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Best Accounting Software for Larger Businesses

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If you’ve read our post on the Best Accounting Software for Small Businesses, you know that QuickBooks Online is a perfect fit for smaller operations but doesn’t quite meet the mark for large businesses. So where does that leave you medium and large- sized business owners? Never fear! There is a terrific software option for you folks as well; one that will grow with your business and keep up with your varied accounting needs.

Xero: the Best Accounting Software for Large Businesses

Xero (see our review) is one of the only cloud-based accounting software companies that can truly give QuickBooks a run for its money. Developed in 2006 by two New Zealanders, Xero has grown to serve over 700,000 users and is the accounting software of choice for over 16,000 accounting firms throughout the world.

As cloud-based software, Xero is compatible with nearly any device so long as there is Internet access (for more hardware requirement details, go here). Additionally, Xero offers several mobile apps. The primary reason Xero is so great for mid-large size businesses, however, is its pricing structure, which features five scalable pricing plans.

  • Starter Plan – $9/mo: 5 invoices, 20 bank transactions, 5 bills, expense tracking, live bank feeds, and tax support.
  • Standard Plan – $30/mo: Unlimited invoices, unlimited bank transactions, expense tracking, live bank feeds, customizable reports, direct deposit, and payroll for 5.
  • Premium Plan – $70/mo: Unlimited invoices, unlimited bank transactions, expense tracking, live bank feeds, customizable reports, direct deposit, multi-currency support, and payroll for 10.
  • Premium 20 – $90/mo: Unlimited invoices, unlimited bank transactions, expense tracking, live bank feeds, customizable reports, direct deposit, multi-currency support, and payroll for 20.
  • Premium 100 – $180/mo: Unlimited invoices, unlimited bank transactions, expense tracking, live bank feeds, customizable reports, direct deposit, multi-currency support, and payroll for 100.

Unlike QuickBooks Online, Xero offers unlimited users with every single one of its pricing plans (almost unheard of in the accounting software world). This program has some of the most comprehensive user permission settings I’ve ever seen and comes with plenty of features to boot, including payroll. Xero also provides tax support for its customers. All of these features, combined with flexible pricing options, are the reasons why Xero receives the title of Best Accounting Software for Larger Businesses.

Now let’s take a closer look at some specific pros and cons.

The Pro’s:

Here are some of the reasons why users love Xero.

  • Unlimited users
  • Extensive user permissions
  • Good customer service
  • Strong security
  • Scalable pricing
  • Saves time
  • 500+ integrations
  • Inventory
  • Strong contact management
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Billing
  • Inventory
  • 65 reports (20 are specific to payroll)
  • Tracking
  • Tax support
  • Expense claims

The Con’s:

There are a few cons that you should definitely be aware of, however.

  • Semi-steep learning curve
  • Incomplete payroll (Xero does offer payroll support, but only in these 35 states)
  • Limited invoicing (only one template, with a design that leaves you wanting more)
  • No job-costing/project feature (this is also the case with QuickBooks Online; and as with QuickBooks Online, if job-costing is really important to you, Xero provides plenty of integrations to fill the gaps)
  • Weak $9/mo plan (this plan is limited to 5 invoices and 20 transactions, which does not stack up to the competition at all; take a look at Wave and you’ll understand why)
  • Tedious CSV imports (this isn’t as much of a problem if you are using live bank feeds, but it was enough to drive me mad)
  • Limited mobile apps (these lack some of the more important features of the desktop version)

The Features:

Xero’s comprehensive features make it a good fit for mid to large-sized businesses that need in-depth accounting capabilities. Here is basic description of the most key features, as well as a few of unique touches. For more information, read the full feature descriptions in our Xero review or visit the Xero website.

  • Dashboard – Xero has an awesome dashboard you can customize with your choice of graphs. These graphs include bank accounts, invoices owed to you, bills you need to pay, expenses, and many others that let you see the performance of your business all in one spot.

  • Invoicing –There is only one invoice template, and it’s a pretty unappealing one at that. But, Xero does provide several invoicing automations that make the process easy. You can set invoice reminders, create recurring invoices, send bulk invoices, and replicate previous invoices. There are multiple payment gateways as well.

  • Estimates – The estimate feature is fairly basic, but it works well. You can easily turn estimates to invoices and there are a few time-saving automations here as well.
  • Contact Management – Xero comes with some of the best contact management tools I’ve seen. In addition to storing basic contact information, you can create contact groups and smart lists.
  • Bank Reconciliation – Xero uses smart categorization and bank rules to help make bank reconciliation a simple process. However, you still have to individually approve each transaction, which can be a bit annoying. Xero also uses live bank feeds. For those uncomfortable with live bank feeds, be warned that manually importing CSV bank statements can be quite the adventure. Read our review to understand this feature fully.

