Top 5 Alternatives to Xero

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Xero is one of the leaders in cloud accounting, and while this software has sprinted ahead of most other accounting programs, it isn’t running alone in the race. Currently, several other major contenders give Xero a run for its money.

Whether you are a current Xero user in need of a change or are just starting your accounting software search, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled five of our top Xero alternatives so that you can make the best decision possible for your business. But before we continue, let’s talk a bit about what makes Xero so popular to begin with.

Overview of Xero

Xero (see our review) was launched back in 2006. This cloud-based software has almost the same feature capabilities as a traditional program like QuickBooks Pro without the limitations that come with being locally-installed. Xero also offers unlimited users, something almost unheard of in the accounting world. To top it off, Xero boasts strong accounting, incredible customer service, and positive customer reviews.

This software is ideal for medium-large businesses in need of a robust accounting system and multiple users. Xero allows you to set detailed user permissions and manage multiple companies.

Xero has five scalable price plans ranging from $9/mo – $180/mo. Payments are made monthly. Each plan comes with unlimited users and the Standard and Premium plans include payroll at no extra cost. Payroll is only available in 37 states. Note: While there is a small plan marketed toward smaller businesses, this plan is incredibly limited when compared to similar options offered by Zoho Books and Wave.

Pros

  • Unlimited users
  • Robust feature set
  • Strong accounting
  • Great customer service
  • Scalable pricing
  • Cloud-based
  • Built-in payroll
  • Strong user permissions
  • Tax support
  • Multi-currency support
  • 500+ integrations
  • Incredible security

Cons

  • Semi-steep learning curve
  • No project management feature
  • Poor invoicing templates
  • Tedious CSV imports and setup
  • Mobile apps could be improved

Alternative #1: QuickBooks Online

Best Xero Alternatives

QuickBooks Online (see our review) is a cloud-based program with ample features and over 2.2. million users. The software comes with over 500 integrations, plus beautiful invoicing automations and customizations. In the past, QuickBooks Online was fairly intuitive and required little previous accounting experience, but a recent downgrade in usability has made the UI fairly difficult to navigate. However, the software continues to be updated monthly so hopefully, this will change soon.

The software is ideal for all types of small businesses, particularly those in need of strong accounting features and ample integrations. It is not a good fit for companies with more than 25 users.

Features

QuickBooks Online has tons of features (almost the exact same feature set as Xero, in fact):

  • Invoicing
  • Invoice automations (like autoscheduling invoices)
  • Estimates
  • Basic client portal
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Accounts payable
  • Chart of accounts
  • Inventory
  • Project management (beta)
  • TIme tracking
  • Reporting
  • Budgeting
  • Class tracking
  • packing slips
  • Tax support
  • Sales tax
  • Multi-currency support

Note: Feature access may vary by plan. Visit our comprehensive QuickBooks Online review for a complete feature list.

Pricing

QuickBooks Online offers three pricing plans ranging from $15/mo – $50/mo. Plans are paid monthly and payroll costs an additional $39/mo – $99/mo. Check QuickBooks Online’s pricing page for more details.

How It Compares to Xero

In many areas, QuickBooks Online and Xero are neck and neck. They offer the same number of integrations. They both have strong security. Their feature sets are nigh identical. Both offer contact management, invoicing, fixed asset management, inventory, tax support, check printing, class tracking, budgeting–you get the picture.

Xero comes with better contact management, unlimited users, and far superior customer support, but it also comes with a steep learning curve. QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, has better invoice templates, more invoice automations, better mobile apps, and a project management feature (which Xero lacks completely). QuickBooks Online is also easier to use than Xero.

Learn more about how QuickBooks Online compares to Xero in our detailed Xero vs. QuickBooks Online post. If you’re interested in using QuickBooks Online, first read our complete QuickBooks Online review for more details and take advantage of the free 30-day trial.

Alternative #2: QuickBooks Pro

Best Xero Alternatives

Over 1.5 million people use this product—and for good reason. QuickBooks Pro (see our review) offers incredibly robust accounting and provides more features than almost any other accounting software at its level. The software is not SaaS; it is installed on a single computer, old-school style (although you can purchase hosting at an additional cost). While we know that many users prefer the cloud, this locally-installed gem is the only one of the five apps in this article that actually beats out Xero in terms of features.

QuickBooks Pro is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses which need strong accounting, but don’t require a lot of users or mobility. The software does have quite a steep learning curve so it may be difficult for users with no previous accounting experience.

