Xero Review

  • 78 comments
  • Updated on:
Date Established
2006
Location
New Zealand

Xero Promo: US-based customers: You can get 30% off your first six months of service; click here or use promo code XERO30NOW during signup.

Highlights:

  • Unlimited users
  • Robust features
  • Payroll
  • Good customer service
  • 500+ integrations

Overview:

In the race to the top for best accounting software, QuickBooks has taken the lead for years, running laps around its competitors—that is, until now. Quickbooks has finally found its match in Xero, an accounting solution based out of New Zealand. While not quite yet able to match QuickBooks in terms of functionality, Xero is a formidable opponent; it truly is “beautiful accounting software” (the company’s motto).

Xero was founded in 2006 by Hamish Edwards and (current CEO) Rod Drury. After only 10 years, this Kiwi company has established offices worldwide (in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Singapore, and the US) and attracted 700,000 users in over 180 countries. It is the primary accounting solution for over 16,000 accounting firms. Xero has even been named the Forbes #1 Innovative Growth Company. Twice.

In general, this software is well loved by its many users. It boasts impressive contact management and inventory features as well as robust payroll capabilities and many automatization time-savers. And to top it all off, Xero supports unlimited users and incredibly advanced user permissions. Largely thanks to these features, Xero is quickly closing the gap in the race against QuickBooks. However, the software is not quite up to speed in a few areas.

To maximize user growth and beat out QuickBooks, Xero needs to step up the pace. One good place to start would be updating payroll coverage to support all 50 states. Xero’s limited invoicing selections, lack of job costing features, relatively weak mobile apps, and semi-steep learning curve are other areas that could stand a bit of improvement.

That said, minor flaws aside, this software is an overall fantastic option and a healthy alternative to Quickbooks; it is more than worth checking out. Continue reading this review and watch the video below to see how Xero might be able to serve your small business.

Pricing:

Xero offers five scalable pricing plans beginning at $9/mo (no contract is required). Each plan comes with unlimited users and 1GB of online file storage (though this a “soft” limit; you can have as much storage as needed if you don’t mind slightly slower operations). Xero offers a free 30-day trial and even has a demo company set up already if you would rather not import your own information.

Discounts include 25% off for nonprofit organizations and 15% off for users with multiple companies registered on Xero. Also be sure to check out the Xero site and see if they are having a sale, as they often offer six months of discounted software.

Starter:

  • $9/mo
  • Expense tracking
  • 5 invoices
  • Reconcile 20 bank transactions
  • 5 bills
  • Live bank feeds
  • Customizable reports
  • W2’s and 1099’s

Standard:

  • $30/mo
  • Expense tracking
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited bank transactions
  • Unlimited bill
  • Live bank feeds
  • Customizable reports
  • W2’s and 1099’s
  • Payroll for 5
  • Direct deposit

Premium:

  • $70/mo
  • Expense tracking
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited bank transactions
  • Unlimited bill
  • Live bank feeds
  • Customizable reports
  • W2’s and 1099’s
  • Payroll for 10
  • Direct deposit
  • Multi-currency support

Premium 20:

  • $90/mo
  • Expense tracking
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited bank transactions
  • Unlimited bill
  • Live bank feeds
  • Customizable reports
  • W2’s and 1099’s
  • Payroll for 20
  • Direct deposit
  • Multi-currency support

Premium 100:

  • $180/mo
  • Expense tracking
  • Unlimited invoices
  • Unlimited bank transactions
  • Unlimited bill
  • Live bank feeds
  • Customizable reports
  • W2’s and 1099’s
  • Payroll for 100
  • Direct deposit
  • Multi-currency support

Each additional user after this is $2/a person.

Web-Hosted or Locally Installed:

Web-hosted. No installations or downloads required.

Hardware or Software Requirements:

As a cloud-based software, Xero is compatible with any device so long as you have internet access and are using one of the following browsers: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari 8+. Xero also offers an accounting app for Android and iOS (9+). There is also

In addition, Xero Tax Touch is an app specifically for freelancers and independent contractors, and Xero Me can be used as a payroll management tool for employees and admin.

Specific Size of Business:

Xero was designed with the average small business in mind. However, the smallest plan limits users to only five invoices and 20 transactions, a fact which renders it almost pointless considering the other, more extensive accounting packages available for small business in the same price range.

On the flip side, Xero is unrivaled in its options for mid- to large-sized businesses (or any company in need of payroll). It offers unlimited users – yes, unlimited – which is almost unheard of in the accounting software world; it also provides some of the most extensive user permissions I have ever seen. Xero provides support for multiple companies, inventory, tracking, and payroll (so long as your state is supported, go here to double check).

Accounting Method:

Both accrual and cash basis accounting.

Ease of Use:

Full disclosure: I was expecting Xero to be a lot simpler and easier to navigate, especially considering how often users complain about the complexity of Quickbooks. But while Xero is significantly easier to learn that QuickBooks Pro, I don’t think it’s any more intuitive than QuickBooks Online.

Happily, Xero has markedly better customer support options than QuickBooks. What’s more, the UI is very appealing, and I’m not just saying that because blue is my favorite color. (Okay, well maybe I am…)

  • Setup – While simple, the setup process takes a good chunk of time. Most of this time is spent importing contacts, previous bank statements, items, etc. Based on the company information you provide, Xero creates a preset chart of accounts for you that usually only requires minor adjustments. The Xero dashboard will also prompt you to complete various setup tasks. These tasks are a generally a good idea, but I recommend starting by setting necessary automatizations and default preferences. Before sending invoices or importing transactions, I highly recommend creating an items list and adjusting your chart of accounts as needed. For those switching from QuickBooks, Xero offers detailed instructions to help make the transfer as seamless as possible.
  • Organization – The organization of Xero is pleasing overall, but not as intuitive as it could be. When I first began using Xero, I found myself thinking, “This can’t be everything.” The basic features are easy enough to discover, but some of the more in-depth features are harder to find at first. Once you get used to the software, however, navigation becomes simple. The dashboard offers a quick view of your company’s financial state. There is a toolbar across the top of the screen with tabs labeled dashboard, accounts, payroll, reports, contacts, and settings. In the right top corner, a + button provides a quick shortcut for adding invoices, bills, quotes, purchase orders, and most anything else you can think of. There is also a notification button and a help button.
  • Instructions and Guidance – Xero offers great help tools. Not only is the customer service spot on, the in-app search button answered nearly every question I ever had (pictured below). When you first use Xero, in-software videos and instructions pop up whenever you open a new feature for the first time. In addition, Xero has an extensive Help Center, various guides, and phenomenal how-to/getting started videos for those of us who are visual learners. There is one particular set of videos (Xero 101: Get Up and Running) I found particularly helpful. The degree of help you require will ultimately depend on your previous accounting knowledge, but whatever stage you’re at, Xero has plenty of help options for you to choose from.

Xero-settings

  • Problems – Besides the minor learning curve, I didn’t have very many problems with the software itself. I didn’t notice any bugs or glitches and the uptime was great. The few issues I do have with the software are regarding some of the features—or lack thereof.
    • Poor Invoice Templates – If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know I am pretty picky about invoicing options, particularly invoicing templates. While Xero offers some amazing invoicing features (like bulk invoicing), there is only a single invoicing template, and it’s very underwhelming. There are hardly any customizations options; in fact, all you can do is add your logo (though to be fair, there is an option to create and upload your own .docx invoice template). I would like to see Xero expand and offer more templates or at least more customizations. I also would love to see Client Portals similar to those of Zoho Invoice or Freshbooks.
    • Tedious CSV Imports – This was the worst part of my Xero experience—and the reason why set-up took so much time. In order to import .csv files into Xero, you have to spend a significant amount of time downloading Xero’s unique invoice format and reconfiguring your file to fit their template. This whole process could be streamlined and simplified.
    • Lack of Projects/Job Costing Feature – The lack of a project/task feature and the lack of job costing could be a big deal breaker for some small businesses. In defense of Xero, there are plenty of integrations that can address this issue, but it would be a nice addition to the Xero feature set (seeing as almost all accounting software provides this feature to a degree).

Features:

Xero is often praised for its robust feature selection. Below are some of the key features. You can find a full list here.

  • Dashboard – The customizable dashboard features a beautiful UI with graphs showing your bank accounts, invoices owed to you, bills you need to pay, expense claims, and other business performance graphs.

