[schema type=”review” url=”http://inspireca.com/cloud-accounting/xero/” name=”Xero Cloud Accounting Review for Businesses” description=”Xero is Cloud Accounting Software” rev_name=”Xero” rev_body=”At Inspire CA, we have implemented Xero for the majority of our clients. While we started out with a vision to be a “Xero-only” accounting firm, we’ve come to realise that the focus should be on what’s best for your business, rather than ultimately best or most efficient for the firm. I’m not saying that we don’t recommend Xero at all now – but sometimes for larger businesses with more intricate accounting needs, there’s other packages such as Sassu or J Curve that may be better suited. We’ve put together this Xero review to share our views and experience with the software to date.” author=”Ben Walker” pubdate=”2015-10-05″ user_review=”4.5″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”5″ ]
Xero Review for Businesses – Cloud Accounting Software
1. What do we use Xero for?
At Inspire CA, we have implemented Xero for the majority of our clients. While we started out with a vision to be a “Xero-only” accounting firm, we’ve come to realise that the focus should be on what’s best for your business, rather than ultimately best or most efficient for the firm.
I’m not saying that we don’t recommend Xero at all now – but sometimes for larger businesses with more intricate accounting needs, there’s other packages such as Sassu or J Curve that may be better suited.
We’ve put together this Xero review to share our views and experience with the software to date.
2. Why do we use Xero?
Xero has made a mark on cloud accounting software for businesses in Australia and around the world.
With a focus on useability, Xero has made light work of what used to be hours of repetitive tasks.
2.1 What do we like about Xero?
The main benefits from Xero that businesses see is around automation, connectivity to other add-ons and an efficient way of working.
Examples for both our own business and what we see with our clients are:
- Automated bank feeds
- “Cash-coding” bank reconciliations
- Access Xero from any device, anywhere with an internet connection
- Email directly from the software for invoices, remittances, credit notes, statements etc
- Bulk-add and edit transactions, invoices and other items
- Repeating invoices, with automatic sending
- Integration with payment gateways, CRM’s and work flow management software
- Automatic debtor follow up apps (e.g. Debtor Daddy)
- Automatic data entry apps (e.g. Receipt Bank)
2.2 What do we not like about Xero?
There is no doubt that Xero is great. But there’s some things that have ‘dragged the chain’ since we’ve been using it with our clients.
The customer service has been a bit of a bug bear, and it can be difficult to find the answers you need from the help centre or even using Xero email support.
The other frustrations are the times where something isn’t working and to no fault of your own. It can be a bug in the software, sometimes wasting hours of your time coming to that conclusion.
2.3 What are the other alternatives to Xero?
While Xero as a tool for accounting firms is one of a kind, for businesses there are a number of alternatives for cloud accounting:
- J Curve
- Quickbooks Online
- MYOB Live Accounts
- Reckon One
- Plenty more!
3. What is Xero’s customer service and support like?
Xero’s customer service has erred on the side of average.
While not all bad, the Xero support phone number (1800 CALL XERO / 1800 22 55 93) usually rings out, even after pressing the ‘I’m an accountant or bookkeeper’ option.
If you’re a business, the phone recording says that the only choice is email help at support [at] xero.com, or by visiting the Xero help centre.
Reply times over email are within a few hours for payroll related questions, and typically within 24 hours for first response with all other enquiries.
We’ve found that it usually takes a few attempts before the support person will understand what’s happening and provide the right information.
Also, it’s worth noting, sometimes you’ll find yourself pulling your hair out with Xero. You have no idea what’s happening (most commonly bank feed and opening balances related). Sometimes the program has bugs does some weird things, and even the support people will need to send it up the chain.
Recently the link between Xero and the payment gateway we use and recommend, eWay, was down for a few days. Not a good look!
4. What does Xero cost?
4.1 Billing Model
Xero is a subscription model for businesses.
Pricing is tiered depending on the business’ requirements. (Australian pricing here.)
Accountants and bookkeepers can access additional types of subscriptions called “Partner Editions”.
Partner editions are great if you have a client with non-trading and investment entities or even businesses without any needs for invoicing etc.
The ‘ledger’ comes in handy too, when some of our clients use another accounting package, but we still need to prepare financial statements (we prepare all our clients’ financial statements in Xero, regardless of their accounting package).
For Australia, the types of partner edition subscriptions are here:
4.2 Setup and Migration
Setting up or converting an existing accounting file to Xero is both an art and a science – and we do recommend converting to Xero with care.
What we mean by this is if your existing software is a mess and you just import everything as-is, then the Xero file will also be a mess. It’s best to take the opportunity to clean the records up in the process of conversion.
It’s worth noting too that the conversion guides and add-ons who convert other software to Xero will use this ‘copy and paste’, rather than taking it across in a way that will meet your business’ needs.
We charge between $500 and $20,000 AUD to set up, convert to Xero, connect and set up add-ons and train the team members in the business, depending on the level of customisation that the business requires.
Training is an absolute must.
While there is a lot of transferable skills from programs such as MYOB or QuickBooks, the names of items and the process or way of doing things is slightly different.
If you aren’t aware of this, then you could find yourself either doing things the hard way or you could even end up mucking the file up completely (we’ve seen this end badly where a business’ accounting team had gone in, firing from the hip).
For this reason, we bundle in mandatory 1 to 1 training and also flood the business’ accounting team with links to Xero’s training videos.
4.4 Custom Development
We haven’t seen a need to get a developer on board to work with Xero – this is because it connects with so many add-ons already through an open API.
5. What does Xero connect with?
Xero connects with tonnes of add-ons. At the time of writing, they integrate with 350+ add-ons. From CRM’s to workflow management software, point of sale, inventory, data entry – the list goes on.