Xero Personal Alternatives

“we reviewed the resources involved in developing and supporting Xero Personal compared with putting this resource into our business offerings” is what Rod Dury said in a blog post announcing the winding down of my favourite personal finance software Xero Personal.

My initial reaction was of upset, especially as I saw them wasting money (read: resources) on ridiculous street posters around Melbourne such as:

Xero_Street_Poster_Billboard

Seriously, did any of these generate a visitor, let a long a new business subscriber ?

Anyway, who am I to sit here and throw stones, their stock price is up over 200%+ in the past year. Clearly they are doing something right!

Update November 28, 2013: I was wrong… according to a tweet from Rod Drury, Xero’s CEO: “Actually local campaign has performed very well. Not a natural thing for us to do so monitored closely” Intriging! We’re going to have someone from the Xero team on the marketing podcast very soon to reveal all.

In any case, I’m a big fan of their software, and not only use(d) Xero Personal, but we also use their core business offering in a number of entities I’m involved with.

So what to do with my personal financial book keeping with the end of Xero Personal coming up… Well, I turned to a previous PreneurCast Podcast guest  Heather Smith, who since our conversation authored  Xero For Dummies. 

She offer some great advice, which I asked her to turn into a guest post we can all to benefit from:


Here’s Heather with Alternatives To Xero Personal…

If you’re currently using Xero Personal to manage your personal finances, it’s likely by now you know this product is winding down and will cease to exist November 2014. If you were using Xero Personal, and are looking for a personal cloud based budgeting tool to move to, there are several options available.

One of them is a little known offering – Xero Cashbooks:

Xero Cashbook [pdf] is a simplified version of Xero, only available through your accountant. It is designed to help you manage your cash and allows your accountant to manage your books – all over the internet. There is no software to install, and it’s no hassle to set up. Xero simply allows you to get on with your “business” and not have to worry about accounting.

Accessed in exactly the same way as the standard version of Xero – Xero Cashbook allows you to manage your cashflow over the internet with no software to install and no hassle to setup.

Xero_Cashbooks_Screenshot
A LITTLE OR A LOT
Xero Cashbook has two roles to meet the level of input you want to have in your accounts.

  1. The Managed role gives you access to add comments on bank transactions, which your accountant can then code.This helps you become familiar with accounting without having to learn all aspects, and it’s perfect if you turned upto your accountant’s office last year end with a ‘shoebox’ of receipts.
  2. The Cashbook role provides more functionality. You can easily code transactions and prepare cash based sales tax reports. Ideal if you’re already using installed cashbook software or Excel spreadsheets. In both cases your accountant can review your information at any stage and provide input for your business during the year.

 

The Xero cashbooks option has several features I really like. It sits on your Xero dashboard alongside your Xero business products, so it’s easy to access. Xero cashbooks has the look and feel of the Xero business editions, except you don’t have unnecessary business functionality like invoicing and activity statements – options you don’t need to manage your own personal finances.

What’s incredible is Xero Cashbooks have a published API, meaning it has the ability to integrate with all the Xero add-on solutions. This makes it a powerful personal budgeting solution, that wasn’t offered with  Xero Personal.

If you have investment property you can plug Pocket Rent right into your Xero Cashbooks, and use the add-on online solution to assist in managing all administrative aspects of renting property. Pocket Rent starts at free for one property, and builds up its pricing through Monopoly inspired pricing packages.

If you have a share portfolio you can link it with Sharesight to manage your transactions. Sharesight minimises the need for data entry, offers instant performance reporting and can handle an international portfolio. Like Pocket Rent, Sharesight offers a free option, a single portfolio and up to 10 shareholdings, so you can really test the solution.

 

You can plug both Pocket Rent and Sharesight into Xero CashBooks and operate them simultaneously. These innovative timesaving solutions help you keep on track of your personal affairs, and minimise your administrative burden.

I’ve seen clients move to solutions like this, and once they learn how they work, and they understand the information generated, there in an informed position to make decisions, and they then feel comfortable growing their investments.

Ok so there is one small snag, not the sizzling sausage type of snag. As you may have picked up earlier, currently you can only purchase a subscription to Xero cashbooks via a Xero partner such as me. If you’re interested in this alternative option, I’m happy to facilitate arranging a Xero cashbook solution for you.

The other choice, you have moving from Xero Personal, is PocketSmith.

PocketSmith describes itself as a personal finance application. You can schedule your household or business budget in a calendar, and forecast your future bank balances. Xero and PocketSmith have come to the party by a special offering; if you sign up for PocketSmith by 31 December, you can get a great deal – $59.95 for the first 12 months (instead of the usual $120).

PocketSmith

Furthermore they have worked out a migration path, so you download your information from Xero Personal, in one year chunks, and upload it to PocketSmith, via their Xero Express process.

 


And PocketSmith also tweeted their support:

 

If you want a comprehensive robust solution to help manage your growing share and investment portfolio then take a look at Xero Cashbooks, if however your finances are straightforward then PocketSmith should amply meet your budgeting needs.

