SME Solutions – Accounting Software Review: Sage, Xero and Intuit Quickbooks

SME Accounting Software Review: Xero vs Intuit Quickbooks

SME Accounting Software Review: Xero vs Intuit Quickbooks

The introduction of cloud-based accounting software has taken the hassle out of bookkeeping and accounting, while also helping to increase productivity and providing entrepreneurs with real-time information via smartphone apps and access to the internet.

The benefits of cloud-based accounting software cannot be overstated – being cloud-based, business owners can work from wherever they want without being limited to a single PC. Other standard benefits are having your payroll direct payments automated, the quick processing of expenses and travel claims and tracking and managing your sales tax (VAT).

How do you find the right accounting software and what should you look for? SME South Africa did the research – we compare three popular accounting software solutions – SageXero and Intuit Quickbooks.

SAGE- ‘1-Month Free Trial’


Sage is a cloud based based integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems software that has been supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses across the globe since 1981.


Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start: This package is ideal for sole proprietors and micro entrepreneurs. Features include invoicing, debtors management and is accessible anytime, anywhere. 

Sage Business Cloud Accounting: This package is ideal for small businesses and has many of the same features as Sage Start. The solution offers accounting, expense management, project accounting, and compliance management capabilities, all in a single platform.


  • Sage offers payroll and payment systems. A business can apply for an Accounting and Payroll Bundle for R3,000 per year.
  • As a business owner you and your team can collaborate with your accountant and work on real-time data. 
  • Sage offers bank-level security, which means that all your data is safe and secure.
  • Their app offers a simple interface with online support for you and your business.


Sage Business Cloud Accounting Start: available from R150 per month including VAT. 

Sage Business Cloud Accounting: available from R270 per month including VAT. 


  • Products or services and are accessible anytime, anywhere. 
  • The Sage mobile application is easy to use. You can manage and control your businesses finances on the go, for free. The app is available on iOS and Android smartphones.


  • Sage Accounting Start has less features than than Sage Accounting.
  • In the Sage Business Cloud Accounting package, you have to pay for any additional services that other accounting software programs offer such as a multiple-currency feature.

**** Sign up for your Sage 30 Day Free Trial Here ****

XERO – ‘Multiple packages to suit all sizes and types of businesses’


Xero is an online accounting system. They service 1.8 million subscribers globally with solutions such as accountant tools for management reporting and final accounts production.


Starter package: Users are able to send five invoices and quotes, enter five bills, and reconcile 20 bank transactions.

Standard package: Users can send an unlimited amount of invoices and quotes, enter bills and reconcile bank transactions.

Premium package: Users can send an unlimited amount of invoices and quotes, enter bills, reconcile bank transactions, and handle multiple currencies.

accounting software xero


  • Their app marketplace has over 700 apps that integrate with the Xero platform.
  • Their dashboard display feature allows business owners to clearly see how much money is going out and coming in.
  • Can link your bank account to the software.


Starter package: This package costs R208 per month for your first three months and R277 per month thereafter.

Standard package: This Standard package costs R312 per month for your first three months and R416 per month thereafter.

Premium package: This Premium package costs R416 per month for your first three months and R554 per month thereafter.


  • With Xero’s mobile app for iOS and Android, users can send invoices, approve expenses, input receipts and reconcile.
  • Xero goes beyond accounting – the platform integrates with over 700 third-party apps such as Yoco, Payfast, SME Snapshot, Syft, Aurik, Simple Pay, Payspace and Tall Order, ensuring that Xero customers are paid as quickly as possible.


  • Offers less features for their Starter and Standard accounts compared to the other two competitors.
  • Both Starter and Standard accounts do not offer a multiple-currency feature.

INTUIT QUICKBOOKS- ‘Multiple packages to suit all sizes and types of businesses’


QuickBooks Online is a cloud-based financial management software which has 5.6 million customers globally, which helps with tasks such as creating estimates and invoices, tracking sales and cash flow, and managing your customers and suppliers.


All of Intuit Quickbooks packages offer tracking of sales, expenses and profits, creating and sending unlimited invoices, tracking and managing your sales tax.

Simple Start: This package is for one user, plus your accountant. The features include tax, invoicing and the tracking of sales, expenses and profits.

Essentials: This package is for up to three users, plus your accountant. Extra benefits are managing and paying bills, transact in multiple currencies, generate sales quotes, manages and pay bills, controls user access, configures with local tax rates, manages supplier bills and payments, and handles multiple currencies.

Plus: This package is for up to 25 users, plus your accountant. It has the same additional benefits as the Essentials package. Added solutions are tracking of inventory, ability to create purchase orders and budgets, tracking of income and expenses by job or project, tracks sales and profitability for each location, and tracks projects profitability.

accounting software intuit quickbooks


  • QuickBooks online users are able to generate up to 60 different reports.
  • Projects are managed in one place from start to finish.
  • Works on a PC, Mac, and mobile.
  • Backs up data automatically, has bank-level security and encryption.


QuickBooks subscriptions range from R229 to R473 per month, they currently have a 50% off for 6 months deal on their website.

There are three QuickBooks subscription levels available (NB- prices listed below are the subscription prices, and does not take into consideration their 6-month promotion):

Simple Start:  Ideal for sole proprietors at R229 per month.

Essentials: Ideal for small to micro businesses and is priced at R351 per month.

Plus: This package is ideal for small businesses. The package is R473 per month.


  • Can be used on any smart device with a secure internet connection.
  • Globally, QuickBooks integrates with various payment solutions including PayPal and Square.
  • Support available for small business owners, including video tutorials available to help business owners to complete specified accounting tasks using QuickBooks Online.


  • Slightly more expensive than others available in the market.
  • Their free user support is only available from 07:00-12:00 in the morning

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links and SME South Africa will earn a commission if you purchase through those links. All recommendations have been carefully considered and they are resources SME South Africa has found helpful and trustworthy.

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Melissa Javan
Melissa Javan
Melissa Javan is a writer with nine years' experience in the media industry. She enjoys blogging and taking part in Twitter chats. You can find her on Twitter @melissa_nel.