Xero has 314 add-on programs with nine new ones added in the past three weeks. That is three new programs each week! It is virtually impossible for accountants to keep on top of new add-ons and have time left to do their accounting too. The updated marketplace and a better search option are a welcome addition, but will it make a substantial difference?

Yes – if you have the time, you can test features and functionality by getting a trial account. But you will find it quite hard to access critical factors.

  • How financially stable is the company behind the add-on program?
  • Does the developer have the resources to keep up with new technology?
  • Can you measure the maturity and stability of the software?
  • How well does the company understand the intricacies of the business process?
  • Can you synchronise data in all add-ons or are you duplicating lists of customers, products and prices?

The last point is the most important. People often overlook the fact that they will now have lists of data in so many systems and not all data will get automatically synced between them. A very common scenario is to connect Xero + Unleashed + Vend + Magento + Google Contacts or a CRM.

Add-ons are still not purchased through a unified platform, like iPhone or Android apps, which is why there is no central location for reviews and real user discussion.

If Xero creates a real app store, information about the number of users and their level of satisfaction will naturally surface and become transparent.

And until then? Probably not to worry if you are looking at areas that are not the lifeblood of a business.
But for any core systems it is definitely worth investing time and effort in a thorough exploration of the solution first.

This article was first published in DigitalFirst