Xero was founded by Rod Drury and his accountant and was publicly listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in 2006. It launched in Australia a bit after that in 2011 and I’ve been using it since this time. Xero has changed a lot in that time but has always maintained it’s primary focus, to be simple (they say “beautiful”!). It’s completely cloud based, which means your “company file” (to use an old MYOB term!) is stored in a (very secure!) data centre. This means you can access your data from anywhere, including the Xero Touch App for iOS (iPhone & iPad) and Android. Amazingly, even without the App, Xero works surprisingly well in a web browser on your mobile device.
I can quite happily say that Xero has made my life much simpler (yes, this is going to read at times like a paid ad!). Previously (since becoming a sole trader in 2009) I was using MYOB AccountEdge for Mac. It was ugly, clunky, didn’t easily support bank feeds that I needed and I had a tendency to create problems for myself that would take a long time to fix. Thanks to a free service called Yodlee, Xero was able to support my bank at the time (CitiBank), which didn’t have an official bank feed. Since then I’ve changed banks, to a proper business account, which has a more reliable feed (previously if CitiBank changed something in online banking, Yodlee would have to be updated). Reconciling transactions is simple and Xero uses a bit of “fuzzy logic” to suggest matches, which saves more time. Everything’s laid out in a clear and concise fashion, with minor tweaks to usability and consistency being made all the time.
The Not So Good
My only ongoing bugbear with Xero is the inability to format the signature part of outgoing invoice/purchase order/statement/reminder email. Feel free to vote for this feature here! It would be nice to choose the font and create bold, italic, linked text plus add a logo. Other than that, there’s nothing I want for in Xero (note that I don’t use Payroll so can’t really comment on this aspect).
Xero is affordable, well supported (lots of accountants are happy working with Xero) and as Apple would say “just works”.
Cutting Edge IT is a Xero user but currently does not receive financial incentives for referrals.