Quickbooks Online or Xero?
September 21, 2015 6:40 PM   Subscribe

Help me decide which kind of small business, cloud-based accounting software is best for a free-lancer.

Things I like about Xero not offered by Quickbooks: 1) grants more than one user access, 2) uses Paypal to accept payments, 3) deals in international currency.

Things I do not like about Xero: 1) Almost twice as expensive as Quickbooks, 2) No phone-in tech support which Quickbooks has.

I am setting up a small business that my 19-year-old will help me run. I don't anticipate it generating much more than $200,000/year. Keeping it small intentionally. May have some additional side income from different projects -- as yet to be determined.

It would be nice to get feedback on both Quickbooks Online, as well as Xero, and/or any other cloud-based app worth considering.

The last time a question like this was asked was in 2013. Since these things evolve, I thought I would post of new one for the general edification of the mefi community.
posted by zagyzebra to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a Quickbooks Pro Advisor who had extensive experience with various versions of Quickbooks (PC and Mac over many years) before using either Quickbooks Online or Xero. I became certified in Xero about 3 years ago and I've attended one of Xero's annual conferences.

I found Quickbooks Online easier to learn than Xero. (And Quickbooks Online is significantly different from Quickbooks desktop, so it was not just my prior experience with that platform that made the difference.) There continue to be routine tasks in Xero that I know how to do but don't feel I grasp what's going on, which makes it difficult to figure out where the error is when things go wrong. Also, Xero does not have a straightforward process for reconciling bank accounts vs. printed statements from the bank.

It's not my experience that Quickbooks Online will not allow more than one user to have access; I have a full time job where I use Quickbooks, but other individuals in the company can access it as well (though in practice, they rarely do). I also serve as a freelance consultant from time to time, and my clients are able to give me access to their Quickbooks companies both to review transactions and to enter new ones.
posted by layceepee at 7:06 PM on September 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you for the expert opinion layceepee. Quite right, Quickbooks Online will allow multiple users, but the price goes up.
posted by zagyzebra at 7:33 PM on September 21, 2015

Have you looked at Wave?
posted by DarlingBri at 2:40 AM on September 22, 2015

Response by poster: I haven't looked at Wave yet. But I can tell you after one day of using Quickbooks Online, that I think it sucks -- completely exasperating! Maybe I should give Wave a chance? Truthfully, which one of these is the most idiot-friendly? Definitely not Quickbooks! Nor is Quickbooks geared toward small landlords. What is the Apple equivalent of small business accounting software? Something searchable and sensible. Not convoluted. User friendly.
posted by zagyzebra at 4:51 PM on September 22, 2015

Ask is not a format where you ask a question and reply to every answer. This is not a discussion forum. You asked a question and people are very kindly providing you with answers, which you can test and assess on your own time.

Again, my suggestion is: less time ranting about Quickbooks, more time trying Wave.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:36 AM on September 23, 2015

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