Xero-dashboard

  • Invoicing – Xero offers time-saving necessities including recurring invoices, automatic invoice reminders, default payment settings, bulk invoicing, and the previous invoice replication. I was incredibly excited about these options until I saw the invoices themselves. Xero only offers a single invoice template. Like I mentioned in the Ease of Use section above, you do have the option to create and upload your own template via .docx file, but overall, I was expecting more. This feature gets the job done, but I would love to see Xero step up their template design; after all, the visual appearance of an invoice says a lot more about a business than people might realize. Customers receive estimates and invoices as pdf attachments, and payment gateways are available for invoices.

Xero-invoice

  • Estimates – The estimate feature is a very basic one, but it gets the job done. There is a single estimate template. You can program default terms and conditions and quickly convert estimates into invoices.
  • Contact Management – Xero has some of the best contact management features I’ve seen thus far in my career. You can add the expected basic contact information, of course, including a default discount and sales tax for customers. But Xero takes this a step further through contact groups and smart lists. Smart lists act as marketing tools, allowing you to target certain groups of contacts. For example, you can create a list for loyal customers or customers in a specific state in order to offer promotional deals. You can also use these lists to invoice an entire group at once. Learn more about how to optimize smart lists here.
  • Accounts Payable – Adding bills is very similar to creating invoices. You can easily create recurring bills and purchase orders (that can later be converted into bills with a few clicks). If your supplier also uses Xero, simply save the invoice as a draft bill and save yourself some time. You can also make batch payments, enable recurring bills, and attach important documents or photos of the bill to Xero.
  • Bank Reconciliation – Xero’s smart categorization remembers the past transaction categories you used and automatically categorizes new transactions for you. Xero has a strong bank rules feature and makes it easy to split payments and transactions when needed. The only downside is that you still have to click each transaction individually to approve it. You can either set up live bank feeds or import bank statements manually (although you must connect to your bank account before you can import anything, which seems contradictory). Note: Like almost all software using live bank feeds, Xero partners with Yodlee, who may violate some banks’ Terms and Conditions. Consult with your bank to see whether live bank feeds are a good choice for you.

Xero-bank reconciliation

  • Inventory – Items can be saved with the following information: item code, price, account, tax rate, and picture. The track inventory option will record stock levels, average purchase costs, and the number of items committed to quotes. There are no email reminders for low stock and Xero does not allow your tracked items to ever go negative.
  • Payroll (Standard and Premium Only) – Xero payroll is available in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and 35 US states (but only seven of these states have electronic filing and tax payment options). Many customers love the payroll feature. It’s simple to use and incredibly extensive. You can customize pay schedules and keep track of benefits, deductions, overtime, bonuses, sick days, paid vacations, time off requests, and employee earnings all in one place.

Xero-payroll

  • User Permissions – Xero has some of the most extensive user permissions I have seen. There are five levels of permissions, as seen in the picture below. You can also require users to send completed invoices, bills, etc. in for approval rather than granting them access to send things freely.
  • Reports – Xero offers 65 reports (including 20 that are specific to payroll). These include everything from basic balance sheets and aged payables to detailed budgets and depreciation schedules. If you are looking for a profit and loss statement, however, you won’t find one; instead, you’ll find similar information with the income statement report. All reports are completely customizable and can be run with various time periods as well. You can star your favorite reports for quick access.
  • Default Emails – They’re everywhere! You can set default email messages for almost anything, which is a huge time saver.
  • Tracking – Xero allows you to set up two tracking categories, with 100 individual tracking options within each category. These categories are basically ways of organizing your information. Some people create categories for locations, teams, manufacturing, and more. Check out this article to learn more about how tracking can benefit your business.
  • Expense Claims – Xero allows you and your employees to file expense claims for reimbursement. Admin has the ability to view and approve all claims. This feature is far more advanced than most accounting software options, which usually allow you to deduct mileage alone.
  • Tax Forms and Support – Xero allows you to easily fill out W2s and 1099s by keeping all of your tax information in one place. You can also use the automatic asset depreciation feature to make your life a little bit easier.
  • Sales Tax –You can set default sales taxes for purchases, sales, and customers. Compound and combined taxes are supported. Xero also makes it easy to differentiate between inclusive and exclusive tax and partners with Avalara to automatically calculate sales tax based on addresses given. Watch this video to learn how it works.
  • Multi-Currency – Xero supports over 160 currencies. Currencies are updated hourly through XE, and reports can be customized and run in different currencies.
  • API – Xero has an open API for developers. Learn more here.
  • Imports and Exports – Xero has extensive import and export capabilities, but as I mentioned above, manually importing is often cumbersome and tedious, especially when using a .csv file. Here is a full list of all import and export options.

Customer Service and Support:

Customer service is available 24/7. Xero does not offer phone support, a fact which can turn people off at first, but the company has some of the best customer service and support I have ever seen, so don’t be too quick to reject the software on this basis.

Xero operates primarily on email support. Emails are supposedly answered within a 24-hour period, though in my experience response times were much faster. The longest I waited for a response was a grand total of sixty minutes – pretty impressive if you ask me. Responses were always friendly and direct. Some were a bit short, but I never found myself needing more information.

To top it all off, Xero has an incredible amount of additional resources. These include:

  • Email – Contact Xero at support@xero.com or sales@xero.com depending on the inquiry.
  • Live Chat – A live chat feature is available on the actual Xero site. This is best for sales inquiries, but representatives were usually helpful with questions about features as well (if nothing else, they would know what direction to point you in).
  • In-Software Help Button – As mentioned and pictured above, the in-software help button is a godsend. The search bar will pull up relevant help articles and videos. If you can’t find what you are looking for, you can message a representative directly from within Xero. You can also choose to let a Xero customer service agent have read-only access to your account so that they can better assist you with any problems you may be experiencing.
  • Help Center – Xero has a comprehensive Help Center with how-to articles and common troubleshooting issues for each feature.
  • Community Forum – Xero’s community forum is a place for users to answer each other’s questions and learn how other businesses are making use of Xero. Additionally, the forum has a section for update suggestions. Users can vote for different suggestions, and Xero claims that they will listen, although there are a few complaints that this is not the case (more on this in the Negative Reviews and Complaints section).
  • Guides – Xero has guides, guides, guides galore. There are small business guides, business type guides, and an accounting glossary—all of which are very informative and helpful.
  • Xero TV – Via the very extensive Xero TV, there are hundreds of well-categorized videos to choose from, though I personally found it a bit easier to find the videos I was looking for on YouTube (where the same videos are featured).
  • Podcasts – If 700+ videos are not enough for you, you can check out the Xero podcasts, featuring digital marketing strategy advice and CEO talks.
  • Accountant Messaging – You can send messages and questions to your accountant directly from within the software.
  • Xero UXero U is a sort of university or training program offered by the company. It includes online courses and occasional events.
  • Blog – The Xero blog is basically a full-fledged business newspaper that features business news, advice articles, ideas for success, etc.
  • Social Media – Xero has Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, though none of them are very active. I’d recommend checking out the support options above before looking at these.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

For the most part, Xero receives positive reviews, but there are some recurring complaints:

  • Mobile App Lacking – One of the biggest issues for users is the mobile app. People are disappointed with the functionality of the apps, especially compared to the desktop version. Users particularly want to be able to send quotes, convert quotes to invoices, and see their bank balances. There are also reports of bugs and crashes.
  • Limited Payroll – This is another major issue for US owners. Currently, there is only payroll support for these 35 states, and only seven of those have electronic filing and tax payment options. Many users complain that the process of adding the rest of the states is taking longer than they expected (though Xero did add 12 new states in 2016). Hopefully, this process will speed up.
  • Slow to Update – Along those same lines, some users say Xero is not quick to respond to user requests. The company does update their software frequently, in all fairness, but this complaint seems valid as there is yet no feature roadmap and still no sign of a payroll feature.
  • Not Intuitive – I am in the same boat with the users who say Xero is not very intuitive, or at least not as intuitive as they had hoped. There definitely is a bit of a learning curve, though I didn’t encounter any users who rejected the software for this reason.
  • Poor Customer Service – A few users take issue with the lack of phone support, although it is worth noting that QuickBooks offers phone support and even still can’t hold a candle to Xero when it comes to customer service.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

Most users are happy with Xero, and a few even say it is genuinely “fun” to use.

  • Easy to Use – The biggest response by far is that Xero is easy to use. Many accountants like Xero for this reason as well because they can teach their customers how to use the software quickly.
  • Large Feature Selection – Users like the large feature selection including payroll and reports.
  • Good User Settings – The extensive user permission settings are a big hit for quite a few users.
  • Mobility – A common point of praise is the mobility cloud-based software gives business owners. Some users also really like the mobile apps, though the general consensus is that they could use some work.
  • Lots of Integrations – Quite a few users commented that the 500+ integrations make their lives easier and make their businesses run smoother.
  • Better Than QuickBooks – Most users say Xero is the winner for them because it is easier to use and has better customer support. (Are you one of these users? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.)

