We get asked a lot: Xero or Saasu. Finally I have put together an overview.
It often depends on your specific needs, so this overview shows large and small differences. Pick what is important to you and ignore the rest and make a decision based on that.
If you are in a hurry, here is a quick decision overview:
Xero costs a little more than Saasu, even though Saasu has more features. But the Xero functionality has been designed for maximum user friendliness and minimum bookkeeping time.
Choosing your subscription based on price is not a smart business decision. Online accounting packages are really good at doing one thing: reducing the time it takes to do the books, especially with a disbursed team or mobile office. So what you select needs to fit into your way of running the business, needs to reduce the time you spend entering data and give you the information you need to make good business decisions.
With Saasu at $35 per month and Xero at $49, the time savings should more than cover either of these costs.
The Detailed Comparison
So that you can pick what is really important to you, I have outlined some major differences below. I do not claim for this list to be comprehensive, but it is a starting point. If there is anything you want to add or disagree with, please leave a comment.
Point of SaleAdd-on POS system, Vendis fully integrated with Xero. It also integrates with an online cart (Shopify) to handle inventory across all sales channels.POS developed by Saasu, which works online and offline and integrates with Saasu.Subscription BillingMonthly invoices and automatic deduction off your credit card. Discount for multiple subscriptions.Monthly invoices that need to be paid. Discount for purchasing a year in advance.
|User Interface||Xero is beautiful. It is just a joy to work in.||Saasu often allows more direct interaction with the data. But some business owners complain about not finding their way around it.|
|Dashboard||Good looking and highly customisable dashboard.||Simple dashboard with some customisation as to which widgets to show, but not as flexible.|
|Invoicing||Each invoice can include both items and services. Gives great flexibility.||You have to decide upfront whether an invoice is an item or service invoice. If you realise that you need to add something to an item invoice that does not exist as an item, it is a slow process adding that.|
|Recurring Invoices||Works well. One big advantage is that normal invoices can easily be turned into repeating invoices.||Allows to automatically set a payment against the recurring invoice. So when you have direct debit agreements with your clients, Saasu can handle that much better.|
|Xero to Xero Invoicing||If your suppliers or clients are with Xero, an invoice created by one user can automatically be sent to another Xero account and have all details available as a payable. As more users jump onto Xero that is going to become an increasingly useful feature.||No integration for Saasu to Saasu invoicing.|
|Automated Statements||Statements need to be sent manually. It is possible to do that in bulk though.||Great automation with statements. Frequency can be chosen and they just keep going out automatically (only to clients who have outstanding amounts or to all).|
|Bankfeed Source||Using Yodlee for all but the big four banks (NAB, CBA, ANZ, Westpac). The signup process for them is a bit longer, but the feed details come through more quickly. For Yodlee feeds a historical date can be specified when they are to start. Unfortunately that does not exist for the big four banks.||Using Yodlee for all bank feeds. Can handle bank logins that need tokens since the June update.|
|Bankfeed Matching||Automatic bank feed pre-matching really speeds up the data entry.
Allows for adjustments to be entered when manually matching the bank feeds. Much better than in Saasu.
|Automatic bank feed pre-matching really speeds up the data entry.
Unfortunately it only works when the amounts match exactly. Saasu says that there is some more smarts in the pre-matching with regards to the bank statement text, but I do not think I have experienced that. When you have the same amount for multiple transactions, all get shown as a possibility (a maximum of 3, which sometimes is a problem, especially when you sell the same priced item to many clients. The 3 matches might not show the one you need.)
|Bankfeed Rules||Fantastic rules to automate the creation of transactions from bank feeds. Amounts can automatically be broken up into different expense accounts (by fixed amounts or percentages). Multi-select and coding is also possible.
The only downside is that bank transfers cannot be created with rules. You have to use a clearing account to achieve that.
|Rules only create journal entries, not actual payables and receivables linked to a contact. This is a major downside.
A plus is the possibility to multi-select transactions when creating purchases, sales or transfers from them. All selected will be created as individual transactions.
|Multi Currency||All transactions are possible between different currencies. The exchange rate is always calculated and can be adjusted if necessary.||Limited cross currency functionality. If you have a foreign currency invoice, you cannot match that with an Australian Dollar bank feed coming in. The transaction needs to be re-entered manually. Transferring money from a bank account in currency A to an account in currency B can only be done through a journal entry.|
|Notes for Bank Transactions||Great feature when a bookkeeper and business owner work together in Xero. Any bank transactions that the bookkeeper cannot reconcile show up on the client login with a field to leave a note in. The bookkeeper can then code with that information.||To achieve the same result in Saasu, we have to create an expense to a suspense account. The client can then leave notes in these transactions in suspense. If the transaction was a transfer or payment for multiple purchases, it means that the payment needs to be deleted and re-created.
The other option is to export all unallocated bank transactions to Excel and give that list to the client.
|Bank Reconciliation||Reconciliations are taken more seriously in Xero. Before changing a reconciled transaction, the user is warned. It is also possible to publish reconciliation reports within Xero. While that does not truly lock the reconciliation, there is “written proof” within Xero that shows the reconciliation has been prepared correctly.||A big downside is that bank reconciliations cannot be locked. You can lock periods for data entry, but it is still possible to tick and untick bank transactions easily and without warning.
When editing or attempting to delete a reconciled transaction, there is a warning.
|Bank Accounts||Any account can be set to allow the receiving of money. This is really useful as it means this account can be selected both as a payment account and as a line item in a purchase or sale (useful for a Drawings account).||Bank accounts cannot be used in a purchase or sale, other than booking the payment against them. This is a problem for Personal Drawings which we often want to use both for expenses and payments. The only workaround is to set up two Personal Drawings accounts.|
|Budgets||Budgets can be entered, but only by month. There are automation functions for that with automatic increases.
