Comparison of Xero, QuickBooks and Sage Intacct for Nonprofits

Because we provide outsourced accounting services to multiple organizations, our CPA firm uses Xero, Quickbooks, and Sage Intacct on a daily basis. When nonprofit executive directors and finance directors discover this, they have many questions for us including:

• How would you compare these systems?
• When should you use one over the other?
• When is it time to move from an entry-level solution like Xero or QuickBooks to Sage Intacct?

This blog pulls excerpts from a white paper written by Jeff Unalp, President of Unalp CPA, who primarily uses Xero and Sage Intacct in his practice with contributions from Penny Breslin, who uses both QuickBooks Online (QBO) and Xero in her consultant practice.

Sage Intacct is an enterprise-class general ledger accounting platform operating on top of an Oracle database. Sage Intacct is also valuable when there are many “points of information” that need to be tracked (termed “Dimensions” by Sage Intacct). Xero and QBO can track only two and Intacct can track over 13. This allows Sage Intacct to be a “business intelligence” system. Points of information or dimensions are anything that you may want to track in reporting that may be valuable to running your organization and reporting to varied stakeholders.

When is it time for a nonprofit to move from an entry-level solution like Xero or QuickBooks to Sage Intacct?

It is not uncommon for Xero and QBO to well serve an organization’s needs for many years. But all nonprofits are different. While one nonprofit may enjoy Xero or QBO for years without sacrificing performance or functionality, another organization (due to growth, multiple funding sources, external compliance and regulatory issues, etc.) may need to begin to explore more sophisticated nonprofit accounting software solutions sooner.

You should begin looking at Sage Intacct once your organization crosses over $1 million in annual budget and should strongly consider it when your company hits $2 million in annual budget. You should also consider Sage Intacct if your staff places heavy reliance on spreadsheets, there is excessive manual entry or reentry being done, your close is taking a long time to complete, or you have multiple entities you are consolidating or you have to track in foreign currency.

Comparing Xero, QBO, and Sage Intacct Reporting

Financial accounting leaders are the company’s go-to resource for department heads and program managers looking for reporting to help them better manage their areas of responsibility. Additionally, every month, every quarter, and each year, the financial accounting staff pull together the reports that reveal financial position and the financial health of the organization.

It’s not surprising that most questions around any accounting solution have to do with reporting capabilities.

QBO provide a bit more versatility and detail levels compared to Xero.
Xero came out recently with report templates which allows mapping of a client’s chart of accounts to managerial reports (you can see more here; ). While this is a powerful tool, I would give a slight advantage to QBO.

Sage Intacct’s reporting is much more extravagant than both Xero and QBO. Sage Intacct’s experience in reporting can be customized and role based to fit the need of the client. A report can be written for reporting on almost any dimension being measured. There is no limit to the Business Intelligence this can offer.

For more information on how these three solutions compare in areas such as users and permissions; pricing; ease of use; product features; integrations; and more, we invite you to download our complimentary resource: Comparing Xero, QuickBooks and Sage Intacct – A Unalp CPA Group White Paper