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Xero Vs Quickbooks

Does Xero still want 'small' accountants?

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I'm a home based accountant and have used Xero now for about 5 years.  It's been my "go to" recomendation for clients who are looking for online bookkeeping.  That said, I maybe only have 12 or so clients on it and I hover around just qualifying as a Bronze partner.

In light of the recent changes Xero has made to it's partner relationships, my discount has recently dropped from 15% to 5%.  As I am not VAT registered I used to use my 15% discount to allow me to "sell" Xero to clients at £22.00 without VAT and the discount used to more or less cover the VAT element.  The difference isn't a huge amount in cash terms, but it does irk a little.

I recall a couple of years ago on the old site when Gary used to post regularly, he stated that if we chose not to jump through hoops and become certified etc, this was absolutly fine as far as he was concerned and would not impact us financially.  This seems to be no longer the case.  I could spend several hours going through their courses and webinars etc, but again, being home based and working alone, I struggle to find the time!

With that ramble post made, I have received an excellent offer from Quickbooks.  They too have promised they will continue to support small accountants but I appreciate this may well change in the coming years.....

Any thoughts on Xero vs Quickbooks in useability and function before I spend time figuring it out. Trying to decide whether to hang on with Xero and find the time to "qualify" or to try the alternatives?  Obviously clients  who are happy with Xero will continue if it suits, just wondering where to push new work, especially in light of MTD.  I've had a quick play with Quickbooks in the past as I have a couple of clients who use it, but only enough to print off a TB and list of debtors etc.

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By Mr Hankey
02nd Jul 2018 13:43

I too have suffered the drop from 15% to 5% discount, not huge in monetary terms but still share your annoyance.

I've been tending to stick with Xero because I "know it" - switching (or using another provider) means learning how to use another bit of software, something which I don't have time for!

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By Ultra
02nd Jul 2018 13:59

We are swaying towards Quickbooks too. We are a new ish firm and are quite small but growing.

Whilst we are at a bit of a crossroads, we have a number of clients who use projects and Quickbooks wins on this front in our opinion, Xero is a lot more expensive.

A lot of people have mentioned the advantages of direct bank feeds etc in Xero, but at the moment, I struggle to see how the higher prices of Xero are justified over Quickbooks.

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Replying to Ultra:
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By Mr_awol
02nd Jul 2018 14:04

QuickBooks is much slower and the reporting can be cumbersome.

Check out freeagent, if you want projects - especially for NatWest/RBS clients who can get it free.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By carnmores
03rd Jul 2018 17:47

Rubbish , the reporting and customisation on QBO is magnificent , i think you need a lesson update.

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Replying to carnmores:
Bee
By May bee
04th Jul 2018 08:13

I agree that QBO reporting is far superior to Xero. But QBD (real QuickBooks) is far superior to QBO too... (I know, shoot the cloud basher!)

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Replying to carnmores:
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By Mr_awol
05th Jul 2018 12:17

carnmores wrote:

Rubbish , the reporting and customisation on QBO is magnificent , i think you need a lesson update.

Magnificent and QuickBooks don't belong in the same sentence.

I have a few clients using QBO and will continue to tolerate it for two reasons - firstly and foremost, the clients involved would not be interested in 'learning' a better software package when they already have an established system.

Secondly, by using it on a small number of clients I will be using it often enough to (hopefully) notice if/when it improves.

I don't see how undertaking training is going to make the software run any smoother though. I'd suggest you have lost your objectivity with your obvious enthusiasm for QBO. Maybe go out into the big wide world and experience other platforms?

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By Mr_awol
02nd Jul 2018 14:03

Xero have always been pretty open with us that they consider the product worth 'premium pricing' - FreeAgent with projects can be bought for less than £15/month compared to the £28 you need to pay Xero for the same service.

I suspect that we will see aggressive price increases from Xero - but not until after MTD as they'll want to ensure they pick up as much of that market as possible. How high it will go, I wouldn't like to say.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
02nd Jul 2018 14:50

Apt timing, I was just having a tussle with Xero over a client who signed up but hasn't used their newly set up account for 5 months and asked for a rebate down to £1 until they use it (I have put them on ledger for now) but they told me to whistle stating "we just have rules that we have to follow" so no discretion.

No-one has even logged in other than my setting up the opening balances.

I seem to get 15% discount, but I did spend a very very annoying hour in front of the TV clicking away at their sodding training videos (you just open and close it, an then answer the questions) to earn "training credits" which I found grossly insulting quite frankly as they seemed to be largely aimed at low grade staff, or thinly disguised sales vidoes for 'premium' bits I don't use.

