Let’s not leave out this player from across the Pacific! Xero hails from New Zealand, by way of Australia. They landed here in California in 2011 and are steadily working their way into our consciousness.

Xero is 100% in the cloud. It has no pretty graphics when you sign in, and you need to wear your glasses to see the words. Some of the terminology is native kiwi, so you might not be able to find what you are looking for right away. Still, it works. As with QBO, it’s definitely better if you know what you are doing. If you need help, you can get a Xero certified partner to take over, fix, or share tasks with.

The folks who most like Xero tend to be tech-savvy millennials, and people who are tired of dealing with the behemoth of Intuit. I don’t have any problem with this. I don’t like behemoths, either.

Xero’s biggest contribution to date has been simply landing in America. It woke up the people at Intuit, forced them to do a complete overhaul on QBO, and get back to their roots of paying attention to the customer base. The original QBO stink, stank, stunk, and the help lines were infuriating. Since the introduction of Xero in America, there have been vast improvements in both.

We do not work with Xero. We don’t believe you can be all things to all people: you have to make choices and specialize whenever possible. We specialize in the QB universe. It’s bigger and more complete, and, virtual though it may be, it’s an American product. I think QBO better understands American tax needs. Since Intuit also makes tax software, they get it.

Neither Xero nor QBO is perfect, and either could probably be made to work with your business. You may read some posts that say one is better than the other, but come back in a couple months and they are just as likely to have swapped places. Absent any preference of your own, get what your accountant (or bookkeeper) likes. These are the people you need to do the work, or to fix the work you do.

Like QBO, Xero provides that cool phone invoicing option for the contractor on the go.