Xero vs QuickBooks – Which is Best?

Stepping into the world of business finance often feels like navigating a bustling, vibrant coffee market, each stall offering a unique blend promising to be the next best part of your morning ritual. In this bustling marketplace, Xero and QuickBooks stand out, not just as two leading accounting software options but as the go-to brews for businesses thirsty for efficiency, clarity, and a touch of simplicity in their financial management.

As aficionados in the accounting industry, with over two decades of experience under our belts and countless software tastings, we’ve brewed our insights to guide you through this choice. We’re drawing from a deep well of experience, having been professional partners with Xero, QuickBooks, and MYOB. But, after years of sampling the market, we’ve poured our preferences into a single cup: we choose Xero.

Why, you might ask? Imagine finding a coffee that not only wakes you up but also becomes an integral part of your day – reliable, easy to enjoy, and always leaving you better than it found you. That’s Xero for us.

Dive into this article as we blend the rich flavours of Xero and QuickBooks, comparing their features, usability, and impact on your business. Whether you’re a small enterprise looking to streamline your accounting processes or a solo entrepreneur craving efficiency without the complexity, we’ll help you sift through the beans to find your perfect financial brew.



Accounting Software Overview: Xero and QuickBooks

Choosing between Xero and QuickBooks in the world of accounting software is like deciding between two top coffee blends. Each boasts its unique perks, but deep down, you know there’s that one blend perfectly kickstarting your day. For those of us navigating the intricate dance of invoices, bank transactions, and financial forecasts, Xero and QuickBooks are like the leading baristas of the accounting realm. We’ve penned these love notes, drawing from our rich experience of over two decades and our close-knit partnership with both industry-leading accounting software.


Key Features Comparison

Invoicing Capabilities

Navigating the world of invoicing with Xero is like having a barista who remembers your name and your order – it’s personal, efficient, and always spot-on. Xero’s invoicing is designed for ease and speed, allowing businesses to whip up and dispatch invoices with the same ease as saying, “the usual, please.” With the bonus of unlimited users across all plans, your entire team can get in on the action, sending out invoices without bumping into pesky extra fees.

In contrast, QuickBooks Online brings a comprehensive suite to the table, loaded with features that can handle just about any invoicing twist or turn. Think of it as the coffee shop with a menu so vast, you spend more time deciding than enjoying your drink. While it’s equipped to handle intricate invoicing needs, complete with customizable templates and automatic reminders, its richness can sometimes feel overwhelming for those who yearn for simplicity and straightforwardness.



Expense Tracking and Management

Tackling expense tracking and management with Xero is like to sipping on your favourite blend in a cozy corner café – effortless, enjoyable, and exactly what you need to start the day on the right note. Xero simplifies the whole ordeal of keeping tabs on expenses with an interface that’s as intuitive as your local barista knowing your order by heart. It’s all about ensuring every penny spent is tracked and categorized without making it a daunting task. With features like receipt capture and direct bank transaction linkage, Xero turns what used to be a tedious chore into a streamlined, almost enjoyable process.

On the flip side, navigating expense tracking with QuickBooks Online can sometimes feel like ordering a bespoke coffee concoction from a new, overly complex menu. Yes, the vast capabilities include detailed categorizations and customizable expense reports that could rival the most intricate coffee orders. But this array of options might come across as overwhelming for those craving simplicity and clarity. While QuickBooks aims to offer a robust accounting solution for every conceivable financial need, its ambition can sometimes overshadow the user’s desire for straightforward, no-fuss expense management.



Payroll Solutions

When it comes to payroll solutions, stepping into Xero’s world is like to finding that perfect coffee spot where the vibe is just right, and everything feels effortless. Xero serves up payroll processing with a side of simplicity and reliability, making sure everyone gets paid correctly and on time, just like your morning brew served exactly how you like it. The integration of payroll with other features means you’re not just paying your team; you’re also effortlessly managing taxes and superannuation contributions, all in one go. It’s about making payroll a breeze, so you can spend less time on calculations and more on the work that matters.

