Xero Accounting Review 2024

Our Verdict

Create top-tier custom quotes and covert to invoices easily

Xero is incredibly useful when it comes to gathering insights about the overall financial performance of your business, as well as the profitability of each project you’re running.

That said, to get access to all the features and functionalities Xero offers, you’d have to opt for the most expensive pricing plan. While this is nothing new in the industry (or for SaaS in general), the issue is that both Early and Growing plans just don’t offer enough value for money, especially considering that there are platforms that let you handle invoicing and accounting for free, such as Wave.

With that in mind, Xero is best suited for established businesses who want to use it to handle virtually all aspects of their accounting, from invoicing and expense claims to managing contacts, handling taxes, and managing their inventory.

Pros

  • Intuitive and easy to get to grips with the platform
  • Lets you convert quotes into invoices in seconds
  • Features advanced inventory management capabilities
  • Effectively manage all your files and business-critical data
  • Excellent customer support with quick response time

Cons

  • The lower-priced plans are extremely restrictive
  • Payroll is a paid add-on and is handled by a different company

Xero Plans & Pricing

Xero lets you test the platform risk-free for an entire month, so you get a feel for the app and see first-hand whether it’s the right tool for your business.

That said, here’s a quick breakdown of the pricing plans:

Early Growing Established
Cost/Month/User $15/month $45/month $78/month
Free Trial ✅ – 30-days ✅ – 30-days ✅ – 30-days
Users Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
Bulk Reconcile Transactions
Multiple Currencies
Payroll Optional add-on (Payroll with Gusto) Optional add-on (Payroll with Gusto) Optional add-on (Payroll with Gusto)
Customer Support Email, phone Email, phone Email, phone

Early — Stats at $15/month

The early plan covers the bare minimum you’d expect out of an accounting software solution, such as invoicing, bill entry, bill reconciliation, and short-term cash flow snapshots. It also limits you to only 20 quotes and/or invoices per month and allows you to add a total of 5 bills to your account monthly.

This is really low value for money, especially considering that you don’t have access to any of the advanced features. This is likely a marketing strategy that would convince most users to opt for one of the higher-priced plans, as they’re much more cost-effective and remove any invoicing or bill entry limits.

Growing — Stats at $45/month

In addition to removing invoicing and bill limitations, the Growing plan only adds bulk bank reconciliation to the mix. You still won’t be able to claim expenses or use multiple currencies, so the only realistic option for the vast majority of companies is the most expensive pricing plan.

Established — Stats at $78/month

With the Established plan, you’ll have full access to Xero’s features. On top of what Early and Growing plans cover, this includes project tracking, advanced analytics, claiming expenses, multi-currency support, contact management, inventory tracking, and sales taxes.

What’s worth noting is that payroll isn’t a built-in feature of Xero but is rather provided through an optional add-on — Payroll with Gusto. This adds another $40/month plus $6/month per person to your monthly subscription bill, meaning Xero can get pretty expensive if you want to run payroll for a large team.

If you’re looking for better, more cost-effective options for handling payroll runs, read our best payroll software guide.

Xero Overview

Starting price $15/month
Best for Established businesses looking for a robust, feature-rich accounting solution
Customer support Email, phone
App integrations Deel, Rippling, HubSpot, Stripe, Zapier, Deputy
Security & Compliance ISO 27001, SOC 2 security assurance audits, multi-factor authentication (MFA), data encryption
Payroll Optional add-on
Reporting & analytics ✅ – Custom reporting
Mobile app ✅ – iOS and Android
Double entry
E-signatures
Auto-alerts and reminders

Features

Xero is a feature-rich app, provided you’re willing to pay the premium price for the most expensive tier. It can help streamline and automate every financial aspect of your business, including invoicing, expenses, data capture, tax filing, bank reconciliation, and inventory management. You can even utilize it to manage fixed assets, depreciation, and disposal, which makes it a solid option for businesses with multiple locations in various industries.

