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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Newell

Why I prefer Xero to Quickbooks

In case it’s not obvious from the Xero partner logo in the corner of my website – I’m quite a fan of Xero.  It’s my favourite accounting system and I recommend it to my clients so I thought I would spell out some reasons why I like it so much and specifically why I find it much better than Quickbooks.

Since a couple of the items are probably more specific to accountants, I’ve split this up into two sections;

1.        Reasons why Xero is preferable as a Business Owner

2.        Reasons why Xero is preferable for your Accountant

In the interests of fairness I should also probably say that some of the items I discuss might be down to personal preference rather than system weaknesses so I’m sure others would disagree with me, but this is my personal view on the advantages of Xero over Quickbooks.  Also, being a Xero partner, I have a better knowledge of Xero than I do of Quickbooks.  I have never pursued becoming a Quickbooks advisor because I don’t like the system enough to specialise in it, so some of my gripes with Quickbooks could possibly be resolved by learning more about the system.

Reasons why Xero is preferable as a Business Owner

  • Dashboard – I find the dashboard preferable on Xero, I think it gives a better overview of the main functions you would want to see at first glance, and it’s easily customisable if you want to add extra items.  The dashboard on Quickbooks might well be customisable, but I don’t normally stay on it long enough to care whether or not it is!

  • Menus – Again, I find the menus layout to be generally better and more intuitive in Xero.  I’m forever searching around in Quickbooks for which functions I’m looking for and can never seem to remember where they are as they’re not usually where I expect them to be.

  • Matching payments – Whenever there has been a supplier payment that is outside of the usual ‘one invoice being paid by one payment’ scenario, I find it impossible to post it correctly in Quickbooks.  This could include transactions like:

    • Partial credit note from supplier

    • Partial refund from supplier

    • Multiple payments for one invoice

    • Payments from different sources (eg. Partly PayPal balance used and partial bank payment)

When trying to post any of these type of transactions in Quickbooks my clients cannot figure out how to do and have asked me to do it for them.  I haven’t had much more success, I’ve spent ages trying different things, Googling how to do it, searching Quickbooks help… still to no avail of the correct process, and I’ve just fudged it to match the payment off.

All these transactions are so simple to do in Xero, this reason alone would make me want to switch!


  • Reports date range – When I run reports in Quickbooks, it has a default date range already suggested, but every time I change the date range and try to run the report it seems to revert back to the default date range.  So I usually end up having to duplicate these steps of changing the date range, running the report, changing the date range again and re-running the report.  Maybe this is a blip, maybe I should be clicking the date options in a specific order to make my selection stick, maybe this is just me clicking in too much of a rush… who knows… whatever the reason, it’s annoying.


  • Accounting method selection - On every Quickbooks report you also have to choose between the cash or accrual accounting method:

In Xero this selection is defined in the business settings of each company so you don’t have to make this selection every time you run a report.  So it requires more clicks to get the info you want in Quickbooks… and that’s after the date range kerfuffle too!


  • Find & Recode – This only exists in Xero and is a wonderful tool for recoding items that have been posted to the wrong place:

I use this a lot in Xero and it saves so much time.  There is no equivalent in Quickbooks so the only way to recode items that have been posted to the wrong category is to go into each individual transaction and edit it which is time consuming.


  • Bank reconciliation function – In Quickbooks I find this function to be overly complicated and not very intuitive.  I have had a client get into bit of a mess with this thinking they were reconciling the bank correctly but actually there were a bunch of payments that never went out the bank and did not get noticed for months despite the client regularly reconciling her bank balance and it caused a lot of errors and unpicking.  If this same thing had happened in Xero it would have flagged up and I think it would have been more obvious what had caused it:


Reasons why Xero is preferable for your Accountant

Obviously all of the items already mentioned above would be relevant already, especially ‘Find & Recode’, I find this so useful for moving things around from where clients have originally posted things.

  • Recurring transactions – As an accountant I cannot have access to this function if my client is on the starter package… so annoying for me!  This is only available on an upgraded package:

So for repeating monthly journals I have to post them all individually.  Clearly I can’t ask my client to pay extra every month just to save me a few clicks, so I struggle on and add to my list of reasons not to recommend Quickbooks.    

Needless to say the repeating journals function is available on even the basic Xero package, thanks Xero!


  • Fixed Assets – There is no fixed asset function in Quickbooks!  This seems quite fundamental to me so I’m not sure why this is, unless this is another issue with a client being on the Starter package in Quickbooks.  As well as being more efficient for record keeping, it also makes it so much easier to post depreciation in Xero. 

Since there is no fixed asset function in Quickbooks I have to post all the depreciation journals manually which…. you’ve guessed it, I have to do each one individually because I can’t access recurring transactions… as mentioned in my whinge above!  Oh the joy!

So that wraps up my own personal gripes about Quickbooks and thankfully the majority of my clients are on Xero, either from an initial recommendation from me, or from their own excellent foresight, or with a couple I have convinced to come into the light and I have migrated them onto Xero from Quickbooks. 

If I can help you with any Xero issues or you would be interested in migrating onto Xero from another system, please feel free to drop me a message and I would be very happy to help, let’s get a cuppa and toast the joys of Xero!

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