We Compared QuickBooks Projects with Xero Projects. Get a copy of the comparison table.
Both systems are very basic in their project management related features, to the extent that jobs, tasks and communications, are best managed elsewhere, with Xero/QuickBooks used for financial and time reporting elements. However, compared with other low priced project management apps, the financial reporting is significantly better, as you would expect.
Both project modules are accessible via API, meaning that it is possible to make use of the good reporting functionality whilst using other project management apps, although not all apps have integrated with these elements of the products yet so some adjustment may be required to move transactions into the projects module.
Using the projects functionality in this way for QuickBooks provides the option for 3-way filtered reporting, as the project reports can be filtered (and displayed) by class and location tracking.
Additional Feature Analysis
Both QB and Xero allow you to add non-posting time costs (i.e. they don't sit on the P&L), so that you can get management reporting. QB presents this with a profit figure and margin on the project Dashboard, whereas Xero does neither.
Detailed project reporting is available in both systems. QuickBooks presents a shortcut to these within the module, whilst in Xero you need to go to Accounting > Reports > Project Summary/Detail.
QB allows you to create project budgets, but not within the project module. The date restrictions on these limit their usability for projects.
QuickBooks Project Overview
Xero Project Overview
Staff Scheduling & Time
Xero has a limited tasks element, including time tracking against tasks, but no task allocation. The tasks are effectively line-items for invoices.
Whereas you are able to set default hourly rates for staff in QuickBooks and use these across multiple projects, in Xero the costs are driven by task rates and you cannot use a template task (you could copy an existing invoice and then allocate line-items to the new project), making it a slightly more manual process to build quotes and invoices.
Neither deal with staff scheduling, and the timesheet approval is disjointed from the projects element for both, reducing usability.
It is possible to add time from Xero projects into the timesheets module of Xero Payroll, where they can be approved. However this is an additional £5/m +£1 per employee.
Likewise in QuickBooks the Advanced Payroll module has timesheet approval. However this requires a separate app called WorkZone and there is no integration between this and the projects' time.
Xero's user permissions are much more granular that QuickBooks'.
Xero Projects App
This is a fully functioning app version of the desktop product. There's no limitations compared with the desktop version.
This a less useful than Xero's equivalent. It's harder to find the projects tab and it is not possible to track time on the app. Profitability and time are not available on the app.
Neither offer project related notifications, and although it wouldn't be impossible to work around this using Zapier to provide them, for the time and effort involved it would be better to use a purpose built app if these were required.