Here’s what a few users are saying:

“Great support, great functionality, intuitive interface. I have zero complaints with Xero.” – Tammi DeVille Merrell

“Xero is a phenomenal platform that has dramatically impacted how we serve our clients. Xero is incredibly user-friendly, intuitive and collaborative. With Xero we know we can truly serve clients anywhere, anytime and become their trusted advisor” – Rickey Sanchez | Chaney Associates

“We tried so many other online accounting systems for our small business and none of them fitted the bill. The free ones were light on functions that you actually need. Xero was right on. It’s not super simple, but once you get the hang of it, it’s very quick and powerful.” – Tal Ziv | Silver Lining

Integrations and Add-Ons:

Xero has 500+ integrations, which almost makes up for the lack of a project or job-costing feature in my mind. If 500 integrations aren’t enough, Xero also integrates with Zapier, connecting the software to hundreds of additional add-ons. Some of these integrations are country specific, so make sure they are compatible before you make any additions or purchases.

Xero has all of the staple integrations you’d expect, but some of the most notable are:

  • Paypal – Accept online payments and enable electronic payment of invoices. Read our review here.
  • Stripe – Payment platform for both web and mobile payment methods. Read our full review here.
  • Shopify – E-commerce platform for online stores. Read our full review here.
  • Insightly CRM – Free project and contact management software.
  • Receipt Bank – Easy receipt data entry.
  • WorkflowMax – A much-needed project management tool that is owned by Xero.
  • Vend – A web-based POS system and retail management tool. Read our full review here.

Security:

Xero has a reputation for some of the strongest cloud security out there. Security measures include data encryption, 2-step authentication, and 24/7 monitoring at multiple locations. Data is back up daily across various servers and regular security audits are performed. Xero also boasts an impressive record of 99.97% uptime. For more details about Xero’s security, go here.

Final Verdict:

With a robust feature set and strong customer service, it is easy to see how Xero is a leading contender in the world of accounting software. I am blown away by the customer support the company offers. Features like unlimited users, strong permissions settings, bulk invoicing, and inventory tracking, along with hundreds of integrations and time-saving touches like default emails, put this software leaps and bounds ahead of most of the competition and make it a good match for many businesses.

What’s even more impressive is that Xero is only ten years old. QuickBooks has had a decade-long head start and yet Xero is still able to give the company a run for their money

However, at the current moment, Xero is still lagging a bit behind QuickBooks Pro with limited invoicing choices, no project management or job-costing features, weak mobile apps, and incomplete payroll support. The pricing could also be considered steep for smaller businesses when compared to other accounting packages. It’s not all bad news, though. If Xero keeps updating their software as rapidly as they have in the past, it seems likely that the company will lap QuickBooks in the near future and bring home the trophy as the best accounting software.

To see if Xero is right for you, give their 30-day free trial a spin. And stay tuned for the results of this race to the top!

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause

Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer
Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she's not working or daydreaming about visiting England, she can be found creating new stories, drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files.
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78 Comments

    Fred Cu

    This is the most stupid Accounting System I encountered. They have the so-called Locked Accounts and what it does is you won't be able to do an Adjusting Journal Entry which is one of the basic of Accounting process. So I would say this is a garbage system. I never encountered such stupid system.

    1
    Mike

    We are in the process of extracting our accounting from Xero after over two years of use. I would advise everyone to seriously consider if they really want to be trapped in online accounting. As soon as you stop paying, your data is inaccessible. Sure, there are ways to export but you will lose all the detail.The final straw for us is a lack of ability to charge late/finance charges. I made the stupid assumption that all accounting had this. The other things is lack of payment discount. We are returning to our OLD offline accounting that does all of that and far more. Even if we decide to use something else we will still have access to the old records.Many of Xero's shortcomings can be fixed with add ons that frequently cost more than Xero. Xero has a disincentive to include these "features" because they make money from the add on providers. They put most of their efforts into additions that will give them additional revenue and then tell us it was for us.Their real business is marketing to bring new people in and they know attrition will be limited because of the difficulty to get out.Consider carefully before stepping into the quicksand of online anything because you will be paying forever just to have access to your own data.I consider Xero's "Beautiful Accounting" a "whited sepluchre".

    1
    Roxie

    Xero is very basic as an accounting program. The market to which it markets it has no understanding of, is therefore unable to address any questions or requests coming from businesses in these markets.Customer Service is appalling. Many requests that are essential to business have been open in some cases more than 5 years and they seem to only reply to requests posted online once a year.If you looking to do partial invoices for one quote you have sent you are unable to. keep a separate spreadsheet for every job you quoted the partial invoices you sent, to ensure that when you need to reconcile you are able to keep track.There seems to be a add-on for every possible short coming of the program and be prepared to budget a lot for these add-ons.When you do quotes it does not keep track of revisions and does not carry over the titles and basic information to invoices. If you are doing multiple quotes and invoices for on client keep a separate spreadsheet to make sure you know what you changed in what revision should the client want to revert back to a older revision. Have the spreadsheet keep track of the headings so that you are able to know and give quick feedback as to which invoice was for which project allocated to which department.These are just a few points.

    1
    Joey Riso

    While there is much to like, there are also some maddening problems, not the least of which is the tedious email support.Because businesses have to file federal payroll deposits electronically (at least in the U.S.), you're in for a tedious reconciliation process every three months, because Xero splits the deposits up into a multitude of small deposits, while the IRS reports two transactions. That wouldn't be bad if Xero gave you some apparent way to group the small deposits - but they do not. You just have to work at it by trial & error until you hit the magic combination.There have been other problems as well - and each time support is slow to understand and slow to respond.Yes, I like Xero overall - but it is an immature product with a lot of details to be worked out.

    3
    Kindi

    I’m currently using QB online. It has been a very useful application, but there is a major problem. I have a small company with 4 users. The problem is that each user can see what the other users are doing. I wounder if Xero provides more privacy for each user. What I mean, I don’t want the quotation I make to be viewed by other users unless the other user is the administrator of the account.

    Would someone help me with an answer.

    thanks,

    Chelsea Gritten

    Hi Kindi,
    Thanks for reaching out to us! I’m happy to let you know that Xero has some of the best user permission settings out there. There are five levels of user permissions as seen in the picture below.
    Xero User Permissions
    The drop-down menu as seen under the “view reports” part of the picture gives you the choice of read-only access, no access, or full access to a specific feature.
    So while there are basically five different levels of user permissions, there is much customizability within the levels as well.
    I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any further questions.
    Best wishes,
    Chelsea Gritten
    Head Accounting and Invoicing Writer

    karen golding

    Look carefully at what you need... Yes its all easy and nice to use. Etc. After spending many months installing and migrating was shocked to find there is no way to see a sales report by customer. So uf need to see your customers weekly or monthly spend, know when they are are up/down. On/off. Choose something else..the forums are full.of disappointed businesses that cant track sales except for exporting excel sheetz and manually adding them up. Promises for years of this reporting. Never see it

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Warwick

    karen,
    You haven’t looked very hard – Go into “Contacts”, it’s in graphical format.
    If you go above the graph there is “invoice report” that will generate a list of every invoice for that customer.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Matt

    Xero is Terrible. I was charged for a year even though their QB-->Xero conversion was junk and they said I'd need to go through all entries and match up. Highly Advise NOT using XERO. Their Customer Service is not even good. I received "Check with the 3rd Party Conversion Provider" from them. Yeah, that is you XERO. And I've tried to contact you.Maybe if you start from Scratch Xero might work. But not if you have any sort of current business.

    1
    Oliver Furniss (Xero)

    Hi Matt, I’d be happy for you email me directly. I’m confused why you would have been charged for a year as all our pricing plans are month by month and allow you to cancel anytime. This will also depend on the conversion service you used. We do work closely with one in each region, but there are several that are not managed my Xero.

    Let me know if I can help.
    Oliver Furniss (Xero)

    Michael Penny

    Xero appears to do some things quite well, but it sure takes a long time to get used to it. I was introduced to an "account manager," someone who apparently didn't know accounting, nor much about Xero. His job appeared to be to refer me to another department--which would send me an email to their support section, most of which didn't work all that well.I had no fewer than six people contact me about a couple of different issues in converting, and no one could actually help me. Even when I thought the last person actually knew some accounting, she didn't know that you can't make a journal entry to a bank account....She said I could do. Their hearts were in it, which I love, but I needed some intellect on the other side....that was missing.

