Sole trader Accounting Image by Obsahovka from Pixabay Sage has unveiled a new pricing strategy. It offers Accountants access to solutions that will help their clients digitise their record keeping. This will help change their clients’ behaviours from manual to digital processes. In recognition that sole traders are often cash-strapped, Sage has introduced a free entry-level solution that will ease sole traders into the digital world. They can move to an individual low-cost plan as they become more confident and see the benefits of time and cost saving.

4.5 million businesses in the UK face a growing urgency to digitise their accounts. These new offerings aim to help accountants deliver critical services as the HMRC rolls out its plans for Making Tax Digital, despite recent delays.

Karen Ainley, Head of Accountants, Sage
Karen Ainley, Head of Accountants, Sage

Karen Ainley, Head of Accountants, said, “Sage is committed to helping businesses adopt technology and increase their competitiveness. We know businesses that digitise their processes are more successful, so the sooner we help them start this journey, supported by an accountant or bookkeeper, the sooner they can embrace the white heat of digital innovation.”

The products, part of the Sage for Accountants product, will deliver accountants the technology to support their clients.

Sage Accounting Individual Free Plan

For businesses reluctant to move to a digital solution, this entry-level plan offers a great first step towards preparation for April 2026. That is when unincorporated sole traders and landlords with an income of more than £50,000 must file digitally. The solution helps these sole traders to digitise their processes and support the transition to MTD with the help of their accountants.

Beyond MTD, the digitisation of records is one way these sole traders can start to scale their business if they wish. It is estimated that 92% of SMBs use accountants or bookkeepers to help with self-assessments. In using this free tool, those companies may reduce the work they and their accountant need to do. Importantly, that will save time and cost. For accountants, the savings in time alone means they can increase the number of SMEs they support.

Using Sage for Accounts client management, the accountant can set up their client with access to start working on the free plan. The sole trader can go through an onboarding process that guides them through setting up their account with the relevant information of their business. They can use the real-time capture of receipts using their mobile device and/or the bank feed to create them retrospectively. It is also possible to enter transactions manually, such as cash transactions.

Wide support for banks

Bank accounts supported include HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Barclays, Santander, RBS, Bank of Scotland, Tide, Nationwide Building Society and Ulster Bank. Once the data feed is set up, users can map each transaction against a category. Where a transaction is more complex if can be mapped against more than one category, including non-business. For example, a receipt from a garage may include fuel and food. The user can also attach a receipt if available. Sage Accounting also defaults transactions to what it believes is the most relevant category, saving time for the user.

The tool supports a single bank feed integration, which is enough for most sole traders. There is a mobile application for both iOS and Android. The mobile app allows users to capture receipts and attach them to transactions. Users can split the relevant expenses where expenses are both business and personal to ensure they are captured correctly.

There are limitations. There is limited document storage, and support is only self-service. Access is for a single user (and accountant/bookkeeper access). Accountants can only access a Trial Balance report, though they can download transactions to create their own.

Individual plan expected to be popular with accountants

For those companies seeing the benefits, the step up to the individual plan is small. Enterprise Times asked Sage about the pricing for the Individual Plan. The response was:

“The individual plan is priced at a very competitive price point of £4 for accountants whilst including all the features that accountants have told us they need. Early feedback tells us this is the plan that accountants will want use for most of their tax clients with the simplest of tax admin; it supports practice process, client collaboration and reporting giving the best experience for them and the client to meet the challenges of year-end accounts and tax preparation.”

They also added, “The Accounting Individual plan will launch to the direct business market later this financial year – price tbc.”

The Individual plan offers an enhanced list of features from the free plan:

  • Automated receipt scan with data capture and extraction
  • Multi-user access for both clients and agents with multiple bank feeds
  • An unlimited but fair usage storage facility for documents
  • Accountants can access a wider set of reports within their client portal, including Trial Balance, Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, and Nominal Activity
  • Support is delivered through self-service and a web chat feature

The key is that the system is also capturing the right data to prepare for when MTD is required. Sage is working towards ensuring that they can achieve this easily through the system.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is a smart move by Sage. It gives accountants a carrot to offer clients to help them digitise, with an option that will not increase the cost to their clients. Even if they take the paid tier, this is not significant, and some may conclude that it can be included in any annual cost. The trick will be persuading sole traders to use the functionality.

However, the stick is the imminent MTD deadline. It means sole traders will risk fines if they cannot automate the period-end tasks rather than leave it to the end of the year or their bookkeepers to sort.

One advantage of this technology is that it will provide an audit trail for every transaction, which the sole traders can later review if they wish.

These new products appear to be an entry-level Sage Accounting product, beneath the current Accounting Start (£12 per month, but free for the first three months). It will be interesting to see where Sage puts the price point for this new product when it becomes generally available to businesses. At the moment, it seems an offering that accountants can give their clients.


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