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QuickBooks or Xero? Two Key Differences Could Help You Make Your Decision

20150128 - xero or quickbooksWhen a small business owner says its time to ditch spreadsheets and move over to a dedicated piece of accounting software, it typically means the business is growing out of control and some organization is needed.

That’s not too difficult to figure out. What can be, however, is which direction to go when it comes to software. Most U.S. small business owners are familiar with QuickBooks. It has been the small business go-to for years and it’s likely not going away.

As QuickBooks adapts to a more mobile business atmosphere, some newcomers are arriving full steam ahead. Xero is one of those alternatives that leans on its slick design, ease of use and ability to always be ready, no matter where it needs to be used.

Xero and QuickBooks do a lot of similar things very well. Both can handle accounts payable, invoicing, financial reporting and billing management.

But both build off different foundations. Here are some key differences that can help you in your decision-making process.


For years, QuickBooks users have enjoyed their product from the comfort of their office. The only issue is that when they left the office, the work didn’t come with them. Everything was housed on a single server that couldn’t be accessed while on the go.

Xero was built from the ground-up as a mobile, web-based product that depends on smartphone and tablet apps to help run your business. Being that it lives in the cloud, a business owner never has to worry about being at the office or halfway across the country. Everything he or she needs is accessible through the Xero Touch app, or from the web-based product.

QuickBooks is also mobile-friendly, but some argue its mobile layout is simply a slimmed down version of its desktop app, making it difficult to use at times.

Being that QuickBooks has lived in the desktop space for so long and hasn’t, until recently, focused on mobile, it’s safe to assume that users will start to see a better mobile experience in the future. But for now, the product that was built strictly with mobile in mind has the upper arm.

App integrations

All smart business owners understand that it takes a group effort to succeed. Both Xero and QuickBooks understand their products can help make sense of a business, but also realize the importance of third party apps.

Xero integrates with hundreds of third-party business apps and does so seamlessly that it feels like that app is actually part of Xero. QuickBooks has less than 100 integrations at this time, but is beginning to realize the importance of doing so.

Both integrate with note-taking apps, file sharing apps and a bevy of payroll-related apps, and both are expected to continue adding more integrations in the future.

Decision time

For smaller and newer businesses, Xero might be the direction to go, being that it’s ease of use makes organizing a business easier. But, QuickBooks is a proven choice, as well. Both will continue to build off each other’s successes, which is good for all small businesses.

Analyze your needs and determine which is most appropriate for your business.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

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