Here’s a breakdown of Xero’s key features:

Quotes and Invoicing

Xero's customizable invoices feature

With Xero, you can quickly create professional quotes and estimates and send them to your clients via the Xero desktop software or the mobile app. By using one of the templates we found this to be very quick and easy. You can also simply edit a previous quote and just change the amount, or client.

Xero also notifies you whenever a client accepts a quote and lets you convert quotes into invoices with a single click.

Speaking of online invoicing, you can create and send fully customizable invoices, provide multiple payment options to customers, and set up automation reminders for late payments, so you don’t have to “chase” clients for payments.

Expense Claims

Xero's expense management feature

Xero’s expense management tools enable you to easily track and manage your spending, reimburse expense claims, scan receipts to add them to Xero effortlessly, and see exactly where your money is going with reports detailing each expense and individual item.

Project Tracking

Xero's project tracking feature

The project tracking tools available in Xero allow you to track the time and costs associated with each specific project, making it easy to plan, budget, and monitor the profitability of your projects. This also makes it easy to invoice project costs and track project financials, giving you much-needed insight into the financial health of your business and improving your cash flow.

Inventory Management

Xero's inventory management feature

Xero’s inventory management functionality helps you keep track of your stock levels, lets you easily populate invoices and purchase orders with the products you buy and sell, and gives you insight into your top-performing items so you can easily keep up with the demand.

The inventory management functionality also comes with built-in real-time alerts, ensuring that you never run out of stock.

Analytics

Track your financial metrics with Xero

The dashboards and custom reports available in Xero let you keep a finger on the pulse of your business by detailing your cash flow, allowing you to track all key financial metrics, and identify and compare trends for different timelines.

If you upgrade to Analytics Plus, you’ll also be able to leverage AI-powered predictions to further improve your cash flow, manage future business events with scenario planning, and gain even deeper insights into your financials and more customization options for your reports.

Integrations

Xero has an extensive app store that lets you integrate with a wide variety of invoicing, time tracking, payroll, CRM, and other third-party tools and apps. Despite the name “store,” the integrations with third-party apps are free, but there are multiple paid Xero add-ons to choose from as well.

Some of the most popular integrations include apps like Deel, Invoice Away, Zapier, Stripe, Tradify, Rippling, and HubSpot CRM. There are hundreds of apps in Xero’s app store, so it’s easy to connect the accounting platform to your existing software stack. On the off-chance that an app you’re using isn’t supported, you can always leverage Zapier to build custom integrations, which is a huge plus.

Xero Customer Reviews

The user reviews for Xero are mostly positive, with the app averaging 4.4/5 stars on all major review sites.

Xero is often regarded by users as one of the most user-friendly accounting software solutions, and is praised for its integration capabilities. Users also appreciate how easy it is to convert quotes into invoices and store and search critical business documents, as well as how easy it is to submit and review expenses. Another aspect customers love about Xero is its fast and knowledgeable customer support.

A Xero review on TrustPilot

As far as disadvantages go, users highlight that Xero has hiked up the prices in the past, the inability to attach PDF files to purchase orders, and the fact that payroll is a paid add-on that’s handled by Gusto (a separate company).

Xero vs Top Competitors

Xero QuickBooks Wave Zoho Books
Best for Established businesses looking for a robust, feature-rich accounting solution SMBs looking to automate invoicing, payroll, tax filing, and time tracking Small businesses with less than 10 employees SMBs that want to streamline and automate accounting processes
Starting Price From $15/month From $18/month Free Free
Free Trial 30 days 30 days Free Forever Free Forever Plan
Payroll Paid add-on Paid add-on No (Integration with Zoho Payroll available)
Reporting Custom reports Customizable professional reports Detailed financial reports Custom reports
Mobile App

Xero vs QuickBooks

Xero and QuickBooks are quite similar. The biggest difference between the two stems from their pricing plans. While QuickBooks offers better value on lower-priced plans, it comes with a catch — the platform puts a rather strict limit on the number of users you can add to your account. While smaller businesses can get by with just a single user plus an accountant, large enterprises will need more than five users, so they’ll likely have to pay extra for each user on top, per month.

