Xero vs. Quickbooks vs. MYOB - Which is the best accounting software?

18 April, 2018


As a professional accountant, I have been asked to give my opinion on Xero,Quickbooks & MYOB. The question is always, Which is the best software among the 3? So here is my review based on seven factors.

Before we start, we should acknowledge Xero and Quickbooks Online are cloud based software while MYOB is a desktop based software. There are ways to convert desktop software by using an add-on such as  Access Anywhere.

 

7 distinctions between Xero, Quickbooks and MYOB Accounting Software

1. Number of users  

          

 

Xero allows you to register an unlimited number of users. That alone is mind blowing!

Quickbooks allows only limited number of users. Quickbooks Essential allows three users while Quickbook Plus allows five.

MYOB starts with 1 user for MYOB Accounting. The more advanced version, MYOB Premier, comes with 1 or 3 or 5, up to a maximum of 15 users. Multi-users access may slow down the connection speed but can be resolved by using an add-on software such as Access Anywhere.

 

2. Direct bank feeds and Excel imports

          

 

Xero allows direct bank feeds when you link it to your bank account. Imagine your bank transactions all automatically appearing in your accounting software every day. How cool is that! You eliminate the need of manually importing monthly bank statements and performing bank reconciliation, tasks that are very time-consuming.

Both Xero and Quickbooks does the Excel data import quite well, even though you will have to keep to their predefined templates.

All versions of MYOB do also allow excel importation, as long as the information is lined up in accordance with the template, one should be able to import information into MYOB easily.

 

3. Mobile app

           

 

Both Xero and Quickbooks software have dedicated app for your phones. You can prepare quotes, invoices, scan receipts (especially useful for claiming the lunch appointment with your client). I would say, both apps are neck and neck in usability with an equally pleasant layout.

Unfortunately, MYOB does not have any mobile app at the moment.

 

4. User interface

        

 

All interfaces are pretty and intuitively laid out. They are quite easy to use, and I have no complaints about either. Based on my experiences on implementing all 3 different software for hundreds of users, most people get used to the new interface within the first few weeks. They are easy to navigate and extremely user friendly.

 

5. Add-on software

     

 

Just keep in mind that Xero and Quickbooks are “plain vanilla” accounting software. The functions are user-friendly but limited. They both use API (Application Program Interface) to allow other software solutions to be added onto the basic platform to make it more customised for user needs.

It looks like each has taken different directions on the add-on marketplace. Xero is really friendly with more than 500 add-ons.

Quickbooks only has 15 add-ons based on what is listed on its Singapore website. Some of its very famous add-ons include the following:

Unleashed – Advanced Inventory system

Vend – Point of Sales system

Datamolino – Invoice and receipt optical character recognition (OCR) system

Shopify – e-Commerce system

 

MYOB did not have a marketplace for add-on but they have introduced few add-ons through partnership and collaboration. Some of the very useful add-ons include,

BI for MYOB – Business Intelligence Reporting Tool

Web Ninja CRM – Advance CRM for MYOB

ABSS Web Store – Integrated B2B E-Commerce Webstore

Having more add-on options will give you more flexibility in customising the software to your needs.

 

6. Multiple currencies

 

         

 

This function is valuable for businesses doing cross border trades. You will want the ability to invoice your customers in different currencies. The good thing is that Xero (standard edition),Quickbooks Online (Quickbooks Essential & Plus) and MYOB Premier offer multiple currencies function.

While I feel that the multi-currency function is not really well designed in all software, I believe it is enough for most business’ needs. For their low pricing, I am satisfied with the current functionalities. So far, my best experience of multiple-currency feature is found in SAP Business One (SAP B1) but that is an ERP software and out of our scope of discussion.

 

7. Pricing

Each software comes with its own pricing packages. So it’s difficult to make fair comparisons. Nonetheless, Quickbooks Online appears to be more economical of the two. It is currently giving substantial discounts to lure new customers. If we remove the promotional pricing, both software has comparable subscriptions.

Non-promo pricing:

Xero:

US$30/month (Xero Standard – Unlimited users)

Quickbooks:

US$31/month (Quickbooks Online Plus – 5 users)

 

Both Xero and Quickbooks have different price plan (each plan comes with different features)  and I can’t perform an apple to apple comparison, but the above is the closest in personal opinion.

Price of MYOB, being a desktop software, is a one-off payment and not monthly subscription. Price as follow

MYOB Accounting

S$$841

MYOB Premier (1 user)

S$1,388

MYOB Premier (3 users)

S$2,268

 

All the above software comes with optional local support carried out by partners in Singapore and Malaysia (professional accountant like us) whom you can subscribe. Anyway, support is not mandatory so this gives users a lot of flexibilities.

 

Summary

In conclusion, here is the summary of my assessment:

 

Features

Xero

Quickbooks Online

MYOB

Number of Users

10/10

7/10

7/10

Direct Bank Feed / Excel Import

8/10

6/10

5/10

Mobile App

9/10

9/10

0/10

User Interface

8/10

8/10

8/10

Add-on Software

9/10

5/10

5/10

Multiple currencies

7/10

7/10

8/10

Price

8/10

9/10

8/10

 

It seems like Xero is the winner by a slight margin. But do keep in mind that they are already the best among accounting software. So it depends on which one has a good fit for your specific business needs. If you prefer desktop software and one-off payment, MYOB is definitely the obvious choice.

The best way to make a decision is to have a dry run on each software.