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QuickBooks vs. Xero Comparison

Updated Jan 11, 2024

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Choosing the right accounting software plays a significant role in managing your business’s finances. Accounting software helps you complete bookkeeping tasks, track expenses and revenue, and send invoices to your customers. Two of the best small business accounting software programs are QuickBooks and Xero, which both command strong followings among accountants and business owners. 

This article will help you choose between these two popular options by breaking down their key differences. We examined how QuickBooks and Xero compare on several critical criteria, including price, invoicing capabilities, customer service and third-party integrations. 

Xero vs. Quickbooks

QuickBooks vs. Xero Highlights 

QuickBooks and Xero offer popular software to maintain your business’s books, send invoices and perform other accounting functions. Here is a look at the key differences between the two providers. 

Feature

QuickBooks

Xero

Monthly price 

$15

$13

Invoicing

Unlimited invoices; email, payment acceptance, customization, recurring and reminders

20 invoices per month; email, payment acceptance, customization, recurring and reminders 

Customer service

Email, chat, phone and online FAQs

Email, chat, phone (partial) and online FAQ 

Mobile app

Accounting, invoices, payments, receipt capture, reconcile transactions and message customers

Accounting, invoices, contracts, reconciliation and document scanning 

Third-party integrations 

Over 750 third-party apps

Over 1,000 third-party apps

Who Is Xero For? 

Xero is currently the second-most popular accounting software program in the U.S. and enjoys market-leading status in various countries such as Australia. Similar to its competitors, Xero provides double-entry accounting and comprehensive reporting functionalities. What sets Xero apart is its emphasis on simplifying accounting concepts for individuals who may be unfamiliar with financial jargon. Moreover, Xero’s tiered pricing incorporates a range of features that make it particularly suitable for growing businesses. Learn more in our full review of Xero.

Who Is QuickBooks For?

For more than two decades, QuickBooks has maintained its position as the leading provider of small business accounting software. With a market share of over 80 percent in the United States, QuickBooks’s functionalities are well-known to most accountants and bookkeepers. Like its competitors, QuickBooks delivers comprehensive double-entry accounting and reporting features. Additionally, the software comes equipped with diverse tools and invoicing capabilities that have proven valuable to business owners. These attributes combine to make QuickBooks a reliable and versatile choice that suits the needs of many small businesses. Learn more in our full review of QuickBooks.

Quickbooks dashboard

QuickBooks offers a feature-rich dashboard. Source: Intuit 

QuickBooks vs. Xero Comparison

In this section, we go more in-depth into the differences between QuickBooks and Xero, including how they compare on pricing, invoicing capability, customer service, mobile app features and third-party integrations. 

Pricing and Plans

Xero Pricing

Xero offers three paid plans based on the typical life cycle of a small business. 

  • The base Early plan costs $13 per month, which makes it slightly less expensive than QuickBooks’ entry-level plan and many competing accounting software plans. 
  • Like QuickBooks, Xero offers a 30-day free trial. 

Through Xero, you can integrate with HR software provider Gusto for $40 per month plus $6 per employee. Xero allows unlimited users on all tiers, whereas QuickBooks starts out with one billable user and maxes out at 25 users on its most expensive plan. 

Here is a breakdown of each plan:

Plan

Monthly cost

What’s included

Early

$13

20 invoices and five bills per month; estimates, accounts payable, inventory management and access to Hubdoc scanning software

Growing

$37

Unlimited invoices, bills and bank transactions

Established

$70

Expense tracking, project management and multiple currencies

QuickBooks Pricing 

QuickBooks offers five paid plans geared toward small and midsize businesses, as well as independent contractors. Like Xero, it does not offer a free tier. 

  • The basic Self-Employed plan costs $15 per month; more advanced tax preparations features are only included in the $30 Simple Start plan. 
  • Like Xero, QuickBooks also offers a 30-day free trial. 

While most business applications (including Xero) have transitioned entirely to cloud-based software, QuickBooks is unique in that it still sells an old-fashioned desktop version. Desktop Pro Plus and Desktop Premiere Plus go for $549 and $799 per year, respectively. Xero does not offer a desktop version of its software. 

Additionally, QuickBooks Online offers various bundle deals with other Intuit software products such as QuickBooks Payroll. Business owners interested in both products can likely save money by leveraging a bundle discount. [Read more in our full review of QuickBooks Payroll.]