Switching over to QuickBooks Online, you’re met with a robust set of payroll features that cater to a wide array of needs. It’s the coffee shop with every option under the sun, from single-origin pour-overs to intricate latte art. With its advanced functionalities, QuickBooks Online aims to satisfy even the most complex payroll requirements, including detailed tax and benefits management. However, this extensive menu of options comes with a complexity that can sometimes feel like too much of a good thing. While it’s capable of flexing to fit the needs of various businesses, navigating through its plethora of options can sometimes leave you longing for the simplicity and straightforwardness of a well-made espresso.



Reporting Options

Delving into reporting options with Xero is like enjoying your coffee with a clear view of the sunrise: uncomplicated and illuminating. Xero presents data analytics and financial reports with refreshing clarity, turning what could be a complex array of numbers into actionable insights. Customizable to the core, Xero’s reports allow businesses to tailor their financial overview to exactly what they need to see, whether tracking cash flow, understanding project profitability, or getting a grip on expenses. It’s about transforming data into decision-making power, served up in a way that’s as accessible and enjoyable as your morning brew.

On the flip side, QuickBooks Online offers a robust espresso shot of reporting options — potent, detailed, and highly customizable. It’s like the specialty coffee shop that knows its beans and brews inside out, capable of delivering a complex flavour profile that’s unmatched. With QuickBooks, you can dive deep into financial analytics, exploring everything from detailed profit and loss reports to intricate sales tax summaries. However, the sophistication of QuickBooks’ advanced reporting can sometimes feel overwhelming, akin to a barista explaining the intricate differences between dozens of coffee varieties when you just want to know which one will kickstart your day.



Mobile Accessibility: Your Financials On the Go

With Xero, managing your finances on the move is as easy as grabbing a coffee to go. Its mobile app is designed for life’s hustle, allowing you to reconcile bank transactions, check bank balances, oversee invoices, track expenses, and check your business’s financial health from anywhere. It’s about keeping your financial world at your fingertips, blending seamlessly with your on-the-go lifestyle.

QuickBooks Online’s fully functional mobile app is like having a portable coffee cart – equipped to serve up a full menu of accounting tasks wherever you are. From sending invoices to capturing expense receipts, it brings a robust set of features to your smartphone. While it packs a powerful punch, the richness of its offerings might sometimes feel like navigating a full coffee menu from a small screen.



Security Features: Keeping Your Blend Safe

Xero treats your data security as seriously as a barista guards their signature coffee recipe. With features like two-step authentication and data encryption, Xero ensures your financial information is kept safe, letting you focus on your business with peace of mind. It’s about creating a secure, trusted space where your business’s financials are protected.

QuickBooks Online prioritizes your data’s security with the vigilance of a café owner, ensuring their espresso machines are locked up tight after hours. With robust encryption, regular backups, and security protocols, QuickBooks Online aims to safeguard your sensitive information against any unwanted breaches. It’s about providing a secure foundation for your business, ensuring your financials are as secure as the café’s prized beans.



Ease of Use and User Experience

Navigating Xero for your accounting needs is like walking into your favourite café where the atmosphere is warm, the layout inviting, and your order is effortlessly placed with a friendly nod. Unlike QuickBooks online, the platform distinguishes itself with its intuitive design and user-friendly interface, making financial management feel less daunting.

your daily routine. From the dashboard layout to the straightforward navigation, Xero is crafted to ensure that every feature is accessible and understandable, even for those without a background in finance. It’s about removing barriers between you and your financial insights, ensuring that checking in on your business’s health is as refreshing as your morning cup.

In comparison, QuickBooks Online offers a comprehensive toolset designed to tackle a wide range of accounting tasks. Think of it as the coffee shop with the latest brewing gadgets and a menu that caters to every possible preference. The capabilities are extensive, from detailed financial reporting to granular expense tracking, but this wealth of options can sometimes lead to a complex user experience. For some, navigating the QuickBooks dashboard is like decoding an elaborate coffee menu — exciting for aficionados but potentially overwhelming for those who prefer simplicity.



