Why I don't always recommend Xero
As a generally satisfied user of Xero for my own business accounting needs, and an integrator of software solutions that leverage their powerful API I tend to recommend Xero to my clients. For most small to medium sized businesses with head count up to 50 staff, Xero is a solid and powerful online accounting option. While there are areas where the software falls short - namely bank reconciliation (where MYOB is definitely easier and more intuitive in use) and the lack of strong visual reports within the product itself - Xero is a stable, reliable, powerful, user friendly option that offers excellent value for money.
There are times, however, when I recommend a competing product because it better fits the specific needs of a client. As with all my engagements, we start with an audit of their current accounting systems (often legacy desktop accounting products, such as Reckon) and the specific context and needs of the client before making recommendations on which Cloud Accounting option to choose. Any solution must be a good fit for the specific needs of that specific client.
If a client is very budget conscious and has a large payroll - for example 100+ employees - we'd consider a solution such as MYOB Essentials with unlimited payroll for a fixed fee (currently $60/month - with first 3 months $30/month) or propose an ERP solution such as MYOB Advanced or Netsuite. Clients that are very focused on strong mobile capability might like to consider Quickbooks online with the excellent Quickbooks free mobile app receiving strong reviews on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. There is not always a default choice for each and every client.
As a service provider we make recommendations by asking the right questions of clients. We ask questions to gain a better understanding of the problems they are currently facing in their business (and certainly understanding why they have contacted us in the first place) and the client's vision of a better tomorrow for their business. Armed with an understanding of a client's specific situation and challenges and their constraints (budget and timeline for example) we can then come up with a solution that best fits their needs. 80% of the time the solution may well be to recommend Xero. But if Xero doesn't best meet the needs of our client then we're more than happy to recommend other options. As a service provider we'd rather offer best fit solutions to our customers than be too fundamentalist in our recommendations. Xero's a great product, but in an increasingly competitive and mature market it's not the only option.