Xero is an affordable, user-friendly accounting software that is capable of managing all of your business income and expenses. Pricing plans run between $9 to $60 per month, which is more than FreshBooks and Wave but a little less than QuickBooks. Wave includes similar features to QuickBooks with one exception ― no live customer support.
Xero & Top 3 Xero Accounting Software Alternatives
|Accounting Software||Best For|
|Xero||Medium to large businesses that need to grant access to many users|
|QuickBooks Online||Solopreneurs and larger companies with several users and employees on staff|
|FreshBooks||Freelancers who need to streamline their accounts receivable process to get paid faster|
|Wave||Small businesses that want an accounting software that is in their budget|
Xero Accounting Software Review 2019
Xero accounting software was designed for small businesses of any size. It includes all of the features you need to manage the income and expenses of a small business, including invoicing customers, paying bills, paying employees, and accepting online payments. It has affordable plans that start at $9 per month, and all plans allow you to add unlimited users whereas QuickBooks limits the number of users in each of its plans.
Overall, Xero customers are happy with the software but would like the option to speak to a customer support representative as opposed to emailing the support team and waiting for a response.
Who Xero Accounting Software Is Right For
Xero accounting software is ideal for medium- to large-size businesses that need to give a large number of users access to their data. Because Xero does not charge you for additional users, it is going to be the most economical for companies with a lot of users.
Xero Pricing Plans
Xero has three pricing plans that run between $9 to $60 per month. This is competitive with QuickBooks plans at $10 to $70 per month but pricier than Wave which is free. When compared to FreshBooks, you save money by choosing Xero because you don’t have to pay for additional users whereas FreshBooks charges an additional $10 per user per month.
Listed below are the three Xero pricing plans:
- Xero Early plan: $9 per month
- Xero Growing plan: $30 per month
- Xero Established plan: $60 per month
Like its competitors, you can add payroll services and accept online payments from customers for an additional fee. Payroll services are provided by Gusto and start at $39 per month plus $6 per month, per person. The fees for accepting online payments will be based on the provider that you choose. Visit the Xero App Marketplace to select from a list of payment apps that integrate seamlessly with Xero.
When it comes to features included, Xero has what most small businesses need to manage their finances like invoicing customers, paying bills, reconciling bank accounts, and detailed reports.
Listed below you will find features that are included in all Xero pricing plans:
- Accounts payable (A/P)
- Accounts receivable (A/R)
- Bank card & credit card account integration
- Unlimited users
- Financial reports
Unlike the Early plan which is limited in the number of transactions that can be processed for A/P, A/R, and bank card and credit card accounts, the Growing and Established plans allow you to manage unlimited transactions in each of these areas.
Additional Features in the Xero Established Plan
In addition, the Established plan includes three additional features that you won’t find in the Early or the Growing plans:
- Multicurrency accounting: Ability to create invoices, pay bills, and manage bank accounts in a foreign currency
- Expense management: Ability to manage employee expense reimbursement claims
- Project tracking: The ability to track income and expenses by project
If you are currently using QuickBooks and need help moving to Xero, check out our how to convert from QuickBooks to Xero article. If you need to get up to speed quickly on Xero, check out our free Xero Course.
What Xero Is Missing
Xero is our choice if you’re looking for the best alternative to QuickBooks. However, Xero falls short when it comes to the number of accountants and bookkeepers that are familiar with the software. In comparison to QuickBooks, Xero has more than 10,000 certified advisors vs 50,000 QuickBooks ProAdvisors in the United States. This means that it may be tough to locate an accountant or bookkeeper who is familiar with the product.
Xero User Reviews
Xero users like how easy it is to use the program and the ability to add unlimited users without increasing their cost. However, customers are not satisfied that when they have a question, they have to send an email to the support team and wait for a response since there is no telephone support option. Check out all of our Xero reviews on our Xero user reviews page.