  • Reports – There are 65 customizable reports (20 of which are just for payroll). These reports cover almost all the basics, with the exception of a profit and loss statement. Similar information can be found in the income statement report so this isn’t a huge issue.
  • Inventory – Saving items and tracking inventory are easy. Xero will record stock levels, average purchase costs, and the number of items committed to quotes. Xero doesn’t allow your inventory to go negative and there are no email reminders for low stock levels. (If these features are important to you, I’d check out Zoho Books or take a look at QuickBooks Pro, which has the most expansive inventory features around.)
  • Tracking – Xero supports two transaction categories with up to 10 subcategories for each. Much like QuickBooks Online’s location and classes tool, this feature provides a way to help you organize the information that is important to you. For more information about how tracking works, read this article.
  • Billing – You can pay bills quickly and easily using Xero. You can also set recurring bills and make batch payments. If your supplier uses Xero, you can turn their invoice into your bill in instantly.

Some of Xero’s other features include multi-currency support, open API, default sales tax settings, default email automation, and expense claim tracking.

Is Xero Right for Me?

Xero is great for mid to large-sized business; no other comparable software provides unlimited users, extensive user permissions, scalable pricing, and payroll all rolled into one package. Xero gives you all of the basic accounting features needed to run a business, plus a few extra bonuses like inventory, billing, tracking, and tax support. And if all that were not enough, there are 500+ available integrations. Xero also has incredible customer support.

However, there are a couple of things to note about Xero. The first being that only 35 US states currently have payroll support. Make sure your state is on this list before committing to the software. Second, for as much as Xero users complain about the complexity of QuickBooks, Xero and QuickBooks Online have similarly steep learning curves, and the organization and navigation of the software take some getting used to. I would also like to see the company add a project and job-costing feature, as well as improved invoicing. (If project management and invoicing are important to you, I’d recommend taking a look at Zoho Books instead.)

Before committing to Xero, weigh the pros and cons, read our full review, and take advantage of their free trial, which features a demo company for those of you who don’t want to import your own information. If you choose to go with Xero, check out our free How To Set Up Your Xero Account guide to learn how to optimize your account.

Before Choosing Accounting Software:

Before deciding whether an accounting software is right for you, make sure you know what you need. Decide which features are integral to your business. Analyze where you are spending the most time and see if there are any automations or tools you could use to simplify your processes. Then think about whether there are any features it would just be nice to have. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to search for software that addresses both your needs and wants.

Treat shopping for accounting software like a college student treats a Christmas wishlist. First, ask for the practical things you need but don’t have the money to buy yourself. Then throw in an extra thing or two just for fun.

Before buying anything, it is also incredibly important to do your research. Research may sound boring or like a waste of time, but it will save you much time and heartache in the long run. Xero and other similar solutions offer free trials—use them. Check out what other customers are saying on sites like complaints.com, trustpilot.com or getapp.com.

One last thing to keep in mind: many software choices have regular discounts or referral programs, which you should take advantage of before buying.

Need More Help Deciding?

If you aren’t sold on Xero, check out our other top accounting software choices in the comparison chart below. If you don’t know what to look for or how to pick a favorite, head on over to our How to Choose Accounting Software guide for a few tips and tricks or see additional posts in this blog series:

Here Merchant Maverick, we wish you the best of luck in finding the best software for you, and we hope to help you on that journey in any and every way that we can. Click here for our library of online accounting software reviews.

 Best SMB Accounting SoftwareBest Accounting Software for Larger BusinessesBest Free Accounting Software Best Accounting Software for Invoicing Best Accounting Software for Accountants
QuickBooks OnlineXeroWaveZoho BooksQuickBooks Pro
QuickBooks reviewWave Accounting for small business reviewQuickBooks alternatives
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead ReviewRead Review
Visit SiteVisit SiteVisit SiteVisit SiteVisit Site
Price $15 – $40/mo $9 – $180/mo$0$2 – $29/mo$299.95
Accounting MethodBoth accrual and cash-basisBoth accrual and cash-basisAccrualBoth accrual and cash-basisBoth accrual and cash-basis
Web-based or InstalledWeb-basedWeb-basedWeb-basedWeb-basedLocally installed
HighlightsRobust Feature Set
Easy to use
Beautiful UI
400+ integrations
Strong reputation
Unlimited Users
Robust features
Payroll
Good customer service
500+ integrations
Free
Personal and business account management
Beautiful invoicing
Supports multiple companies
Good customer service
Competitive pricing
Easy to use
Unbeatable invoicing
Beautiful UI
Great client portal
True accounting
Robust feature set
Hundreds of reports
Strong reputation

 

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer who has specialized in accounting for two years. She has a BA in English & Creative Writing from George Fox University and studied at the University of Oxford as well. She has been quoted in Forbes and her work appears in Startup Nation, Small Business Bonfire, and Women on Business.
Chelsea Krause
Chelsea Krause

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