Finance & Accounting Articles

How Xero Is Providing an Intriguing Alternative for U.S. Small Businesses

by Todd Spear
Published on 18 September 2014

Community Education Partnerships is serving the needs of homeless children in California's Bay Area. The company, which was founded by Erica Mohan in 2010, envisions a compassionate and respectful community in which all children have equal access to educational resources.

calcep

The organization is founded on the core belief that everyone has the right to a quality education, homeless or not. Community Education Partnerships meets an unmet need by providing personalized tutoring and mentoring, supplying school supplies, and offering enrollment assistance.

One of the main obstacles that Community Education Partnerships faces is deficit thinking - the persistent "culture of poverty" that prevents some students of need from realizing their full potential.

Community Education Partnerships mitigates that line of thinking by focusing on the intrinsic value of education, instilling in its students that everyone can learn, regardless of socioeconomic background.

Xero: Behind the scenes

Here at GetApp, our focus is on apps, of course. And when we find one app that supports a noble cause, like Community Education Partnerships, it catches our attention. Sure, it's impressive when a massive multinational corporation uses a particular app., but it's even more intriguing when we find one being used by a small, driven organization like Community Education Partnerships. We're always interested to find out what apps such a company relies upon, since we know that you, our loyal readers, often face a similar set of challenges in your business.

Mohan began working for a mobile tutoring service operating out of downtown Los Angeles in 2010. While this experience ignited her calling to aid homeless students, she was called back to her roots in the San Francisco area. That's how Community Education Partnerships came to life.

Community Education Partnerships' Erica Mohan recently talked with GetApp about the role Xero, a rising accounting app alternative to QuickBooks, plays in her organization.

"Having Xero keep track of all of our financial records is so convenient," Mohan recently told GetApp.

"If a board member, potential donor, or anyone else wants an understanding of our past or present finances, it is so easy to pull up a report on Xero and provide any requested information. I trust Xero to protect our information and therefore feel confident that our financial records are safe in the cloud."

Working with donors

Mohan's organization faces some unique challenges in handling and reporting funding from donors. Before she and her team made the switch to Xero three years ago, like many other businesses, Community Education Partnerships was using QuickBooks, at first. Mohan told us that they actually retrograded back to a spreadsheet, briefly, before making the switch to Xero.

"I found QuickBooks counterintuitive and difficult to use. Xero, on the other hand, is so easy to use, especially for someone like me with very little accounting expertise. From the initial set up until now, I have found Xero intuitive and accessible," she continued.

A team of two accountants

The Community Education Partnerships accounting team is very small, consisting of Mohan and one other person, her treasurer, both of whom have access to Xero.

Mohan also told us that she hasn't had a chance to use Xero's payroll services yet, but hope to do so, soon.

An early adopter, more to follow

Mohan's Community Education Partnerships is one of the 330,000 organizations presently using Xero. And that number is growing rapidly.

Xero CEO, Rod Drury, recently outlined the company's plan to ramp up its operations in the accounting app market. While large corporations are often reluctant to change their accounting infrastructure, Xero is positioned to draw the attention of smaller organizations like Community Education Partnerships which do not need or want the "bloat" associated with QuickBooks.

VentureBeat has recently reported that Xero plans a 2015 US initial public offering (IPO). Intuit, as that article points out, has leveraged acquisitions in its struggle to maintain relevancy in the present cloud-based app marketplace.

Xero vs Quickbooks

A welcomed disruption…

With Xero rapidly gaining ground,, it does so at Intuit's expense. More importantly, Xero meets with the expectations of smaller organizations, like Community Education Partnerships.

Asked to expand on the role Xero plays in her business, Mohan concluded "I love how easy it was to set up Xero for CEP, the clarity of the dashboard, how easily I can reconcile transactions, how quickly I can generate beautiful reports, and generally, how attractive the program is. I realize I use only a small portion of Xero's capability, but what I use, I love."

As Xero inches toward one million global subscribers, stories like Mohan's may start to sound like a familiar tune to Intuit.

Want to test out Xero for yourself?

Or see how Xero matches up against Quickbooks for yourself!

And here's more reading for your accounting pleasure!


Comments


Apps mentioned in this article