Sage 200 vs. Xero
We talk to a lot of businesses on a daily basis, and if there’s one common thread that comes up with just about every business that’s looking to upgrade their accounting software, it’s this: Choosing is confusing.
To help with the confusion we’ve put together an in-depth guide to give you a side-by-side comparison between two of the biggest names in business accounting software: Sage and Xero.
One of the first things we do with each of our clients is to look at their turnover and use this as an initial gauge to get an idea of what kind of accounting package they’ll need.
As a rough guide, we find that most businesses that are a good fit for either Sage 200 or Xero (along with an accounting add-on) have an annual turnover that lies somewhere between £1 million and £25 million. If your business lies outside of this range, your needs are probably either too complex for what these packages offer – or not complex enough to justify the cost.
What does a move to Sage 200 cost?
A move or upgrade to Sage 200 will usually cost £15k to £80k. This doesn’t consider any additional costs, like the price of servers, upgrades, or an annual support fee. A move or upgrade to Xero (with inventory apps) will usually cost £7k to £25k.
But what about Sage’s cloud package?
If you’re looking at one of Sage’s newer cloud offerings (like Sage 200cloud), you might expect an ongoing cost of around £200 per month per user.
So what’s the verdict?
There’s a substantial difference in cost when you compare a move to Sage 200 with a move to Xero. And Xero comes out ahead as a clear winner in terms of pricing – even with an additional inventory app added on.
For any product-heavy business, Xero alone won’t be enough. Without its essential inventory add-ons, the vanilla version of Xero won’t be able to cover things like:
- Bills of materials
- SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) limit of 4,000
- Discount rules
- Assembly and Disassembly
- High numbers of product categories, or custom fields
- Or stock alerts and warehouse management
Sage, on the other hand, does come with some of these features as standard. However, it doesn’t come with things like:
- Accepting online quotes
- Links for paying invoices
- Automated invoice reminders
- Flexible reporting
- And e-commerce integration
So who’s the winner?
Xero combined with a best-in-class inventory add-on, becomes a complete suite of tools that’s both more customisable and feature-rich than Sage.
Sage has extremely limited options for add-ons
Because Sage doesn’t use an API (Application Programming Interface) there just isn’t really a marketplace of external apps and add-ons that can integrate with Sage. This also means these add-ons need to be constantly updated and modified, which makes them costly to maintain.
Xero has a huge marketplace for add-ons
Because of its modular design, there’s an entire ecosystem of add-ons out there for Xero – and it’s growing every day. As well as the smaller, quality-of-life add-ons you might expect, the Xero Marketplace can give you access to more than 700 powerful tools.
By far, one of the biggest things that our clients love when they switch to cloud accounting is how accessible everything becomes.
Sage is server-based and static. If you want to access it remotely, you’ll need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) – which just isn’t convenient for the average business owner or accountant.
Xero is cloud-based and mobile-friendly, you can get access to it anywhere, on any device. Xero’s external add-ons (such as inventory apps like Cin7) come with in-depth reporting features that can be customised to your business’s needs.
So which is more accessible?
Based on the reporting alone, Xero and its add-ons are a game-changer for many of our clients. We’re constantly getting positive feedback about the level and depth – and ease – of its advanced reporting functions.
Integration and Scalability
API stands for Application Programming Interface.
This just means a consistent piece of code that allows external apps and add-ons to interact with the accounting package. And when it comes to integrating third-party apps and upgrading your software, this API is crucial. Xero uses an API to easily integrate with over 700 add-ons
Sage 200 doesn’t use an API – and that makes add-ons difficult
There’s a reason why most of the ‘add-ons’ available to businesses on Sage 200 are modules built by Sage themselves.
Here’s a quick summary to help you remember all the big differences:
- Sage 200 comes with a much higher initial cost than Xero – even with the addition of Xero’s essential inventory add-ons.
- Sage 200 has some decent inventory options – but the combination of Xero and the right add-on covers everything a business needs.
- Xero has over 700 external apps and add-ons to choose from – Sage 200 has very few third-party add-ons to help you customise your package as your business scales.
- Xero is mobile-friendly and accessible on the go, with insightful reports that can be heavily customised.
Still confused? We’d love to help. Book a call or find us on social media and we’ll help you out with any questions you have.