 

Heather Smith is the author of the Xero For Dummies series of books. She provides XERO Training, Xero Set-Up,  Migration &  Support, plus especially Xero Cashbook access via http://www.heathersmithsmallbusiness.com

  • http://www.PreneurMarketing.com/ Pete Williams

    I also just stumbled across this post on the Xero Community boards; which sums up a few other alternatives… Interesting to note, XERO still are not outwardly pushing Xero Cashbooks, as I believe they are trying to keep that offering exclusive for their partners: accountants + bookkeepers, to sell direct to the end user as a fully bundled accounting offering.

    Anyway, this post from https://community.xero.com/personal/discussion/2620058 was by Patricia O Sullivan:

    Great news from Xero and PocketSmith. Having just spent the past 2 months trialling YNAB, Wave, Yodlee and PocketSmith (can’t remember the others I dumped quickly) I am moving to PocketSmith.

    YNAB has no bank feeds and is impossible to keep up to date if you live a busy life and have multiple accounts othewise it wins for usability.

    Wave personal is incomplete in terms of budgeting and other features and the net worth figure is wrong because it does not include assets and liabilities. The fact it is FREE is nice but you are getting what you pay for… and we have just seen what happens to personal versions of accounts packages when a company is focused on its paying business versions – no updates then it closes down.

    Yodlee just sucks plain and simple. The UI is beyond appaling and you can not have an account unless it has a live feed. But they have alerts like no other package so I keep Yodlee live just for the alerts although PocketSmith tell me they will add them to their wish list.

    Pockesmith was the ONLY accounts package that made the transition of data as close to painless as possible. I exported everything from Xero in one file and PocketSmith sucked it in and automatically set up all my accounts and categories. The UI takes a little getting used to, ‘quirky’ I think they call it but they are working to make it more obvious. They gave me a free month with live feeds to trial properly to report back to this blog and I could not fault it. I am also impressed by the rate at which they are bringing out new features to match and exceed what XP could do.

    I will move my accounts to PocketSmith over the festive holiday period and start the new year in a new system that I know will look after my account for years to come. A big thank you from me to Xero and PosketSmith for making this transition as easy possible. I wish the move from Quicken, when they dumped us non USA customers, had been as painless.

    Patricia

  • http://www.eaonpritchard.blogspot.com/ eaon pritchard

    ‘Seriously, did any of these generate a visitor, let a long a new business subscriber?’

    Pete, You should probably do a bit of research about how advertising actually works before making daft statements like that.

    • http://www.PreneurMarketing.com/ Pete Williams

      Eaon – It’s exactly why we had Penny on the podcast this week…. To discuss it here: http://preneurmarketing.com/preneurcast/preneurcast-125-the-challenge-of-indirect-marketing/

      I understand your relationship with Xero (via Sputnik + http://www.eaonpritchard.blogspot.com.au/p/xero-do-beautiful-business.html )… but having personally grown multiple multi-million dollar business, in different markets, I am not a believer in brand based advertising.

      There are plenty of ways to advertise a business … I am just about direct response track-ability with every $ spend.

      As Penny mentioned during our conversation, I can see how the campaign is justified/used/works to support their partners (accountants) when on-selling the software solution to their clients …

      As she put it; they needed to feel the “brand” was being built, so they had confidence in on-selling. (i.e. the end clients had some “awareness” of the brand, when their account mentioned it)

      …but in terms of the adverts directly leading to customer sign-ups, I personally can’t see the link.

      If you’re ever interested, happy to have you on the show to discuss “brand based advertising” as part of marketing mix.

      • http://www.eaonpritchard.blogspot.com/ eaon pritchard

        Pete,
        Thats why one is called direct response and the other is called advertising.
        Sure, would be happy to discuss on the show sometime.
        All the best,
        Eaon

about-pete
Pete Williams is an entrepreneur, author, and marketer from Melbourne, Australia.

Before being honored “Australia’s Richard Branson” in media publications all over the continent, Pete was just 21 years old when he sold Australia’s version of Yankee Stadium, The Melbourne Cricket Ground For Under $500! Don’t believe it? You will! Check out the story in the FAQ section (it really is our most asked question).

Since then, he’s done some cool stuff like write the international smash hit ‘How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality’ (+ the upcoming ‘It’s Not About the Product‘) and he’s created a bunch of companies including Infiniti Telecommunications, On Hold Advertising, Simply Headsets and Preneur Group.

Lots of other people think he’s pretty good too! He’s been announced as the Global Runner-Up in the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Awards for 2009, the Southern Region Finalist in the Ernst & Young 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year, and a member of SmartCompany’s Top 30 Under 30.

Download Pete’s First Book For FREE!

“Now that I've got the rights back from the publishers, if you enter your email address below, you can instantly download a free audiobook version of my first book, How to Turn Your Million-Dollar Idea Into a Reality.” - Pete
100% Secure ... We will NEVER sell or rent your details to anyone.