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The US edition of PC World - a key influencer in the personal and small business markets - has given Xero the nod in a comparison of online business accounting apps.
In the article - also published on sister publication MacWorld's site - Jeffery Battersby writes:
"In the interest of full disclosure, I have been a QuickBooks Online user for a little over a year. Of the four online apps I’ve looked at here, none offer anything that make switching from QuickBooks Online compelling. The differences between the apps are not significant. My personal favorite is FreshBooks, based solely on a single feature. I’d likely choose FreshBooks today if I was starting from scratch, but the best app by a hair is Xero."
As NBR has written before, Xero faces a tough challenge to grab market share from Intuit, whose Quicken product holds a near monopoly on the North American market (mostly through users of the offline version of QuickBooks). And even if it does make inroads, it's another matter entirely whether the success will be enough to justify its $5 billion market cap.
And Mr Battersby's praise is not unalloyed, but then by its own admission, Xero is still working on features for the US market - notably in the key area of payroll for many states.
But to come out on top with its feature set not yet complete is a coup for Xero. Expect the company to make hay, just as when Fortune highlighted Xero vs Intuit in a series on David vs Goliath fights. Expect Xero to make hay from its PC World/MacWorld success.
Woodward Partners Securities: Reduce; 12-month target: $27.00
Forsyth Barr: Underperform; 12-month target: $24.75
First NZ Capital: Outperform; 12-month target: $45.70
Xero shares [NZX:XRO] (early trading, March 13): $43.55
XERO HALF-YEAR RESULT (reported Oct 3, 2013)
Loss: 17.1 million
Revenue: $30.3 million
Cash: $230 million
Customers: 250,000 as of February 2014. No geographic breakdown given beyond 100,000 in Australia. (In October 2013, with customers at 211,300, Xero gave the following geographic breakdown - NZ: 85,500; Australia :79,100; UK 30,100; US/rest-of-world: 16,600)
Xero says it expects FY2014 full-year revenue of up to $80 million. See also NBR's report on Xero's Jan 31 NZX update: Xero customer receipts rise 14% in 4Q as cash burn creeps higher
Market cap (March 13): $5.56 billion
Xero 12-month price history (NZX.com)