QuickBooks vs. Xero: Is there a clear-cut winner?

by Darwin on August 20, 2015

One of the more interesting battles in the accounting world this past year is the one between proven software provider QuickBooks and the fast-growing newcomer Xero. Young business owners love everything Xero stands for, but veteran business owners understand that QuickBooks is tried and true. It’s simply reliable.

When looking at both pieces of software, you need to look at six key areas: It’s overview dashboard, software add-ons, mobile capability and bank reconciliations.

QuickBooks Online and Xero are similar in that they’re both cloud-based, double-entry accounting systems that let you send and receive electronic payments.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the two:

The dashboard

The moment you open Xero or QuickBooks, you see a dashboard showing the financial health of your business. It shows outstanding payments, bank account totals and a lot more critical information.

Xero’s is a great experience, using bright colors, plenty of graphics and it’s well-organized.

QuickBooks also gives a nice visual presentation, showing you income and more.

This is a close one, but the point goes to Xero, simply for its appearance and design.


Xero and QuickBooks realize their solution isn’t a one-size fits all and might need help from third-party developers. The iPhone, after all, wouldn’t be a smash if it didn’t have the App Store.

Xero is way ahead, however, having hundreds of integrations with a number of great business apps.

QuickBooks is playing catch up, adding more each month.

These add-ons give a more comprehensive view of your business’ financial health.

Bank reconciliations

The top reason you need accounting software is to make sure the numbers on your books match what’s in the bank. Luckily, both of these programs do that quite well.

Xero uses a two-column approach that shows downloaded transactions and then matches it to your invoices and expenses. Most of the time, the technology gets it right. Sometimes you need to change it manually.


QuickBooks uses a search-engine type format that can be a tad time-consuming. It still downloads transactions from your bank, but making sure those match up can take a little longer.

Mobile capability

The beauty of cloud computing is that you can be on the beach with your smartphone and still be connected to your business.

Xero’s mobile offerings include a mobile site and an app called Xero Touch. Both allow you to manage finances on the go.

QuickBooks’ apps are a slimmed down version of their web-browser, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but some tasks can be tricky.

Both apps allow for electronic signatures, expense filing via receipt photos and more.

Xero’s reconciliation process on mobile is quick, while QuickBooks takes some time. Both are solid products, though.


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