Deciding which type of accounting software is best for your business can be challenging, especially when they offer so many similar core features. Most SMEs narrow their search to two of the very best options – Xero and Sage – but deciding between the two can be tricky.

The fundamentals

Xero and Sage 50 are two of the most business friendly accounting platforms on the market. Both options are remarkably affordable, making them ideal for those working with more restrictive budgets, and include a wealth of features to help you keep on top of your finances.

They make record keeping and reporting straightforward; you can use the software to send and receive invoices and to file VAT reports directly to HMRC. Both packages also offer ‘live’ information, so you can see how your business is doing in real time in just a few clicks, without having to wait for someone to update a spreadsheet or send you a report.

Xero is brilliant for overviews of your business activity with clients saying how the dashboard view is so easy to understand and shows them exactly what they need to know. It’s a great product for understanding your business with little bookkeeping knowledge and simplified reporting.

For someone that isn’t trained in Sage 50, it can be less self-explanatory than Xero. It doesn’t offer a simple dashboard and clients that don’t already have an employee who is trained to use it, may find it difficult to use.

How do they compare?

Bank Feeds

Xero and Sage 50 both offer bank feeds, so you can pull in your transactions automatically, which saves significant admin time. Xero has a direct connection to a number of high street banks and can sync with others through a third party system called Yodlee. Sage 50 also offers bank feeds, but being done through Yodlee requires more manual input from the user and provides a less streamlined feel.


Sage 50 charges extra to add additional users, whereas Xero allows unlimited users for no additional cost. Some clients prefer to give all of their employees’ limited access to the system so that they can submit expense claims but only allocate unlimited access to those who deal with the finances.


Being cloud-based means that Xero is accessible from anywhere and their mobile apps are really handy allowing you to manage your finances in the office or on the move. Sage 50 is also cloud-based, but to truly access your accounts from anywhere you may need to pay a bit extra each month to upgrade to the Sage 50 Plus package.

Our verdict

We specialise in the SME sector and Xero and Sage 50 are packages that we encourage certain clients to use, to support the growth of their business. Xero is great for start-ups and those with limited knowledge, whereas Sage 50 is better suited to more complex businesses with a stronger financial knowledge. As we deal with a number of charity clients, we would also recommend both accounting packages for charities.

Which is ideal for you?

We suggest making a list of crucial features to ensure you find the best fit for your specific needs. Once you know exactly what you require, you’ll be able to whittle it down to choose the right software for you.

We have a number of certified Xero advisers in each of our offices who are always happy to help, contact Brittany Jackson at, or Nathan Jones at for more information. In our Chester office we have our very own Sage Expert, Heather, who can assist you with any queries you may have, you can get in touch with her here