Xero is different from the prior two small business accounting software as it’s better suited for larger businesses due to it’s more complex features. It offers its customers unlimited user access, which is nice as other platforms charge more for this. Like Quickbooks, Xero also has integrations with many third-party apps but it has more options which include over 700 apps. It also has double-entry accounting, which allows companies to balance out debits and credits. This is a fundamental accounting concept that ensures that each dollar is properly accounted for. GAAP or General Accepted Accounting Principles mandate that public companies use double-entry accounting.
Xero also has a project management software similar to Freshbooks, which makes it easy to organize tasks. It’s also used by over 1,600 accounting firms and has multi-currency options. This feature is very helpful for medium to large-sized businesses working with international clients.
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Like other platforms, Xero allows users to pay and receive funds online. However, it’s invoicing system is more detailed than other choices. It has automated recurring bill pay, payment reminders, and can add late fees. A key differentiator is that it has a secure client portal, which enables clients to log in, pay, decline or comment on invoices.
Another main feature includes the dashboard which shows the linked bank account and if it needs reconciliation. This important process is used to see if the records from the bank and accounting software are identical. It’s important to keep track of any discrepancies and hiring a qualified bookkeeper can help with this.
It also has a budget manager that can break down budgets into 3, 6, and 12 month periods. This tool can be easily customized and show businesses if they’re hitting their financial goals. Besides this tool, Xero has over 55 unique accounting reports on topics like AR, AP, cash flow and inventory management.
Xero has three levels which charge users on a monthly basis. Fortunately, it gives users a 30-day free trial, has no contracts, but cancellations must be made with a 30-day notice. The three levels are early, growing and established which each cost $9, $30, and $60 per month respectively. The main differences between the plan are that growing and established don’t limit invoices and quotes. The Established option also offers multi-currency reports along with the project management software option, which justifies its higher price. In the past, Xero used to offer payroll management, but it now refers customers to Gusto which charges $39/mo. + 6/mo. Per person.
Xero is a robust system, but its main weakness is its customer support. It doesn’t offer phone support, just via email. Unfortunately, it can take up to a few days to hear back from a representative.
Like other alternatives, Xero has a help center with articles, forums, and videos. It also has a podcast with over 700 episodes that users can tune into in order to troubleshoot problems. This is a good resource, but it doesn’t make it easy to email or contact a rep. Conversely, other platforms make it simple to do this by including a large button at the top of their respective help centers.
- Numerous integrations: Other platforms might have 40 integrations, but Xero’s API allows it to connect with up to 700 apps. This saves time, reduces errors and promotes efficiency for everybody.
- Double Entry Accounting and More Reports: As mentioned earlier, public companies are required to use this standard by GAAP. Thus, Xero is a better choice for larger companies because it has this feature. It also has more robust reports than other alternatives with some including inventory management and accounts payable.
- Tougher learning curve: Other apps and programs are more simple and intuitive. Xero has more complexity, which takes users longer to master. This complexity can be good for accounting firms and larger businesses, but can also hinder sole proprietors.
- Customer Service: Xero doesn’t have phone-based customer service. Its email service can be helpful but it can take days to get a reply. Also, Xero Central, it’s learning center, isn’t as straightforward as comparable options.
- Overall: 3.75
- Features: 5
- Price: 4
- Ease of Use: 3
- Customer Service: 3