Xero review

Heavyweight accounting software supporting asset and project management plus payroll

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Our Verdict

Xero is targeted is ideal for small to medium businesses and includes a number of features suitable for bigger organizations. While the number of features is overwhelming, the dashboard is perfectly simple to navigate.

For

  • Fixed asset management
  • Xero Projects

Against

  • Payroll unavailable on Starter plan

Xero is a New Zealand cloud-based accounting solution. It was founded in 2006 and has offices in New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Singapore and the US. 

The platform offers a wide-range of accounting features which are coveted by most business users. These include invoicing, payroll, expense management, projects, reporting and financial statements. Most tasks are automated, such as invoice reminders and recurring billing.

You can use the handy mobile app to access your account at any time.

Sole traders and freelancers may not need some of the more advanced features such as payroll but this is reflected in the pricing structure.

Pricing

Pricing

Xero accounting allows you to sample the solution with a 30-day free trial. There are three pricing plans available if you decide to continue.

The ‘Starter’ package is $9 (£6.91) per month. This includes access to five invoices, quotes, bills and reconcile twenty bank transactions. 

The ‘Standard’ plan is $30 (£23.05) per month which includes unlimited invoices, bills, quotes, bank transaction reconciliation and payroll for up to five people.

The ‘Premium 10’ package costs $70 (£53.77) per month. This includes everything the ‘Standard’ plan has to offer plus payroll for up to 10 people.

Setup

Setup

Once you have chosen your plan or if you have taken advantage of the 30-fay free trial, Xero will ask you to input your name, phone number and email address. After filling these in, you will need to verify your email. Once this has been completed you are ready to get started setting up your account.

Xero will ask you to choose a password. Once chosen, you will arrive at the main dashboard. the platform guides you through the setup process. You will just need to confirm a few details, such as your financial year, whether to accept Xero accountancy categories and to securely connect to your bank. You will also be asked to enter your bank balances and any invoices owed by you or to you.

While this is a simple process, it does take some time. Most of your time will be spent importing bank statements, contacts and any other necessary information business accounting.

Interface

Interface

The dashboard is easy on the eye and simply laid out. There a number of tabs across the top of the page. These include payroll, projects accounts, settings and contacts. The basic features are easy to locate but some of the more complex functions are harder to find.  However, once you get a feel for the software, navigation will no longer be an issue.

Each tab has a dropdown menu containing a variety of options. These are extremely simple to navigate.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, there is also a support button.

Xero walks you through each step of not only the setup process but also adding payroll, contacts and setting up reports. This is relatively effortless but will take time to input all the details necessary to get the payroll function working based upon your needs.

You can also add another business to Xero via the ‘My Xero’ tab.

The main dashboard displays your total cashflow, bills owed and invoices still outstanding. You can edit the dashboard if the layout isn’t to your liking.

Payroll

Features

Xero comes with its own integrated payroll software unlike its crisper looking cousin FreshBooks. 

Xero payroll is available in New Zealand, Australia, 37 US states and in the UK. It can be accessed by those who have purchased the two higher priced tiers. You can setup the bank account for paying employees, configure pay-dates through calendars, setup tax information, workplace pensions and add all employees into your system. Xero will walk you through each of these individually.

You can customize pay schedules, keep track of benefits, overtime, sick leave, requests for time-off and deductions.  

The payroll section is both straightforward to use and feature-rich. 

Projects

Xero has recently added a handy new feature called ‘Projects’. It is free to access during the 30-day trial period. 

This feature allows you to submit time and expenses relating to individual projects. Xero can also track project profitability.

You can track quotes, deposits paid and expenditure. 

The reporting feature is much more in-depth than similar accounting software like GoDaddy Bookkeeping

You can create reports relating to financial, sales, tax, purchases, accounting, inventory, payroll, fixed assets and projects under the ‘Reports’ tab 

You can also track your fixed assets. This is a feature which is not found in QuickBooks Online. Xero lets you import fixed assets or add them manually. It also calculates the depreciation on

Mobile apps

When you subscribe to Xero you can also download corresponding mobile apps. 

You can approve employee expenses and upload your own using the mobile app too.

Once you have completed a job for a customer, you can even send them an invoice immediately straight from your mobile. 

The app can also store all your relevant business information, such as addresses and contacts.

Final verdict

Xero is an excellent cloud-based accounting choice suitable for business who need a more in-depth package. If you want all your accountancy needs met by one platform, then Xero might be the best choice for you.

The sheer variety of functions available through the solution would have most users scrambling to subscribe. It might seem overwhelming to those who don’t need such complex accounting software. However, after using it for a while, some users will wonder how they ever survived without it.

It does take some time to get setup but this is just a once off, after which you will be able to use the software quickly and easily.