Netsuite vs Xero

Are you questioning whether Xero still fits your growing business needs? Since its inception in 2006, Xero has been the go-to accounting software for small businesses. In fact, it’s often the first software package small businesses purchase.

However, as your business develops, you may start to see the cracks in a system that was once a perfect fit.

Let’s take a detailed look at how a NetSuite to Xero upgrade can provide the scalability, efficiency, and comprehensive functionality necessary to support your business's evolution and expansion.

Recognising the signs of outgrowing Xero

Your growing business demands more – more employees, more complex inventory, and broader market reach. As you scale up, you may find that Xero’s capabilities, primarily designed for smaller operations, can’t quite keep up.

For example, if you are a retailer you might want to expand operations with a new ecommerce channel. If your business has increased stock, you may require a more comprehensive inventory, warehouse or distribution management solution. Or as a manufacturer, you may need to manage and automate your core shop floor manual processes to support ongoing development.

Typically, Xero will not be able to support these requirements, potentially leading to challenges in managing inventory, production, or services. You might find yourself resorting to spreadsheets to manage your processes. Alternatively, integrating third-party industry solutions might be an option.

But it's important to assess whether these additions will provide best practices that effectively support your business's advancement into the future, or whether it’s time to completely overhaul your systems with a solution better suited to business evolution and growth.

When accounting isn't just accounting anymore

Let’s explore some of the clear signs it’s time to level up from Xero.

The visibility challenge

Visibility and informed decision-making go hand-in-hand. If you find yourself cobbling together reports from disparate systems, struggling with data silos, and relying on workarounds, it’s time for a change. A sophisticated platform like NetSuite offers the real-time insights and custom reporting that Xero can't provide for a complex, multi-entity business.

Time spent on system maintenance

Are operational inefficiencies consuming your team's time? If maintaining Xero and your patched together third party apps is becoming a full-time job, consider whether this time could be better spent on strategic activities. NetSuite’s integrated cloud ERP solutions reduce the need for bespoke applications and the 'hairball' of integrations that come with them.

New market expansion

Diving into new markets is an exciting step for any business, but it comes with its own unique complexities. From handling multiple currencies and tax regulations, to managing international operations, Xero may quickly become more of a hindrance than a help. NetSuite’s global-ready platform is designed to seamlessly support expansion.

A few extra resources:

6 signs you've outgrown your accounting software >

Whitepaper: Has your business outgrown Xero? >


Looking to the future with NetSuite

As your business evolves, so should your business systems. While Xero is a robust tool for small businesses, NetSuite offers a scalable solution that supports not just accounting, but a wide array of business functions in a unified system. It's a strategic investment in your company's future, enabling growth from a local enterprise to a global powerhouse.

More valuable resources:

Feature-by-feature comparison: Xero versus NetSuite >

Read this infographic for a point-by-point comparison of the features and capabilities of Xero versus NetSuite – including how each system handles accounting, reporting, multi-currency transactions, multi-entity consolidation, and more.

Xero vs NetSuite Infographic

Levelling up from Xero with NetSuite: Why businesses make the switch + capabilities comparison  

Competitor Analysis: NetSuite vs Xero > 

6 signs you've outgrown your accounting software >

Infographic: Shopify-NetSuite versus Shopify-Xero >

Is your Shopify-powered business experiencing growing pains? A comparison of Xero & NetSuite with Shopify >


NetSuite's impact across diverse industries

Unlike Xero, which often remains constrained by limited functionalities and scalability, NetSuite's robust platform adapts to the intricate and multifaceted demands of different industries.

Retail & eCommerce

NetSuite transforms the sales journey from initial customer contact to final purchase and beyond. For businesses in this sector, embracing next-generation B2C and B2B commerce with NetSuite will not only streamline online transactions, it also integrates them seamlessly with back-end systems. This holistic approach allows for better inventory management, personalised customer experiences, and real-time analytics to drive sales and customer satisfaction.

Wholesale distribution

For wholesale distributors, efficiency and streamlined operations are key to growth. NetSuite’s cloud-based solutions are designed to optimise every aspect of wholesale distribution, from inventory and order management to customer relationship management (CRM) and financials. This integration ensures real-time visibility across the entire business, allowing for more informed decision-making and the ability to quickly respond to market changes.


Manufacturers require a unified approach to manage the complexities of their operations. NetSuite's cloud software suite brings game-changing efficiency and visibility, covering every aspect of manufacturing processes. This includes product development, production, inventory management, and supply chain logistics. By centralising these functions, manufacturers can achieve greater agility, reduce costs, and enhance product quality.

Digital businesses

From start-ups to IPO-ready companies, digital businesses in Australia and New Zealand need a scalable foundation to support rapid growth. NetSuite provides a platform that scales with the business, supporting everything from financial management to customer relations, helping digital businesses remain agile, innovative and competitive.

Not-for-profit organisations

Not-for-profits face unique challenges in serving their missions while meeting donor expectations. NetSuite offers an integrated cloud application that reinvents how these organisations operate. By streamlining processes and providing greater transparency, NetSuite helps not-for-profits focus on their core mission, manage funds more effectively, and maintain accountability to stakeholders.


