Xero Partner Program – Accountant Version
Best Fit: Technologically progressive firms wanting a completely web-based professional accounting solution for use in performing periodic client write-up services, including account reconciliations, payroll reporting, ledger and journal management, and financial reporting.
- Online bank integration supports many deposit and credit card accounts
- Reconciliation tools simplify classification of routine transactions
- When supporting clients also using Xero, the system provides excellent collaboration tools for automating reconciliation processes
- Automated multi-currency support across all clients
- Built-in invoicing, along with strong reporting and output options
- No direct inventory management options, but Integration is available with third party solutions.
- Xero has a large and growing user base, but the U.S. version of the program is still maturing.
- Primarily online and email-based support.
From the Feb. 2013 review of Client Write-Up systems.
Xero is the leader among the web-based accounting programs challenging QuickBooks Online, with more than 200,000 small business users and an active development team that works with accounting firms to build features that firms need. The company has quietly been putting together their accountant version of the system over the past couple of years and has recently promoted it more strongly to the market.
The accountant version of Xero, which is part of the free Partner Program, gives firms direct access to the data of their business clients who use Xero and like the business version, also offers direct downloading of financial information from banks, speeding reconciliation processes. More than 115 third party add-ons are available for additional functionality for payroll, workflow management, inventory, point-of-sale, job tracking, time tracking, online payments and other functions. The program can manage sales and VAT taxes, and is available in versions for the U.S., U.K, Australia, New Zealand and a generic global version.
Basic System Functions: 5 Stars
Xero is a web-based program that supports all major browsers and mobile devices, with multiple user roles and password protections allowing firms to determine their own security and access protocols. The initial setup of the accounting version is similar to the business version, with the program offering a new company wizard that guides users through setup of charts of accounts, beginning balances, banking information and other company data. The program offers only a single template chart of accounts, as compared with some programs that offer industry-specific options, but users can also import account structures from Excel.
As our technical editor Brian Tankersley, CPA.CITP, stated recently, the business version of Xero was developed with a goal of “zero data entry” for accounting professionals, and differentiates itself from other SaaS accounting programs by providing an easy to use online accounting solution which provides tools for automatically importing, classifying, and reconciling transactions from the company’s bank accounts.
The program’s interface is easy to work in, with a clean structure and logical menus and navigation options. When working in the accountant version, users can easily access client businesses, firm staff, practice management functions, settings and other tools. The initial home screen opens to a “My Xero” workspace that is customized to the current user and has links to help, clients and other functions. When working with firm information, the screen uses a green interface, which changes to blue when working within client files. The system also offers at-a-glance information on the last time a client’s files were worked in by the firm, the number of unreconciled lines for an account, and comments made by users. Selection screens for clients, vendors and employees include search, sort and filter options, as well as quick access to contact information and the ability to see which firm staff are assigned to a particular client.