Here is a breakdown of each plan:

Plan

Monthly cost

What’s included

Self-Employed

$15

Income and expense tracking, receipt organizing, tax estimating, basic reports and miles tracking

Simple Start

$30

One billable user; cash flow analytics, unlimited invoices, tax deductions, sales tax calculation and 1099 preparation tools

Essentials

$55

Three users; time tracking and bill pay and management tools

Plus

$85

Five users; project management and inventory tracking tools

Advanced

$200

25 users; one Smart Reporting license, 20 classes, online training, dedicated account team and workflow automation tools 

Winner

Pricing is never a straightforward comparison, because different accounting software providers emphasize different features. A lot depends on what your business needs. In this case, we give the edge to Xero because its entry-level Early plan includes more features than QuickBooks’ Self-Employed plan at a lower price point. However, QuickBooks’ second-tier Simple Start plan packs more tools than Xero’s second-tier Growing plan. 

Another pricing factor to consider is the user limit. QuickBooks limits the number of users on all of its plans, while Xero allows for unlimited users. 

FYIDid you know

QuickBooks offers discounts on accounting software if you bundle with other Intuit products, such as TurboTax and QuickBooks Payroll. Xero offers a payroll add-on in partnership with Gusto.

Invoicing 

Xero Invoicing Capabilities 

Like several of its competitors, Xero provides tools to customize your invoices with branding elements such as logos. Here are some of its other features: 

  • Like QuickBooks, you can convert quotes to invoices on-the-spot. 
  • You can sync Xero with a PayPal, Stripe or Square account to accept payments online from your emailed invoices. 
  • The Xero mobile app can also be used to generate invoices on the go. 

Xero invoices

Xero’s invoices are saved in the cloud, which allows you to make changes without resending. Source: Xero 

QuickBooks Invoicing Capabilities 

QuickBooks’ invoicing features rank high among the accounting and invoice software that we reviewed:

  • You can create and send invoices from either a desktop browser or the QuickBooks mobile app. Invoices are designed for a mobile-first experience. 
  • You can accept online payments through the QuickBooks Payments system or a third-party processor like PayPal or Square.
  • Like Xero, estimates can be converted into invoices quickly and easily. 
  • You can create recurring invoices and schedule automatic payment reminders.
  • Billable hours can be synced with your invoice through the QuickBooks Time add-on. 

Quickbooks partial payments

QuickBooks allows you to invoice customers for partial payments. Source: Intuit

Winner

Xero and QuickBooks offer similar invoicing features. In our view, QuickBooks takes the crown on invoicing because it offers more capabilities at a lower price point. Crucially, all of QuickBooks’ plans allow you to send unlimited invoices, while Xero’s Early plan limits you to 20 invoices per month. If you want unlimited invoices with Xero, you need to upgrade to the $37 Growing plan. 

Did You Know?Did you know

QuickBooks allows you to send invoices for partial payments.

Customer Support 

Xero Customer Service 

  • Although Xero offers phone service, you must first contact the company through email or live chat. 
  • Xero’s website includes videos, blog posts and other learning material to help users navigate the software. 
  • Xero boasts an impressive 4.3 out of 5 for customer support on Trustpilot. 

QuickBooks Customer Service 

  • QuickBooks provides email, live chat and direct phone support for customers.
  • An active community forum provides guidance from other QuickBooks users and company representatives. 
  • Webinars, video tutorials, blog posts and training classes are available on QuickBooks’ website. 
  • Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors can give you one-on-one help using the software.
  • QuickBooks’ parent company Intuit scores a 1.2 out of 5 for customer service on Trustpilot. 

Winner

Again, QuickBooks and Xero offer similar options for customer service. However, the Trustpilot scores demonstrate that Xero wins on support. Actual users express high levels of satisfaction with Xero’s customer service, while QuickBooks has received poor user feedback. While we appreciate that QuickBooks offers direct phone support, this fact alone isn’t enough to override the number of customers who complain about long hold times and lack of adequate technical solutions. 