Features

QuickBooks Pro is incredibly feature-rich:

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates
  • Contact and vendor management
  • Expense tracking
  • Mileage deductions
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Chart of accounts
  • Accounts payable
  • Inventory
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • 200+ reports
  • Budgeting
  • Letter templates
  • Tax support
  • Sales tax

Pricing

A QuickBooks Pro license costs $299.95 (thought Intuit often offers some sort of discount). This license is good for three years, after which Intuit drops all support for that version. You can also purchase a yearly subscription—QuickBooks Pro Plus—for $299.95/yr, which includes unlimited customer support and data backups. There are some extra costs, like customer support, so be sure to check Quickbooks Pro’s pricing page for more details.

How It Compares to Xero

When it comes down to it, QuickBooks Pro offers more comprehensive accounting and more features than Xero. In particular, unlike Xero, QuickBooks Pro has a project management feature. The software could also be potentially less expensive if you purchase it once every three years.

Xero does offer more users, better customer support, and mobility. It also receives far more positive reviews than QuickBooks Pro (though there are plenty of happy QuickBooks pro users out there). Learn more about how QuickBooks Pro compares to Xero in our detailed QuickBooks Pro (Desktop) vs. Xero post.

Alternative #3: FINSYNC

Best Xero Alternatives

This startup was launched in 2014 but already competes in the same ring with programs like Xero and QuickBooks. The secret of FINSYNC (see our review) is that it offers robust features all in one place. In other words, users don’t need to buy a bunch of add-ons for their accounting software. The software lacks tax support and payroll for all 50 states, but the features it does have are impressive. FINSYNC also provides great customer service.

FINSYNC isn’t as tried and true and Xero or QuickBooks, but it’s earned a spot in this article because of its strong project management tools and its focus on small to mid-sized businesses. FINSYNC is ideal for SMBs, though large businesses could benefit from it as well. LIke Xero, FINSYNC offers unlimited users and built-in payroll.

Features

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates
  • Orders
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Chart of Accounts
  • Inventory
  • Project management
  • Time tracking
  • Payroll
  • 12 reports
  • Budgeting
  • Class tracking
  • Sales tax

Note: Feature access varies by plan. Visit our comprehensive FINSYNC review for a more complete feature list.

Pricing

You can purchase a payroll only plan for $29/mo or opt for one of FINSYNC’s three business plans for $35 – $65/mo. Payments are made monthly and features vary by plan, so be sure to checkout FINSYNC’s pricing page for more details.

How It Compares to Xero

Xero and FINSYNC are similar in many ways. Both have ample features, capable accounting,  unlimited users, built-in payroll, and a similar target audience. However, FINSYNC has a few perks that Xero lacks, including project management. The software is also easier to use and has an attractive UI.

Xero still beats this startup in a few areas. Xero has 65 reports to FINSYNC’s 12 and 500+ integrations to FINSYNC’s three (all third-party payment processors). Xero has received more positive reviews as well (due in part to how much longer the software has been around). But despite these areas, FINSYNC is more than worth looking into as a Xero alternative.

If FINSYNC sounds like it could be a good choice for your company, check out our complete FINSYNC review and take advantage of the free 15-day trial.

Alternative 4: Zoho Books

Best Xero Alternatives

Time to shift gears a bit. The final two Xero alternatives in this post don’t cater to the same audience. These programs are created for small businesses only (not medium-large businesses). These easy-to-use options are for businesses which might not need the complexity of Xero but do require strong accounting.

Launched in 2009, Zoho Books (see our review) is a complete accounting package with some of the most beautiful invoicing tools I have ever seen. Overall, Zoho Books is incredibly affordable, offers good customer support, has amazing mobile apps, and provides some of the best international business options on the market.

Zoho Books is ideal for small to medium businesses with up to 10 users which are looking for strong accounting. Zoho Books has almost all of the features you’ll find in QuickBooks or Xero; the only things the software doesn’t offer are payroll or budgeting. Users in need of built-in payroll may want to look elsewhere.

Features

Zoho Books offers an impressive number of features. Recent updates have propelled it to the level of more advanced accounting solutions like QuickBooks Online and Xero.

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates
  • Client portal
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Mileage deductions
  • Accounts payable
  • Chart of accounts
  • Fixed asset management
  • Inventory
  • Time tracking
  • Project management
  • 50+ Reports
  • Journal entries
  • Class tracking
  • Print checks
  • Tax support
  • Sales tax
  • Multi-currency support
  • Invoice in multiple languages

Note: Feature access may vary by plan. Visit our comprehensive Zoho Books review for a complete feature list.