Wide variety of reports.
|Complete flexibility in creating multiple budgets for varying timeframes. Actuals against budgeted reports are great. There is no easy way to enter multi-month budgets. Each month needs to be its own budget.|
|Email Templates||No email templates, so you have to write each email, including the signature.
For repeating invoices, an email can be setup to be used every time the invoice goes out.
|Good templates with token function for all emails (invoice, statements, payslip, etc). They can be prepared using text or html.|
|Quoting||It is possible to create draft invoices and giving them the title “quote”. It is possible to track the progress of a job from quote to final invoice. I have written a detailed description of how to quote in Xero.||Quoting works well. When a quote gets turned into an invoice, it keeps a copy of the quote, so you can always go back and compare original with final.|
|Purchase Order||No purchase order function.||Purchase Orders can be created and turned into invoices when they come in (also linked to the Inventory management).|
|Credit Notes||Easy to add, allowing for overpayments.||Very difficult to enter a payment that is higher than the invoice.|
|Discounts||One of the newest feature additions allows for per line discounts as well as storing discounts by client. Great implementation.||Discounts are possible per invoice line for item invoices only. It is not possible to define generic discounts for a specific client.|
|Contacts Creation||Can be created on the fly while entering an invoice (just by entering the company name in the invoice field).
No multiple contacts for a single company.
|Contacts need to be created by going into the Contacts screen. Multiple contacts can be attached to a single company, but it is a bit clumsy to create a new contact. Saasu forces the user to go to a third screen to enter the company details.
And when creating a second contact for the same company, none of the shared fields (address, website, phone, fax) are copied across.
In the bank feeds, entering a contact that does not exist only has a short visual warning. The transaction is still processed, losing the contact entered.
|Duplicate Contacts||Merging of contacts and all their attached transactions is possible.||When deleting a contact with transactions attached, Saasu asked which other contact to merge the attached transactions with.|
|Default Accounts||No default income or expense accounts can be defined for contacts. It would be great if that were added. Tax defaults can be set though.||No defaults accounts or tax codes by contact can be defined.|
|Trading Terms||Trading terms can only be set on a subscription level, not for each client/supplier.
One possible workaround is using invoice templates for different trading terms.
|Trading terms can be set for each client and supplier (on top of subscription wide terms). That speeds up data entry.|
|Payroll||Payroll is integrated into Xero. It has and amazing function for automated super payments (on the large subscription). One click pays them all to an unlimited number of funds through the Super Clearing House and a direct debit.
A downside is that BAS reports are not yet getting the PAYG figures automatically. That is promised for the next release.
|Fully integrated payroll that is easy to use. The only drawback is that no history of annual or personal leave taken is available.|
|Timesheet||Only external plugins, such as freshbooks. It means that the invoices need to be created within freshbooks and then pushed across to Xero. Simple integration between the two, but additional costs for freshbooks.||Ability to enter timesheets and create the payrun from it.
However, it is not possible to assign the hours to a specific client. Therefore, invoices cannot be created from it. For anyone charging for their time, this feature is not working. If you just pay your team based on the time they work, it is great.
|Inventory||No inventory system, but available through www.unleashedsoftware.com. Again there are additional costs involved.||Inventory system fully integrated. It allows creating one sales item from multiple purchased items, so is quite advanced. The enterprise version allows for attributes.|
|Tracking||There are two custom tracking fields that can be activated for each line item. They show pre-defined lists.
There are specific reports for categories and it is also possible to compare figures by categories in a Profit & Loss report.
|Very flexible with tagging invoices and reporting P&L against these tags. No tagging per line yet, but promised to be available soon.
It is very easy to create these tags on the fly.
|Mobility||Great iPhone app that includes the uploading of photos of receipts straight into Xero (currently only as an expense claim, but soon as other expenses, too). It is simple to create invoices and email them on the go.||Unfortunately, invoices can only be created, but not emailed from the iPhone app. I find it more useful to work with the full version of Saasu rather than the app on an iPhone.|
|CRM Activities & Notes||Not available.||Saasu includes a simple CRM that can create activities for contacts for specific dates. They are reminders when you are in Saasu, but it is not possible to send automatic emails – either to the user or a client.
Notes can also be entered for each contact.
|User Access||Simple user level restrictions.||Possible to generate many different and customised levels of user access. The only downside is that a user with less access still sees all menu items. It is only when they click on something that they are being told that they have no access. Would be much better, not to show the links/menu items that they cannot access.|
|Auditing||Xero does not allow deleting of some transactions. Instead they can only be voided. While that might be a nuisance when learning how to use Xero, it is useful to go back and understand developments.
Each change to a transaction is captured with time and username.
|Deleting (and bulk deleting) is possible, which allows the fixing of mistakes more easily.
However, only the last user of a transaction is captured, so no real auditing history is available.
|Help System||Highly relevant and detailed help articles.
Absolutely dedicated help team with great answers to all queries.
|Amazing customer support for emails and phone queries. The online help files are not always very detailed.|
|Data Access After Closing Account||Xero keeps the date for 7 years and it can be accessed at any time by request. They have also talked about a read-only subscription that might be available in the future.
All date can be exported into Excel, Google Docs (with all formulas) or a pdf document for archiving.
|Saasu keeps the data for 7 years and it can be accessed at any time by re-activating the subscription.
All reports can be exported into Excel or pdf to archive the data externally.
In any case, I hope this helps your decision to decide what to go with. Both have free trial subscriptions, so just select the one you think is right for you and try it out. If it does not work, you can always try the other.