Pricing and Plans

Pricing and plans for Xero and QuickBooks differ, with each popular accounting software option offering various tiers to cater to different business needs. Xero Accounting Software offers three pricing tiers: Early, Growing, and Established, with each plan including a range of features to help your business thrive. On the other hand, QuickBooks Online offers a range of QuickBooks Online plans to suit businesses of all sizes, from its Simple Start plan for single users, to its Essentials and Plus plans for growing businesses.

The best choice for your business will depend on your budget, needs, and the specific features you require. While Xero’s plans are more wallet-friendly for small businesses, QuickBooks Online offers a more comprehensive range of features, especially in areas like invoicing and expense management. So, take the time to weigh the pros and cons of each software’s pricing and plans to determine which option is the best fit for your business by conducting a QuickBooks Online comparison.



Beyond the Counter: Integration and Support

As for integration possibilities, Xero’s the social butterfly. It effortlessly pairs with many third-party apps and services, transforming it from a mere tool to a versatile ally for your business. Xero integrates with more than 700 apps, including popular payment acceptance services such as Stripe, PayPal, and GoCardless, as well as CRM, inventory, payroll, point of sale, e-commerce, and time-tracking applications.

QuickBooks is a software program used to make money. Online also offers a variety of app integrations, such as PayPal, TSheets, Bill Pay for QuickBooks Online, and Stripe, allowing for seamless integration with your existing software ecosystem. 



Customer Support and Resources

Stepping into Xero’s world of customer support is like walking into a coffee shop where the barista knows not only your name but also how to make your day better. With an array of online resources, community forums, and direct support, Xero ensures you’re well-equipped to tackle any question. It’s about providing a warm, guiding hand, ensuring you never feel lost in the numbers.

QuickBooks Online, on the other hand, is like a café with a knowledgeable but busy staff. It offers a comprehensive suite of support options, including a detailed knowledge base, live chat, and community forums. While the information is there, navigating through the resources to find the precise answer you need can sometimes feel as challenging as deciding between an array of artisanal coffee blends.



Real-World Scenarios: Which is Best for Your Business?

Navigating the choice between Xero and QuickBooks Online is much like selecting the perfect coffee blend for your morning routine; the best choice hinges on your personal taste, business size, and specific needs. Let’s pour over some real-world scenarios to help determine which accounting software might brew the best results for your business.

Scenario 1: The Construction Company

Managing a construction company means every detail counts, from meticulously tracking project budgets to managing payments to subcontractors and handling the ebb and flow of material costs. For this intricate dance of numbers and deadlines, Xero steps into the spotlight with its robust project tracking capabilities and seamless expense management. Additionally, Xero’s ability to integrate with construction-specific apps enhances its toolkit, making it an adaptable and powerful ally in the construction industry. With Xero, you’re not just building structures; you’re constructing a solid financial foundation for your business to thrive.

Scenario 2: The Non-Profit Organization

Leading a non-profit means every penny counts, and transparency with your board is paramount. You need an accounting solution that simplifies donation tracking and generates financial statements with ease. Xero’s intuitive reporting and user-friendly dashboard can serve up the clarity and efficiency you crave, allowing more time to focus on your mission rather than managing finances.

Scenario 3: The Tech Startup

In the fast-paced world of tech startups, agility is everything. You need accounting software that not only keeps pace but also seamlessly integrates with other apps you rely on, like CRM and project management tools. Xero’s vast ecosystem of integrations and emphasis on collaborative, paperless accounting makes it the go-to choice for tech-savvy teams looking to streamline their operations and focus on innovation.


Our Pour-Over Thoughts

After years of tasting the full range of accounting software, opting for Xero over QuickBooks reflects more than a preference – it’s a commitment to simplicity, reliability, and community. QuickBooks, with its comprehensive but sometimes clunky approach to online accounting, had its moment. Yet, it often felt like the barista who can never quite remember your order. With Xero, we’ve found our rhythm, embracing bookkeeping not as a daily grind but as an essential, enjoyable part of our workflow.