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    JC

    Xero DOES NOT allow sub-accounts. This is a major flaw in my opinion. Xero allows the layout to appear as sub-accounts, but you cannot create sub-accounts in the Chart of Accounts. And Xero has no intention of changing this.
    If sub-accounts is important to your business, then this software is NOT the one for you.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Steve

    Xero is a relatively new accounting firm. I switched over from QB online based on the recommendation of my x-bookkeeper. Xero was working relatively fine albeit with tons of glitches as compared to QB. The UI is clunky and cumbersome as compared to QB, but then again, they say it is what you get used to. That is, until few days ago when one of the laid off contractors ... get ready... deleted my entire company's file. Apparently, Xero has no restrictions in place for any of the user accounts while it's your job to maintain the logins for laid-off people - Xero allows unrestricted logins to anybody within the company. Any user account can erase entire company data without a trace and because Xero does not have ANY meaningful support (email only - 24 hours response - which sends canned responses routing you to their help page) - they have the power to kill any small business instantly. I would not trust this company with your sensitive data, as they have no regard for data security, privacy or even a slightest concern for paying customers.

    1

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    Warwick James

    Steve,
    I use Xero in Australia, and the records are not deleted, rather they are archived, and kept for taxation purposes, so I believe they should be able to restore it for you.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    VPeople Australia

    Notes on Xero - Asking my accountant if he can advise on quickbooksonline ?I am currently trying to get a few glitches sorted with Xero, as mentioned the recurring amounts our Company invoices. These are creating a challenge some months for the reconciliation as Xero do not tag their data by invoice number - which is insane. They only use the $amounts for data recognition. Xero reports the invoiced sales, and I have only realised that it requires MANUAL RECONCILIATION. Why bother with bankfeeds then Xero - if the package is not really capable of auto reconciliation against the income ? I can do that myself?There consequence of these major issues is that I cannot currently use Xero as the basis our Company reporting ! I still have to report actual revenue to you in my own summary as I have little trust that everything is working well. MOVING FORWARD - LOOKING AT OTHER OPTIONS Also as mentioned the SENT / VIEW function is in error at Xero as there is a glitch with this. I cannot therefore utilise the reminder function in the software.Overall I find this Xero quite ineffective. I think you mentioned quickbooksonline ? Very happy to consider another package as I am not gaining much in the way of assistance and efficiency utilising Xero. They do not know when the above software glitches will be fixed - but have noted there is common feedback on the above. I believe a good company would have had it done and sorted as soon as it became evident. Not fit for purpose as it is. Although they have been trying to improve there support - they are very difficult to get hold of - quickly ...meanwhile why you have a business to run. They are very quick to contact you if there is a delay with your monthly subscription fees! Thanks - so please forward any of your suggestions. Thanks

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    Warwick James

    I use Xero in Australia, and there are things to get your head around when you first start using it.
    I was told to use a bookkeeper with Xero experience to set it up, which I did, and have not experienced any of the problems you describe.
    I think you’ll find that if you go to Accounts > Sales>invoices and select “show all” > click on the “Search Button” to use the search feature.
    You can then search by invoice by number, reference, customer, or $ amount.
    Enter the invoice number, click search and it should come up.

    I think the reason you may not be able to reconcile with bank feeds using the OK button is that the invoices need to be move from drafts, which is where they sit while being worked on.
    Once Approved they will move to the “approved folder”
    Then they will apper in the RH colmn to be matched against bank feeds.
    No more going thru bank statements at the end of the month.

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    Bryan Miller

    We have been using Xero for six months...everything is okay when it works... but beware. If something does not work, or you have a question.... you will have NO SUPPORT from anyone except by email. Today, I tried to log in only to discover the 2-step authentication I turned on for security was preventing me from getting in.... what was worse, was I needed access so I could run payroll for our employees. Long story short, there is NO WAY to contact XERO in the USA except by email for support and then they say it "typically" takes 24 hours. I tried twice contacting the online chat feature on the website, but this is ONLY for sales. They were unable to help me. Good luck! We will be moving off XERO and going to Quickbooks. I need a service that we can depend on... and be able to contact when we have trouble.

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Bryan,

    Yes, the email-only support policy can at times be problematic. Did you send an email? If so, how long did Xero take to respond? My experience is that they will generally respond in under an hour to urgent issues (and if it’s a complex problem that’s difficult to resolve by email, they’ll give you a phone number to call). The last time I looked, they said they would typically respond to inquiries within 24 hours (as opposed to that their typical response time was 24 hours)–if you’ve seen something different, please send me the link so I can check into that and adjust the review accordingly.

    QuickBooks does offer phone support, but unfortunately that support often leaves something to be desired. I’d suggest checking out my review of QuickBooks Online for all the details on that, just so you can make a fully informed choice.

    If good phone support is a high priority for you, I’d recommend you check out Zoho Books (review here). It’s not quite as robust as Xero and QBO (most notably, there’s no payroll offering), but for small businesses without employees, it’s an excellent choice.

    Cheers,
    Katherine

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    Benjamin Mathieu

    Hi,I have not tried Xero's email/web form support yet. But last Saturday, I had diffulties to log in. Browsing was very slow. I did send a Tweet to Xero. They replied right away and they fixed the problem within 30 minutes. I think today, the phone is not necessarily the best way to get support even in Urgent situation. I prefer to wait 30 minutes for an email reply that being on hold over the phone for 15 minutes. Usually social networks replies are even instant. Phone is great when you need a lot of interaction to solve an issue.

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    Tom

    Does your firm receive any fees( referral or otherwise) from Xero?

    I’m currently evaluating this solution and need to know MVs level of impartiality

    Please advise.

    Thanks Tom

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Tom!

    That’s a great question, and I’m glad you asked. Yes, Merchant Maverick does receive referral fees–not only from Xero, but from many of the software providers we review. You can read all about how that works here. However, while Merchant Maverick makes money from referrals, I don’t know who’s paying us what per referral. For that matter, I’ve actively tried to avoid finding out for precisely the reason you mentioned: I don’t want to introduce any potential source of bias into my reviews. I get paid the same amount for a good review as a bad one, without ever knowing how much money the site may (or may not) be making off each individual review.

    So it makes no difference to me whether you buy Xero, QB Pro, Zoho Books, QBO, or something else. I want you to end up with a product that’s good for your business–and I hope you’ll buy something that’s a good fit on your first try (because changing accounting systems is a pain). That’s about it for my agenda.

    Certainly I do like Xero on the whole, but it has some drawbacks and I don’t recommend it for everyone. If you haven’t already looked at it, I’d recommend taking a quick glance at the article I wrote on how to choose accounting software, just in case there are any factors in there that you haven’t yet considered.

    I hope this helps. Best of luck to you!

    Katherine

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    Jack Dixon

    Nice ad, by the way. I love how you disguised it as a software review.It's a shame that Xero STILL provides almost zero support for its users and thinks it can function a million miles away (and unreachable) from business owners who don't have time to sit at the laptop for hours on end trying to get expensive software to function the way they're paying for it to function, and wait for days for a canned email response.Our MindBody was somehow disconnected from Xero (could it be your big server move?), and I got an email advising me to re-integrate it. The reintegration failed because Xero's API site is unreachable. I'm dead in the water, and no one available to fix this.

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Jack,

    Sorry to hear about your problems with Xero. From your wording (“your big server move”), it sounds like you think this site is a part of Xero; it isn’t. (I’d suggest you read the response I just wrote to Tom for more info on how this site works.) So unfortunately, I can’t help you with getting in touch with Xero’s customer service.

    However, should you have the time, I’d like to hear a bit more detail about what you’re experiencing (how long the email lag times have been, how long you’ve been using the software, whether support’s gotten better or worse over that time, etc.). In my own experience, customer service at Xero has become an iffier proposition than it was back in 2013, when I first reviewed the software. Obviously, personal experience means a limited sample size, so I’m always interested in hearing about end users’ experiences–and I take those experiences into account each time I update the review.

    Good luck, and I hope that you’re able to get things resolved. Or, if you want to find a different software solution, there are plenty available. It’s hard to make a specific recommendation without knowing the details of your accounting needs, but this will give you an overview of some of your options.

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Mike

    Xero has been moving to new servers which has been mostly uneventful. We have had some invoices that Xero sends bounce because they were considered spam. Xero support was reasonably fast but wouldn’t even acknowledge that they could be at fault. I’m sure they are.

