What does AIRPA do that Xero can’t?

July 23, 2021 Neil Glover

We’re admirers of Xero – that’s why we’ve built full integration with it into our platform. But while it’s on the top table for cloud accounting, it can’t replace a dedicated integration and automation suite like AIRPA.

We’ve been moved to put this into words because it’s a question that comes up from time to time when people first hear about AIRPA and get in touch.

They know Xero and like it. To them, Xero seems pretty comprehensive. What we’re able to show them, with a hands-on demo ideally, is that from universal search to a single sign-on covering your entire app stack, there’s plenty AIRPA can do that Xero doesn’t.

One-stop shop or best in breed?

It’s true that there’s something appealing about the idea of the ‘one-stop shop’ software solution – a single licence, one manual to read, job done.

It’s why so many people over the years have ended up with all-in-one smoothie making, food processing, cheese grating liquidisers at the back of the kitchen cupboard, unused.

When it comes to software, it’s inevitable in a mature market that once distinct products will converge in terms of functionality.

You only have to look at social media to see LinkedIn copying Twitter copying Instagram copying TikTok, and so on. Synthesiser plugins gain sequencers while sequencers get built-in synthesisers. Word processors get photo-editing tools while Photoshop’s text editor gets ever more sophisticated. And so on.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that Xero, which launched back in 2006, should be launching add-ons to cover things such as payroll – once the preserve of apps such as Staffology – and, yes, software integration and automation. 

But you won’t often hear people raving about the capabilities of those spin offs – even die-hard Xero loyalists.

When it comes to integration, Xero does a passable job of the basics. As long as your app stack and workflow are relatively simple, and you’re happy to work with its partner products.

What it doesn’t provide is the complete flexibility you get with AIRPA’s dedicated integration and automation suite. That means the complete freedom to choose best-in-breed software for each and every function and to create workflows as complex as you need them to be that are nonetheless robust.

AIRPA is built around another killer feature: a single search box which collects and presents client data from across every document, every database and every application in your setup.

Sure, Xero will integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) system, up to a point, but what we’re talking about here is another level of integration. That, in turn, provides another level of freedom to use the right tool for each job.

At this point you might ask, “What about Xero HQ?” Going back to that earlier point about the natural tendency towards feature convergence, this is Xero’s own attempt at providing a practice management system and client data dashboard. We wouldn’t call it an afterthought, exactly, but it’s certainly not at the core of what Xero does.

Finally, we have to mention the fundamental step-up in the quality of AIRPA’s approach to integration.

Xero and Xero HQ are doing what we call Integration 2.0. They’re pulling and pushing data from one siloed system to another. AIRPA, on the other hand, operates on the basis of Integration 3.0 – pulling all the data into one place; cleaning and matching it across using smart AI; and creating a single point of truth.

In conclusion, Xero isn’t going anywhere. It’s an incredible piece of software that it’s no exaggeration to say has revolutionised the accounting industry. What it isn’t is the solution to every need of the modern accountant.

Use AIRPA to build the perfect app stack with Xero at its heart – or whichever cloud accounting package your firm prefers.