Xero is a cloud-based accounting software that packs a real punch when it comes to features and functionality. Based in New Zealand, the multi-faceted package currently comes in three incarnations and is aimed at small, medium and large businesses.
With a regularly updated look and new features added all the time, even during the coronavirus pandemic, Xero continues to expand its popular appeal and now enjoys a healthy following. If you have a growing business that needs dynamic accounting capability and the ability to add multiple users, the latest version of Xero requires further investigation.
Xero sits alongside competitors such as FreshBooks, QuickBooks, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, Kashoo, Zoho Books, ABC Self Assessment, and Kashflow.
Xero appears to be shaking up its pricing structure and strategy in the coming months. Currently, if you’re looking to sign up for the service in the US, the Early plan costs $11 per month. This allows you to get 5 invoices and quotes, enter 5 invoices and reconcile 20 bank transactions.
Next, the Growing package costs $32 per month and lets you send invoices and quotes, enter invoices, and reconcile bank transactions. Xero’s established plan, on the other hand, is $62 per month and in addition to the established features, it includes multiple currencies, expenses (enter and manage claims) as well as projects, which allows time tracking and project costs.
Xero is available in many other territories, so a quick look at their website will reveal further cost changes, as well as the price of several additional extras that increase its capabilities.
Xero certainly doesn’t skimp on features and even more seems to come out of nowhere as you delve deeper into its hidden depths. It’s all about the Xero Dashboard area, but we also like the simple way Xero lets you create a new part of your cloud-based experience with a simple ‘+’ button to the right of the screen. Here you can produce invoices, invoices, purchase orders and much more with just one click.
Since it’s a cloud-based service, you also get automatic and secure backups, automatic bank feeds, and the ability to add any additional users you might have on your team. Additionally, Xero has an impressive ability to integrate with over 800 apps that enhance the feature set and allow you to include inventory management, invoicing, time tracking, expenses and more features apart of what comes with the base package.
Being a cloud-based service, Xero works naturally as long as you are connected to the internet and using one of the most popular web browsers. You’ll find that Xero is just as snappy if you choose to use its app-based editions, which are available for iOS and Android devices. In fact, the Xero experience on a tablet or smartphone seems to be generally good, especially given its depth of data entry points.
Ease of use
Xero has been well designed and if, for example, you choose to try their demo site, which can be found once you’ve signed up, there’s even help while you work. At the same time, Xero has evolved into a pretty meaty package, and as a result, it has a lot of different areas that you’ll need to familiarize yourself with.
Some parts of the experience require time and patience to master. Even then, you can tend to get a bit stuck, such is the powerful array of features on offer. In that regard, the built-in help will pay dividends when you use it to navigate one of the trickiest aspects of cloud-based layout.
Things start at the dashboard, which is just that; the area that allows you to move to other sections of the site and from which you can manage the overall operation. The layout is, at first glance, quite simple with a user experience that provides quick and easy access to key features. These are found via a top menu that not only contains the Dashboard, but also Business, Accounting, and Contacts options.
To the right of your screen are less important but equally useful features, including help, as well as search and notification buttons. However, browse through these root menus and you’ll discover countless tools to tackle every aspect of your business.
To its credit, Xero has plenty of help and support options available to you. There are handy built-in options that can help you fix any minor issues you might encounter during setup. This is particularly convenient thanks to the question mark in the right corner of the interface, which provides an express dialog to solve many common queries.
The main Xero website is also the source of many helpful videos and other materials that provide primers and troubleshooting solutions for most, if not all of the sticking points you might encounter along the way. There is also a lively community area which enhances the overall usability of the Xero experience.
Xero does a great job of mixing a nice and modern user interface with a huge collection of accounting features and functions. For the money that makes it a pretty formidable package and with its cloud-based reliability and usability anywhere along with the ability to expand its capabilities with app add-ons, Xero is impressive on most foreheads.
While the obvious lack of live support isn’t always the best part of the overall package, there’s a lot to like about this service. If you take the time to learn the ropes of Xero, you’ll find that it will soon begin to reward you with a complete, smooth picture of your business and its inner workings.