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    Jonathan

    I started using Xero payroll for California after using the accounting software for a while. The accounting software is fine but I strongly advise that you don’t use their payroll services. Basically they don’t really account for the particular requirement for a given state. They expect you to anticipate and know many nuances of the state’s requirements that can easily wind up in late payments or incorrect payments unless you are deeply versed in the details of a state’s payroll rule. This entirely defeats the purpose of a payroll service in my opinion. Long story short, I wound up with all sorts of fines (hundreds of dollars) and Xero refuses to take any responsibility. Their payroll service is half-baked at best.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Chuck Hawks

    Hi Katherine,
    I’m a small business owner on the hunt for accounting & invoicing software to replace my hybrid of manual and Deductr solution(s). My business is a bit niched and has a few special needs that I’ve not seen mentioned in any of your very helpful reviews of the major players (i.e. billing at a day rate instead of hours/hourly time tracking, Sub-categorized line items that are included in said day-rate, etc.)

    More interestingly though and to my most prevalent curiosity/question(s), Xero is among my short list but I am a little confused by the text in your review here…
    In the ‘Problems’ section, you state:
    “Lack of Automated Features – Xero does not offer automated invoice reminders, overdue notices, or receipts upon payment.”

    Yet later in the ‘Features’ section under the ‘Invoicing’ bullet, you state:
    “You can also set up automatic payment reminders and send receipts to customers upon payment.”

    These two statements seem in conflict with one another. Can you please elaborate and/or clarify for me the current functionality around automated invoice reminders, overdue notices and receipts upon received payments – as well the possibility of automating ‘Thank You’ notes to go with those receipts?

    Also, across Xero, FreshBooks, QBO, and perhaps FreeAgent (sounds like UK vs. US differences are still something of a show-stopper for FreeAgent) – could you lob a suggestion on the best solution for a business that is mostly solo prac. with 1099 contractors when the need to scale emerges?
    A little more detail on my business model/needs are:
    * FAR from being an accountant/bookkeeping expert
    * Could benefit greatly from features like estimated quarterly federal tax calculations (USA)
    * Offers acceptable, if not robust reports my tax preparing/filing CPA would love
    * A business model that charges a daily rate for services provided across several industry verticals
    * Little-to-no product inventory needs (at this time anyway)
    * The need to do both non-billable and billable expense tracking that’s easily included on invoices
    * Easily customized invoices and email templates
    * The ability to export all data should we decide to go in a different direction for accounting solution (one of the eyebrow raisers I’ve seen several times is getting “data trapped” with a cloud-based vendor; and that concerns me.

    Many Thanks!!
    Chuck

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Chuck!

    Thanks for your message, and my apologies for the (very) late response! I was away for a few weeks and am just now catching up the comment queue. In the event you’re still looking for software, I hope the following will be helpful; if you’ve found something, please feel free to post about your solution and let us know how it’s working for you!

    Good catch on the conflict in the article. I’d overlooked one of those sections on my last update. I’ve just corrected that error and brought the article completely up to date. Xero does offer automated invoice reminders and overdue notices. You can also send receipts by clicking a link each time you record a payment. (You can’t set up receipts to send automatically . . . yet.) As for “Thank You” notes, you can set up a custom email template to accompanies receipts, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

    As for the daily rate, you can handle that in pretty much any accounting/invoicing program by creating a service item for your day rate. If you have different day rates for different services, you can just create one for each.

    Based on what you’re telling me, I think Xero is probably the best match for you. I’d avoid FreshBooks; you’ll shell fair amount of money for what is not actually an accounting program, and it won’t be able to scale with your business past a certain point. If you really want to go the invoicing software route, then I’d recommend Zoho Invoice–that way, at least, you can easily scale up to Zoho Books when you need full accounting capabilities.

    As for estimated taxes, I’ve yet to see a single decent accounting program which also gives you easy estimated tax tracking. Probably because traditionally, tax software has been its own separate thing. But the truth is, estimated taxes aren’t too bad to handle manually–at least, not compared to most accounting tasks. So long as you can see your business profit/loss to date (and any accounting program will show you that), you can devise a spreadsheet to do all the heavy lifting for you. (That’s what I do.) If that sounds like too much of a hassle, you might ask your CPA for recommendations.

    Hope that helps, and good luck!

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Warwick James

    I am extremely disappointed at not being able to “talk” with someone about use of the API by a third party.
    I don’t work from an office and am out of mobile (cell) phone coverage numerous times during the day.

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    Yves Leduc

    I registered on Xero in Canada about 2 months ago. I had a conversion made from QB desktop to Xero that cost me 250$ via a 3rd party.
    The service is non existant, I contacted them because my bankfeed don’t work. It’s now been over 72 hours and still I haven’t receive any feedback. I contact the bankfeed support, the general support AND the rep for Canada and still no answer of any kind.
    At this point I’m contemplating going back to QB, since it’s a lot easier to get service, either from QB directly or from the 100’s of specialists available.
    The software looks great, but if I can’t use it, it become a worthless system.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Yves,

    Thanks for posting about your experience. Have you tried contacting Xero via FaceBook or Twitter? In my experience, it’s highly unusual not to get an email response within 24 hours, let alone 72.

    Cheers,
    Katherine

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    Scott Dell

    Although as a CPA, I have found the software relatively easy to use, I have issues with their vendor relationships, especially their choice for credit card processing. I started using their related vendor, Stripe, through XERO. Stripe has extremely POOR customer service and no phone access - only eamil. My first "successful" charge was $240 on 3/22/16. Since then, we have processed over $16,000. We have received $0. Repetitive support requests have gone unanswered even though they claim to respond within 24-48 hours. It has been OVER A WEEK with no response and no money. I contacted XERO to say if who is in charge of their vendor relationships, but was told that I needed to contact Stripe directly. Xero at least had someone I could talk to on the phone, even though they were not able or willing to help.

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Scott,

    Sorry to hear about your problems with Stripe. While Xero allows you to use Stripe as a payment processor, the two companies aren’t related (which is why Xero support couldn’t help you on this issue). Xero does, however, offer a good selection of other payment processor integrations; have you considered switching to a different option? You can view all payment processors that integrate with Xero here. Some of our top-reviewed picks from those available include PayPal and Authorize.Net.

    Best of luck!
    Katherine

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    David Holland

    The customer service at Xero is appalling! After updating my credit card details and seeing card was verified on the Xero system I hit the "pay now" button. I now keep getting a message from Xero in response to my numerous queries as to why my account is suspended to the effect that my card has been declined. However my card provider confirms that in fact Xero has accessed the new card three times in the past week. Yet Xero customer care (Misnomer?) keeps sending the same response with no attempt to resolve the matter or contact me directly.

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    Ed Joella

    Hi Katherine,

    Considering an alternative to QB pro desktop. Any idea if there is a timeline to increase the 10-employee payroll limit in Premium?

    Thanks for the comprehensive review.

    Ed Joella

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Ed,

    You’re in luck: a plan with a higher limit already exists. I’ll be updating the review with this info soon, but here it is for you now: https://www.xero.com/us/pricing/premium/

    Xero can handle payroll for up to 200 employees (on the Premium 100 plan, using the maximum payroll extension).

    Best of luck! Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Katherine

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    Viral Shah

    Hi Katherine,

    I am an accountant at a Registered Online Training Organisation. The business is looking at getting a new accounting software. I have used MYOB over the years but its hard to customize reports in there. I need a system to integrate with Job Ready (for student records), track direct debit payments, forecast recurring revenues and be able to do accounting and payroll functions? Does XERO provide us with the above ? If so, what sort of training is provided?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Viral,

    Xero does have a JobReady integration, and it can track direct debit payments. As for forecasting recurring revenues, it depends exactly what you need. You can definitely set up recurring invoices, bills, expenses, etc. But if you’re looking for a full cashflow forecast, then the only way I’m aware of that Xero does that is through Excel, and it’s pretty clunky. Since I’m much more familiar with the US version than the Australian version, this would be a point worth checking with Xero directly. The company is currently in the midst of making some big changes to its reporting framework.

    As for accounting and payroll functions, yes, Xero has all the basics and a number of rather nice extras. You can find training information here.

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    John Mickerson

    I cannot figure why this program keeps getting 5 stars. It may be great for accountants but for me, as a business owner who has to enter all the transactions and do the payrolls, it is extremely user unfriendly and they have totally ignored all my suggestions which would make it more user friendly. You’ll only get 2 stars from me.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi John,

    Thanks for your review. Can you tell me any specific difficulties you’ve run into?

    Thanks!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    John Mickerson

    Hi Kathrine,

    Sorry for the delay in my reply – I am a busy man.

    Lets start with a fairly simple issue with Payroll and work up. When I do a Pay Run I work through each employee’s pay sheet, about 10 in all, and with each one at the bottom of the page I click “Save and Next” and it neatly takes me to the top of the page of the next employee. So far so good. But when I finish the last employee it only gives me the choice to “Save” or to “Close” But I want to Save and Close. So I have to click “Save” which takes me to the top of that employee’s page again at which point I have to scroll to the bottom to click “Close”.