Mobile App

Xero Mobile App Features 

  • The Xero Accounting and Invoices mobile app is available for iOS and Android. 
  • The app lets you track cash flow, review customer and vendor contracts, reconcile bank transactions, and create invoices on the go. 
  • Xero also offers a basic app for the Apple Watch that lets you view account balances and new transactions. 
  • Xero’s mobile app is rated 4.6 out of 5 on the Apple App Store and a 4.2 out of 5 on the Google Play store. 

Xero also offers two stand-alone apps — Xero Expenses and Xero Projects — for users on its Established plan. These apps allow you to capture photos for receipts, submit expense reports, track time, and attach billable expenses and time to individual projects. 

QuickBooks Mobile App Features 

  • The QuickBooks mobile app is available for iOS and Android. 
  • Critical features include dashboard data, invoicing, payments, receipt capture, expense tracking, transaction reconciliation and a customer messaging system. 
  • The QuickBooks Accounting app is rated 4.7 out of 5 on the Apple App Store and 4.1 out of 5 on the Google Play Store.

QuickBooks also offers two stand-alone apps — QuickBooks Time and QuickBooks Projects. The Time app is available on the Essentials plan and above, while the Projects app is available for Plus users. 

Quickbooks mobile app

QuickBooks’ feature-packed mobile app allows you to track your business’s finances from a smartphone. Source: Intuit

Winner

QuickBooks and Xero both offer great mobile apps for you to run your business from a smartphone. The main apps also garner similar ratings on the Apple and Google app stores. The supplemental apps are where we see some divergence. Xero Expenses and Xero Projects are both available for users on the $70 Established plan. QuickBooks Time and QuickBooks Projects can be accessed on the $55 Essentials plan and the $85 Plus plan, respectively. Overall, we give QuickBooks the edge because the app includes more features on the basic version of its app. 

Third-Party Integrations

Xero Integrations

Xero integrates with over 1,000 third-party business applications, including many apps that are popular with small business owners: 

  • Square
  • Stripe
  • PayPal
  • Gusto
  • Cin7 Core (formerly DEAR Inventory)
  • Expensify
  • Microsoft Office
  • Rippling
  • Google GSuite
  • Zapier
  • HubSpot
  • Constant Contact
  • WooCommerce

QuickBooks Integrations

QuickBooks integrates with more than 750 third-party business applications, including many well-known productivity apps and e-commerce platforms:

  • Amazon
  • PayPal
  • Square
  • Etsy
  • Shopify
  • eBay
  • SOS Inventory
  • Gusto
  • Expensify
  • BILL
  • Microsoft Excel
  • WooCommerce
  • Zenefits
  • Zapier

Winner

Xero’s compatibility with over 1,000 third-party apps puts it ahead of QuickBooks’ 750 apps, making it the clear winner on integrations. We think that growing startup businesses will find Xero’s ability to sync with other big-name apps particularly useful. While there is some overlap in third-party integrations, both QuickBooks and Xero include some syncing options that the other doesn’t. Make a list of the business productivity apps that you use most often and check for compatibility on the Xero and QuickBooks app stores. 

QuickBooks vs. Xero Summary

  • Xero is best for growing businesses and brick-and-mortar establishments, thanks to its pricing plans that don’t charge on a per-user basis. It also enjoys a greater market share in Australia and some countries outside the U.S. 
  • Xero includes more third-party integrations and boasts better customer service than QuickBooks.
  • QuickBooks is best overall for most small businesses and brick-and-mortar establishments, thanks to its well-known brand name and widespread usage among U.S. accountants. 
  • QuickBooks includes top-of-the-line invoicing and payment capabilities, as well as a feature-packed mobile app. 

FAQs

Can you invite your accountant into your QuickBooks account?

Yes, all QuickBooks plans allow you to invite an accountant. 

What is QuickBooks’ Smart Reporting feature?

Smart Reporting, powered by Fathom, provides tools to analyze your business metrics. This feature is included on the Advanced subscription plan. 

What is Xero’s Hubdoc feature?

Hubdoc is included with all Xero plans. This service lets you capture, extract and store data from documents scanned using your smartphone. 

Mike Berner
Mike Berner
Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
Mike Berner is a staff writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where he specializes in finance topics including business loans, accounting, and credit card processing. Mike has a deep background in the financial world, having written hundreds of articles and blog posts on financial markets, business and investing. He holds a B.A. in economics and a B.B.A. in finance, both from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Prior to his writing career, he performed financial analysis and research as an economic analyst.
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