The Benefits Of Xero, Accounting in the Cloud

A Fresh Perspective

Enter the new kid on the block. With a Fresh perspective this New Zealand based company seems to be giving Intuit a run for their money.

Xero ONLY has a cloud accounting app. When they’re not busy “poking the bear” (a term they use to refer to how they like to pick on Intuit) they are building the newest generation of cloud accounting technology. It seems as though Intuit has stepped up their game largely because of the threat of Xero entering the US market and taking it by storm.

Picking up where MYOB (remember them?) left off they access their market through the accountant. Accountants can get their accountants portal and add on companies for $30/month/company – unlimited users in each company. The thinking is – they get the accountants, they can corner the end user market much faster by getting the people who can influence those users the most.

So why should you consider getting familiar with Xero? The same reason you should know QuickBooks Online. Your market – the people who might want to hire you are starting to catch on and use it. Some just want anything other than QuickBooks. Others really like this Fresh Perspective.

I have developed a close relationship with the people at this company. I am a partner with Xero just like I am a Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor with Intuit. When I started getting interested in this product myself, I decided I would hold off on going too deep with it until people started asking me about it. With no content on the web about Xero yet but a ton of content on QuickBooks I have gotten inquiries and now train a few clients on using Xero. That means it’s time to start paying attention to this product and take it seriously enough to get certified. I’ve taken their certification training and now just need to set aside the time for their exam. The time has come for all accountants and bookkeepers to pay attention to this product. As far as I am concerned it is the top competitor to QuickBooks Online and there are reasons for it.


These guys started a product that was built for the cloud in the cloud era. They are at the top of their game in terms of design and innovation. They call it “beautiful accounting” and there’s a reason for that. Their API was open to developers from the get go and their impressive suite off add on apps proves it:

Xero is focused on one thing. Creating a solid core GL package. They are going to do that really well and let the developers come in to do the “other stuff.” When I was at Xerocon last year, I asked one of their insiders when they might come out with a more robust inventory infrastructure. While the ideal answer would have been soon, I was pleased with what I heard. The response was that they don’t want to roll out a feature just to get it rolled out. They want to make sure they’ve got it right before rolling it out. He may have been poking the bear a bit with that one, but I like the idea that they don’t simply want to get it out there just for the sake of getting it out there and saying they have it. They are employing an innovation process that makes sure the area is working and bug free (as much as that is possible without actually getting it out there). So we wait patiently and sometimes not so patiently to see what they will come up with and when. In the meantime can we put our inventory intensive clients into Xero?

Maybe you can using one of these Xero Inventory add ons?

Some of the other impressive innovations that stand out with Xero are the ability to add footnotes to financial reports. This is a really nice feature when you are preparing reports to send to a bank, or a potential investor, or if you’re a bookkeeper and you want to send a note to the CPA.

How many times do we find that while we’re adding in transactions that we downloaded from the bank that we don’t know what something is? No need to code that to ask my accountant or uncategorized expenses. Xero has the “discuss” feature where you can ask the question right in the context of the transaction. This alone saves collective hours of taking screen shots and e-mailing them to your clients.

Xero also pioneered the side by side matching set up with respect to the bank feeds as well as the rules feature so you can “teach” the software how to code your transactions as they’re downloaded each night from your financial institution.

Clean Interface

Xero’s navigation is laid out very nicely with a simple top – cross navigation and clearly laid out titles.

It doesn’t take very long to figure out where to go to find what you’re looking for and the user interface is so well down you almost forget that you’re working in your browser.

They’ve simplified the language. Even though we may understand debits and credits, our clients don’t. So they use simple language like “spend money” and “purchases.”

When you get to the home screen you arrive at a nice dashboard summarizing your banking activity. This is usually the first thing we want to know – how much money do I have?

The settings menu is easy to customize. All you have to do is click the star next to an item in the settings and it shows up in the drop down so you can decide which areas you have quick access to.

I think you will find that Xero has a really slick interface that makes it very easy to navigate and that means getting things done quickly.

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