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Xero Review: "Simple, effective and refreshing..."
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Mark Ternent profile photo
Updated September 30, 2015

Xero Review: "Simple, effective and refreshing..."

Score 10 out of 101
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Verified User
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Overall Satisfaction with Xero

We are a 7 person IT Managed Services / Break Fix Provider. Xero is used for our accounts. It is also used for invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, and financial performance and position reporting. We are now in our 5th FY with Xero, and it addressed for us a number of challenges - simplicity of use and staff training, reduced reliance on staff who need to be accounting package 'experts', ease and clarity of reporting, visibility of information and "what is going on", back-up, disaster recovery and business continuity (cloud based), and particularly - it is always accurate as the accountant works in the same database and thus it is never out of sync with our "real" accounts.

Prior to Xero, and being a new Director in the company who was also acting as a business advisor, I was concerned that the MYOB database was totally out of sync (inaccurate) with the accountants records, and that we relied on a person who was the MYOB 'expert' with little management visibility of what was going on. I could not trust that the accounts and invoicing were being handled correctly, and also that the financial reporting was accurate. It was a significant business risk. Xero has addressed these problems.
  • Ease of Use - it is very intuitive, requiring little training for management and accounts staff. When difficult questions do arise, the online help is comprehensive and has never failed to answer my questions. Overall, it is simple and clean.
  • Accuracy - I really like that the Accountant shares the same data and produces our end of year accounts from the same system we use. As well as giving them an ongoing 'quality overview' of our work and making it easier for them to give value-adding feedback, it also saves time, and means when I push the button for a report I can trust that report represents our actual situation as at that moment.
  • Access - Having it based in the cloud means the Directors and accountant all have real time access from any location on the planet. Having "information at my fingertips" has proved useful on a number of occasions. Pricing is per company, not per user. Being cloud-based also means that disaster recovery and business continuity are not big issues for the accounting and invoicing functions.
  • Ease of Integration - Speaking also from my other role as a business advisor, there are a large number of other products now available which integrate seamlessly with Xero. For small to medium organisations looking for business workflow functionality, this provides many exciting options. For example, many companies I know personally and/or have advised, use WorkFlow Max. The continued developments in APIs will only make this type of integration easier.
  • Reporting - The reporting is limited in its flexibility. Xero produces the standard reports you would expect, including allowing a number of customizations within the standard report templates - but does not have a report generator as such. When I wanted more flexible reporting, usually around client activity, Xero could not provide it, and so we had to pull them from our workflow database. About a year ago we purchased a $99 Excel add-in that accesses the Xero tables in their entirety, downloads them, and permits fully customisable reporting. This solution, together with the standard reports, now meets our needs.
  • Specialist Needs - I don't think Xero need to improve in this respect, but I would advise businesses with particular specialist needs to to consider carefully their overall information and production process requirements. For example, some specialist manufacturing applications may not suit Xero.
  • Improved management visibility, easy regular and ad hoc performance and position reporting, leading to better decisions. Spot checking and specific investigations as a part of internal control are relatively simple and quick and have resulted in several process improvements saving us money or improving cash flow.
  • Easier recruitment and training of accounts staff. I don't have to hire a package expert, I can hire for attitude and fit, knowing they will adapt. (We had a period of turnover in accounts staff.)
  • Reduced admin overheads - the ease of use and visibility mean that the accounts department is less of a concern for me, and operates with less issues.
  • Simple though this is, the switch to emailing 95% of invoices is effortless, and has also improved our cashflow markedly.
Compared to the PC based MYOB that we (and other businesses I have been closely involved with) have run, Xero is simple and easy to use, saving headaches and problems. Xero is one product in the growing list of on-line offerings today across many fields, and (in my opinion) many of the best of these new products are bringing a fundamental re-think of how their particular function can be done in the online 21st century space. Rather than upgrading a larger and more complex product that has been around and growing for years - they have started afresh. This 'freshness' has been good for us and is a big part of the Xero attraction.

I selected Xero because it works well and is easy.
The larger and more complex a company gets, the less likely Xero is to be for them. To my mind it suits smaller companies or organisations. This is said bearing in mind that via integrations, much additional business functionality can selected and added.

Using Xero

For what it is, I do and will highly recommend Xero to others and thus I give it 10/10 to reflect that. BUT - it of course does not suit every business or organisation all the time. So, my 10/10 comes with the caveat, that the reader has considered what their business information needs are and whether Xero's simplicity (and integrated products) will be what they need.

I have researched other options to Xero in the last year, but have no intent of moving away from it at this time, or for the foreseeable future. This aspect of my business works well, and I see no advantages in changing it.

We are currently implementing an end-to-end business services automation package, and this will integrate with Xero via a third party integration.

Xero Reliability

It's always there. No issues at all, except for scheduled middle of the night planned outages, in many years of using