    Suggestions – at the bottom of the last employee page have a “Save and Close” option.

    So no big deal but it is frustrating and symptomatic of greater functionality issues such as:-

    There are times when, believe it or not, I make a mistake and put a transaction, often with a file attached, in the wrong Register. So what do I have to do? I first have to remove the attached file then remove the transaction and go to the correct register and put the whole thing in again.

    Suggestion – In the transaction “Options” box have a “Move to” option. When you click on to it a list of all the other Registers appears and you simply click on to the appropriate Register and, problem solved. Other accounting programs cater for this.

    Yes, not something that happens that often but it sure is annoying when it does.

    Now for things that happen on a daily basis.

    When I want to search for a particular transaction, usually by Contact, I either have to go through Reports or search in the register I think it is in. In both cases it is time consuming particularly if I get the wrong register or if I have used different registers for the same Contact.

    Suggestion – Have a “Transaction Search” box on the Dashboard which finds the transactions regardless of which Register they are in.. Simple and extremely time saving.

    Next, in a program I have used in the past when I entered the name of a Contact, the program automatically populated the transaction with either the entries of the previous transaction for that Contact or a specifically memorised transaction for that Contact. On Xero, when I want to copy a previous transaction first I have to search for it (note previous issue), then click onto it, then click the “Options” box and finally click “Copy” Very cumbersome in comparison.

    Suggestion – when typing in a Contact for a transaction automatically populate the transaction entries as for the previous transaction for that Contact or a specifically memorised transaction for that Contact.

    Finally, something else other accounting programs do automatically but perhaps not too easy to explain. When I have a few lines to enter into a transaction on other programs when I put the total of the transaction in the total box then go to fill in the different lines of the transaction the program automatically deducts the figure I enter in each line from the total so that when I open a new line the remaining amount automatically appears in that line. Thus when I get to the last line I don’t have to calculate the difference between the total and the amount already accounted for. It is surprising how often I need to do this calculation.

    Suggestion – For this and all the other issues above look at the functionality of other accounting programs such as Quicken to get ideas on how the program can be made not only Accountant friendly but also Business owner friendly as well.

    Regards
    John Mickerson

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    Linda Brown

    I have recently switched from QB’s to Xero and have been very happy with the user friendly format. In answer to a couple of your issues:

    There is a little magnifying glass in the upper left corner that is a fantastic search tool. When I type in a contact it brings up a list all transactions associated with that contact sorted by type of transaction. It is very useful.

    Also, auto fill-in is fraught with danger if one is not paying attention. I use the Xero ‘repeating bill’ feature which solves the issue of re-typing info every month. A bonus is that the repeat bills appear in ‘drafts’ on the dashboard when their due date rolls around. Also, ‘contacts’ have financial fields for purchase and sales default settings that will auto fill-in when that contact is chosen from the drop down list as it is typed in the ‘from’ or ‘to’ field of a bill or invoice.

    Another feature that I like a lot is the bank reconciliation. After uploading my month’s bank statement in csv format, all of the matching transactions already entered appear in a list. I am asked to approve each match individually. If there is no match, I am allowed to enter the info, click match, and when done with this list, my bank statement and Xero records are accurately reconciled!
    My organization’s exec. director likes the user friendly format and is finding it much easier to learn than our QB’s desktop.

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    Linda Brown

    I have just switched the small nonprofit I work with as the accountant/bookkeeper. We converted from QBs and are very happy so far. Conversion of prior year data was quick. Each of my 3 queries during this set up process have been answered promptly and accurately. I send the question in the evening and when I log in the next morning the correct answer is waiting for me. Have been very happy with Xero tech support.I will comment more as we use Xero to help others in their decision to switch to Xero.Linda BrownThe Art GarageDenver CO

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    Katherine Miller

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks for your review, and I’m glad to hear that Xero is working out so well for you! Please feel free to post updates as you continue to use the software.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Ed Dabrowski

    I am financial advisor to a publishing co with 17 million (US$) revenue and 5 million in returns. They
    are considering switching their A/R operation from Trilogy to Xero.
    Monthly activity is approx. 1,600 invoices and 1,400 credits. They grant 90 day terms and have a few thousand deductions. I have 2 major concerns: Xero keeps referring to itself as a small business software provider. Can they handle my client’s A/R with up to 20,000 open items? Also can Xero’s A/R system provide a way to code customer deductions as to type (pricing dispute, improper freight charges, shortages, etc.)?
    When I communicate with Xero’s support staff they always say “Yes, of course we can do that”. They provide some links but these are not useful.
    Is Xero robust enough for my client’s volume & complexity?
    PS – I like your adventurous spirit. 17 years ago I joined with 750 others (most like me were in mid-life crisis) for a 3,200 bicycle trek from Washington state to Washington DC. It was life changing
    for me. All who wander are not lost

    Ed

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Ed,

    Thanks for your question. My first impulse is to say your client is on the upper end of what Xero can handle, and may be beyond it. Give me a day to review some research and notes, and I’ll see if I can give you some specifics. 🙂

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi again Ed,

    All right; I knew I’d seen maximum invoice numbers for Xero somewhere, but sadly, they date to 2013, which means they’re almost certainly no longer accurate. (At the time, Xero recommended an invoice volume of no more than 500/month for maximum performance–but the program has grown a lot over the past 2 years.)

    As for the coding, do you mean that you want to use different accounts for tracking each of those types of credits? If so, no problem; you can customize your chart of accounts and code accordingly. If you’re looking for something else, I’d advise signing up for a free trial and exploring the program to see if it can do what you need. (Actually, I’d highly recommend doing that in any case.)

    When you’ve communicated with Xero’s support staff, do you know whether you’ve communicated with support or sales? My experience has been that the support people are often much better informed than the sales people. If you’ve just talked with sales, I’d recommend trying support (use the email listed in the review). Explain your situation as you did in your comment above. If you get anything less than a clear and full explanation that addresses everything you need, respond with the specific info you need and ask them to have someone call you to discuss it–or see if there’s a way you can get in touch with a product manager.

    Best of luck! Let us know how it works out!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Lisa

    I have operated many accounting programs (MYOB, Quick books and larger POS systems and SAP systems. Zero is the easiest program I have ever operated. This system is amazing, it matches my bank feeds against my records and is fantastic with invoicing especially multi-page. We travel a lot with our business, and this is just so assessable. Today, I have just completed my BAS early, for the first time in twenty years. My accountant recommended this system and I’m very happy with it. This system is just so easy, the help functions answer all my queries. I don’t understand some of the negative feedback. This program is close to perfect.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Samantha Cranny

    The problem with XERO is they pitch it to accountants and book keepers, subscriptions should only be sold to the person paying for it, as there are alot of rogue book keepers and accountants who hood wink clients by saying hte subscription is much more expensive if you do not subscribe through them, this is just a way of them robbing you for their services and then holding a gun to you head when you discover they wont transfer the subscription unless you pay for all their outrageous charges. A very convenient place for them to rip people off. Its a total trap, as XERO also wont let you back up your own data, if you have a problem like this or retire but need to keep you business records for the next 7 x years you loose everything unless you keep paying the subscription. NOT GOOD, they have a long way to go still, but should look after the people paying to support them not the gold digging opportunists!!! THATS what is pissing people off, I am now looking for other programs that do exactly what XERO does but are not so expensive and who value the people who support them.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Samantha Cranny

    Extremely Poor Customer Service You cannot back up your data or receipts.You cannot leave as you cant get your information and copies of receipts.Entrapment, they ask book keepers and accountants to subscribe you and then you cannot have them removed if you are not happy with their services, yet your the one paying the subscription.Risk of loosing all your information as you cannot transfer it over to another account.Shame really as the concept is good but the game plan is deceptive and misleading and not fun for the end user, the people that are actually growing their business.Feed up with these greedy types that beg for support and then we they get it drop you like a hot potato.

    1

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    Sherry

    Xero is a terrible company. My CPA set me up with it. It worked for 2 days with bank feeds, but I didn't know there was a problem since we started it up in December 2014. I paid for 6 months of fees and also spent dozens of hours working on my books to find out I had no books. When I complained they said it is my fault and would not refund any of my money. So far they haven't even refunded me the extra $30 for the month they charged me for after my complaint. I am out $180 plus hours of my time and now must repurchase Quickbooks and redo my entire year of books for 2014 before I can complete my taxes!By the way, I am a Financial Planner, have a degree in Accounting, have owned a Bookkeeping Service and 25 years ago was one of the owners of a Construction Software Company that was sold to Intuit. We would never have treated our clients like they didn't matter and tell them they were wrong. Xero has ZERO support and it is an awful system. I will go back to a Quickbooks desktop version, no Online for me. If I could give minus stars I would. These guys are thieves!