Xero, on the other hand, lets you add an unlimited number of users, but it’s only worthwhile if you opt for the most expensive pricing plan from the get-go. Still, Xero ends up being a more cost-effective option for well-established businesses, especially those with multiple locations.

Read our QuickBooks review for a more in-depth comparison.

Xero vs Wave

Wave is a better option for small businesses, given that its invoicing and accounting functionalities are free. The caveat with this platform is that it charges you for each payment received, ranging from 1% to 2.9% + $0.6 per transaction, depending on the type. This makes it a super cost-effective option if you’re working with one or two clients who are receiving only a handful of monthly payments, but it ramps up quickly and gets extremely expensive if you work with dozens of different clients.

As such, Wave is only viable for companies that execute large-scale projects and receive a few monthly or annual payments. On the other hand, Xero is a much better option for well-established companies, especially in the retail industry, due to both its pricing structure and its excellent inventory management capabilities.

Find out more details in our Wave review.

Xero vs Zoho Books

Zoho Books is another accounting software with a free forever plan, making it an excellent choice for small businesses. Granted, the free plan is limited to 1,000 invoices managed per year, but it does cover all the accounting basics. The paid plans are expensive compared to the alternatives, but you get a ton of advanced functionalities, such as journal templates, custom reports, warehouse management, and integration with Shopify stores.

Xero has the upper hand on Zoho Books when it comes to project tracking and data capture/storage, but other than that, the two apps are quite similar. The deciding factor for your business should be the pricing, and possibly the limitations to the number of invoices and custom reports Zoho Books enforces on most pricing plans.

Read our in-depth Zoho Books review to learn more.

Verdict – Is Xero worth it?

Xero is a solid option for businesses opting for the Established pricing plan. The other plans are extremely restrictive and offer little value for money, but the Established plan will equip you with all the tools you need to effectively manage every financial aspect of your business.

The types of businesses that will benefit the most from what Xero has to offer are well-established companies that work with a large number of clients and customers monthly. This includes businesses in the services industry and SaaS (software as a service) companies, brick-and-mortar businesses, and online retailers will get the most out of Xero, thanks to the platform’s incredible inventory management capabilities.

If you’re still on the fence, click the button below to try out Xero completely risk-free for an entire month and see first-hand if it’s the right accounting tool for you.

How We Test Accounting Software

Here are the main factors we consider when rating accounting software and comparing it with the leading alternatives on the market:

  • Ease of use — How easy it is to navigate the platform and utilize its full potential.
  • Features and functionalities — What accounting features does the platform offer, and what add-ons does it provide.
  • Pricing — How much value for money the average user is getting from different pricing plans, and whether there are any hidden fees or unforeseen costs associated with the platform.
  • User reviews — What do other users of the software have to say about its biggest strengths and weaknesses.
  • Automations — What automations does the accounting software offer and how easy are they to implement.
  • Integrations — Which third-party apps and tools the software natively integrates with.

How To Choose the Best Accounting Software

When assessing a particular accounting platform, the most important aspects to focus on include:

  • Features — Go over all the available features on different pricing plans to ensure that the software covers all of your accounting needs.
  • Scalability — Check how easy it is to add new users to your account and/or upgrade to a higher pricing tier down the line.
  • Value for money — Consider how much value you’re getting for your money. The best way to do this is by comparing the pricing plans of multiple accounting software solutions.
  • Integrations — Go over the app’s integration capabilities and see if it supports the apps and tools you’re already using.
  • Ease of use — Schedule a demo or start a free trial of the app to see how it functions in practice and how easy or difficult it would be for your team to learn to use the app daily and utilize its full potential.
  • Customer support — Check the available options for getting in touch with the company’s customer support. Take note of what users say about the quality of customer support and their average response time.

FAQs

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Aleksandar Stevanovic

Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…