Most people who use Xero don’t realise just how powerful it can be, so we have prepared some practical Xero hacks for small businesses that we have learned over many years to help you get the most out of this accounting software.
There are so many features packed into the platform that it’s easy to miss some of them, especially when you’ve only just started using it.
We’ve been using Xero since it first came to the UK back in 2014, but we’re always finding new ways to make our client’s lives easier and get valuable insights into their finances.
Below are some of our Xero top tips and tricks that we’ve learned over the years:
1. Connect your bank to Xero
This is one of the biggest time-saving features Xero offers. If your bank allows it, you can connect it to Xero and set it to automatically import transactions to your feed.
These refresh automatically every day, so you don’t have to deal with any manual uploads or log into your online bank every time you want to see your transactions. It’s all there in Xero instead.
2. Set up bank rules for Xero
With your bank connected, you can now make the reconciliation process even smoother and faster by setting up bank rules. This can be done from the bank rules screen, during bank reconciliation, or while you’re cash coding.
This feature allows you to reconcile bank statement lines for cash payments, instead of creating a transaction manually. Xero will follow the rules you set up to suggest a transaction for each line.
3. Set up user roles in your Xero account
Xero allows you to add unlimited numbers of users to a business account, which is great news if your business is growing and you want to get more members of your team using the platform.
If you’re worried about giving too much access to junior members of staff, there’s a trick for that, too. You can allocate different roles and permissions to different users, from read-only access all the way to full access to bank accounts, invoicing, inventory, contacts and so on.
This means you can delegate effectively without giving away sensitive data or handing over too much control.
4. Use the Xero mobile app
Using the Xero Accounting mobile app means you can manage your accounts wherever you are.
Plus, the app’s interface is so user-friendly, the tasks you complete on it hardly feel like work. (Who knew bank reconciliation could be fun?)
5. ‘Star’ your favourite reports
If you’ve got a selection of reports that you find yourself coming back to time after time, it’s a good idea to ‘star’ them so they show up in your main list.
This saves you having to go into the reports section and scroll through until you reach the one you want.
6. Forward bills to Xero
Did you know your business has a unique Xero email address for bills?
This allows you to forward any bills you receive to your inbox, sending the bill straight to your Xero drafts.
You can find your bills email address by opening the ‘Business’ menu and selecting ‘Bills to pay’. At the top of this page, click ‘Create bill from email’, then click copy.
Alternatively, you can utilise the free Hubdoc license that comes with your Xero subscription to do this for you. All you need to do is forward the bill to Hubdoc and it will pull the information out for you. It also has a great invoice fetch option to collect bills from your suppliers too.
7. Record owner expenses in Xero
It’s not always easy to keep track of the things you’ve bought for your business with personal funds instead of through the business, but it’s important to show these expenses in your accounts.
Xero lets you do this through the owner funds introduced account, which you can select from the ‘paid from’ dropdown when you’re creating a record of the expense.
8. Automate invoice reminders in Xero
Sometimes, your customers need a bit of a nudge before they remember to send through their payment. With Xero, you can automate those reminders so you don’t need to spend your time chasing payments up.
Xero has three default reminders built into the system, so all you need to do is switch them on. But if you’d like to add more detail or create new reminders, you can do that too.
9. Customise your reports
Most reports in Xero can be customised, allowing you to tailor them to your needs.
For example, you can take your aged receivables report, which displays a list of your clients’ unpaid bills, and add new columns that show those customers’ contact details, making it much easier to chase them up.
Or you can adjust your profit-and-loss report to compare your current figures to previous trading periods, giving you a better context to understand your performance.
10. Turn on payment options on invoices
Customers love the option to pay in different ways, especially if it makes their lives easier, and Xero has an option to link a payment provider such as Stripe or Paypal to your invoices so your customers can pay by card directly from their invoice, speeding up payment times and getting the cash in the bank.
11. Make use of recurring invoicing
If you’re selling a service or goods on a recurring basis to a customer for the same amount, then it can become a headache having to remember to invoice them on time each month when you’ve got lots of other tasks on your list.
Setting a recurring invoice template up for these types of customers can free up your time to generate new sales, or complete that piece of work you’ve been putting off.
12. Make use of the Xero training
Finally, we know this doesn’t sound as much like a quick hack as the other tips, but we couldn’t leave out the importance of training.
Everyone uses Xero in different ways, so the best way to make the most of it really is just to start from the basics and build your knowledge up from there. There are loads of resources available on Xero’s website, along with online training modules.
Even better, you can ask a Xero accountant, like us, to show you around the system and make recommendations based on the way your business works.