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Sherry,

    I’m sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. Can you tell me a little more of what you mean by “spent dozens of hours working on my books to find out I had no books”? Are you saying that data you entered disappeared? Any details would be helpful–that will help me to check for the problem the next time I test the software.

    Thanks!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sherry

    Katherine,
    It was December when I received the software and I thought it went through all of 2014, but it didn’t. It was missing the last few days of the year. I worked on setting it up and then had questions that took time to get answered since the support is not easy to access with Xero. I was off running my business and took some time to get back into the books. Over the next few months I worked on them as I could knowing I needed to get them done for our taxes with my CPA. My CPA didn’t have the time to get to my taxes so we extended them, when I went in again to do the Adjusting Journal entries that needed to be done, and I could always do with Quickbooks, I saw that the system wanted my CPA to update it. I went to his office for an appointment even though I could see the books were not complete and he tried to update the banking as I had tried before him, he wasn’t in control of it, nor was I. Then I called his Sales guy to get some human help in what to do, you don’t have a phone number anywhere on the darned planet to talk with a human. At that time he was willing to get back to me “the next day” with information on giving me a refund for those months that could be used against future months and also to have someone from support, “a human” call me to show me what needed to be done to fix the bank feed. No call the next day and I was back working on my own busy business. Another month went by and I got charged again for another $30! I still was dead in the water with no accounting software and no bookkeeping for my tax return. I again got ahold of my CPA who started emailing his Sales Guy to find out what was happening. It seems that Xero had decided to ignore my request through the Sales Guy. Even though I was still trying to work with Xero it went from bad to worse when Xero started telling me it was my own fault the software had only worked for 2 days with my bank and I should have known that. Well I didn’t know that, I was working on the 2014 books and wasn’t looking for the 2015 bank numbers. They would not give me any type of refund towards future monthly charges, I haven’t even seen the $30 payment returned that was for the month that went by after the Sales Guy was trying to “assist me”. By now, I am fed-up and angry that Xero is telling me it is my error and too bad for me! Why would I send your company any more money. I canceled my software with Xero and now have to buy Quickbooks and redo my books for 2014 so I can get my taxes done before the extension deadline. The software was useless to me, I cannot finish my 2014 books with it since the problem was never addressed fully. Yesterday I went in and found I haven’t been reimbursed for the last month of $30 and wrote again to your email support saying to refund my money. Basically, I am at the mercy of Xero with no way to deal with it other than taking more of my very valuable time to give you a bad review! And, yep I am still angry and will find another time to complain and give more bad reviews elsewhere on the Internet. People need to know how poorly I feel I have been treated over $180 and many hours of my time taken away from my business.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Sherry,

    Thank you for taking the time to detail your experience – that’s very helpful info for me (and for other readers) to have. Regarding re-doing your books, I understand your desire to switch programs as soon as possible, but have you tried uploading the missing transactions in a csv document to Xero? If you’re only missing the last few days of the year and already have the rest of your info in Xero, it seems that would be a much faster, easier option than re-doing all of 2014 in QB. Then you could switch to QB for the 2015 financial year.

    Good luck!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sherry

    Thank you for the idea, but they already deleted my account so there are no more books on Xero. As I said I seem to be at their mercy with this mess.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Benjamin Mathieu

    Hi,

    Xero does not delete your datas when you cancel your subscription. They archived it. Otherwise, no company would ever trust them to put its book in their hand. As a cloud accounting business software, it is not conceivable.

    You can re-activate your subscription and then access your datas by contacting Xero support.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Yana

    Katherine,you replied to my comment from today in the article "Xero VS QuickBooks Online". I am responding HERE because:1) the button to "REPLY" in my email leads me to the right article but does not open a reply window or lets me reply.2) When I click on Leave a Comment, nothing happens so I couldn't reply this way either. I tried a different browser, same exact things happened.(I wonder if there is a rule that the same person cannot comment more than once??)So you were asking me where is the Chat in Hero - the chat is on EVERY website page, conspicuously in the lower right corner.Thanks!

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi again Yana,

    Sorry to hear about your problems posting. There is no policy against a person commenting more than once, so I’m not sure what was happening there, but I’ll look into it in case it’s an issue on our end.

    Regarding live chat in Xero, I think you’re referring to the “Live Sales Chat.” Is that correct? If so, that chat is not in fact tech. support. Both QBO and Xero offer a live sales chat feature, and the salespeople can help inform you about the product–but it’s not support for once you’ve actually signed up and are using the program. I hope that helps clear things up!

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Yana

    Oh! You mean that once you sign up, the chat disappears and is no more? This reminds me of the parable of the man who died and wandered at the Gates, unable to choose between Heaven or Hell. Both offices offered him a "trial" day in each, to help him decide for himself. His day in Heaven consisted of nice things like singing and being virtuous all day long. It was nice but a bit boring. Hell was something else. An endless party, with drinking and women... real, hearty fun! The man was certain he wanted to be admitted into Hell. The next day he went in there for good. But what was his surprise to see the party tables now gone, and only horrendous fires, and victims endlessly burning in them, while prodded by the little devils. He asked where the party was and was told - "This was just a celebration for your arrival". He tried to leave but there was no way back. He had signed on for eternity.Very similar to Hero's chat, eh? I can't imagine how they wouldn't have chat. I am also discovering some very nasty details of their integration with Square - an angle that is perhaps foreign to MerchantMaverick but very important to many who come to Hero through Square (for Square customers, Hero and Zoho Books are the only two alternatives to QB which has some hair-pulling issues integrating with Square and is best avoided for now). But Hero doesn't sync Inventory with Square - which is really bad. I don't know what to think anymore. Wherever you turn, people scream in horror. I'd love to see some stats on what businesses of different kinds actually use.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Yana,

    The chat doesn’t disappear; you’ll still see it on Xero’s homepage, but you will not (during the free trial or afterward) see it from within Xero’s software–and as said, it’s not there for tech support. Since it’s clearly labeled as “Sales Chat” and not “Chat Support” I don’t see it as a bait-and-switch, though I can certainly see where you’re coming from on that.

    Live chat support isn’t actually all that common where accounting software is concerned; most of the major players in the field don’t offer it. That may change as cloud accounting continues to become more popular.

    Thanks for the info on the Square integration. Yes, you can’t use tracked items in Xero with the Square integration, at least for now. Since inventory tracking is a relatively new feature in Xero, that too may change in time–though I realize that doesn’t help people who are looking for an integration to use immediately.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jez Stratton

    Used MYOB for years. long enough so that I truly hate their pricing model and support. Moved to Wave and fell in love with it. Managed to input an entire year of data and straighten it out over a few evenings. Got frustrated with their lack of Job Costing or Tagging. Decided this was a must have. Tried Xero for a trial and was very disappointed. Compared to Wave the interface is clunky and time consuming. It looks like a program for an accountant rather than a small business owner. It may be good under the hood but so far nothing beats Wave for ease of use.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Cristy Murray

    I've been using Xero since the beginning of 2015. I can't even express how much I dislike this program. I've been a bookkeeper for 18 years and have never been so frustrated as I am with Xero. I'm going to list several of my complaints here:No running balance on checking or credit card accounts. It makes it so much more difficult to find discrepancies. And really, I just want to reconcile my checking account the good old fashioned way so I know my ending balances at the end of the month.Unable to email a report directly from the system. It has to be downloaded and then sent as an attachment.I have to manually add lines to invoices. I have some clients who have over 50 lines. Journal entries add automatically, but not invoices.Can't see to whom an invoice was emailed after the fact. and can't bcc anyone.Report dates change every time I look at a detail from within the report. Can't look at a vendor or customer window and see all invoices and payments. Have to click through a bunch of things to get the info. Very annoying.These are just some of my complaints but they are enough that I am planning on switching back to QBO. Seems to me these are basic bookkeeping requirements for any software and Xero just doesn't get it.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    JS

