resources and tips on how to better serve their customers. There is no cost for accountants to use the product.