One of the joys of working with any software is learning the little tips and tricks that make using it easier. Xero users lean on many shortcuts and little-known tips, and we’re sharing eight of them here.
In this article, we explore the eight Xero tips every business owner should know. Since this article is geared toward the small business owner, I do not include any tips that are only available to Xero users under the Advisor (accountant) role.
One of my favorite Xero tips is the ability to create highly customized roles for each Xero user. This lets you fully collaborate with everyone who impacts your business without giving them access to sensitive information you don’t want them to access.
Here’s how to set a user’s role when you add them to your Xero organization:
At the very bottom of this screen, you will see a link to “Understand user role details.” This link takes you to a page that fully explains what each role can access, so you never have to wonder if you are choosing the correct options for a new user.
For our second of eight Xero tips, we’re diving into the icon. When you log in to Xero, you will see a little plus icon at the top right of the screen. Clicking this icon lets you quickly create a number of different transactions, such as a quote, an expense, or an invoice.
You can publish your financial statements and other reports and save those directly within Xero. Though your accounting information changes daily, it’s sometimes helpful to have a frozen snapshot of this information at your fingertips. Publishing these reports inside Xero lets you securely save this information right within your accounting software.
To publish a report:
It happens to all of us: We start zooming through our bank feeds, and before you know it, you’ve incorrectly matched a transaction. “Unreconcile” lets you fix this quickly. This Xero tip will save you a ton of time.
Here’s another great Xero tip that most users don’t know. You can perform basic math functions right within a transaction in Xero. This decreases the chance of an entry error, not to mention it saves you time looking for your calculator app on your phone.
To use the inbuilt calculator, just type in an equation—like 15 * 1.12—right into a field. Note not all fields accept math functions, but the ones you would expect to do not disappoint.
Have you ever wondered how a transaction would affect your books, but you didn’t want to risk messing up your financials? Xero’s demo company lets you test out transactions and features on a made-up set of books.
To access the demo company feature, click the list icon to the left of your company’s name on any page, and select My Xero. At the very bottom of the next screen, you will see a link to Try the Demo Company.
Tired of Xero tips yet? Neither are we!
It’s not uncommon for a small business owner to have more than one business, or for their spouse to also own a business. If the businesses have different tax ID numbers, it’s important to have separate bookkeeping files for each one.
However, money often flows between the two (or more) businesses, so you need to make sure the transactions are properly recorded in each business’s accounting. Viewing both bookkeeping files at once can make sure this happens … but logging in to multiple Xero organizations at the same might result in your work not being saved or being saved in the wrong organization.
Unless that is, you use a different browser for each organization. For example, you can log in to Company A’s file in Firefox and Company B’s file in Safari. You can also set up multiple Chrome identities and open a Xero file in each one.
I wouldn’t be a very responsible bookkeeper if I didn’t warn you to be very cautious about working in multiple organizations at once. It’s so easy to record a transaction in the wrong set of books, and you might not catch it until the end of the year.
Our last, and certainly not least Xero tip is setting up invoice reminders. Do you hate following up on your accounts receivable? Let Xero do it for you! Under Settings > General Settings > Invoice Settings, you will see the Invoice Reminders button. Here, you can configure Xero to automatically send reminders based on how far an invoice is past due.
Choose from the predetermined days past due parameters, or create your own reminder. You can even customize what each reminder email says by clicking on the Edit link.
While these eight Xero tips will help you use Xero more effectively and efficiently, this list is by no means all-inclusive. I had a hard time choosing which eight tips to include, so I chose those that have lit up the eyes of the small business owners I have worked with. I invite you to share your favorite Xero tips in the comments!