As small and medium businesses look to streamline their financial operations, many turn to accounting software as a solution. Whether transitioning away from traditional methods, upgrading from tools like Excel or seeking an alternative to an outdated system, adopting the optimal accounting software for the business is crucial.

Choosing the right accounting software can feel challenging and overwhelming, especially with a variety of options to consider like Sage, QuickBooks Online (QBO), NetSuite and Xero. Each of these platforms offers features tailored to business requirements, so it is important to understand what makes them unique.

This article compares two popular solutions, Sage Intacct and QBO, to shed a light on how they impact accounting processes and reporting. GHJ’s Client Accounting and Advisory Services Practice specializes in these platforms and offers implementation support and advisory services to navigate this critical transition smoothly.


When assessing accounting software, certain features are essential for small and medium-sized businesses:

  • Cloud-Based Platform: Having access to data from anywhere at any time is particularly beneficial for businesses with remote operations or those looking for flexibility.
  • Integration Capabilities: The software should be able to smoothly integrate with other business applications to ensure seamless connectivity and efficient operation of various business functions.
  • Customization and Scalability: Software must be adaptable and scalable as the business grows — a solution that allows customization will help ensure the system meets specific business needs and can be adjusted to changing business sizes and requirements.

Both QuickBooks Online and Sage Intacct share these key features to meet the dynamic needs of a business. Beyond these shared strengths, each platform has unique features to consider.


QBO shines as an accessible, cloud-based solution ideal for small to medium-sized businesses seeking a blend of affordability and functionality. The versatile software can present many benefits, but its one-size-fits-all structure can also present challenges.


  • Broad Applicability: As a generalist software, QBO is designed to meet various accounting needs across industries. This wide applicability means that retail, services, e-commerce and other sectors can all benefit from QBO, as it has the tools and features to support their operations.
  • User-Friendly Interface: QBO is known for being one of the most user-friendly accounting software options available. Its intuitive design makes it accessible to individuals with accounting knowledge to reduce the learning curve. Continual updates in line with technology make it a preferred choice for both external and internal accounting teams.
  • Mobile App: The QBO mobile application empowers business professionals on the go to manage finances, record invoices and track receipts directly from their smartphones.
  • Regular Innovations: QBO receives continuous updates with new features and enhancements to ensure that it stays up to date with the latest technological advancements and user preferences. These updates are often influenced by user feedback to ensure that QBO grows in a manner that benefits its user community.


  • Customer Service Concerns: Some users express frustration with the customer service offered by QBO and have specifically mentioned challenges in reaching support staff and receiving responses to their inquiries.
  • Limitations for Larger Enterprises: While QBO is effective for small to medium-sized businesses, larger corporations may find it lacking in terms of functionality and scalability when compared to more comprehensive accounting solutions tailored for bigger operations.
  • Lack of Industry-Specific Features: Because QBO is primarily a general accounting software, businesses may experience a lack of industry-specific features such as inventory management and unique reports. This can be minimized with the QBO’s ability to integrate with various applications, but adding and maintaining these integrations can become expensive.
  • Complexity in Reporting and Customization: Some users find QBO's reporting capabilities and customization options limited or not as intuitive as they would like. Businesses with complex reporting needs may require additional tools or workarounds.


Sage Intacct is a custom cloud-based financial management tool designed to empower businesses with advanced features that can be tailored to various industries. With more industry-specific customization capabilities than QBO, Sage may be a consideration for businesses with unique needs.


  • Tailored Solutions for Various Industries: Sage Intacct provides customized solutions for various industries such as healthcare, nonprofits, professional services and hospitality. This industry-specific tailoring ensures that businesses can access features and reports that cater to their unique requirements.
  • Adapting to Business Growth: Sage Intacct is designed to evolve with businesses to ensure that their accounting systems can handle increased transaction volumes, new business segments or expansion into different geographical locations.
  • Industry Integration: For industries using software systems (e.g., healthcare facilities with patient management software or nonprofits with donor management platforms), Sage Intacct’s ability to integrate with various third-party applications streamlines operations by reducing manual data entry and enhancing accuracy.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Sage Intacct offers controls and detailed audit trails with stringent regulatory mandates. The compliance tools enable businesses to effortlessly meet industry rules and guidelines streamlining compliance oversight.


  • Affordability Concerns: The cost of implementing Sage Intacct may be a concern, especially for small businesses or startups with limited budgets.
  • Complexity: Sage Intacct's comprehensive features may suit medium to large enterprises or those with complex accounting needs, but smaller businesses may find the system overly complex and harder to grasp.
  • Integration Challenges: Users have reported difficulties when trying to integrate Sage Intacct with third-party applications despite its integration options, which could result in the need for additional customization or assistance.
  • Maximizing Customization: Businesses might need to invest in customization, which could further increase the cost of using the software. Therefore, not all businesses that invest in the software have the resources or expertise to effectively tailor the software to their needs.

Choosing the right accounting software, whether it is QBO's industry-agnostic or Sage Intacct's industry-specific platform, can significantly impact a business's financial management efficiency.

It is important to compare unique business requirements with software features and potential constraints.

No matter the choice of software, teaming up with a knowledgeable team like GHJ's Client Accounting and Advisory Services Practice can help ensure a seamless implementation process, create a smooth transition process and unlock the full value of the investment.

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Andrea Novakovic

Andrea Novakovic, MBA, has over five years of public accounting experience. She is a member of GHJ’s Client Accounting and Advisory Services Practice and enjoys building partnerships and meaningful relationships with clients. Andrea has served a diversified client base including professional…Learn More