QuickBooks Online: Best Alternative to Xero
QuickBooks Online is the best alternative to Xero, hands down. QuickBooks Online includes all of the features that Xero has plus they offer live customer support which Xero does not have. With more than 50,000 certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors vs 10,000 Xero advisors in the U.S., you won’t have any trouble getting help when you need it; plans start at $20 per month.
Who QuickBooks Is Right For
One of the reasons why QuickBooks is our number one accounting software for small businesses is because it can accommodate freelancers and solopreneurs just starting out and medium- to large-size businesses with multiple users and employees on staff. As your business grows, you can upgrade your plan, add on payroll services and accept online payments from customers when the time is right for your business.
Xero vs QuickBooks Online
When comparing Xero vs QuickBooks Online, they are almost identical when it comes to features included and the price. However, the two areas the separate them are the customer support options. As discussed, QuickBooks has 50 times the number of certified advisors at 50,000 vs 10,000 Xero advisors. QuickBooks also offers live telephone support while Xero is limited to email support only.
QuickBooks Online Pricing Plans
QuickBooks offers four pricing plans that run between $10 to $70 per month. This pricing is similar to Xero which is $9 to $60 per month. If you don’t need to give other users access to your data, then FreshBooks is more economical than QuickBooks at $15 to $50 per month.
However, if you need additional users, all QuickBooks plans include two accountant users whereas you would have to pay an additional $10 per month, per user with FreshBooks.
Listed below are the four QuickBooks Online pricing plans:
- QuickBooks Self-Employed: $10 per month
- QuickBooks Online Simple Start: $20 per month
- QuickBooks Online Essentials: $40 per month
- QuickBooks Online Plus: $70 per month
Like its competitors, you can allow customers to make online payments. The Intuit Payments feature is built into QuickBooks Online, so all you have to do is click a button to turn on payments, and you’re ready to go.
QuickBooks Online Payroll Services
Similar to its competitors, you can add payroll services at any time. QuickBooks Payroll integrates with QuickBooks Online, so turning on payroll is as simple as clicking the Add Payroll button located on the Employees page. Payroll services start at $39 per month plus $2 per employee per month. While the monthly fee is the same as Xero, the per employee cost is $4 less per employee vs $6 per employee for Xero.
Below are the fees associated with adding Intuit Payments to any QuickBooks Online plan:
|Bank Transfer (ACH)|
|Card - Swiped|
|Card - Invoiced|
QuickBooks Online Features
As mentioned previously, QuickBooks Online and Xero are almost identical when it comes to the features that they offer. This includes paying bills, invoicing customers, reconciling bank card and credit card accounts and financial statements.
With the exception of QuickBooks Self-Employed and Simple Start, all QuickBooks Online plans include:
- Bank card & credit card integration
- Financial reports
- Unlimited telephone & chat support
QuickBooks Self-Employed and Simple Start are similar to the Xero Early plan when it comes to the number of features included. These plans cannot manage accounts payable, track time or give users ― other than an accountant ― access to their data.
However, one of the features that make QuickBooks standout from all of its competitors is the fact that it offers live customer support. If you run into an issue, you can pick up the phone or start a chat session from within your QuickBooks Online account.
If you need to get up to speed on how to use QuickBooks, download our free QuickBooks Course. It includes step by step video tutorials on how to set up and run your business using QuickBooks.
What QuickBooks Online Is Missing
At this time, we do not believe that QuickBooks is missing any key feature small businesses need to run their businesses.
QuickBooks Online User Reviews
QuickBooks Online customers like how easy it is to set up and use the program. They also like having the ability to manage their business on the go using the QuickBooks Online Mobile App. A few customers feel that the QuickBooks is pricey but quickly admit that it’s worth it when you consider the number of features included. You can read all of our QuickBooks reviews by visiting our QuickBooks user reviews page.
FreshBooks: Best Alternative for Freelancers
FreshBooks allows you to streamline your entire billing process which will result in getting paid faster. You can create custom invoices, schedule invoices to go out to customers via email and accept online payments automatically. Pricing plans run between $15 to $50 per month, which is less than QuickBooks and Xero but only includes one user.
