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  • Free Trial: 30 days
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  • Mobile Apps: Android and iOS
  • Customer Support: Help Centre, Email

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Xero Software Review

With over 3 million subscribers in 180 countries worldwide, Xero is one of the most popular accounting platforms on the market. In this Xero software review, we will dive into the core features of this cloud-based accounting software and see how it compares to similar accounting solutions.

Xero Software Review

minimum price:

£12

Visit Website
  • Free Plan: /
  • Free Trial: 30 days
  • App Integrations: 1,000+
  • Mobile Apps: Android and iOS
  • Customer Support: Help Centre, Email

Best For

Small and mid-sized businesses

STRENGTHS

  • Feature-rich accounting software
  • Unlimited users on all plans
  • Demo company
  • Intuitive interface
  • Basic inventory tracking on all plans

WEAKNESSES

  • Limited customer support
  • Entry-level plan allows for only 20 invoices

Xero is one of the leading accounting software providers for small and medium-sized businesses. The appeal of Xero lies in its comprehensive set of features — the platform supports every element you’d expect from a double-entry small business accounting software, including:

  • Invoicing
  • Expense management
  • Tacking inventory
  • Running payroll

In this Xero software review, you will learn how it can benefit your business and see why it is a popular choice for small and mid-sized businesses in the UK.

About Xero Software

Xero is cloud-based accounting software designed to support small and growing businesses automate their accounting process. Founded in New Zealand by technology entrepreneur Rod Drury in 2006, it is a leader in cloud accounting in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK, with more than 3 million subscribers. The company has three offices in the UK — in London, Manchester, and Milton Keynes.

With strong competition and little brand awareness outside of New Zealand, the company faced a major challenge when entering the UK market for the first time. However, Xero has since gained around 700,000 subscribers in the UK.

How Does Xero Work?

Xero provides the flexibility and convenience that comes with web-based accounting software, so all you need to do to get started with the platform is create an online account and verify your email address.

Once you’ve activated your account, you can immediately add your organisation and start entering your business data. Xero simplifies things by outlining the early steps you need to take to set up the account for your business. These steps include:

  1. Connecting your bank account
  2. Creating your first invoice
  3. Adding and managing your bills
  4. Sorting transactions into categories

Xero Account Setup | CyberCrew

Each of these steps comes with introductory materials, such as step-by-step guides and how-to videos, making it easy to get started with Xero even if you’re unfamiliar with accounting software.

If you are switching to Xero from a different accounting solution, you can import all your important business data in bulk via CSV files. Data that can be imported include invoices, supplier bills, contacts, fixed assets and a Xero chart of accounts.

Note that Xero will automatically convert your customers and suppliers into contacts, so it is advisable to import your bills and invoices before adding contacts to avoid duplication.

Xero Dashboard | CyberCrew

Xero boasts a visually appealing and intuitive user interface. The main dashboard is fully-customisable and designed to give you a quick overview of your business’s finances, with key information such as total cash in and out, overdue bills, and outstanding invoices.

Aside from the main dashboard, the top menu also contains the Business, Accounting, Projects, and Contacts options, from where you can access all the features Xero has to offer. 

On the far right side of the screen, you can access the Help, Notifications, and Search buttons, as well as a plus icon, which allows you to generate brand new documents such as invoices, bills and quotes.

If you are new to online accounting software, you can also try the Xero demo company. It contains fictional business data, allowing you to get a feel of how the software works without having to enter your own business information first.

Xero Key Features

Xero Invoicing

Xero offers a comprehensive invoicing solution, allowing you to send all your invoices to your clients directly from the software and receive payments online. Invoices can be fully customised to suit your organisation and match your brand.

To customise your Xero invoice, you start by assigning it a branding theme, which determines how the invoice will look when you send it to the client.

Xero provides a Standard branding theme containing the logo you uploaded when entering your organisation’s data. You can customise the Standard theme to your liking by adjusting the margins and fonts, turning various features on and off, and adding terms and payment advice, among other options.

Xero Invoicing | CyberCrew

Furthermore, you can add a payment service, such as Stripe or PayPal, which will allow your customers to pay you online.

Aside from the Standard theme, Xero allows you to create multiple branding themes for different customer groups and customise them in the same way.