They are far too corporate now, must be eyeing up a sale to one of the big boys.

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
03rd Jul 2018 10:39

For me Xero is the better product over QBO.

The direct bank feeds are a big thing in Xero as very reliable. When they go wrong you can spend ages wasting time on QBO is they dont work. pull through twice etc (seems to happen a lot) you can lose hours sorting them out.

Also I would question how long the £1 licences will stay at £1.

Xero has find and recode which is ideal for correcting errors when clients stuff things up, I find it much more difficult in QBO amending errors.

I also struggled with QBO support and account management and in the end took what clients I had off QBO and onto Xero.

I just converted someone away from QBO yesterday, he got a free 12 month subscription but got into a right mess with it.

In general clients seem to take to Xero better so worth the few quid price difference.

Also I suppose it depends where you are with pricing, if you do a lot of in house low value bookkeeping without client involvement then the pricing will be more of an issue.

If your clients have greater needs beyond bookkeeping Xero comes into it own with the add on community for reporting stock control etc, although many of them now also work with QBO.

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By Manchester_man
02nd Jul 2018 21:09

I agree with Glen.

I have used QB extensively, after I picked up some clients already using it. My go to choice now is Xero, despite it being more expensive.

I found QBs to be absolutely appalling. It regularly imported transactions twice, causing a lot of work. The first time this happened it took me 3 hours to find what had gone wrong.

In Xero, the little search button is invaluable to me, I use it all the time. I can type, for example, 'gas' and it will instantly list all transactions for British Gas, separated into
- bills
- payments to/from
- contacts
... essentially a key word search box, but try to do a search in QBs and you have to click 'advanced options' before it will give you anything remotely appropriate. Even then, it mostly didn't work.

So many faults with it.

Yes, Xero give 5h1t discounts and don't really seem to listen to users' suggestions, but it is the best I've used.

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Replying to Manchester_man:
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By carnmores
03rd Jul 2018 17:48

thats probably because you are not using it properly

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Replying to carnmores:
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By Mr_awol
05th Jul 2018 14:59

carnmores wrote:

thats probably because you are not using it properly

Or because it's crap?

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By carnmores
05th Jul 2018 16:29

it was intended to invoke a reply. generally most contributors seem to agree with me . i suggest that you look again at report customization but each to their own

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blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
03rd Jul 2018 10:59

Personally I never understand the either/or mentality, we have clients on Xero, FA, QBO and Sage, they all do different things for different clients at different prices

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Replying to NH:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
03rd Jul 2018 11:46

NH wrote:

Personally I never understand the either/or mentality, we have clients on Xero, FA, QBO and Sage, they all do different things for different clients at different prices

Same for me, with Clear Books, FreeAgent, Kashflow (yuck), Pandle & Xero. I struggled for years balancing deskbound Sage & QBs, leaving the majority of clients on paper or spreadsheets, now we have 30ish cloud systems to chose from which is great if you prefer to get your clients to do their own bookkeeping.

Also, businesses move about and many are already using Cloud systems, so it's worth getting at least a general feel for 4-5 of the main systems out there.

Despite my distrust of them as an expensive corporate, marketing machine, I rate Xero over QBO, I've tried the latter a few times and inherited one client using it, but found it too "messy".

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Replying to NH:
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By Chris Maslin
03rd Jul 2018 16:26

NH wrote:

Personally I never understand the either/or mentality, we have clients on Xero, FA, QBO and Sage, they all do different things for different clients at different prices

For us it's about knowing the software inside out. Pretty much whatever query a client has on FreeAgent, we'll be able to resolve it.

We could get a TB off most packages, but as our clients are doing their own bookkeeping with our assistance, it's important we know the software really well.

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By Cantona1
03rd Jul 2018 12:47

Xero Vs Quickbooks on line (QBO).

First disclaimer: I do not have a subscription with xero. All my knowledge is from my memory when I had tried the demo version, so I am stand to be corrected.

QBO is relatively cheaper than Xero. QBO seems to have lots of price promotion, but Xero has a fixed price.

Reporting:

When it comes to reporting, no other software can match QBs, though, many reporting features are missing from the on-line version. Xero has been improving its reporting features. For instance, it has similar to QBO’s memorised reports (called custom), but still need to fresh the report while in QB do not need.

Bank Feed and Banking:

I think QBO has better features than Xero. The number of transactions per page in Xero seems to be not more than 20 per page and there is no away you can change the per page, while in QBS you can display up to 350 per page.

