Xero tips: Hidden features that will save you time

23 July 2019

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Simply clicking and following your nose around Xero is a great start. But, knowing the advanced tips can save you clicking and guessing. In this article, we’re covering nine (hidden) features to help save you time. Read them now and thank us later.

1. The “Plus” Icon

When you log into Xero, you’ll see a small plus icon (+) at the top right of the screen. By clicking this icon, you can quickly access several different functions including creating a purchase order, invoice, or contact. This shortcut saves a considerable amount of time.

2. The inbuilt calculator is an instant timesaver

Not many people know this…. but Xero has an inbuilt calculator that allows you to perform basic math functions directly in certain fields. This reduces entry error and helps you perform quick calculations when doing more complicated accounting.

To use it, type an equation directly into a field. Press enter or tab and Xero will calculate the result. You can use this calculator in more or less any field in Xero.

3. Open multiple Xero accounts at one time

Many small business owners have more than one business, or their spouse or partner might also own a business. This means you’ll have multiple Xero accounts.

At times, it’s handy to have both Xero accounts open at once – just to make sure the picture across all the businesses is right. This tip will make flicking between accounts a thing of the past.

Simply use a different browser for each organization. For example, log into one business file in Firefox, and another file in Safari. You can also set up multiple identities in Google Chrome and open a Xero file in each one or use incognito mode.

Even though this is a top tip, you should still take care about working in multiple organizations at once. Even with different browsers, you can record a transaction in the wrong set of books, which you might not catch it until the end of the year.

4. Lock your account down

By creating customized roles for each Xero user, you can give staff access to certain parts of your account. So, you don’t need to show everything to everyone.

To set a user’s role when you add them to your Xero organization, do the following:

  1. Click on the Settings tab, then select General Settings.
  2. Click the Users link, then click Add a User.
  3. On the next screen, you will see options ranging from Advisor (which is the role you want to assign to your Chartered Accountant) to None. There are six different options.

So, if you have a team member responsible for invoicing, then just give them invoice only mode. They might not need to see your full Profit & Loss report.

At the bottom of this screen, you’ll see a link to “Understand user role details.” This takes you to a page that fully explains what each role can access; no more confusion when choosing the correct options for a new user.

5. Make good on a reconciliation mistake

Incorrectly matching a transaction is a fact of life. It’s a bit like death and taxes. However, unlike death (and taxes) you can undo the inevitable thanks to Xero’s “Unreconcile” feature.

To unreconcile an account transaction:

  • Click on the three little dots to the right of the account name on the Dashboard
  • Go to Account Transactions under the Find header
  • Click the transaction you want to change to open it
  • On the next screen, click Options and then select Unreconcile
  • Click OK on the pop-up window to unreconcile the transaction
  • After you’ve completed this process, you can now re-reconcile the bank statement line

6. How the books might look: The Demo Company feature

Ever wondered how a certain transaction would look on the books? Too nervous to find out because it might mess up your financials? This Xero feature will let you find out without wrecking the figures.

Demo company lets you experiment with usable test data so you can test transactions and features separate from your actual business data. No financials are fiddled with, and no one else can see the data you enter or import into the demo company.

To access this feature, click the list icon to the left of your company’s name on any page, and select My Xero. At the bottom of the next screen, you’ll see a link to Try the Demo Company. You can reset Demo Company at any time, but any data you enter or import automatically expires after 28 days.

7. Create repeating invoices and bills

Xero’s repeating invoice function lets you develop a template, from which you can automatically create an invoice or bill. This can be done at any frequency you specify. Xero will put it in the Draft tab if you need to vary the amount or any another field. If everything is the same each time, it can be automatically approved and sent direct to your customers.

Regular invoices and bills can be accessed through the “Repeating” tab in each category. From there, click “New Repeating Invoice/Bill” and you can create a new template or use an existing one.

8. Let Xero send invoice reminders for you

Why worry about chasing up accounts receivable? Xero will do it for you. All you have to do is set up the initial reminders and Xero will automatically send them depending on how far an invoice is past its due date.

Go to Settings, then General Settings, then Invoice Settings, where you’ll see the Invoice Reminders button. Choose from the predetermined days past due parameters or create your own reminder.

You can customize what each reminder email says; do this through the Edit link.

Additionally, Xero lets you include a link to the invoice in the reminder email as well as an option to not send reminders for outstanding invoices under a certain amount. If you choose, you can turn off reminders for a particular customer or invoice.

9. Sync with Google sheets

As a business owner, you probably use a lot of different software and tools. Wouldn’t it be nice if certain platforms worked together and reduced that sometimes messy arrangement? Xero can help you tidy up.

You can sync your Xero account to Gmail, and export reports or budgets to Google Sheets. Simply go to the report or budget you’d like to export. Click the menu icon (three small dots) to the right of the document. When you’re prompted to choose your export method, select Google Sheets. If you’re not already logged into your Gmail, you’ll be asked to do so. Then, you’ll need to confirm that Xero is a trusted site each time you initiate a Google Sheets session.

Once you’ve exported your document into Google Sheets, you can edit, save, or share it.

These tips are…excuse the pun…the tip of the iceberg. There’s more where that came from. We’ll continue to post them and share them with you. Or you can check out our Resources page. We encourage you to learn as much about Xero as you can, because a little learning will pay you back big time.

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for more help feel free to reach out. Get in touch with Hamish Mexted