Within the world of small business accounting applications, there is a battle between the two dominant players: Quickbooks Online vs Xero. Quickbooks has been the major accounting application in use for small and medium-sized business bookkeeping for many years, in both its desktop and online (or “cloud”) versions. It’s easy to understand why: it’s powerful, robust, very adaptable, is supported by a large community of professionals, and is affordable. Also, Quickbooks boasts a wide range of third-party apps that allow the accounting system to be customized for specific industries and adaptations. Intuit’s Quickbooks is the first brand that comes to mind when any business owner starts to shop for accounting software.
The Xero accounting application has now entered the North American market after being in widespread use in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and other countries for years. As you can see in the graph above, Xero has increased its global subscriber base by 900% in the five year period between mid-2012 and the first quarter of 2017. In 2012, Xero was being used by only 100,000 businesses. In March of 2017, however, the upstart accounting application reached a milestone: Xero reached the one million subscriber mark! No small feat; Xero is clearly becoming a major force in the world of small business accounting. Meanwhile, Quickbooks Online had a subscriber base of 360,000 businesses in 2012. However, in the early part of 2017, there are now twice as many businesses – 1.87 million – using Quickbooks Online as there are using Xero. While the Quickbooks Online vs Xero battle continues, Quickbooks clearly isn’t going away and will remain the most widely used accounting package in America for a long, long time!
I have used and am certified in both of these accounting applications*. However, I believe that QBO is the better choice – especially for U.S. based businesses – based on my own use of and experience with both applications. I have my own view of the Quickbooks Online vs Xero battle: I believe QBO offers more flexible reporting, a large and growing family of add-on applications, unparalleled security, and a cleaner, more streamlined interface. In addition, the Quickbooks Online certification process is more rigorous and in-depth than that offered by Xero. If your business is in the market for a qualified bookkeeping professional, you should expect to use someone who is certified and therefore possesses expertise in either accounting application.
Even if your organization isn’t using accounting software now, it’s time to think long-term. The longer you delay choosing an accounting system, the more problems and lost opportunities your business will realize. Contact Statera Services today, and I’ll get your financial records in order using, I believe, the best accounting application in the world!
2017: 1 million
2016: 1.5 million
2017: 1.87 million
Sources: annual reports from Xero, Intuit
*In addition to my Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor status, I am a Certified Xero Advisor