xero-vs-qbonlineAre you wondering how Xero stacks up with QuickBooks Online? Here’s just a few of their differences.

The User Interface

Xero’s interface begins with a dashboard of items that a small business owner might want to look at at a glance, such as bank account balances, how much money is coming in and going out, and any accounts you want to place on a “Watch List” feature.

The tabs are nicely organized into Accounts, Reports, Contacts, and Settings. Throughout the software, Xero keeps the screens simple and uncluttered, and this makes learning the software faster.

In QuickBooks Online, there is no dashboard and many more tabs. QuickBooks Online separates Contacts into Customers, Vendors, and Employees and includes the corresponding functions in those sections. Popups are used liberally to gather more information or to notify the user of an error. One nice touch in QuickBooks Online is a color-coded Accounts Receivable aging report.


There are many differences in Xero and QuickBooks when it comes to invoicing. One of the coolest features of Xero is the ability to create draft invoices. This feature can be used to create an invoice you don’t want to send yet, but don’t want to forget about either. You can create it during a sales conversation with a client, and then use it as a reminder to follow up on a subsequent sales call until the client says yes. You can also use it as a change order of sorts, so that if you are quoting extra work beyond what’s agreed to, you can firm it up later on in the project.

Although QuickBooks offers estimate creation, it does not provide the capability to create invoice drafts.

Another feature unique to Xero is its ability to allow a user to view their invoices online. When an invoice is presented to the client for payment, you can send it via email and customize the email that goes to the client. We suggest you remind your client of all of the payment options you have and provide links or instructions on how to do so. This will speed up your receivables collections.


In the area of reporting, think breadth vs. depth. Although QuickBooks Online provides more reports, Xero does a great job of getting to what matters very quickly. Its Executive Summary reports show the core numbers at a glance that you’ll need for making management decisions, and the gem of this group is the gross margins reporting. If you’re not familiar with gross margin reporting and how it can help you in your decision-making, please reach out so we can set up a time to discuss this with you.

Learning Curve

Xero is a little faster to setup and learn than QuickBooks Online. We also prefer Xero’s documentation, which is quite easy to work with.

Company and Pricing

Xero is based in New Zealand and has offices in the US, UK, and Australia. It was founded seven years ago and has some of the biggest investor names in software associated with it. Intuit was founded in 1983, went public in 1993, launched QuickBooks Online in 2000 and began more aggressively focusing on it in 2010.

Xero ranges from $19 – $39 per month while QuickBooks Online is $12.95 – $39.95 per month.

And the Winner Is

The small business owner is the true winner of this showdown. As more accounting systems enter the market, you have a better chance of finding the one that’s the most cost-effective for your business needs.

In this article, we are a little one-sided toward the benefits of Xero, and there are many more interesting features we didn’t have room to include.

If you’d like to know more about Xero, please let us know. We’ll be more than happy to discuss it with you in light of your business needs.