Which is the better accounting software - Xero or QuickBooks Online?
Both Xero and QuickBooks have positive feedback from customers - the ratings for Xero and QuickBooks Online are pretty much neck and neck - and both offer similar accounting tools. Choosing which accounting software that is best for you and your business really depends on your needs.
Let's weigh out both Xero and QuickBooks Online so you can decide what better fits your business needs.
Here are the similarities between Xero and QuickBooks Online:
- Monthly subscription model
Both Xero and QuickBooks Online are priced on a monthly subscription.
- Provides free mobile app
Each of these accounting products provides a free mobile app where users can use functions such as invoicing, taking payments, signatures, viewing bank account balances, bank reconciliation, and more.
- Cloud-based (access your data anywhere with internet/wi-fi)
Xero and QuickBooks Online are both cloud-based, meaning that the software runs on the internet, instead of locally on your computer. So as long as you have wi-Fi or internet, you can access your data.
Who should use Xero?
Mid- and large-size businesses with multiple users.
Who should use QuickBooks Online?
Small business owners, freelancers, and businesses that outsource their accounting tasks to a bookkeeper or accountant.
Pricing (which is subject to change)
Xero Plans and Pricing
- Early: $12 per month
- Growing: $34 per month
- Established: $65 per month
QuickBooks Online Plans and Pricing
- Simple Start: $25 per month
- Essentials: $50 per month
- Plus: $80 per month
- Advanced: $180 per month
Xero and QBO Perks
- Supports unlimited users
One of the greatest appeals is that Xero supports unlimited users in all their plans. This is contrary to QuickBooks Online, which limits the maximum users to 25. If you plan on having a very involved team, the unlimited-users feature Xero offers may sway you.
- All plans include basic inventory management
With Xero, you won't have to pay extra for inventory management. With QuickBooks, you need to have the Plus or Advanced plan to track inventory.
- Automated bill and receipt capture through Hubdoc
Hubdoc can make it easy to get your bills and receipts into Xero for matching bank transactions.
- Easy to learn/most familiar
Navigating QuickBooks is easy to learn, from beginners to certified accountants. QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting software solutions, so your bookkeeper and accountant have likely used it before. Even business owners new to bookkeeping find the QuickBooks dashboard easy to pick up.
- All plans support unlimited invoices.
QuickBooks allows you to create unlimited invoices in all their plans. Xero does not offer unlimited invoices. Xero Early plan offers up to 20 invoices per month, scaling up to the 1,000 invoice limit they offer with the Established plan. If you're a business that turns over a lot of sales, you may consider QuickBooks Online.
- Live customer support
Unlike Xero, which only offers online support, QuickBooks Online offers phone support Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Advanced plan members get 24/7 customer support.
Xero and QBO Downsides
- No live phone support
Unlike QuickBooks, Xero does not offer phone support for their customers. So, if you run into any technical difficulties or questions, you won't be able to talk to customer service to help you through your issue.
- Learning curve
Most people prefer QuickBooks Online, and most accountants prefer it too. It has been my experience that Xero accounting software seems to be more common for Canadian businesses. That doesn't surprise me given that Xero is not a US-based company like Intuit (QBO's parent company).
- Pricier than Xero
The cheapest plan starts at $25 per month ranging to the advanced plan at $180 per month.
- Must subscribe to higher-tier plans to get support for more users
QuickBooks Online offers limited users, with the advanced plan allowing up to 25.
- Some advanced features are only available on more expensive plans
Features like inventory management and accounts payable are only available in the higher tier plans.
Conclusion: QuickBooks Wins
In this Xero vs QuickBooks Online comparison, we're giving the win to QuickBooks.
Why QuickBooks wins:
Its ease of scalability
You can always upgrade your QuickBooks Online plans. So as your business grows and your needs change, you can switch plans and enhance your tools.
Your accountant has likely worked with QuickBooks Online
While there are several accountants that are savvy in using both Xero and QuickBooks Online, the likelihood of finding the right accountant with Xero experience is less common. Xero currently has over 100,000 accountants and bookkeepers that use its platform. However, QuickBooks has the market share. Currently that is at 62.2%! That means over 6 out of 10 accountants or bookkeepers you speak to will most likely only use QBO versus Xero.
No software is foolproof. You will run into issues sooner or later. You will need to be able to speak to someone to get the help you need and the reassurance that the issue is being fixed.
Both Xero and QuickBooks Online are great accounting software solutions and offer great accounting tools for businesses. Both continue to grow and perfect their products but currently QuickBooks Online is 9 times the size of Xero.
NOTE: This blog represents the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Big Ideas for Small Business, Inc.