Xero Standard Comparison and Review



Xero Standard Review

This version is great for:

XERO IS NOT OWNED BY INTUIT OR AFFILIATED WITH QUICKBOOKS. IT IS AN ALTERNATIVE, COMPETING PRODUCT.
  • Small businesses that have employees on payroll and need a full featured bookkeeping tool. Xero includes both services in their plans.*
  • Xero is touted as being more intuitive than QuickBooks Online, so it is a good option for people seeking an alternative
  • Remote access and multiple users make it great for remote teams with offsite or outsourced bookkeeping
  • Businesses with simple inventory management needs (more advanced inventory management available through Xero app store for additional fees)
  • If you use multiple currencies, or have more than five employees on payroll, you'll need to upgrade to a higher level of service.

*Payroll services only offered in these states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Conclusion:

Xero Standard is a legitimate alternative to QuickBooks Online Plus. The service includes every major feature offered by Online Plus, is less expensive AND provides payroll services for up to five employees for no additional fee. Xero's service is intuitive and flexible and offers over 500 integrations through their app marketplace. The only significant drawbacks to Xero are the lack of phone support and the fact that they aren't QuickBooks, which means they are still a relatively tiny (but growing) competitor in the bookkeeping industry.

 

Ease of Use

Xero Standard received 5 out of 5 stars for Ease of Use.

Setting up Your Books: Xero Standard includes a detailed, 10-step, setup guide and even provides a checklist of things you'll need before starting the setup guide (like the business' legal name, tax settings, email address of your bookkeeper or accountant, etc). They also offer extensive tutorials under the "Getting started" Guide section in their Help Center and also host a very active community section where users and moderators have shared and answered a wide array of questions.. Xero also offers 24/7 online support via email and chat, however they do not offer any phone support. Because Xero, like QuickBooks Online, is accessed via your browser, you do not need to download or install any software and you can access your books from any computer with an Internet connection. For people switching from either QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop, Xero allows you to upload your files and your data will be available on Xero within three hours. If you have customer or vendor lists in Excel sheets or Microsoft Outlook, you can save the data in a CSV file and upload it directly into Xero as well.

Day-to-Day Operations: Xero Standard is a full-featured bookkeeping tool that can be accessed from any computer via a browser or any smart device through Xero's smart phone apps. An Internet connection is required for use, but, unlike desktop software, you can easily switch between a Mac and a PC. One area where Xero truly shines is the ability to invite unlimited users to your account and assign them unique levels of access. For example, you can create an account for your bookkeeper and give them "Advisor" status, which will give them full access, while providing each of your sales people with "Invoice Only-Sales Only" status, so they can view and create invoices and receipts and see summary information. Xero Standard includes all the standard features you would expect from any bookkeeping system like importing bank and credit card transactions, reconciling accounts, creating invoices and bills, creating profit & loss, balance sheet, cash flow and other custom reports, etc. Xero Standard also includes some basic inventory tracking features, including adding inventory items (or importing an inventory list), tracking the quantity of each item on hand, and the average cost of the item based on cost. One of the cooler things that Xero offers is full Gmail and Google Apps integration, which allows you to see emails with contacts stored in Xero on Xero's Contacts page.

Like QuickBooks Online, Xero doesn't offer any "local copy" of your data nor any way to access the service without an Internet connection. If consistent Internet access is a concern, Xero is probably not the right product for your business. On the flip side, because all of your data with Xero is hosted in the cloud, the data is backed up on multiple, geographically separated data servers, ensuring a very, very minimal chance that it could be lost or destroyed. In addition, Xero utilizes the latest in data encryption and security technology to minimize the the risk of cyber attacks.

Xero offers free apps for both Apple and Android devices that are rated between 3 and 4 stars (pretty similar to QuickBooks Online)

Managerial Features: Customer Invoices, Estimates & Budgets

Xero Standard allows user to easily create invoices, quotes and estimates as well as create budgets and compare them to current performance. However, sales forecasting is not built in to Xero, but is available through various third party integrations.

