Xero accounting review: Fees, top features and alternatives

Panna Kemenes

Xero is an online accounting software that allows small business owners to take control of their finances and push for growth. It offers valuable insights and the help of advisors.

So long as you have a device with an internet connection, you can check in on your business’ numbers and at a glance and manage your finances with Xero.

This Xero accounting review will cover:

Manage international payments
with Wise Business

Xero accounting pros and cons

Xero accounting software reviews often refer to it as an excellent option for small business owners, but what are some pros and cons of using Xero?

Xero ProsXero Cons
  • You can make and receive payments in 160+ currencies, with current exchange rates and instant conversions¹
  • You can view reports in different currencies
  • You can create and customize sales invoices
  • Third-party integration provides you with more services
  • Connect your bank account for direct feeds that help with bookkeeping
  • Your business may need more reporting options
  • Hard to differentiate customers and suppliers as all are grouped under ‘contacts’
  • No live chat or phone support

Reasons to choose Xero

If Xero is one of the accounting software options on the table for your business, here are some reasons that could tip the scale:

FeatureWhy it can be useful
Multi-currency accountingA multi-currency feature makes it possible for international businesses to track international payments.
Track and pay billsEvery business owner wants to have their finger on the pulse of their business. With Xero, you can do just that with an overview of accounts payable and cash flow. Stay on top of your bills and schedule payments to keep things running smoothly.
Claim expensesWith Xero, you can capture your expenses, submit them, and then approve and reimburse claims all in one place.
Direct bank feedsBy connecting your bank to the Xero software, you can see the transactions for each business day.
Receive paymentsYou can accept payments online with Xero, using third-party tools such as Stripe, GoCardless, and others.
Gusto payrollPay your employees quickly through third-party software Gusto.
Project managementYou can invoice and get paid for jobs completed, as well as track time taken, costs, and project profitability. You can also prepare estimates through Xero.
💡 With a Wise Business account, you can automatically sync your activity for over 40 currencies to Xero. No need to spend hours of admin with manual uploads and exports!

Reasons to look at alternatives to Xero

While it certainly has many useful accounting features, just like any software service, Xero isn’t perfect. Here are some reasons you might consider alternatives to Xero:

  • No phone support

There is no phone support or live chat service with Xero. If you run into any issues with the software, you’ll have to wait for a response after filling out a question form on the website.²

  • Limited features with the cheapest plan

If you opt for the cheapest payment plan, you will have access to fewer features. For example, you will only be allowed to send 20 invoices and enter 5 bills.

  • Can be hard to separate customers and suppliers

All the people your business deals with are grouped under the ‘contacts’ heading. You might have difficulty locating your customers or suppliers. Without the ability to group them into individual categories, organization could get a little messy.

How much does Xero accounting cost?

There are various fees and expenses associated with the Xero accounting pricing plans. It’s worth getting familiar with the fees before you go ahead and choose a plan.

Xero Early plan fees

Fees³Included in planGreat for
$11/month First 3 months, you pay 50% of the current price per month
  • Send quotes and up to 20 invoices
  • Enter up to 5 bills
  • Reconcile bank transactions
  • Organize your receipts and bills with Hubdoc
  • See a snapshot of your short-term cash flow
Sole traders, self-employed workers, and startup businesses

Xero Growing plan fees

Fees³Included in planGreat for
$32/month First 3 months, you pay 50% of the current price per monthIncludes everything in the Early plan, plus:
  • Unlimited bills, invoices, and quotes
  • Bulk reconcile transactions
Small businesses

Xero Established plan fees

Fees³Included in planGreat for
$62/month First 3 months, you pay 50% of the current price per monthIncludes everything in the Growing plan, plus:
  • You can use multiple currencies
  • Track projects
  • Claim expenses
  • Access detailed analytics
Established businesses

Xero fees

Is Xero difficult to learn?

While it may seem like a lot to learn in the beginning, the software provides a wealth of learning resources that you can use to get to grips with the various functions.⁴

There are a number of courses on various topics related to Xero accounting software, as well as learning programs, webinars, and even live events. As such, troubleshooting issues should be easy.