    We moved from QB to Xero for construction operations. Xero in many ways is still lagging behind what QB offers especially for contractors. However we moved from QB and ADP because Xero is great in that it does accounting, payroll, and now tax filing(I believe) in one economical package.What we didn't like is their software has issues (bugs) in their business logic layer that as (I have a programming background) is of concern. For example the system would not verify which account a transaction is made from, but would make an assumption (instead of having it grammatically verify) and posted payroll transactions to the wrong account. Worse these are locked so you can't correct them. Also their system rejected the correct address, accepted wrong address, and then required a programmer to fix it? It really disturbing and makes you think the programming is held together with duct-tape :-)Perhaps this is also a pet peeve but in the name of account integrity they don't allow any invoice to be deleted (only voided) so if you load test data or try out the software and decide to use it guess what all your junk trail stuff is in there. Again I view this a programming issue, some programmer probably thought it was a great idea to use the Invoice number as the Unique Identifier or Key for the table. This means in a relational database you don't want delete those items. So instead of saying "hey when we made this software we made a poor choice and so we can't let you delete an old invoice because it will break the system - they say it's for GAAP or financial integrity. They could have done the same thing by using a different key not tied to the Invoice number and just disallow duplicates on the invoice number. That way you could "delete" an invoice which would just remove the number from the underlying data without deleting it leaving it there for an audit if needed. This is a particular issue if you use WFM and you need to redo an invoice.Also they way oversell the abilities and integration between Xero and their other product Work Flow Max. You can't import time from WFM into Xero, forget round tripping it. Also marking an invoice paid in WFM doesn't mark it paid in Xero or viceversa. All the integration does is send client contacts and some invoice data to Xero, very limited. WFM is a very dated and very cumbersome product to use. They are trying to modernize it, but even the changes they are making is more lipstick on a pig than any real fixing of the underlining pinning that are the real issues.

    3

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi JS,

    Thanks for your review–you’ve pointed out several weaknesses that it’s good for people considering Xero to know about. For testing out features or entering sample data, Xero does have a Demo Company set up, but I can certainly understand the frustration with being unable to completely erase old data, sample invoices, etc. if you’ve entered it into your own account.

    According to WFM’s website, payments recorded in Xero will show up in WFM–did you not find that to be the case?

    Cheers,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Winston

    We are currently using quickbooks premier but have been encouraged to give Xero a try due to the easy integration and import functionality with our CRM system. I read through these reviews and want to know if you are aware if Xero supports Canadian payroll system or if there is an app or extension for this. Thanks.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Winston,

    Xero doesn’t have a built-in payroll function for Canada, but there are a few apps you can use. PaymentEvolution and SimplePay are the two I’m aware of; you can also check Xero’s add-on marketplace for others.

    Best of luck!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Grant Nelson

    Thanks for your suggestion on PaymentEvolution for Canadian payroll. We evaluated them and Simpelpay and found PE to be MUCH simpler to use. The payroll integration with Xero sends draft invoices – it would be nice to see deeper integration but I suspect Xero doesn’t allow that in their API. PE was also inexpensive and their new business payments integration with Xero allows us to pay our vendors electronically in seconds.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Barbara Sinclair

    I must admit to being surprised at how positive people are with Xero’s online support. It is slow and completely out of line with alternative immediately available support, eg Sage. I have waited up to 3 hours as a partner for a reply, time I have had to effectively sit on my hands unable to proceed. But more importantly, on 2 occasions I have had blase WRONG replies because technical support scanned over the email and assumed incorrectly the problem. On the first occasion, I was able to discuss and correct it. On the second occasion, after several explicit and detailed emails I was still given the wrong information, apologised for afterwards by Xero, which resulted in serious damage being done to my clients records resulting in a lot of expense to correct – which cost Xero contributed only marginally towards. Xero need to up their game with their support.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Steff

    I doing accounting for small businesses & startups, and I heard nothing but great reviews on Xero, so I switched one of my clients over to Xero. I have never been so frustrated with a service before. Many simple things (like doing a journal entry to cash) is not allowed. When I spoke with a representative, I was told "there should be no reason to create a JE to cash." This is typically true, but there are times when I need to and it makes my life a lot easier. I have a list quite long of similar to this and what I got the census is that Xero is made more for business owners in that it prevents manipulating transactions (mistakenly or purposely), but this causes a lot of irritation for accountants on simple tasks. If I enter a date wrong on a bill that's been paid, I can't just edit it, I have to delete the bill payment and then the bill and redo it. My bank doesn't sync with Xero so I have to manually enter transactions and my most irritating issue in Xero is that it doesn't have auto-recall for vendor transactions, so I have to reference a print-out of what vendors go to which account. I've had to find work arounds for things I do in one step in QuickBooks online. I'm transferring back to QuickBooks Online.

    2

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Steff,

    Sorry to hear about your frustrations with Xero. It is true that Xero is geared towards business owners rather than accountants, though many of the accountants I’ve heard from are quite fond of it.

    While I haven’t tested every feature you mentioned, I will provide a little clarification for readers on the bill editing issue: If you try to edit the date on a bill which has been paid, you do indeed need to delete the payment before you can make the change, then redo the payment afterwards. However, you don’t need to delete the bill itself. Once a bill is marked unpaid, it can be edited as needed.

    Good luck as you make the switch back to QuickBooks Online!

    Best,
    Katherine

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    Andy Peterson

    Great article and would like to second Ryan's comment. We are a Xero partner and have found the support of the Xero team second to none. Additionally, while unique to other DIY accounting products, Xero partners are providing the personalized support direct to their clients. Many small business owners have grown accustomed to calling an outsourced international call center for other products, however the seamless collaboration within Xero has permitted us to provide personalized support, custom tailored to our clients nationwide and even globally on a few occasions. While noted as challenges in the typical software environment, they are opportunities for accounting professionals to partner with business owners and not just provide software support. Also, while not always native components of Xero, the Add-on products provide a variety of options and specialized services to niche industries. For instance, we have leveraged the API integration of Clio for attorneys, allowing them to use the practice management for their law firms and simultaneously allowing us to serve the specialized need for their bookkeeping / accounting in Xero. Even when they are not a niche, allowing competition for payroll, merchant services, and POS solutions are better for everyone, as opposed to having to use a built in solution that may not meet a unique need or be competitively priced.Again, great thorough review! Well done!

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Marty Hurwitz

    Has Intuit and Quickbooks Online grown too big to actually provide customer service? Today I solved a problem that began with their new upgrade. I just got it to work myself after nearly 3 weeks of begging for help. Which I guess is what Intuit wanted all along. QBO version of customer service is pay us your money and fix our problems yourself. They are trying to match US Air and Charter Cable for worst customer service experience. I am now looking at the competition for the first time in years and I appreciate this review of Xero. Thanks.

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Marty,

    Sorry to hear about your ordeal with Intuit … unfortunately, that seems to be a pretty common story. In terms of comparable software, Xero is the best I’ve found. I recently did a point-by-point comparison you might find helpful. Xero still lacks a couple of functions QuickBooks offers, but they’re catching up fast. If they adhere to their product roadmap, all the significant gaps will be filled by the end of the year.

    If they have everything your company needs, I’d recommend them over QuickBooks Online in a heartbeat.

    Best of luck, and if you do end up making the switch, feel free to come back here and post your thoughts on Xero!

    Regards,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    ryan kagan

    Liked the article. Found it to be accurate even the review of the support function. I felt the same way about not having phone support, and they won me over as well.The only thing I felt the article that was missed out was the sales team behind Xero had no mention. I am a small CA firm in Canada, you would think I would have been ignored and receive no attention from Xero on my firms growth. I can state that the sale team especially Johnny has been there to help my business grow through good times and bad times. The attention and advice I received was priceless. The countless hours they spent with me was shocking and greatly appreciated. There isn't one software company that would do what Xero has done for my firm.

    5

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    Andrew Crowe

    Great review - I'm a small business owner who has always used MYOB. Due to the complicated functionality of MYOB, I've always employed a Bookkeeper to complete our quarterly BAS requirements. We moved to Xero about 2 months ago and with a very small amount of training, I can now easily complete all the BAS and minor accounting requirements. It's a great product!

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Minerva Camacho

    Great job reviewing Xero. I am trying to compare to other software vendors before I pick the right product. Would you have other reviews for other vendors out there? Freshbooks, QuickBooks?Thanks,Minerva

    5

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Hi Minerva,

    You can find all our accounting software reviews here. FreshBooks is invoicing software rather than true accounting, so you’ll find that one under the Invoicing category here.

    Good luck!
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Robert L. Tammaro

    I am the principal owner of a US CPA firm and have just begun my evaluation of cloud based accounting software and recently became interested in Xero. I have been searching and reading reviews of this software for a few days and found this particular review by far the most informative. It is written very well, is thorough and includes many informative links to related information. Thank you, great job!
    Robert L. Tammaro

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Katherine Miller

    Thanks, Robert – so glad it was helpful to you! If you did end up deciding to go with Xero, I’d love to hear about your experience with it; feel free to post your own review of the software in comments.

    Best,
    Katherine

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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