Who FreshBooks Is Right For
FreshBooks is ideal for freelancers who bill by the hour or on a project basis. FreshBooks allows you to keep track of hours worked by you and your team on a particular project. In addition, any expenses incurred on behalf of a client can be tracked so that you can get reimbursed.
Xero vs FreshBooks
When comparing Xero vs FreshBooks, FreshBooks is the least expensive but does not include robust features that you will find in Xero, such as the ability to manage accounts payable and inventory. However, FreshBooks is known for its extensive ability to create custom invoices with your company logo and custom branding.
FreshBooks Pricing Plans
Like Xero, FreshBooks has three pricing plans; FreshBooks Lite, Plus, and Premium. Pricing is between $15 to $50 per month. This is about $5 to $10 less per month than QuickBooks and Xero plans.
FreshBooks offers the following three pricing plans:
- FreshBooks Lite: $15 per month
- FreshBooks Plus: $25 per month
- FreshBooks Premium: $50 per month
Unlike its competitors, each FreshBooks plan includes one user. To add additional users, you will pay an additional $10 per month, per user. In addition, FreshBooks is not capable of processing payroll. Therefore, you will have to use a payroll service like Gusto to manage your payroll outside of FreshBooks.
Similar to Xero, QuickBooks and Wave, can accept online payments from customers in FreshBooks. You can sign up for FreshBooks Payments or Stripe. Both of these services will charge you 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction on most cards.
When it comes to features, FreshBooks is not as robust as Xero and QuickBooks Online. However, each plan includes several features that will help you to streamline your invoicing process. This includes the ability to create unlimited invoices and estimates, track time and expenses, accept online credit card payments, and manage projects.
FreshBooks Plus and Premium take it a step further and also include the following features that you won’t find in the FreshBooks Lite plan:
- Automatically send payment reminders: Designate a payment reminder to go out a certain number of days before or after an invoice due date
- Charge customers late fees for overdue invoices: Easily apply late fees to past due invoices
- Accounting reports: Includes general ledger, trial balance and chart of accounts reports
- Schedule recurring invoices: For repeat customers, schedule invoices to be emailed to customers on a recurring basis, such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly
- Send proposals: Create custom proposals to send to prospective clients
In addition to the above features, FreshBooks Plus allows you to bill up to 50 clients per month, and FreshBooks Premium allows you to bill up to 500 clients per month whereas FreshBooks Lite is limited to five clients per month. Neither QuickBooks Online, Wave, or Xero puts limitations on the number of clients you can bill each month.
What FreshBooks Is Missing
The ability to manage and pay bills and the ability to process payroll are features that many small businesses will need to run their business. Unfortunately, FreshBooks does not offer either of these features which means that you will have to manage them outside of the software.
FreshBooks User Reviews
FreshBooks customers like the fact that they can create custom invoices and proposals that include their company logo and brand. However, many customers feel like FreshBooks should also offer the ability to track and pay bills and offer more financial reports. Head over to our FreshBooks user reviews page to see all of our FreshBooks customer reviews.
Wave: Best Budget-friendly Alternative to Xero
Wave is the only free accounting software on our list. Unlike the starter plans for QuickBooks and Xero, Wave does not limit you in the number of transactions, bank accounts and users you can manage. In addition, you can manage multiple businesses ― not offered by anyone else ― and add payroll processing which is not offered by FreshBooks.
Who Wave Is Right For
Wave is ideal for any service-based business that can’t afford to purchase accounting software but needs a more robust way to track income and expenses. As long as you don’t need to print checks to pay bills or manage inventory Wave will work for you.
Xero vs Wave Online
In our analysis of Xero vs Wave Online, Wave beats Xero when it comes to price because it is free. Both Xero and Wave allow you to add an unlimited number of users at no additional cost. Finally, when it comes to features Wave is limited when it comes to accounts payable and tracking inventory ― it cannot do either and Xero does both.
