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XERO -v- SAGE -v- QUICKBOOKS – which is best for CRM integration? What are the benefits?

27th Apr 2022
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Logical Office replaces manual effort and streamlines client service.

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The benefits of integrating your CRM with your accounting software can be huge, you could save hours each month. At Logical Office we've helped many clients to integrate and have discovered many quirks with the big systems.

These accounts programs all come with an API (Application Programmer Interface) enabling Logical Office to seamlessly integrate with their data.

The benefits of integration are compelling:

  • Users create invoices, payments and statements without logging into the accounts program where lots of sensitive data exists (bank accounts, nominal ledgers etc).
  • Invoices create from Ms-Word templates and edited prior to sending so there is full control over the design and look of the invoice and unlimited editing.
  • Workflows automatically bill clients, or allow remote invoicing where users just enter the amount, the description and the analysis type before the workflow raises the invoice, posts it to the financial ledger, turns it into a PDF, attaches it to an email and sends it to the user, all without logging in to the accounts program.
  • Users (if authorised) see the financial position of clients and suppliers without logging in to the accounts program.
  • Statements send automatically every month, if required. One less job to do in the accounting program.
  • Debt collection workflows chase outstanding amounts.
  • Databases stay in sync to reduce administration e.g. changing the address in Logical Office changes it in the accounts program.
  • Many users in Logical Office can use one account in the accounts program and user access control is safer because users only see data they are entitled to. Users can be restricted to customers in their own branch or department.
  • Logical Office workflows work with the accounts program so jobs can be auto-billed at any stage of the job without manual effort.

One customer saves 21 hours a month by automating auto-billing.

Issues with some of the main accounting platforms

When integrating these products to Logical Office we found some basic flaws which surprised us.


XERO mandate the use of reference numbers to uniquely identify clients. It fundamentally relies on names as the unique identifier. If you have a client called “David Smith” (over 6,000 in the UK) or “Mr & Mrs Smith” this is a problem.

This seems to be the case based on excerpts from XERO’s user forum:

Hi. Yes, this appears to be an issue that keeps coming up. Long and short of it is that Xero indexes by a unique contact name and there is no way around that - you must have unique names. Some get around this by adding the account number to the name so the contact name becomes "John Smith (20)" or something like that.

You can add reference numbers as an option, but this doesn’t change the basic problem of using names.

The spin-off problem to this design flaw is that you can’t have separate accounts for a customer and a supplier which are the same company, with the same name. You can get around this by having different names but it’s not ideal.

XERO allows both sales and purchase transactions to post to the one account with the one unique name.

We don’t think it’s logical to have the same account for a supplier and a customer, as the fundamental relationships and legal positions are inherently different for both situations.

XERO doesn’t allow true payments on account. An invoice number is required. This seems to be a strange flaw, because payments on account are basic requirements for things like deposits and part payments. We’ve tried doing this in XERO with Direct Payments and Prepayments and gave up.

Having said all that, XERO sells like hot cakes and is a big company so there must be good lots of good reasons for choosing it.

What about QuickBooks?

Entering a VAT inclusive amount for invoices through the QuickBooks API isn’t a simple procedure in QuickBooks. It should allow this because you can do it in the program.

At the time of writing we’re working on a fix.

Other than that QuickBooks integrates well.

What about SAGE – anything strange about this?

SAGE doesn’t have any basic flaws that we encountered during the integration.

SAGE has SAGE50 online and SAGE Cloud Business Accounting. Why two products? We integrated SAGE Cloud Business Accounting because we thought SAGE would want to migrate users to one platform instead of having to maintain two, and confuse customers as to which to use.

SAGE doesn’t have any basic flaws that we know of.

The winner?

They all have a good API so no difference there.

If you decide the winner on lack of “quirks” SAGE and QuickBooks fare well. But considering the success of XERO, clearly the market has other reasons to buy.

For users who don’t want to pay for XERO, SAGE or QuickBooks Logical Office has its own on-board sales ledger/purchase ledger which doesn’t have any of the quirks mentioned above, but doesn’t really compete with the big three.

Using Logical Office with any of the main accounting programs gives you the best of both worlds.

For more information visit our website or email [email protected]