To ensure you get paid on time, Xero can automatically send payment reminders to your customers via email. At the same time, the software allows you to set a custom minimum owing limit and days overdue.

The invoice creation window is also relatively simple and easy to understand, with the different fields clearly labelled and easy to find. Moreover, when you add an already existing customer, Xero automatically displays the details from that customer in the invoice.

Xero Invoicing | CyberCrew

While Xero offers an excellent invoicing solution, there are some minor inconveniences you should be aware of. For example, the platform doesn’t support custom fields, making it impossible to add a custom note to your customer in the invoice. Moreover, Xero’s cheapest plan includes 20 invoices a month, which some users may find limiting.

Xero Payroll

Xero’s payroll solution is an optional add-on you can include in your regular plan for an extra monthly fee of £5 per month. However, that price only includes your first five employees. Each new employee on your payroll will cost you an additional £1 per month.

While that can get costly if you have many employees, Xero’s payroll solution is still an excellent choice for small businesses with few employees.

With Xero Payroll, you can:

  • Submit payment and deduction details to HMRC
  • Automatically calculate tax, pensions, and leave
  • Allow employees to view payslips and request leave online
  • Track the hours worked with a built-in timesheet
  • Automatically manage workplace pensions

Inventory Management

Unlike other accounting platforms, Xero includes basic inventory management in all its plans, including the cheapest one. This is a huge advantage for businesses that need to keep track of what is in stock in real-time. Thanks to this feature, they can do it directly from Xero without having to integrate and pay for a third-party inventory tracking app.

With Xero’s inventory management software, you can track up to 4,000 items and run inventory reports to see the best and worst-selling products. You can also select items and add them directly to invoices, quotes, or purchase orders. 

Expenses

Xero’s account payable software gives you an overview of your unpaid bills, expenses, and purchase orders. It also saves you countless hours of administrative work by allowing you to make batch payments and schedule payments in advance.

However, Xero’s cheapest plan only allows you to enter up to five bills, so if you have more expenses, you’ll need to upgrade to one of the platform’s higher tiers.

Mobile Apps

With the Xero accounting app, available for Android and iOS devices, you can perform most of the tasks you do on the web version of Xero from anywhere.

Most notably, you can view your cash flow and bank account balances, create and send invoices, reconcile transactions, and convert quotes into invoices with a single tap.

Customer Support

Xero offers excellent support in the form of support articles, guides and how-to videos.

The platform’s main dashboard includes a help button with a search bar, from where you can look up an article for the specific issue you are facing. The help page also includes a direct link to Xero Central, Xero’s comprehensive support site. From there, you can start a discussion with Xero’s community of users or check out helpful guides, courses and webinars.

You can also raise a case with Xero’s support team directly, but this is where the software falls short. While it promises 24/7 online support, the only way to get in touch with a support agent is by filling in a support form detailing your issue.

Xero lacks a live chat option and doesn’t offer inbound phone support. So if you need to speak to someone urgently, you’ll have to wait for Xero’s team to get back to you via email. This is not ideal, especially if you have an urgent issue that requires immediate attention.

Xero Pricing

Xero used to offer three plans for its users, but the company has recently introduced a fourth, Ultimate plan for customers in Australia and the UK.

Xero’s pricing plans now range from £12 to £49 a month.

The platform’s entry-level, Starter plan is best for startups, sole traders, and new businesses. It includes basic features like bank transactions reconciliation and VAT return filing, but it limits users to only 20 invoices and five bills a month.

Next up, the Standard plan removes the invoicing limit and includes more advanced features, such as bulk reconciliation of transactions. It comes at £26 a month and is aimed at growing small businesses.

The Premium plan is recommended for established businesses of all sizes and, for £33 a month includes everything in the two previous plans, plus the ability to use multiple currencies. 

Finally, the Ultimate plan is Xero’s highest, an all-in-one offering designed for larger employers and more complex small businesses. For £49 a month, it includes Xero’s core accounting features, employee management tools like projects, payroll, and expense claims, as well as advanced cash flow and financial performance insights.

In the table below, you can see an overview of all Xero plans.

