Investigating in accounting and inventory software for your product business? See how Sage compares to Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory here.

Deciding how to manage your business’ operations and resources can be daunting. You want systems you can rely on for the foreseeable future — that empower growth, instead of holding your business back.

For many companies, accounting software is the first port of call. Among the numerous options in the Ireland it often boils down to a choice between Sage, Xero and Big Red Cloud.

Picking between these accounting systems can be tricky — especially if your business makes, manages or moves products. Why? Because you’ll also have to consider how to track and control inventory with each.

All-in-one vs best-of-breed

The first thing to note when comparing Sage to Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory is that they operate in different ways.

Sage is an ‘all-in-one’ solution. You’re investing in a single system that aims to cover several aspects of your business, without been a master in any part: accounting, inventory and more. The aim is that you’ll use this solution first and foremost, with very few other applications.

Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory are ‘best-of-breed’ solutions. Big Red Cloud’s features, for example, aim to help you achieve one thing: better accounting.

Big Red Cloud isn’t intended to handle complex inventory management on its own. It doesn’t support functionality such as multiple warehouses, pricing strategies or bills of materials. Instead, you can integrate it with a solution that matches your needs. Combine Big Red Cloud with Turbo Inventory, and you get a feature-complete solution that can handle any inventory complexity — and as we’ll see below, comes with more inventory features than Sage.

Is managing multiple apps harder than a single solution?

At first, choosing several apps instead of a single system may seem counter-intuitive. Will integrating, maintaining and learning multiple solutions prove more of a hassle than buying Sage outright?


Best-of-breed software is built to work as part of an ecosystem. Syncing up solutions is usually straightforward, and many apps will guide you through setting up integrations as part of the on-boarding process.

Because of this, best-of-breed implementations are often less disruptive than installing an all-in-one.


Best-of-breed software usually comes with ‘managed’ integrations to other apps. The apps themselves are responsible for maintaining these connections, so you won’t have to handle anything in-house.


You will have to learn more than one system. But again, this won’t necessarily be any harder than learning an all-in-one.

All-in-one systems tend to be complicated because they have to cater to so many bases. With a best-of-breed approach, you can choose simpler systems when you don’t need added functionality.

Inventory management features

If you choose Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory, you won’t need any of Sage’s inventory management features. So here, we can compare Sage’s inventory functionality directly with Turbo Inventory’s.

Sage offers several products, each with a different suite of features. Here’s how Sage 50 Standard, Sage 50 Professional, Sage 200cloud and Sage 200cloud Professional stack up against Turbo Inventory only plan.

Turbo Inventory
Track and manage stockYESYESYESYESYES
Create sales and purchase ordersYESYESYESYES
Bills of materialsYESYESYESYES
Multiple stock locationsYESYESYES
Warehouse managementYESYESYES
Stock alertsYESYESYES
Landed cost trackingYESYESYES
Serial & Batch TrackingYESYES
Flexible reportingYES
Sales appYES


Comparing Sage with any other solution on cost is complicated, chiefly because it doesn’t have fixed prices.

At the time of writing, the listed base price for 50cloud Professional is €162 per month (for one user). Prices for 200cloud Standard start at €300 per month (for one user), and Professional starts at €340 (for one user). These costs are variable, however, and probably won’t match what you end up paying each month. Sage will tend to build a specific package — with a specific price — for every new customer.

Choosing a package requires evaluating your requirements today and in the future. Any product business will probably need to raise sales and purchase orders at a minimum, for example. As you grow, you’ll soon see the benefit in multiple warehouses, landed cost tracking and stock alerts too.

Big Red Cloud costs €28 (ex VAT) per month. Turbo Inventory costs from €200 per month (for unlimited user). That means you can get an accounting + inventory solution with complete features and more flexibility for less than €250 per month.


Sage, Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory all regularly update their software. Turbo Inventory, for example, releases updates and enhancements monthly. Sage gets a new version on a yearly cycle.

If you sign up for one of the Sage plans listed above, you’ll get unlimited access to updates and improvements.

All Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory users get access to standard releases for free. Plus, there’s never any need to install anything to update the software.


Inventory management software requires careful implementation — so most providers will provide an assisted on-boarding service to help you get started. If you aren’t using expert help, then these services are indispensable, but the cost of on-boarding is something any business should take into account when considering a new system.

Sage doesn’t publish any indication of how much implementation might cost. But cloud experts predict start setting up Sage with inventory functionality can cost up to €10,000.

Turbo Inventory’s on-boarding service costs €500 (for 2021 we are waiving this on-boarding fee). You’re allocated a dedicated Turbo Inventory consultant to guide you through setup and help you get going.


The fundamental question here is whether you want to tailor your software to your processes or change your processes to match your software.

Sage comes with in-built functionality for core tasks such as CRM, HR and inventory management, instead of integrating with external apps for them. So their API approach is less open than that of Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory.

It does, however, result in two significant downsides:

  1. You may end up paying for features you don’t use
  2. Your systems won’t be as customisable

Upgrading to 200 Professional to access the manufacturing module, for example, might mean paying for a package that includes features you’ll never use.

If you do want a CRM that integrates with your other tools, you’ll have to choose Sage’s offering, which might not match your business’s specific requirements. With Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory, you can choose one that does.


You’ll need to install a launcher on any device that you’re planning on using to access Sage. So while it hosts your data in the cloud, you won’t be able to access it from any computer. That makes it much harder to run your business from outside the office or enable staff to work from home.

Big Red Cloud, Turbo Inventory and other best-of-breed applications are 100% cloud based. All you’ll need is to access them is an internet connection, a browser and your login details.

Giving access to accountants is also more difficult with Sage, usually requiring a manual transfer via USB, Dropbox or Sage Drive. This creates a separate set of data, which can cause headaches for your accountant. With Turbo Inventory, your accountant can get free access to your live data (with your approval).

Ease of use

Assessing the usability of a solution is always difficult, as different users have different tastes and are used to things being laid out or set up in a certain way.


Sage, Big Red Cloud and Turbo Inventory all offer 30 day free trials. To see which solution will work best for your business, it’s a good idea to sign up and get as many people using the software as possible.

As well as trialing each solution, you can set up a discovery call with a consultant at each provider. They’ll be able to guide you through which features you need and point you in the direction of another option if it suits your requirements better.

Start your Turbo Inventory trial here — you’ll get 30 days to test out our software (including the integration with Big Red Cloud), with no credit card needed. Sign up now