What is Xero: A guide

Samuel Clennett
30.06.20
5 minute read

If you’re looking for online accounting software for your business, it pays to do some research. There are many different products out there, and they all have different features and fees. This guide will walk through the key things you need to know about using Xero’s cloud accounting services, including:

  • What is Xero?
  • How to use Xero
  • Xero price and features

We’ll also touch on another handy feature of Xero - integration with the smart multi-currency account from TransferWise for business.

With TransferWise you can hold, send and spend dozens of different currencies, and switch between them using the mid-market exchange rate. Grow your business by connecting to suppliers and customers overseas - and use Xero to keep your paperwork in order, cutting time on admin.

What is Xero?

Xero is online accounting software which is perfect for entrepreneurs, small businesses and sole proprietors¹. You can manage all your business finances in one place, from payroll and expenses, to invoices and billing, and see the shape of your organisation at a glance with the Xero dashboard.

When you need to analyse business performance, you can also generate insightful reports to make sure your business continues to flourish.

What features does Xero have?

All online accounting software is designed to reduce the time spent doing administration, and free up business owners and managers to focus on core activities. Xero allows users to streamline activities, get paid faster, and provide exemplary customer service, with a range of smart features:

  • Get an immediate overview of your business finances and run reports whenever you need
  • Create and send custom invoices with a pay now button, so you get your money faster
  • Track and manage inventory
  • Manage payroll for your team, sending payslips and running reports for analysis
  • Record and claim expenses, including mobile options to manage your expenses on the move
  • Pay bills easily to reduce office admin
  • Connect with your bank for easy updates and reconciliation - including the TransferWise multi-currency account for business

How much does Xero cost?

Xero provides 3 different package prices depending on the services you need and the size of your business. Here are the Xero prices you need to know about²:

Xero costStarterStandardPremium Five
Monthly price$25$50$65
FeaturesSend up to 5 invoices, enter 5 bills Reconcile up to 20 transactions Manage payroll for 1 personSend unlimited invoices and bills Reconcile unlimited transactions Manage payroll for 2 peopleAll standard features, plus: Manage payroll for 5 people Automate superannuation Handle multiple currencies
Optional extrasExpenses - $5 per user/month Projects - $10 for the first user/month, then $7 per month for each additional Discounts available if added to the accounting planExpenses - $5 per user/month Projects - $10 for the first user/month, then $7 per month for each additional Discounts available if added to the accounting planExpenses - $5 per user/month Projects - $10 for the first user/month, then $7 per month for each additional Discounts available if added to the accounting plan

What are some competitors to Xero?

Of course, Xero is not the only online accounting option for small businesses. You might choose an alternative, such as QuickBooks, Sage or Zoho. Here are a few pros and cons of these alternatives, for you to consider.

Intuit QuickBooks

Choose from 3 package prices, each of which have a different set of features depending on your business needs. Here are a few of the key points about QuickBooks³:

  • Opening offer for new users - pay only half the monthly fee for the first 3 months of use, bringing the costs down to $10-$25/month⁴
  • Snap and store receipts and manage expenses
  • Create and reconcile invoices
  • Payroll services for 4 - 10 people depending on the monthly package you choose. Add additional payroll to your package for $4 per person/month
  • Track GST and e-lodge BAS
  • Some products allow multi-currency functionality, although you may pay extra for this compared to a basic package
  • All accounts include secure data storage, mobile access and customer support

Sage

Sage Business Cloud Accounting gives users invoicing, accounting and payroll support which you can use from your mobile for convenience⁵.

Sage’s basic package is $20/month, and gives access to 2 users, with payroll services for up to 4 employees as standard. You’ll also be able to generate invoices, run reports and complete other basic accounting tasks. If you want to do more with your package, you can choose from the range of add on services, which come with a fee. Here are the options⁶:

  • Time tracking - $5/month
  • Multi-currency - $5/month
  • Direct bank feed - $7/month
  • Additional companies - $20/month
  • Additional users - $3/user per month
  • Additional payroll - $5-6/employee per month

Zoho

Zoho has 3 packages which each offer different functionality, and would be suited to different types and sizes of business. Here are a few of the features you may choose from - not all features are available with all packages, so choose the monthly rate which gives you what your business needs⁷,⁸.

  • Register 50 customers or vendors with the cheapest monthly package - unlimited customers and vendors with the more costly Professional package
  • From 2 - 10 users depending on the monthly fee you pay, and up to 10 automated workflows
  • Bank connection and reconciliation
  • Invoicing and expense tracking
  • Budgeting, projects and timesheets
  • Some monthly packages offer purchase approval and purchase order functions
  • Extra services you can purchase including additional users - $2.20/user per month, and auto scans - 50 per month $5.50/month

When you’re choosing the right online accounting software for your business, you’ll want to take a look at the features and fees of several products before you sign up. Think about the functionality you need now, and what you might require as your business grows and develops.

For example, if you currently work with customers or suppliers overseas, or think that you’ll expand globally in future, it’s worth choosing an accounting product which lets you easily handle billing and invoices in different currencies. By finding accounting software which can cope with multi-currency billing, and partnering with a provider like TransferWise for business for low cost currency conversion, you can save money on bank fees and protect your profits.

See how the TransferWise for business multi-currency account can help your business connect with customers and suppliers all over the world, today.

Sources:

  1. Xero
  2. Xero Pricing
  3. Quickbooks
  4. Quickbooks Pricing
  5. Sage
  6. Sage Pricing
  7. Zoho
  8. Zoho Pricing

All sources accurate as of 22 June 2020


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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