In the great debate of Xero vs QuickBooks, think of it as choosing between that effortlessly smooth flat white and an overly ambitious brew that doesn’t quite hit the mark. For us, and for the countless small businesses we’ve had the pleasure to serve, it’s about making those numbers dance in the most graceful, fuss-free way possible – and Xero leads that waltz with unmatched poise. Here’s to letting Xero streamline your financial narrative, making every calculation and report as satisfying as your first coffee of the day.



Frequently Asked Questions

How easy is it to switch from Quickbooks to Xero?

Transitioning between these platforms can be straightforward, thanks to tools and services designed to help migrate your data. However, it’s important to consider the intricacies of your financial setup and possibly consult with a professional to ensure a smooth transition. Need a hand? Save My Books helps small business owners migrate from QuickBooks to Xero, contact us today for a quote.


Can Xero and QuickBooks Online handle multi-currency transactions?

Yes, both Xero and QuickBooks Online support multi-currency transactions, allowing global businesses to manage their finances in various currencies with real-time exchange rate updates.


Are Xero and QuickBooks Online suitable for businesses of all sizes?

Absolutely. Both platforms are scalable, making them suitable for small businesses to larger enterprises. Xero’s simplicity and flexibility make it particularly popular among startups and small service-based businesses, while QuickBooks Online’s robust features cater well to businesses with more complex accounting needs.


Can I access Xero and QuickBooks Online on my mobile device?

Yes, both Xero and QuickBooks Online offer mobile apps that provide access to a range of accounting tasks, including invoicing, expense tracking, and viewing management reports, making it easy for small business owners to manage their finances on the go.


How do Xero and QuickBooks Online protect my financial data?

Both platforms take security seriously, employing measures like data encryption, two-factor authentication, and regular security audits to protect your financial information against unauthorized access.


Do Xero and QuickBooks Online integrate with other business tools?

Yes, both Xero and QuickBooks Online boast extensive integration possibilities with a wide range of third-party apps, including inventory management, CRM, and eCommerce platforms, allowing businesses to create a highly customized and efficient accounting ecosystem.


Can I use Xero or QuickBooks Online for payroll?

Both platforms offer payroll solutions within their ecosystems, simplifying payroll processing, tax calculations, and filings. These features help ensure compliance and save time on payroll management.


Picture of Stacey, Registered BAS Agent and bookkeeper, who provides bookkeeping services to small businesses all over Australia

Stacey Fulton

Boss Lady / BAS Agent

Hey, I’m Stacey, I’m a fan of karate and big beefy muscle cars. But my major, stay-awake-till-3am obsession… is other awesome small biz owners. We ‘get’ each other. I mean, let’s face it. This gig; running a business… it’s empowering and exhilarating. But man, it’s also painful and lonely at times. A kind of pain that our non-small business friends don’t always ‘get’.

In a previous life, I was a corporate gal. Clad in my business suit and sporting a mouthful of technical jargon, I was set to climb the proverbial ladder of the accounting world. And I didn’t do too bad. Then I had kids. Lots of them. Turns out, the corporate world wasn’t a fan of big families and I wasn’t a fan of the corporate world. So I packed up my mundane little cubicle and fell face first Fat Amy style into the world of small business. Save My Books was born.

Don’t go it alone, it’s no fun. And business should be fun. Grab a few squares of chocolate *who am I kidding, grab the block*, and peruse some of the content I’ve put together for you. Or, if you’re time poor like me, save the reading, let’s chat for real over Zoom.

Until then.



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March 15, 2024

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Stacey Fulton, numbers nerd and tradie bookkeeping specialist, sitting on white steps

Hi, I’m Stacey Fulton, Chief Bean-Counter and BAS Agent at Save My Books. Together with my small (but mighty) team, we help small businesses understand their finances, so they can build sustainable thriving businesses – minus the overwhelm.

Our main goal? To be real people, that have real conversations (minus the jargon), leading to real results. See, our team are all business owners ourselves, so we understand the pressure that small businesses can put on families because we experience it ourselves. Every. Single. Day.

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