Xero - What Makes It Beautiful?
Patti Scharf | TrustRadius Reviewer
May 14, 2015

Xero - What Makes It Beautiful?

Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

Business Editions (Premium, Standard, and Starter)

Modules Used

  • Partner Edition

Overall Satisfaction with Xero

Our company provides outsourced cloud accounting services to ecommerce businesses, so all of our clients need a reliable general ledger software as the base for their accounting system (which may include one to many different add-ons). Xero is that accounting software.

All of our employees are Xero Certified within the first week or two of employment, and all members of our team (and all of our clients) use the product every day to keep track of each business's finances.
  • Bank Feeds - more and more cloud accounting software is starting to make direct bank feeds available, but Xero does this well and cleanly. When transactions are automatically pulled from the bank, the system will look to see if the information seems to match an outstanding bill, invoice, or previously recorded (but yet unreconciled) transaction and then offer that as a possible match. If none of those are available, it will suggest the coding for previous entries as a pre-filled option. The end result is that most of the time, you can enter the bulk of your transactions with a single click per transaction vs. hand-keying all the data.
  • Bank Rules - in addition to the bank feeds, Xero also offers the ability to create "bank rules" which will read the information from the bank, and based on a set of criteria you define, the system will treat the transaction in a predefined manner. For example, you can tell the system that any transaction that comes in from Office Depot for less than $500 should be coded to Office Supplies with a memo entry that says "Office supplies for the Denver branch" with a tracking code of Denver. This allows for a ton of automation.
  • Cash Coding - this feature takes the power of bank feeds and bank rules and shoots them with steroids. Once bank feeds are set up and bank rules are enabled, the user can go to a grid-like screen that shows all downloaded transactions along with how the system intends to code them. With the click of one single button, you can code 50 or 100 transactions (or more), massively cutting your work time and saving your fingers from tons of data entry.
  • Stability - I hear horror stories on almost a daily basis about competitor's software that I simply don't experience with Xero. EVER. Their product is consistently up, stable, and working without any weird, phantom craziness.
  • Reporting - I'm waiting on some better reporting from Xero. They have most of the basics, but they need to improve their cash flow report, and they need to make their reports more customizable.
  • Drilling Down on Reports - One of my biggest pet peeves is when I drill down on a cash basis report and the detailed report defaults back to accrual. If I'm looking at cash basis financial statements, chances are good that I want to look at cash basis detail. This creates additional, unnecessary navigation.
  • Billable Expenses - Luckily this isn't a huge issue for our clients, but Xero needs some way of identifying expenses that will be billed back to a client (preferably automatically pulling that information and adding them directly to an invoice with a click).
  • Increased employee efficiency
  • Increased firm efficiency (easier to standardize client workflows)
  • Better customer service (dependable, stable product & collaborative client environment)
  • QuickBooks Online,QuickBooks Premier,QuickBooks Pro,QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions
QuickBooks Desktop (Pro, Premier, Enterprise) has way more functionality and... oomph... than any cloud accounting software (in my experience). However, I've found most clients don't need and/or don't use all the bells and whistles that are packed into QuickBooks Desktop. Far more important is the need for small business owners to collaborate with their accountants and tax advisors, and for this, cloud accounting software is ideal.

Once people decide to move to the cloud, the next question invariably becomes - which cloud accounting software is better, QuickBooks Online or Xero?

I started using QuickBooks Online and Xero at about the same time (three years ago), and in my experience, the more I used Xero, the more I loved it; the more I used QuickBooks Online, the more I hated it. QuickBooks Online may (arguably) seem to have more features, but it seems QBO is held together by tape and spit. Every time they add a new feature, something else breaks. Xero is far more stable, and when new features are released, they are smart and work well. I also like that Xero does full global releases so there's no craziness around different people using different versions as happens with QuickBooks Online.

Because we specialize in one vertical, it's easy for us to set up standard processes across multiple clients using Xero.

Also, one of my favorite features is the ability to publish reports for each client. We publish monthly financial statements with footnotes for management so they can be notified of trends in their data. Clients can log in at any time to pull the published reports for review.
Xero is a great all-purpose cloud accounting system. I don't believe it was built to act as a database to house tens of thousands of transactions every month, so I wouldn't use it for that.

However, it is great for companies who either have tens or hundreds of transactions a day (vs. thousands) or for companies who have very specific needs that are being met by a cloud tool (database) that integrates with Xero. For our ecommerce sellers, all the sales and inventory details live in other tools, and then summaries of that data are included in Xero in various forms. It's perfect for that.

Xero Feature Ratings

Accounts payable
10
Accounts receivable
10
Cash management
8
Bank reconciliation
9
Expense management
7
Time tracking
Not Rated
Fixed asset management
8
Multi-currency support
10
Multi-division support
8
Regulations compliance
Not Rated
Electronic tax filing
Not Rated
Self-service portal
9
Inventory tracking
Not Rated
Pricing
Not Rated
Order entry
8
Credit card processing
8
Cost of goods sold
7
Pay calculation
Not Rated
Benefit plan administration
Not Rated
Direct deposit files
Not Rated
Salary revision and increment management
Not Rated
Reimbursement management
Not Rated
Dashboards
6
Standard reports
8
Custom reports
5
API for custom integration
10
Plug-ins
10
Role-based user permissions
7
Single sign-on capability
Not Rated