 

Plan Price Key Features
Starter  £12
  • Send up to 20 invoices
  • Enter up to 5 bills
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Submit VAT returns to HMRC
  • Automatic CIS calculations and reports
  • Capture receipts and bills with Hubdoc
Standard £26

Everything in Starter, plus:

  • Short-term cash flow and business snapshot
  • Bulk reconcile transactions
Premium £33

Everything is Standard, plus:

  • Use multiple currencies
Ultimate £49

Everything in Premium, plus:

  • Payroll for up to 10 people
  • Expenses and projects for up to 5 people
  • Advanced insights with Analytics Plus

 

Xero also includes a number of optional add-ons that can be added to any plan for an additional monthly fee on top of your paid package. Xero add-ons include:

  • Payroll — £5/month
  • Expense claiming — £2.50/month
  • Project tracking — £5/month
  • Submit CIS returns — £5/month
  • Analytics — £5/month
  • Xero Pay with Wise — free for the first month

If you want to try any of the plans before committing to a subscription, you can sign up for Xero’s free trial, which lasts for 30 days. No credit card is required, and you can cancel at any time.

Xero Alternatives

Xero vs QuickBooks

QuickBooks Online is market-leading cloud-based accounting software that is ideal for growing businesses with specific accounting needs like tax planning, unlimited invoicing, and expense tracking. 

Unlike Xero, QuickBooks offers a dedicated self-employed plan which allows freelancers and sole traders to prepare self-assessment tax returns, making it the obvious choice if you fall in the self-employed category. QuickBooks also has the edge when it comes to customer support, offering free UK phone support and live chat.

On the flip side, QuickBooks Online limits the number of users you can add to your account to only three and five with its intermediate and premium plans, respectively. Xero imposes no such limitations, making it the better choice if you need to give access to your account to a larger team.

Xero vs Sage

Sage is a UK-based enterprise software company that offers both cloud-based and on-premise accounting solutions. The company’s web-based accounting software, Sage Business Cloud Accounting, is aimed at small businesses — from sole traders and startups to established businesses with more complex accounting needs.

Sage Business Cloud Accounting offers impressive customer service, with 24/7 UK-based support via phone, email, and live chat. Like Xero, Sage offers a payroll add-on, but at £7 per month for businesses with up to five employees, it is slightly more expensive than Xero’s payroll solution.

While both platforms allow unlimited users, Sage’s entry-level plan is limited to only one user. Xero, on the other hand, includes unlimited users in all its plans. Furthermore, Xero’s cheapest plan limits users to only 20 invoices, while Sage places no limits on the number of invoices you can send in any of its plans.

Xero vs FreshBooks

FreshBooks is another popular small business accounting software that stands out for its intuitive user interface and customisable invoices. The platform’s pricing plans start at just £11 per month, which is reduced to £9.90 if you choose to subscribe annually.

Besides unlimited invoicing in all plans, FreshBooks offers built-in time tracking software (ensuring every hour worked is properly accounted for and billed). In contrast, Xero only offers time tracking with the Projects add-on, which comes at an additional £5 on top of your Xero subscription price.

That said, Xero includes the ability to reconcile bank transactions in all of its plans, while FreshBooks’ cheapest plan lacks bank reconciliation.

Wrap Up

To conclude this Xero software review, let’s see my final thoughts about this accounting software. From what I’ve seen and experienced, Xero is comprehensive, user-friendly cloud accounting software suitable for small and mid-sized businesses. While it falls short when it comes to customer support, Xero’s extensive feature set and affordable price make it a strong contender in the accounting software market.

FAQ

How good is Xero software?

Xero software is a highly rated accounting solution that offers a range of features to suit businesses of all sizes. It is easy to use, with a visually appealing user interface and has a variety of pricing plans to suit different budgets. Xero also offers a demo company so you can try the software before entering your own business information.

Is Xero hard to use?

No, Xero is not hard to use. The software comes with introductory materials, such as step-by-step guides and how-to videos, making it easy to get started even if you’re unfamiliar with accounting software. Moreover, the user interface is visually appealing and intuitive.

Is Xero good for small business?

Yes, Xero is a good option for small businesses. The software offers a range of features that make it easy for small businesses to manage their finances. What’s more, it is relatively affordable, with pricing plans starting at £12 a month.

What does Xero software do?

The Xero accounting software is designed to help businesses manage their finances, including invoicing, tracking expenses, and reconciling bank transactions. Xero also offers a payroll solution, allowing businesses to manage employee payments.

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