As far as I know, there is no grouping by items in Xero- you need to “OK” each line of transaction. In QBO, You can select multiple lines of transactions and post them in one go. Once you set up a rule for a transaction, QBO’s AI recognise the rule and group all same transactions.

Unless a new feature has been added, there is no “Global Search” in Xero, but there is in QBO.
You then have annoying "Accounting numbers", which are optional in QBs.

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Replying to Cantona1:
FirstTab
By FirstTab
03rd Jul 2018 12:51

Thanks for a balanced response that I found helpful.

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Replying to FirstTab:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
03rd Jul 2018 13:12

Not really balanced if he has only had a short trial of Xero
yet used QBO in detail.

You can only truly test them with client data in over a few months, clients also test them to death which matters, you should not just be picking software that you like but software your clients find easy to use.

As mentioned earlier why limit to just choices, I have a client with a very good in house bookkeeper who makes a decent job of Sageone, for that reason I wouldn't change it just for the sake of it.

Freeagent is great for contractors but too expensive at £28 for a Ltd co version.

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Replying to Glennzy:
blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
03rd Jul 2018 13:23

And thats another consideration - you say FA is £28, but we get it a lot cheaper than that with discounts, also with certain banks you get FA for free.
QBO do a 10 for £10 offer, every practice should have one of those at least!
Sage do good pricing offers as well.
Xero are the worst for price but probably overall the best software.

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Replying to NH:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
04th Jul 2018 14:02

As well as having one of my clients on a free FA subscription, through their bank, another benefit to businesses is having the ability to do their self assessment on it.

One of my director clients now does his own return via FreeAgent saving him my fees of about £150+ VAT pa.

There were rumours that CT filing will follow.

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Replying to Cantona1:
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By Mr_awol
03rd Jul 2018 12:58

Cantona1 wrote:

When it comes to reporting, no other software can match QBs.

I was with you for the first few paragraphs but this bit is just riddiculous

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By carnmores
03rd Jul 2018 17:52

IMO you are wrong, I use both and QBO reporting is infinitely superior

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Replying to carnmores:
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By Mr_awol
05th Jul 2018 15:03

carnmores wrote:

IMO you are wrong, I use both and QBO reporting is infinitely superior

Both?

(s)he said "no other software" could match it which is laughable.

If you're saying that it is better than one other specific package (in the context of this thread likely to be Xero) then that's one thing (even if I disagree). But to argue that QBO is the pinnacle of reporting would be wildly inaccurate.

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AshTag86
By Ash_D86
03rd Jul 2018 13:24

@Cantona1 - Cash coding in Xero displays all bank statement lines where there isn't a match already within the accounts. It's is a great tool to use if you're looking to reconcile many bank statement lines in bulk.

Using this feature along with Bank Rules saves even more time. Set up the rule to tell Xero what to do each time this statement line appears and it'll automatically populate all the information into the cash coding page. If you're happy with everything, just click Reconcile.

As @Manchester_man mentions above, there is also a global search available in Xero by using the / key to activate or click on the magnifying glass in the top right-hand side of any screen. You can use this to search over the entire set of accounts, including amount, contact and invoice information.

Ashley Driver
Partner Content & Curriculum Owner, Xero
@ashtag_86

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Replying to Ash_D86:
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By PracticePartner
04th Jul 2018 14:03

If only Xero would, several years down the line, revisit the bank rec and make it class leading again. As it stands:
- you can't include credit notes
- you can't create an invoice on the fly
- you can't filter the bank rec so have to page through it all if say you want to reconcile sales receipts first
- many bank statements can still only be imported via Yodlee and I won't go near that

If you look at the dire Feature Requests section you'll see so many useful features suggested that are just being ignored, to the extent that Xero have tried to hide how old some of them are by taking the date off posts.

That said, its still pretty good!

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Jennifer Adams
By Jennifer Adams
03rd Jul 2018 17:55

My renewal with Clearbooks is this week so I too have been looking around. Having done the pricing calculations Clearbooks is cheaper than QBO - depends how many clients obviously. I have had the QBO sales on the phone every morning for the last three days pressing for me to join up and reminds me to get in touch with him as he is on commisson.
He said that the 1 x £10 lasts for 2 years and then increases to the usual £7.50 or £9.95 + VAT. One benefit is you pay per client and if you want to leave you can do so immediately whereas with Clearbooks you are tied in for a year.
Clearbooks is getting better. I found it difficult to get my head round at first but the support is good. You are allocated a person if you have any problems as well.
But they are all costly. I am going to keep with excel for the very small clients (non bank statements/no separate business acc) and use Clearbooks for the difficult ones and VAT.
I'm thinking (hoping) that Taxfiler will get themselves together to allow import via csv before MTD.
An extra benefit of QB is that you can import into Taxfiler but you cant with any other software.

