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Review: "Xero as used by a VC and its portfolio companies across a variety of industries"
https://www.trustradius.com/accountingXeroUnspecified8.6216101
Dave Olsen profile photo
August 01, 2014

Review: "Xero as used by a VC and its portfolio companies across a variety of industries"

Score 9 out of 101
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version
US and Global
Modules Used
All but payroll

Overall Satisfaction with Xero

We use Xero for the VC fund and several of its portfolio companies. The operations vary from IP holding companies with few transactions to fully operating companies. It's always used by the entire company and not just a department. Our teams are distributed, including bookkeeping outsourced overseas, so we need an online solution.
  • Xero is rapidly growing and improving. Some features were limited a few years ago when I first starting using it, but the software is steadily improving. It gives me confidence to keep using it even if there are some short-term drawbacks.
  • It runs extremely fast and is easy to use. The functions are intuitive and don't require extensive training to figure out.
  • The bank feeds work great and make bank reconciliations very quick and easy. We do limited data entry.
  • I like the integrations with other software. With some companies we use Unleashed Software for inventory and order management, and the integration with Xero works well.
  • The reporting could be improved, which I know they are working on. Ability to customize is limited. The cash flow statement is terrible. For one company we go through a lot of extra work to prepare financials just because we need to prepare a better cash flow statement in Excel.
  • The Global version doesn't have check printing capability, which is a large drawback.
  • You can't batch pay invoices that aren't in the functional currency. It isn't a huge deal, but it takes extra work to pay individual bills and to reconcile separate payments in Xero with one payment in the bank account.
  • It makes our AP, AR, and month end processes very simple and cost-effective. In one company we cut clerical costs by 80% when we switched from Microsoft GP to Xero.
  • Online access allows us to focus on the business rather than managing software.
  • Compared to QuickBooks, it costs us more because we pay separately for each entity. With QuickBooks you can set up multiple company files on one license.
Xero is by far my top choice because of cost, simplicity, and online access. Netsuite is nice for one company I work with because of its integrated inventory, order management, and CRM modules and its flexible reporting options. However, Netsuite is much more costly and complicated. QuickBooks is simple and well-known, but it's a pain to manage data files and software, and its online version is limited. GuickBooks Premier is a needlessly complicated and required software and database maintenance.
I don't really have more to add. It is simple, cost-effective, and does what we need it to do. It is rapidly improving to address the drawbacks, such as weak reporting. Besides, converting accounting software is a major project, and I would only do it if there was a compelling reasons.
It is great for small companies because it is cost-effective and easy to use. It's core function is limited to basic accounting - bank accounts, AP, AR, Fixed Assets, and reporting. It does integrate with other specialized software for inventory and order management, CRM, etc, but large companies might prefer all-in-one software like Netsuite or SAP.

Using Xero

6 - AR, AP, accounting, payroll. We have a small bookkeeping staff that does data entry and month end procedures for multiples companies.
1 - Xero is very simple and requires very little support. As the CFO, I provide most training and support to users, which requires very little time. I am proficient with business processes and accounting software, but it doesn't require special skills. Anyone who can use QuickBooks can easily figure out Xero.
  • Payables
  • Receivables
  • Month-end close
  • Fixed Asset tracking
  • We use the same P&L and Balance sheet report templates across all companies to make reporting consistent. We use the same COA structure in each company.
  • I look forward to additional reporting capability, including consolidations.
  • We will likely use more 3rd party integrations, such as payroll and CRM.

Implementation

Have a good plan. Carefully reconcile closing balances with opening balances. Conversion at fiscal year end is ideal if possible.
Change management was minimal - The finance team was very small, and Xero was a change from a complicated product, so it was well-received.
  • We did it mid-year, so we have to combine Xero reports with old reports for financial reporting
  • Reconciling closing balances in the old system with opening balances in Xero was challenging.
  • Depreciation was calculated differently in Xero than the old system, which we had to be aware of.

Support

Support has always been responsive and quickly resolved any questions I have. The only reason I don't give full points is because there's no way to call for immediate help. I'm fine with this because I don't need it badly enough to pay for it.
ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
No escalation required
Immediate help available
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
None
No - Our support needs have been minimal. The software is so simple and the day-to-day functions are easy to figure out. The only questions we've had are about imports, reporting, and new features.