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Xero offers a range of affordable accounting software packages to suit a variety of budgets. They start from just $9, with the most expensive (Premium 100) $180 per month, each with their own benefits and drawbacks.
The accounting features available are well suited to small businesses or for use by accountants and bookkeepers, but less so for very large organisations.
This is one of few companies we've reviewed offering accounting software specifically designed for accountants and bookkeepers, making it something a bit different. Some of its packages allow you to connect with clients in the cloud, sharing information and files. This makes it ideal for handling several companies' accounts at once.
Additionally, the data is updated every morning with relevant information from bank accounts, exchange rates and more, meaning that information is up to date and accurate. This could be especially important for anyone handling several accounts as they will want to be immediately aware of changes that may affect their clients.
Small businesses can benefit from Xero's well designed interface, which is uncluttered and easy to navigate. Many of the features of the small business packages are similar to those in the accountants packages, although they seem simplified, which makes a lot of sense.
Using the software is intuitive and shouldn't take long to pick up, particularly as so much of the data is automatically uploaded for you. You can also take advantage of a few nifty apps or purchase additional accounting and management software packages from other companies. This makes it a flexible system, but it could be easy for the bill to soon add up if you find yourself needing more and more additional applications.
Xero.com offers a free trial, although you need to include a phone number and email address to sign up. We also had some difficulty in receiving our confirmation email, so it wasn't ideal. The website itself is fine but could be slightly better organised as it can be a case of scanning through a lot of key words to find the bit you're looking for.
There is, however, a Xero TV channel which offers videos and guides, plus a Xero U section which provides training and educational information. The website also has a blog page, which is updated daily with news and opinion pieces. A number of these are worth reading, although some are pretty unnecessary for most users.
In terms of compatibility, you can use xero on regular computers, iPads and other mobile devices including cell phones. It can be installed and used on Windows or Mac, making it pretty flexible for national and international businesses.
Xero is designed for small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers. It's not ideal for larger companies, but it has plenty to offer. It's a flexible system with most of the features you'd expect from high end accounting software.
Its dedication to training and helping its customers is admirable, and since its systems are relatively easy to use we anticipate that most users will have no problems. If you can get past the somewhat irritating sign up process then give the free trial a whirl if nothing else!
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