Small Business Online Accounting: The Battle Wages On Between Quickbooks and Xero

accounting battle copyOnline accounting providers have waged war on each other, with each service trying to win over the ever-growing base of cloud accounting customers. Xero, QuickBooks, Quicken, Sage, and many others want your business and they’re beefing up features to make sure they do.

Xero has realized that switching from one accounting package to another isn’t easy and as a result, the company is working hard to ease that process. QuickBooks customers can now upload their files to Xero and, within three hours, those files will be converted and the customer can take over the account to make the switch to QuickBooks. But is a switch to Xero the best move? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

The QuickBooks Advantage

Owned by Intuit, QuickBooks has long dominated the accounting technology marketplace. The software launched in the mid-90s as a small business alternative to the company’s Quicken package. As the number of SMBs and startups has increased over the years, QuickBooks has evolved into the cloud-based full-featured software we see today.

For businesses interested in features, QuickBooks can offer access to a wider range of features and integrations than competitors. However, you’ll likely pay more for the more-advanced features, so price QuickBooks’ various plans before you make a decision.

The Competitor Advantage

There are disadvantages to doing business with such a massive company. Newer providers often undercut QuickBooks’ prices, so it’s important that businesses price different plans before choosing. These newer companies have invested serious time and resources into their customer service offerings, as well, knowing that offering more personalized support will help them edge out the competition.

Of all of the newer offerings, Xero may be the one to watch. The company recently raised $111 million in venture funding and brought on a new U.S. CEO, a new board director, and an additional U.S.-based director. Former Dell global marketing vice president Russell Fujioka has joined the company’s U.S. team as president, as well. With a new team in place, Xero could become a serious contender to QuickBooks’ loyal customer base in the coming months.

Switching Providers

Xero is hoping to win customers by demonstrating that moving from QuickBooks to Xero is easy. However, competitors offer the same conversion guide, including QuickBooks. Before choosing a new provider, businesses should ask if existing files could be transferred over, since so many software companies are now providing easy conversion options.

Another consideration for businesses is whether or not their financial institutions work with a specific provider’s online software. If not, will those businesses still be able to pay vendors and receive payments through the service without a major inconvenience? If too many manual processes are required with a specific provider, a business may be better served by a software that does work with a business’s bank, even if the monthly cost is higher.

The war among online accounting providers is good news for consumers. It means that small business owners can access the full suite of features they need at affordable rates, while also having access to the high-quality customer service they expect.

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Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

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