Wave Pricing Plans
Out of all of its competitors, Wave has the simplest pricing plan ― free. You do not have to pay to use Wave accounting software as it is 100% free. However, if you would like to add Wave Payroll to pay employees, you can do so for an additional fee. Wave Payroll includes paycheck calculations, check or direct deposit payments, payroll tax forms filing and payments. If you would like to accept credit card payments from customers, you will pay an additional fee to add Wave Payments.
Wave Payroll Costs
The fees associated with using Wave Payroll are:
|Tax Service States:|
California, Florida, New York, Illinois, Texas & Washington
|Monthly base fee: $35|
Plus: $4 per active employee
Plus: $4 per independent contractor
|Wave will handle payroll tax payments and forms for employers in these six states|
All Other 44 States
|Monthly base fee: $20|
Plus: $4 per active employee
Plus: $4 per independent contractor
|Employers in the remaining 44 states will be responsible for filing and paying their own payroll taxes|
In addition, you can also accept online payments from customers by signing up for Wave Payments. Similar to Intuit Payments, Wave Payments seamlessly integrates with Wave accounting.
Wave Payment Costs
The fees associated with using Wave Payments are:
|Type of Transaction|
|Credit Card Payments|
Wave is packed with a lot of features that you wouldn’t expect from free accounting software. Similar to its competitors, it can manage income and expenses for any small business but what sets it apart from its competitors is that there are no limitations like you will find in Xero Early, QuickBooks Self-Employed, and QuickBooks Online Simple Start plans.
Listed below are some of the features included in Wave:
- Unlimited bank card & credit card connections
- Unlimited users
- Financial reports
- Unlimited businesses you can track in one account
Unlike Xero which allows you to track all of your paid and unpaid bills, you cannot track accounts payable in Wave. However, if you pay all of your bills with a credit card, debit card, or automated clearing house, Wave will work for you.
What Wave Is Missing
There are a couple of features that are missing from Wave. As mentioned previously, you can’t manage your bills in Wave. Like Xero, there is no telephone support available. Therefore, if you need help, you will have to email the support team and wait for a response.
Wave User Reviews
Wave customers are blown away at the number of features included in accounting software that doesn’t cost them a dime to use. However, customers would like to see the software updated so that they can track and pay their bills. Check out our Wave user reviews page to see all of our Wave customer reviews.
Additional Xero Accounting Software Alternatives for Small Business Alternatives
If you find that the Xero alternatives we have presented in this article don’t quite meet your needs, we’ve compiled a list of additional alternatives to Xero that might be what you’re looking for.
Top 10 Xero Accounting Software Alternatives
|Alternative to Xero||Best For|
|QuickBooks Premier||Businesses in niche industries like nonprofit, manufacturing & wholesale, professional services, contractor & retail|
|Zoho Books||Existing Zoho users looking for an accounting software that integrates with Zoho apps|
|SlickPie||Startup businesses with little to no revenue or expenses and no payroll processing needs|
|QuickBooks Mac||Businesses with Mac computers that want to use robust desktop software|
|ZipBooks||Freelancers who want to upgrade from an Excel spreadsheet to a more robust system|
|xTuple PostBooks||Manufacturing & distribution businesses that want a free accounting software integrating operations, sales & inventory|
|GnuCash||Businesses that want to build a custom accounting software to meet their individual needs|
|Aplos Accounting||Managing the books for churches and assistance with completing tax form 990|
|PCLaw by Lexis Nexis||Law firms looking for an all in-one practice management and accounting software|
|Restaurant365||Restaurants that want to manage accounting, payroll & operations with one provider|
The Bottom Line
Xero is robust accounting software that will allow you to manage all aspects of your business finances. Since Xero doesn’t charge you based on the number of users you give access, it’s ideal if you have a large number of employees, bookkeepers, and contractors that need to access your data.
QuickBooks Online is the best alternative to Xero. It includes all of the features that you will find in Xero plus they offer unlimited telephone and chat support in all four of its pricing plans; not to mention that you won’t have a problem finding a local accountant or bookkeeper who knows QuickBooks since it has more than 50,000 certified advisors across the U.S.