Pricing

Zoho Books offers three pricing plans ranging from $9 – $29/mo. Plans are paid monthly. Features vary by plan; check out Zoho Book’s pricing page to learn more.

How It Compares to Xero

Not only is Zoho Books far easier to use than Xero, it offers almost all of the same complex features, including bank reconciliation, a chart of accounts, invoice automations, and even check printing. Unlike Xero, Zoho Books also comes with project management, job costing, and a client portal.  In addition, Zoho Books has more affordable pricing plans than Xero.

Xero still has a more developed accounting process and a greater selection of integrations. Xero also offers payroll and budgeting, but for users who don’t need these features, Zoho Books could be a viable, more affordable option.

If Zoho Books sounds like it might be a good choice for your business, or you’re interested in learning more, be sure to read our complete Zoho Books review and take advantage of the free 14-day trial.

Alternative #5: Wave

Best Xero Alternatives

When it comes down to it, you really can’t beat free. Wave is a completely free accounting software: no gimmicks, no scams. And just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s skimping on features. Wave (see our review) is incredibly robust and very easy to use. The software offers strong accounting, decent invoicing, and the first ever built-in lending feature. The customer support is great and user reviews are positive almost across the board.

The ability to separate personal and business expenses makes Wave ideal for freelancers and microbusinesses, while complex accounting features, like a detailed chart of accounts, meet the needs of most any small business. The software is ideal for businesses looking to save a bit of money. There is an Etsy-integration as well, which makes Wave a perfect choice for Etsy sellers. The software is not ideal for users in need of cash-basis accounting, however.

Features

Wave offers an impressive number of features, especially for a free accounting software. These features are easy to navigate and don’t require a background in accounting to use.

  • Invoicing
  • Estimates
  • Contact management
  • Expense tracking
  • Separate personal and business expenses
  • Accounts payable
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Chart of accounts
  • Item list
  • Time tracking
  • Lending
  • 12 reports
  • Multi-currency support
  • Sales tax

Pricing

As I mentioned earlier, Wave is a free accounting solution. However, there are a few extra costs to be aware of. Namely, payroll and credit card processing come at an additional price. Be sure to check Wave’s pricing page for the full scoop on these costs.

How It Compares to Xero

Unlike the other alternatives, Wave varies significantly from Xero. Xero has far more developed features and accounting capabilities. Xero also has 500+ integrations to Wave’s four and 65 reports to Wave’s 12, and Wave lacks built-in payroll.

For some businesses, these shortcomings are enough to knock Wave off the lists. However, the software still offers strong accounting and a decent feature set (including a unique lending feature and client portal, which Xero lacks). And did we mention it’s free?

If you think the pros might outweigh the cons for your business, read more about this unique app in our full Wave review. You can also sign up for a free Wave account to give it a try (and cancel at any time).

Which Software Should I Choose?

Full disclosure: it’s not that easy to find good alternatives to Xero. Xero is one of the only programs at its level that is geared toward medium-large businesses. But we did our best to give you an array of options so that, no matter what size of business you run, you can find a software that offers strong accounting and impressive features.

In summary:

  • QuickBooks Online has almost all the same features as Xero but with project management and better mobile apps.
  • QuickBooks Pro is a locally-installed option with more features than Xero.
  • FINSYNC is an up-and-coming software with ample features, great project management, and good customer service.
  • Zoho Books is a steal for small businesses looking for the features of QuickBooks Online without the steep price and navigational difficulties.
  • Wave is ideal for all sort of small businesses looking to save money while staying on top of their business’s finances.

If you currently use Xero, one of the first questions you should be asking yourself is: what isn’t working with my accounting software? If you can pinpoint the issue(s) you’re having, it’ll be much easier to determine which product can help you solve said issue(s).

If you haven’t committed to a software yet and are still exploring your options, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Which features do I need for my business to succeed?
  • How much can I afford to spend on accounting software?
  • Do I want a cloud-based or locally-installed program?
  • What is my level of accounting experience?

The answers to these questions will help you pinpoint which software might be the best choice. My biggest recommendation is to take advantage of free trials before committing to any solution. You won’t know if you like it until you try it. Read our Complete Guide to Choosing Online Accounting Software and our Accounting Software: Cloud-based or Locally Installed? post for extra help.

Ultimately, whether you decide to stick with Xero or go for one of the alternatives above, you can’t go wrong.

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 her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.
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