Xero also has a community space that encourages ongoing discussion between users. Learning from others’ experience with the software can be invaluable when starting out.

Is Xero accounting safe?

Xero understands that security is of the utmost importance when accounting information is on the line. It has plenty of security measures in place to protect user data.⁵

For a start, there’s multifactor authentication (MFA) which makes it difficult for someone else to log into your account. By requesting permission to log in through an authentication app on your mobile device or tablet, it’s much less likely that your account will get hacked.

Xero also ensures that you are in charge of your organization’s data, to the extent that you determine who can see it on an invite-only basis. Plus, all the information that you enter is stored and backed up in the cloud. You can access it from anywhere provided you have an internet connection.

Then there’s standard data encryption which protects your data, and 24/7 surveillance and monitoring of the physical data centers that hold onto the information.

This should help you sleep well at night knowing your accounting information is locked up somewhere safe, both digitally and physically.

Xero security

Xero accounting alternatives

Here are some of the top Xero accounting alternatives you might like to take a look at:

ProviderFeeKey features
FreshBooks3 pricing plans from $15-50 a monthFreshBooks allows you to create custom invoices, track your time and expenses, and do business in various currencies
QuickBooks4 pricing plans from $25-180 a monthQuickBooks offers several comprehensive pricing plans loaded with accounting features such as automated billing, project management, and data insights
Sage2 pricing plans from $10-25 a monthWith Sage, you can use the Cash Flow Manager invoicing system for an instant cashflow snapshot to get a clear idea of your finances. You can make custom recurring invoices and receive payment quickly with ‘pay now’ functionality

Is Xero better than Sage?

While it’s impossible to state definitively which accounting software is best, there will be a better option for you based on your business’ needs.

Here are some points in favor of each service that should give you a good idea of which one is right for you:

  • Sage offers unlimited invoices and bills with every plan

With Sage, regardless of which pricing plan you sign up for, you’ll be able to send as many invoices and bills as you need to.

  • Xero offers unlimited users with every plan

Xero balances things out by allowing unlimited users with every plan. This means any number of employees or business partners of yours can access the business’ accounting information should you allow it.

  • Sage provides the first 3 months free

If you just want to dip your toes into the water with some accounting software, then the generous first 3 months free offer from Sage should make it easy to do so.

  • Xero has Wise multi-currency account integration

Xero offers its users the ability to 'Pay with Wise', which means you can integrate your Wise multi-currency account and pay your bills from suppliers wherever they are in the world. This will save you money on fees and ensure you get the real, mid-market exchange rate.

  • Xero vs Sage reviews

Xero has a Trustpilot score of 4.0 out of 5 from 3,276 reviews as of the time of writing.⁶

Sage has an overall score of 4.6 out of 5 from 14,250 reviews.⁷

Customers of Xero mention the speed and clarity of the customer support service as one of its main benefits. Some express frustration over the pricey plans.

Customers of Sage appreciate the expert feedback and guidance given by the company’s customer support team. Some say that customer support can be tricky to get a hold of at times.

Doing business internationally? Connect Xero with Wise to get paid with ease

After reading this Xero accounting review, you’ll hopefully be able to decide if it is the right choice for you.

Whichever accounting software you choose, you’ll want to have a system in place for getting paid on time - whatever the currency.

Get paid with Wise Business

If you have international customers, Wise Business can be the stress-free solution to manage different currencies. You can also add your USD bank details to your Xero invoices to help customers pay faster and help you get paid on time.

With Wise Business, you can get local account details, such as a UK sort code, even as a US citizen. This makes it easier for customers to pay you.

Register for free, and see how Wise Business can help you save time and money.

Wise

Sources:

  1. Multi-currency accounting
  2. Support FAQ
  3. Pricing Plans
  4. Learning
  5. Xero Online Accounting Data Security.
  6. Xero Reviews
  7. Sage Reviews

All sources checked 18 October 2021.


Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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