Review of Xeroom vs WooCommerce Xero Link

Limitations of WooCommerce Xero Extension

WooCommerce upgraded their offering in October 2018 to catch up with some of Xeroom’s functionality and there are some similarities in for example the way the two plugins communicate with Xero.  However it still lags far behind Xeroom in a number of important areas and lacks a lot of the basic functionality needed to make your system run smoothly:

  1. No Xero invoice management screen – Xeroom adds a visual colour coded status so the posting of all orders can be seen at a glance.
  2. No Free Trial – Why not let your prospective customers “try before they buy” and make up their own minds?
  3. VAT/Goods sales tax account  – Cannot be set which is important for your clearance accounts to run correctly and ensure VAT returns will be correct.
  4. No option to hold product prices inclusive or exclusive of sales tax in WooCommerce.
  5. Inventory – No synchronising of inventory data either way, either in real-time singularly by order or in bulk for all products. Xeroom does this and also allows for backorders in WooCommerce.
  6. No choice of creating an invoice paid or unpaid in Xero.
  7. No automatic creation of unmatched products in Xero.
  8. No control of invoice creation trigger.
  9. No automatic generation of credit notes in Xero when an order is cancelled.
  10. No 2-Way Dataflow – No data can be synchronised from Xero to WooCommerce which means you have to manually import new products or changes in prices that you make in Xero.
  11. No option to set Xero as Master for prices and descriptions – Invoices are simply dumped across and amounts posted to the appropriate accounts.  They cannot be set to pick up the relevant Xero codes with accompanying descriptions and prices to harmonise the invoices with the rest of the invoices created in Xero. This can mean different descriptions and prices between your two systems for the same products.
  12. No historic dataloader – No ability to upload and process a large number of historic invoices.  This powerful tool is essential if you are migrating from another system or are implementing part way through your financial year and want to reflect history and complete picture instead of part-way through the year.
  13. No bulk processing throttle – When multiple orders are selected and sent to Xero they can only be processed within the speed limit set by Xero.  Any faster and an error occurs resulting in the process aborting.  Xeroom has overcome this limitation with an automatic throttle. This is significant if you have other shops such as ebay or Amazon feeding in to your WooCommerce that need to post orders on to Xero in bulk.
  14. WooCommerce’s Focus – They are not accountants and are focused on making their main plugin better against their direct e-commerce competitors such as Magneto and Cubecart.  Their extension has been developed by external programmers.  As a result their offering has and will continue to be minimalist plus their upgrades, knowledge and support will reflect this.  Look at the frequency of updates and lack of a dedicated support bulletin board.
  15. It does not follow Xero’s partner application protocol for secure communications.
  16. No cost-effective packages of related WooCommerce-Xero services to speed your implementation.

It does however offer a multi-currency option and it is slightly cheaper at $79/year compared to $97 for Xeroom. However $20 is nothing if you work out the total costs of the man-hours needed to implement a WooCommerce – Xero integration and set that against the substantially greater functionality and cost-savings that Xeroom will give you.

Other Competitor Offerings?

I have come across a number of general data migration (ETL) tools that claim to be suitable for use with WooCommerce and Xero.  I have no experience of using them but they appear to me to be quite superficial and not deal with any of the real practical issues of the necessary dataflows between the two applications.  They seem to be incredibly expensive with high ongoing monthly fees and/or transaction limitations.  Most of them seem to just dump a flat copy of orders into Xero on a timed schedule without much, if any consideration, for the knock-on accounting implications.  Their invoice creation triggers tend to be limited and not work in real-time ie when an order is placed by a customer.  They also have very limited options, flexibility and little sign of enhancements being released.  Only Xeroom can properly future-proof your e-commerce setup!