By Pamela Phillips
Choosing the right accounting software for your business can be challenging. Deciding what features you need and assessing the pros and cons of each option is not easy, more so when you’re not an accountant so not familiar with the lingo or all the accounting concepts and processes your business needs to comply with.
The two main accounting software contenders for growing businesses in the UK are Xero and QuickBooks Online.
These two accounting platforms have more in common with each other than they have differences. Both are cloud-based accounting software so you can access them from anywhere, and both will help keep your business compliant and enable it to grow.
I’ll run through some of the highlights here so you can see for yourself.
Both Xero and QuickBooks Online have tiered pricing plans so can flex depending on your needs. Prices are broadly comparable although one notable difference is that Xero’s subscription includes unlimited users whereas Quickbooks limits the number of users on each plan. This means your subscription cost will increase when you add more users above this limit.
If you have a business where multiple users need access to your accounting records, Xero will usually work out to be cheaper.
Both Xero and Quickbooks have large ecosystems of apps that they integrate with. This is important as it is this connectivity with other software that will make your business more efficient, scalable and profitable. At the moment Quickbooks Online ecosystem is smaller than Xero with around 590 apps compared to Xero’s 700+.
QuickBooks Online offers free UK phone support however customer feedback notes that wait times are often long.
Xero doesn’t offer phone support at all however it does provide 24/7 online support. Their online training videos are a great resource as they are helpful, short and easy to follow.
When you are running your business in the cloud, and really by now everyone should be, you’ll know how disruptive it can be when one of your key systems goes down. This is why reliability is so important.
Xero has 99.97% uptime and has one of the strongest security reputations in the cloud accounting world. QuickBooks have reported downtime and outage on several occasions.
Xero has a more modern look and feel which makes it more enjoyable to use. The QuickBooks dashboard has had a refresh so looks quite modern but once you get behind the dashboard it can look a bit dated.
The basic bookkeeping functions in both Xero and Quickbooks are easy to use and fairly intuitive to navigate your way around.
Where more advanced features are needed, such as project tracking or cashflow forecasting, then integrations with apps such as Harvest and Float are likely to be needed. We recommend that you work with a specialist to configure these integrations and train your team on how best to use them.
Make a decision that's right for you
Our advice is firstly to find an accountant that you really want to work with. Someone who understands your business and who can help you achieve your ambitions. Accounting software is just a tool and in all honesty, the choice between Xero and QuickBooks Online is a choice that is best left to your accountant. If, however, your accountant is happy for you to still use desktop software or worse, a spreadsheet, then now is a good time to look for another accountant.
Xero Gold Partner
We’re proud to be a Xero Gold Partner and chose this software as it works best for our clients who are agency businesses. The types of agencies we support include PR agencies, webdesign businesses, video production companies and market research agencies amongst others, who are looking to scale their businesses. The ease of use, reliability, pricing and number of available integrations makes Xero the best option for our clients.
Find out more
Get in touch if you are interested in finding out more about Xero and whether it is right for your business.