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
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By carnmores
03rd Jul 2018 18:26

you are correct about the Taxfiler / QBO link similar links exist with other packages for Xero. what I don't understand is your comment re .csv file. you can simply paste these into the blank box but I surmise that you may mean something different?

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Replying to Jennifer Adams:
Teignmouth
By Paul Scholes
04th Jul 2018 13:54

Hi Jennifer - if you configure the exported TB from other systems, so that descriptions are similar, you can cut & pasted TBs into Taxfiler. I used the Tax filer export to build an Excel template and then transferred CB, FreeAgent etc TBs into that and it worked well (except the corp tax charge and liability sometimes ended up in the same account, but you can then edit it in Tf.

With regard to the small spreadsheet clients, have a look at Pandle, it's so simplified I found it hard to get my head around but it's good for low volume clients without any computerised accounting knowledge and is improving all the time. It costs me £2.50 per client per month which, considering what it does, is great value for money.

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By In a Daze
04th Jul 2018 09:22

We use Xero for clients who need to use one of the add on partners. We also use the cashbook and VAT cashbook.

We also use Reckon One for clients who need to send invoices such as tradesmen etc.

We have about 10 clients that use factoring and we find Sage is the best product for these clients.

You need to decide which product is the best fit for each client and not take a blanket approach where one product fits all.

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By GlobalTax
04th Jul 2018 09:45

For me customer service is very important and quickbooks customer support is first class. I just don't like the fact I have to email xero. I need immediate response and thats what you get from a call.

I used xero recently for a client of mine recently and actually didn't find it particularly user friendly. I also do not like the fact I have to enter a name each time I allocate the transactions from the bank feed in xero.

I like the fact I can integrate quickbooks with tax filer. Though I imagine IRIS will remove this feature at some point

Quickbooks is nearly half the price of xero which is significant plus you get 10 for £1 as they value accountants . xero isn't twice as good as quickbooks and price isn't justified

Quickbooks does have a number of flaws like revaluation of currency and CIS/Payroll isn't great either. I just don't like the new payroll in Quickbooks.

Quickbooks probably works better with straight forward smaller businesses and perhaps Xero with their increased app integration works with larger and complex businesses

I think it will boils down what features you want from software and are you prepared to pay for it

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By Alex_T
04th Jul 2018 13:45

I agree this is very irritating but I'm sticking with Xero as it won't make a huge difference to my small practice.

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By PracticePartner
04th Jul 2018 14:20

As I've commented on occasion, despite being a traditional Sage critic I find SageOne quite acceptable for small businesses. Sage appear to be putting a lot into the cloud and of course they also offer final accounts and CT, and personal tax. I did get a great deal on a bundle so for me its far cheaper than Xero, although Xero is still the default where clients will do the bookkeping. But I find that clients don't really care what cloud platform they are on as long as it works.

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By Kaylee100
04th Jul 2018 16:39

I have quite a few clients on Xero but refuse to sit their courses when my CPD assessment doesn't think I should - I have enough courses to sit anyway.

I forgo the extra commission but they have already lost two clients as recommendations so they are far worse off for the decision. That's big corporates for you.
I doubt they will want to visit me but, if and when their sales call, I won't be meeting with them and using my time.

I have clients on all platforms now as new clients arrive having already got used to a package and QB is one of my less preferred choices.

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By Guilford Accounting
05th Jul 2018 11:36

I too suffered from the 15% to 5% reduction in discount and raised this with my 'account manager' who wasn't interested; I got the impression that I was too small to worry about with only 20 or so cloud accounting clients. They clearly want the larger firms, although I recently gained a client who had been with a platinum partner; their Xero account was a mess and their previous year accounts wrong (we had to restate and resubmit to Companies House and HMRC). There is no control over quality of who they hand out badges too, just numbers.
We now recommend Reckon One, it is modular pricing so you only pay for what you need and their support is excellent.

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By [email protected]
05th Jul 2018 12:01

My clients who are all under VAT thresholds aren't to excited about MTD and potentially having to pay xeros monthly costs as well as mine and facing bigger tax bills of they strip my services out....... that's my USP... providing oversight over additional tax and financial planning which xero doesnt give...but difficult for them to swallow extra cost....