For payment processing, Xero integrates with several different services including Authorize.Net, DPS, eWay, GoCorless, PayPal and Stripe and allows you to set up a custom URL for other payment services. Payment links for these services will be included on invoices sent out through the system, and payments will be synced back to the system. Because Xero works with multiple third parties for accepting payments, it is typically going to be cheaper than using QuickBooks Online built-in payment processing, however, the fact that QuickBooks controls their own payment processing means you a not going to have any issues with integration or compatibility. 

Xero Standard includes the ability to run payroll for up to five employees. QuickBooks Online also offers payroll, but it requires an additional $31/ month plus $2 per employee.

Reporting

Xero offers over 40 financial reports covering profit and loss, balance sheet, management reports, sales tax returns, depreciation schedules. Each of these reports can be customized to add and remove columns, adjust time periods and compare against previous or forecasted performance. Xero also allows for the creation of tracking categories, which can be useful for managing various departments, projects, business functions, teams or regions.

Tracking Payments to Vendors & Inventory

Xero includes the ability to easily add vendors and create bills as they are received and batch pay vendors and suppliers, which helps keep track of costs and better predict cash flows. You can also tag expenses as billable expenses for customers then add them to your next invoice. Xero also includes basic inventory tracking, but any sophisticated inventory management would require a third party integration that can range in price from $40 to $400 per month. Xero will also let you create fully customized purchase orders that can be copied to a bill for payment, another purchase order for a repeat order or a sales invoice.

Also, Xero will also automatically create 1099 reports for all your contractors and make it easy to file them online or mail them in.

Online Banking

When downloading transactions from financial institutions (like banks and credit card companies), Xero will attempt to match transactions to those already entered. If a match isn't found, it will then look for a custom rule that you can set up to suggest the details for that transaction (eg: vendor name, type of expense, etc). If neither of those occur, Xero will simply make a suggestion based on the information that it has about how to record the transaction. 

Xero also allows you to write an print checks and create batch deposits that will automatically record payments against outstanding customer invoices.

Apps & Integrations

One fo the most interesting and useful features of Xero (and QuickBooks Online for that matter) is their ability to integrate with other services- some that you already use and others that simply enhance Xero's performance. The majority of these apps are paid, but the prices vary dramatically, Currently, Xero's App Marketplace boasts over 500 apps in categories including inventory, payments, CRM, time tracking, incoicing, point of sale, payroll & HR, eCommerce, reporting and more. Each app in the marketplace shows the number of reviews and the star rating, but you'll have to go to each vendor's website to get pricing information.

Pricing and Support

Xero Standard costs $30 per month, and offers a 30 day free trial to test the service. Xero Standard provides the ability to add unlimited users with custom access levels and run payroll for up to five employees for no additional cost.

Unlimited 24/7 email and chat support are included, but phone support is not offered at all. Xero's "Guide" section is extremely thorough and helpful and their community pages, where users and Xero admins ask and answer questions, are very active. Xero also has a section called "Xero TV" filled with tutorials and demos of features and use cases.

Pricing

Price

$30/month

Number of User Accounts

9999

Free Trial

30 days

General Features

Ease of Use

Unlimited Customer Support

Free

Online Access

Permission Controls

Edit Your Books Offline

Prints Checks

Uploads Bank Files

Helps Create Tax Forms

Managerial Features

Rating

Advanced+Payroll

Creates Invoices

Automated Invoicing

Tracks Inventory

Creates Estimates

Manages Bills

Bills Your Customers

Creates Purchase Orders

Helps Create Budgets

Forecasts Sales and Expenses

Reports

Number of Reports

40

"Company Snapshot"

"Company Scorecard"

Industry-Specific Reports


Xero Standard Screenshots
(Click Thumbnails for Larger Images)

Xero Dashboard

Xero Sales Dashboard

Xero Bank Reconciliation

Xero Smart Lists

Xero P&L