Business Owner’s Guide to Accounting Software: Xero, Quickbooks Online, and Sage Intacct
With modern cloud-based accounting software readily available for your business, you can get more control and insight into your finances. You’ll find many powerful services on the market, each offering core accounting features, integrations, payroll, invoices, transactions, bank feeds, and more.
Despite their similar functionality, not all accounting software is created equal. At MBSATA, we’ve done research and vetted the best options for our clients. Below, you’ll find a brief outline to help you understand the difference in features and performance between QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Sage Intacct.
As one of the oldest accounting software platforms on the market, QuickBooks Online offers advanced accounting features like double-entry accounting, support for cash-basis and accrual accounting, bank reconciliation, and in-depth reports to help you track where your business is headed.
QBO is a solid cloud-based solution, backed by years of on-premise software development. Its user-friendly interface makes it an easy to learn software.
QuickBooks Online offers three pricing plans for small businesses, ranging from $25 to $150 a month. Payroll add-ons cost an extra $45 to $125 per month, plus an additional $4 to $10 per employee per month. All plans have sales tax added.
Who is QuickBooks Online best for?
We recommend QuickBooks Online most often as an affordable solution for small businesses. It’s easy to learn the ropes, and integrations and advanced features can make it as powerful as you need.
Xero is another long-time player in the accounting software field. It’s known for its strong core accounting features and excellent customer service, as well as having a wide selection of integrations to help you customize the program.
Xero can have a steeper learning curve to understand the software, but it’s incredibly powerful once you get it set up for your particular business needs. We have found that users with less of a traditional background in accounting find it an attractive choice. Add-on features like Xero Projects and WorkflowMax give you even more control over your business finances.
Xero offers three pricing plans ranging from $11 to $62 per month, with the higher tier including access to Xero’s Projects and Expenses features. Full-service payroll starts at $39 a month, plus $6 per user. All plans have sales tax added.
Who is Xero best for?
We recommend Xero for small and medium businesses that are looking to get fine-grain control over their finances. Its scalable features, automation tools, and integrations make it easy to handle your finances your way.
Sage Intacct is a newer player in the cloud-based accounting software space, but it’s become a powerful contender we love to recommend. It has all the features you expect from a core accounting software, and because it was developed originally for the cloud (rather than adapted from on-premise software), it has a very modern user experience.
With Sage Intacct, you’ll get the usual core accounting applications, like general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, cash management, and order management. Dashboards and reports give you fast views of your expenses, and the module-based software lets you easily customize it to your needs.
Unlike QuickBooks Online and Xero, Sage doesn’t offer set monthly plans. Instead, they provide custom quotes for each organization depending on the needs. This can run from $5,000 a year for a smaller company to $30,000 or more for an enterprise organization.
Who is Sage Intacct best for?
We recommend Sage Intacct for larger businesses that need increased functionality and customization.
Choosing the right cloud accounting software for your business
In the end, choosing an accounting software needs to take into account your business’s needs, processes, plans for future growth, and users. You may also find that none of the solutions meet your needs entirely, in which case you may need to use integrations to customize a perfect solution.
If you’re not sure which solution is best for you, you might consider working with an accounting technology advisor to help identify your business needs and implement a solution. This can save you wasted time implementing features that aren’t a good match with your business and workflow, or the frustration of paying for features you don’t need.