NetSuite’s unified financial management solutions offer the agility and advanced functionality that FinTech companies need. From regulatory compliance to complex financial operations, NetSuite provides the tools to manage intricate financial landscapes and drive innovation in financial services.

SaaS companies

For SaaS businesses, NetSuite’s ERP offers advanced capabilities that enable them to manage their subscription models effectively, automate billing processes, and gain valuable insights into customer behaviours and revenue streams. This support is essential for SaaS companies looking to scale and maintain competitiveness.

Food & beverage

The food and beverage industry requires meticulous management of supply chains, production processes, and compliance with food safety regulations. NetSuite’s unified suite streamlines these operations, providing a robust platform for managing finance, inventory, and customer relationships. This helps food and beverage businesses enhance operational efficiency, manage costs, and ensure product quality, setting them up for long-term success.

The cost-benefit analysis of Xero versus NetSuite

Let’s start with the short-term financial considerations:

Immediate cost of migration or upgrade

The initial expense of transitioning to NetSuite is a significant short-term cost that includes licensing, implementation costs, and any customisation or integration needed. In contrast, staying with Xero involves lower immediate costs, as along as your business already has a functioning setup.

Training and adoption

Short-term costs also include training employees to use NetSuite efficiently. Xero, being familiar, demands a far smaller investment. However, this must be weighed against the potential inefficiencies and manual workarounds required to keep using Xero as the business grows.

Operational disruptions

Switching to a new system can lead to temporary disruptions in business operations. This transitional phase, while potentially costly in the short term, needs to be compared with the ongoing inefficiencies and limitations faced with Xero.

Now the long-term financial considerations:

Scalability and growth support

In the long term, an investment in NetSuite can prove to be financially beneficial due to its scalability and ability to support business growth without the need for constant upgrades or add-ons. In comparison, Xero will likely require additional investments in third-party tools as your business expands.

Operational efficiency

NetSuite's advanced features could lead to significant improvements in operational efficiency over time. This contrasts with sticking with Xero, where the lack of advanced features might necessitate additional manual work, potentially leading to higher long-term labour costs.

Integration and automation costs

NetSuite’s ability to seamlessly integrate with other business systems can reduce long-term costs associated with maintaining multiple disparate systems. In contrast, Xero may require more manual integrations or the use of additional platforms, increasing long-term costs.

Data-driven decision making

The advanced analytics and reporting capabilities of NetSuite can lead to more informed decision-making. Over time, this can translate into cost savings and increased revenue, something that might not be fully achievable with Xero’s more limited reporting tools.

Customer satisfaction and retention

The long-term impact on customer satisfaction and retention, driven by the efficiency and capabilities of the business's ERP system, should also be considered. A more robust system like NetSuite might offer better service quality, leading to higher customer retention and long-term financial benefits.

So, while the short-term costs of migrating to NetSuite may be higher, the long-term financial benefits of improved efficiency, scalability, and business intelligence capabilities can significantly outweigh the initial investment, making it a potentially more financially sound choice for a growing business.

The implementation process: Xero to NetSuite migration

Initial assessment and planning

The first step in a Xero to NetSuite migration is a comprehensive assessment of your current business processes, data structures and system requirements. This should involve key stakeholders from various departments to ensure that all functional needs are identified. Your detailed project plan should outline the migration process, timelines, responsibilities, and resource allocation. Best practice involves setting clear objectives and KPIs to measure implementation success.

Data preparation and clean-up

Before transferring data, existing data in Xero should be cleaned. This involves removing any redundant or obsolete data, ensuring data accuracy, and generally preparing it for the transition. This step may also involve standardising data formats, correcting discrepancies, and consolidating data sources.

System customisation and configuration

Unlike Xero, NetSuite is a highly customisable platform that can be finely configured to your business processes. Customisation can range from simple form alterations to complex workflow implementations. It’s best to adopt a phased approach to customisation, starting with the most critical business functions and expanding as needed.

Data migration strategy

Next, it’s time to develop a data migration strategy. Decide on the specific datasets that need to be moved from Xero to NetSuite, map the data fields, and determine the order of migration. It’s advisable to perform data migration in stages, starting with historical data and then moving to more dynamic, day-to-day transactional data.


Before go-live, conduct thorough testing of the NetSuite environment. This should include unit testing, system integration testing, and user acceptance testing to ensure that all business processes are functioning as expected. Any issues discovered during testing should be resolved before the system goes live.

Training and change management

Prepare your team for the transition with comprehensive training on NetSuite’s functionalities. Change management practices should not be overlooked, as resistance to new systems can be a significant barrier. Ongoing support and training materials should be made available to all users.

Go-live and support

Once testing is complete and training is in place, you can move to the go-live phase. It’s often beneficial to choose a less busy time for the transition to minimise disruptions. During Go-Live, provide extra support to handle any immediate issues that arise.

