Alternatives to Breadwinner for Xero

Perhaps Breadwinner isn’t a good fit, or your company isn’t big enough yet, or you find our pricing too high. We have prepared a list of the alternatives below, offered some advice if you are considering custom development, and we also explain the difference between API Only and a Native integration.

List of Alternatives to Breadwinner for Xero

To allow for easy pricing comparison, all prices are listed monthly in US Dollars.

API Only Apps

Of the API apps, all will be able to create records, but most will struggle to keep those records up to date should the corresponding record in the other system change. Keep that in mind when evaluating these apps.

Zapier is a low cost and widely used syncing tool that can easily create Xero Invoices based on Salesforce Opportunities or other records. Priced at $20 and up.

OneSaaS is an Australian-based company with a specific focus on syncing finance apps. $40 and up.

Carry The One is particularly useful if you also have e-commerce software like Magento or ZenCart – $32.

Workato is similar to Zapier but much more powerful in their scripts. Unlike the above three, which can create records but struggle to update records, it is possible to configure Workato to update records. If you want an API-Only app and have complex integration needs, Workato is likely your best choice. Priced at $249 if you have Salesforce Professional and $599 if you have Salesforce Enterprise.

Native Apps

Commercient SYNC has very affordable pricing, as low as only $7 per user, though it requires you to setup a .NET Server hosting their sync tool. Free trials, if available, require you to contact Commercient first.

SFX provides a custom object for both the Invoice record and the Line Item record. If you have trouble installing SFX, you may need to enable Salesforce Quotes first. You will also need to create a RSA Certificate during initial configuration. Pricing has not been published.

Invoice This has been built by social-business focused Clouding Around, and is likely the best choice if your organisation is a non-profit looking for integration with Xero. Invoice This includes a custom object for the Xero Invoice record. Pricing is approximately $69.

WFMCRM by Australian marketing agency Blirt is the ideal solution if you also have WorkflowMax and want to integrate that, plus Xero, into Salesforce. A separate subscription to WorkflowMax is required for this, however, so if you don’t already have WorkflowMax, then WFMCRM might not be a good fit. Pricing has not been published.

Custom Development

In our experience, Custom Development always takes longer and costs more than you expect, even when you expect it to take longer and cost more than you expect. (Read Hofstadter’s law for a fun diversion while you consider integration options).

Many people like the idea of paying once and (hopefully) never again to have an integration built for them.

We talk to a surprising number of people who have tried that and come back to us, asking about Breadwinner. The conversation with usually goes like this:

“We looked at Breadwinner 6 months ago, but you were too expensive so we opted for what seemed like a cheaper custom integration. Except it never worked, and now the Salesforce Developer says we’re out of spec, he needs more money, and refuses to give us our money back. Can we have a special low price because we already spent our budget?”

Given this typical scenario, if you are going to hire someone for custom integration, I would strongly recommend not paying for the work until it is completed, tested, and has been in active use for two weeks. Otherwise, if you pay ahead of time, and it never works, you will have no recourse.

The best approach is to use an escrow services. Or, at the very least, pay 50% upon proof of concept and 50% upon completion. I would suggest you define completion as “a two week period of active use during which no new bugs are found”.

And, we recommend asking if they will guarantee data accuracy even after the job is closed. Otherwise, future data issues are your problem and you will have to pay again.

Understand: API vs Native App

One of the biggest questions when deciding how to integrate Xero with Salesforce is choosing between an API Only App and a Native App. The correct choice will depend on your business needs. We explain the difference between the two below.

API Only Apps

An API Only app does not include any Salesforce objects, pages, or workflow. In fact, it isn’t installed into Salesforce at all but instead connects to Salesforce. This means that the API Only app will move data back and forth between Salesforce and Xero, but your users will not log in to the app or see anything different when using Salesforce. An API Only app will work in the background, constantly checking data in each system, and pushing data back and forth when triggered by certain events.

Some API Only apps are only capable of creating records, while others are capable of updating records.

Because API Only apps do not include any custom objects in Salesforce, they are usually configured to connect to standard Salesforce Objects. So, it’s typical for a Salesforce Opportunity or Salesforce Quote to be synced to a specific Xero Invoice, and for a Salesforce Account to be synced with a specific Xero Invoice. This is powerful as your users can continue working with the objects that they are familiar with.

However, this approach can cause problems. For instance, if you ever want to raise a second Invoice on the same Opportunity, or connect a second Xero Contact to the same Salesforce Account, you can’t do this. To get around this, some people will create their own custom objects in Salesforce and write custom mappings (or custom scripts) in the API App to push and pull data out of these custom objects.

One of the strengths of a API Only app is that they can connect to many things, not just Xero. So, for instance, when an Opportunity is marked as Closed Won, not only will an Invoice and optionally a Xero Contact be created, but an email might be sent via MailChimp and a note created in Evernote or Basecamp.

One of the challenges of an API Only app, at least if you write your own mapping and scripts, is that the data accuracy is ultimately up to you. So if you find that the data in one system is not what you want it to be, this might be the responsibility of you and your consultant, not the API App, as they executed your script correctly but it was the script itself that has errors.

Native Apps

A “native app” is installed into Salesforce from the AppExchange. It includes Salesforce components (like objects, tabs, pages, and workflow) that come pre-built. Upon installation, you might find that everything is already built and mapped, and that minimal effort is required to configure everything.

Because Xero has a fairly rigid structure, an Invoice will always have the same fields, and the Line Items below that Invoice will always have the same fields. A “native app” can take advantage of Xero’s rigid structure and replicate Xero data back into Salesforce.

“Connect for Salesforce”, “SFX”, and “Commercient SYNC” will replicate over, at a minimum, the Invoices from Xero into Salesforce.

Because a native app lives inside of Salesforce, it can also provide more configuration within Salesforce, and often tighter data mapping than is possible with an API Only application. This comes at a slight cost, in that Native Apps will only connect just two things, in this case Salesforce and Xero.

This deeper connection means that, for some apps, they will guarantee the accuracy and completeness of your data inside of Salesforce. These are two important concepts. Completeness means that all of your Xero Invoices have been replicated back to Salesforce. And Accuracy means that the numbers are all correct, or at least were at the time of the last sync (for most native apps, within the hour).

While Native Apps might replicate the Xero Invoice over into Salesforce in a similar manner, many other things will be markedly different. The User Interface and Onboarding experience can be radically different. Support levels will vary. And not all will guarantee that your Xero Invoice data will be replicated over to Salesforce perfectly. Some Native Apps might require you to use Opportunity Products, while others might require you to use Quotes.