Free trial: Yes
Price: from $25-60 per month
Ask almost anyone if they can name a single cloud-based accounting system and it’s a fair bet Xero will be one of the first names they’ll mention. The New Zealand-based SaaS was founded a decade ago.
Xero was founded on the revelation that desktop accounting software was too hard to use. Rather than having business users in mind, older accounting applications were written with the needs of accounts foremost. When it was released, Xero was a revelation.
Like all the other applications we’ve looked at, Xero launches with a dashboard that displays the information the developers believe you need to have front and centre with activity buttons where you’d expect them. For example, there’s a dashboard panel with a list of outstanding invoices. On that panel, there’s a button to create a new invoice. The same goes with the “Bills you need to pay” and “Expense claims” panels. You can drag and drop panels to suit your preferences.
Connectivity to other SaaS providers is available from the Settings and checking out the Add-ins. There are add-ins for a number of different vertical industries such as education, hospitality, manufacturing, and not-for-profits. There’s also integration for various point of sale and payment systems.
Payroll is also included, although the entry-level subscription limits that to a single employee – which is fine for a sole trader. You’ll need to stump up for a higher subscription level if you have more staff. Automatic superannuation payment management kicks in at $50 per month and you won’t get multi-currency support without paying at least $60 per month.
Xero’s mobile app for iOS is easy to use and doesn’t try to shoehorn the entire online experience onto the smaller screen. Adding invoices and expenses is easy with the app limiting data entry to those two activities and the management of contacts – the key activities you’re most likely to need when on the road. The app uses Touch ID so it requires your finger or a PIN for access.
If you’re migrating from either MYOB or Reckon, Xero is offering a free data migration service.
It’s tough to beat Xero as it has a great UI, nice mobile app and great third party integration: 4.5/5