After four years with CCH iFirm we've decided to make the switch to Xero for our practice management services. It's always difficult to know in advance how these transitions will go, but we're hoping to achieve a few different benefits for ourselves and our clients.
Single Source of Truth
Xero is the only platform which allows both clients and accountants to work on the same set of data. MYOB AO offers something analogous to this (but still, not the same data), but iFirm, handisoft, and Solution 6 just don't have this kind of functionality. Everyone working on the same data just makes sense, no importing, no writing our journals for clients, nothing lost in translation.
Better Built In Functionality
In the past we needed a bunch of third party apps to make our office work, but now pretty much everything we need is built into XPM. It's not only cheaper for us (and our clients) this way, but there's no trying to figure out how to bridge services and data from different providers. Everything "just works".
Admittedly, jobs, quoting, invoicing, and time billing is a (not unnecessarily) complicated system. It's taken a good month of figuring out, but I'm getting pretty confident with it now.
Third Party Apps
XPM & Xero integrations with other third party providers are the best in the industry. For our own office, for the time being, the dropbox integration is the only one we need. But for our clients, the availability of third party apps to handle point of sale & time billing & whatever else is indispensable.
Other available offerings for working online are pretty clunky by comparisson. iFirm just wasn't built for the modern web. It's a proprietary platform running on a jBoss backend with silverlight dependencies and no published API. By comparisson xero is served via a custom nginx build, no client dependencies, and a vibrant marketplace of apps using their API.
These technical limitations do break down to practical concerns.
ifirm's browser compatibility is always going to be limited by silverlight. Right now any windows browser will work, but you'll have difficulty on anything linux based (like an android tablet or so).