Post-implementation review

After the system is live, conduct a post-implementation review to ensure that the system meets the business requirements as planned. Gather feedback from users and make adjustments as necessary. This is also the time to refine any workflows and processes.

Best practices for migrating from Xero to NetSuite

Engage experienced consultants

NetSuite is rarely implemented by internal teams. Instead, NetSuite consultants or partners with a track record of successful migrations can work alongside your team to navigate the technical and business complexities of implementation.

Regular communication

Stakeholders should be kept informed throughout the process. Regular updates will help manage expectations and reduce anxiety about the change.

Phased approach

Implementing the new system in phases wull reduce risk and allow for adjustments along the way.

Data integrity

Keep a backup of your data from Xero until you are completely comfortable with NetSuite. This will provide a safety net in case of unforeseen issues.

Continuous learning

Encourage ongoing learning and exploration of NetSuite’s features beyond the initial training period.

How to avoid common implementation pitfalls

  • Don’t underestimate the complexity of migration. Allocate sufficient time and resources to manage the process
  • Ensure all data is accounted for during migration. Use data validation checks to prevent loss
  • Don’t rush the testing phase. Inadequate testing can lead to critical issues post-Go-Live
  • Address user resistance by involving them in the migration process and providing clear communication on how the new system will benefit their work
  • Provide ample training and resources. Users should feel confident in using the new system

Making the switch to NetSuite from Xero

If you are struggling with Xero, it might be time to consider NetSuite as your next step. With over 20 years' of experience and a comprehensive suite of business applications, NetSuite is designed to facilitate growth, providing depth and breadth in functionality that Xero simply cannot match.

Instead of battling multiple instances of Xero, and messy integrations, NetSuite provides you with one core business platform to bring together your finances and operations - with all of your entities sitting within the same ecosystem. 

A closer look at how NetSuite is the next step from Xero >

netsuite vs xero diagram

What makes NetSuite the​ #1 leading cloud ERP for high growth companies?

  • Proven business processes for high growth companies
  • More live cloud ERP customers, over 28,000 throughout the world, than any other cloud vendor
  • Predictable and repeatable implementation outcome
  • Patented software upgrade process
  • Pedigree of customers running NetSuite from start-up through enterprise to international conglomerates​
  • Backed by Oracle’s immense resources
  • Vast, deep and wide partner network
  • SuiteSuccess methodology helps your team implement industry-leading practices quickly
  • ‘Out-of-the-box’ approach much less cumbersome on agile finance departments
  • Hundreds of reports built-in let you immediately realise value

Why is NetSuite better than Xero?​

NetSuite provides functional depth and breadth

NetSuite supports growing businesses who have higher levels of business complexity. Examples include the need to recognise revenue, manage billing or manage multiple companies and subsidiaries, multiple countries and languages. NetSuite also provides CRM, E-commerce and industry capabilities supporting needs beyond financial management. Leading practice and pre-built assets help businesses operate effectively on NetSuite.​

NetSuite delivers business visibility across financials and operations

Through on-platform personalised and customisable dashboards, search and reporting, business users can achieve sophisticated insight across the NetSuite platform.​

NetSuite reduces architectural complexity and process fragmentation

NetSuite provides financial, operational automation, CRM and E-commerce capabilities on a single platform using a single data model and UI. NetSuite is extensible through a broad ecosystem of 3rd party applications, many of which reside on the NetSuite platform and use the NetSuite data model and UI.​

NetSuite supports businesses who scale

NetSuite is not bound by transaction limits. NetSuite infrastructure tiers are designed to support transactional growth.​

Brands who have moved from Xero to NetSuite

Elizabeth Machines

Elizabeth Machines, a leading supplier of industrial sewing machines in Australia since 1960, faced challenges with fragmented systems and manual processes. The migration from Xero to NetSuite, with Annexa's support, provided a comprehensive solution, integrating financials, sales, inventory, and eCommerce. This significantly enhanced their customer experience, streamlined processes, and facilitated growth.

Read how the transition to NetSuite resulted in better control over customer relationships, improved inventory management, and an overall boost in operational efficiency.

YWCA Australia

YWCA, a leading national feminist organisation, faced challenges with disparate Xero systems across its various divisions, hindering operational visibility and efficiency. NetSuite, implemented by Annexa, centralised and standardised their processes across eight divisions.

Read how YWCA became more insight-driven as they streamlined operations, and improved their data reporting capabilities.

Virtually Human Studio (VHS)

VHS, a digital-first Australian company specialising in blockchain-driven entertainment, faced challenges with their existing business software, Xero, due to rapid growth and increasing transaction volumes. The implementation of NetSuite, supported by Annexa, provided a robust, enterprise-grade ERP solution.

Read how they gained seamless cryptocurrency processing, enhanced financial reporting, and streamlined operations, positioning VHS for scalable growth and international expansion.

Ready for a Xero to NetSuite upgrade?

If you’ve recognised that Xero is no longer keeping pace, it’s time to act. Transitioning to NetSuite could be the strategic move that drives your business forward. For a seamless upgrade and a system that grows with you, reach out to us.