Xero, one of several Web-based small-business accounting services seeking to dethrone Intuit’s venerable QuickBooks, has unveiled a new feature designed to attract QuickBooks customers by simplifying migration.
The QuickBooks migration service, accessible immediately on Xero’s website, is available to any QuickBooks desktop user who signs up for Xero’s service. You simply upload your QuickBooks file, and Xero says it will populate your account file with the data.
Transferring bookkeeping data from QuickBooks to another application or service certainly has been doable in the past, but the process can be painful, typically involving complicated export and import operations. Xero even had instructions on how to do this, but the new service does it for you.
Note, however, that while Xero offers a free trial of its service, you can't use the migration tool without becoming a paying customer. Subscriptions start at $19 a month (for up to five invoices and five e-bills) and top out at $39 a month.
Xero U.S. president Jamie Sutherland says the service supports all non-enterprise versions of QuickBooks dating back to 2007. The service doesn’t support online versions of QuickBooks, but Sutherland says you could import QuickBooks Web data to a desktop file to make the switch.
Xero launched in New Zealand in 2006 and opened its U.S. operation in January 2012, Sutherland says. It also has offices in Australia and the United Kingdom. The service claims more than 210,000 paying customers worldwide, including 17,000 in the United States and all other countries where it does not have offices.
While any small business can sign up for Xero’s full-featured small business accounting service, the company’s focus is on acquiring customers through accountants who can use its software free of charge.