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Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
05th Jul 2018 15:39

What has not been mentioned, and for me the big plus with Xero, over the the products is the 5 versions of the software that are available to you as a partner.

This allows you to offer something for everyone, cradle to the grave solution.

Most of others have either full version which clients will mess up the bits they don't need or too basic for light versions.

For instance you can use the ledger to scan bank statements into autoentry, analyse the full bank using cash coding or bank rules. Post everything in Xero so you have full audit trial including tax provision then post to TB to your accounts software for filing.

It allows you to small limited company accounts in a few hours, which if your pushed on fees you have got to be able money out of that.

Again the cashbook version at £5pm + Free Santander bank feed ideal for small companies, do bookkeeping in 30 minutes per quarter.

£10 reduced version where you can issue 5 sales invoices, ideal for contractor style jobs. Ideal if pushed on a fixed fee and the fee wont stand a Freeagent subscription.

Everyone looks at the £22 standard fee as expensive but I have a lot of clients on the above 3 packages which saves loads of time, which paying a few quid for the software justifies.

If you have a load of jobs under vat threshold, the above are ideal solutions for MTD, as with the smart use of a bank feeds you can keep the jobs profitable with automation, otherwise you are likely to get swamped when MTD.

If the reduction in 10% of your discount so £2 on a full version is going to make you unprofitable per job, you need to look at your pricing maybe.

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blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
05th Jul 2018 15:49

Yes but compare that to the 10 for £10 from QBO, plus the 3 full price versions of QBO are £4.99, £7.50 or £10.
The deal with Sage which was 1 accounting + 10 start for £10, not to mention to 20% rebate on top.
The free licence with certain banks Freeagent deal
With all of the above you don't have this nonsense you have with Xero where you have prove your worthiness to get a badge either.
Not saying Xero isnt good for certain clients, but I prefer to keep an open mind on them all

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Replying to NH:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
05th Jul 2018 17:16

Those prices you are quoting are not correct full versions of QBO are £6, £15 and £25.

Sageones full pricing is £11 & £22 so the same pricing as Xeros, they are just offering discounts as not gaining market share.

Xero occasionally offer discounts also

The free version of Freeagent is only available if you bank with RBS group, which still have a massive image problem and would not be most clients choice of bank, even with free software.

You also have to give the bank free access to your accounts data so not really free, and again would not sit well with small business clients with their track record.

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Replying to Glennzy:
blue sheep
By Nigel Henshaw
05th Jul 2018 17:32

Prices correct, what do you want to see our monthly invoices?

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Replying to NH:
Glenn Martin
By Glenn Martin
05th Jul 2018 17:36

You must be paying a discounted rate, THE FULL price is
£6, £15 and £25.

https://quickbooks.intuit.com/uk/oa/quickbooks/?cid=ppc_G_B_Quickbooks_E...

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Replying to NH:
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By Ultra
05th Jul 2018 20:03

I can vouch those prices, partners get the 60% discount from the first client they sign up, not on a tiered basis like other products.

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By spcm
06th Jul 2018 12:34

I have to agree with both May Bee and Mr Awol - QBD is without doubt the best of the QB products and is very intuitive (I am slightly biased as I am a pro-advisor). QBO however, I really really don't like at all. It's cumbersome, the VAT side is bad, the bank rec window is slow etc. I have one client on QBO and as they hadn't used QB at all it was probably easier to learn it. If you are used to QBD then forget trying to learn QBO!!

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Replying to spcm:
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By carnmores
06th Jul 2018 16:43

its horses for courses . there is nothing wrong with the speed of the bank rec whatsoever. QBO is a different mindset from QBD and i dont understand your comment re the VAT

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By achapman
09th Jul 2018 19:19

Quickbooks does have direct bank feed available for Several banks. The biggest problem is user error with all these platforms, coming from a physics background I’ve used my fair share of software over the years and I can say that unless you program the software yourself you’ll never be happy with it.

The user error remark is directed towards clients who don’t have the time to learn how to use the software properly, making my job as the accountant a constant correcting procedure which is often a longer job than without software and building the accounts from prime sources.

My experience has led me to believe that any software that you become proficient in is not necessarily the best to use. You will only learn new applications when you have a difficult problem to resolve. I think it’s best to learn a little of all platforms if possible but QB tends to be the best supporter of small firms at the moment so I would recommend getting accustomed to using this software as clients tend to like it as well - although I must admit I’ve found it one of the most frustrating to get well practiced with as user friendliness usually means lack of detailed features.

Then it’s only bookkeeping software and it will have its limits, you’ll never beat a self made python equivalent or a good old spreadsheet.

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