Reviewers guide for Xero

Beautiful accounting software www.xero.com




Contents 03



About Xero


Assurance Dashboard


Notable updates in 2016


Payroll and Accounting Together


App Marketplace


Section one: Introduction

Section two: So why Xero?


10 key benefits of Xero


Section three: Game changing features 12 Multi Currency Accounting


Bank Reconciliation


Cash Coding


Find and recode


Invoicing and payments




Section four: Feature Checklist


Small business features


Partner features


Further reading



Section one: Introduction The Xero Reviewer’s Guide provides a product and business overview to help reviewers understand Xero’s capabilities. In addition to the content, we’ve included links to online resources that may be useful.




About Xero We started Xero to change the game for small business. We believe small businesses make the world go round – they’re the heart of the global economy. Our beautiful cloud-based accounting software connects people with the right numbers anytime, anywhere, on any device. For accountants and bookkeepers, Xero helps build a trusted relationship with small business clients through online collaboration. Like all great challenges, we can’t do it by ourselves: we work closely with our customers, advisors and partners, to push innovation forward, turning Xero into the online business platform for small businesses. Xero came about from the realization that there are three things small business accounting should deliver: – Up-to-date information: Small businesses should always understand their current profitability and cash flow position – how much money they have, where their money is going, who owes them and who they owe.

– Quality advice: Connecting small businesses with accounting and bookkeeping experts and making it easy for them to collaborate in real-time. – The single ledger: Instead of accounting professionals manually collecting a business’ financial documents and data to compile a set of accounts – businesses, their accountants and bookkeepers can now collaborate together on the same set of financial records at the same time. Since 2006, Xero has become the platform that connects a global community of small and larger businesses, apps, advisors, banks and government – with beautiful online accounting software at its core.

Watch Rod Drury’s Xerocon 2016 Keynote: Accounting 2020 – A vision for where our industry is going


“As a cloud accounting platform, Xero acts as a connector for the highly-fragmented small business market, helping owners derive true value from their data. By providing a clearer picture of small business performance, new services can be provisioned, products accurately served and compliance commitments met.” – Rod Drury, Xero Founder & CEO




Notable 2016 updates (US focused) Xero HQ

New advisor directory

Xero HQ makes it easier for accountants and bookkeepers to plan work for the day with customizable priority action lists – and to explore client insights such as the apps used and how they relate to their industry.

The new directory helps small businesses connect with a local Xero-Certified Partner who specializes in their industry.

Tracking categories Set up tracking categories to see how different areas of the business are performing such as departments, cost centers or locations. This helps small businesses and their advisors make proactive expenditure decisions or recommendations.

PayPal integration The integration helps small businesses receive payments directly from invoices using Express Checkout. Now they can spend less time chasing payments and see their money sooner.

Report templates Accountants and bookkeepers can customize and build report templates for use across their entire client base streamlining their client reporting and saving hours in the process.

Direct bank feeds with Wells Fargo This integration securely and seamlessly connects Wells Fargo bank accounts to Xero so transaction data automatically feeds for simple, daily bank reconciliation.

Assurance dashboard The dashboard surfaces Xero’s in-built controls to monitor the accuracy and

integrity of clients’ financial data in real-time. This identifies errors and potential fraud early.

Xero contacts + Office 365 integration The Office 365 integration allows you to view email messages – ‘to’ or ‘from’ your contacts – alongside their transactional history in Xero.


Section two: So why Xero? Countless product updates, industry recognition, simplicity, community – and more. We’ve attempted to summarise Xero in ten reasons.




10 key benefits of Xero 1. Innovative With more than 1,400 Xero product updates shipped in the past 12 months, the pace of innovation – and the impact of machine learning and artificial intelligence in Xero’s accounting software – will only increase once Xero finishes its 2016 migration to AWS. For Xero’s globally distributed product team, rapid innovation is business as usual. In 2014 and 2015, Forbes named Xero the World’s Most Innovative Growth Company. And in 2016, the platform recorded more than $1 trillion across 450 million incoming and outgoing transactions.

2. Cloud-built Xero was built in the cloud, from the ground up, and has grown into a powerful and innovative accounting platform. Xero was founded on the concept of a single

source of truth: one software accessible by everyone invited in, at the same time, no matter where you are. Seamless, automatic updates. New features are added frequently based on feedback from our customers. Automatic updates occur in the cloud, not on your desktop. This means no more downloads, installs or software updates. No more emailing or sharing files. No more worries of version control. With Xero, both the advisor and client have one source of truth.

3. Simple Advisors can easily convert clients and collaborate with them from a single ledger. Small business owners can get set up in minutes and collaborate with business partners, integrations with leading business tools are seamless, and visual reporting makes it easy to understand your cash position.


4. Real-time It’s time to change accountant-client relationships by presenting a live view of the business finances – and the tools used to prepare client accounts – on one platform. By automating key business performance data feeds, extracting insights and displaying them on elegant dashboards – such as those in Xero – an institution can deliver proactive advice and services.

5. Magic Xero takes mundane tasks that require hours to complete – and turns them into a magical experience that are completed for you in seconds, automatically, even while you sleep (see, it really is magic). Xero uses automation and machine learning to improve compliance processes to become either no-touch or limited-touch.


The exciting launch of the Xero Chatbot in 2017 will further machine learning – and shift the relationship accountants have with their clients from compliance administrators to trusted advisors.

6. Connected You need the right tool for the right job. In fact, adding bank feeds or even just one of the right technology tools can significantly impact a business’ survival and profitability. Consider that over a 5-year journey, only 51% of small businesses survive. However, if they’re on Xero, 88% survive 5 years. Why? Because of our connected community: • 92%

of Xero SMBs are connected to an advisor

• 99%

have an active bank feed

• 40%

have an app connection

7. Community-focused To say it simply, the Xero community loves Xero … and we love them right back. It all starts with an open forum where our passionate users dive deep into our product and features, working for themselves or with their clients. They then share with us what’s working, what could be better and what they’d love to have. At the same time, our product teams are busy shaping things at an accelerated pace. The result is a Xero platform that is continually evolving and improving to meet our user needs. Now that’s what we call a beautiful community.

8. Supported Unlimited email-based support from our award-winning global customer experience team, phone call-backs when requested, video tutorials, online help centre, certified


Xero advisors and an online community of engaged users are all free and readily available.

9. Insightful Knowledge is power. And Xero keeps you in the know with key insights through: •

Big data: Xero has processed more than $1 trillion in transactions to help fuel our machine learning efforts. Working with more than 700,000 customers around the world, we have a powerful aggregated data set that can be used to help small businesses and their advisors transform the way they work.


Xero reports: Time is money. And Xero delivers interactive reports and budgets that are customizable and available in real-time to accountants and businesses.

10. Design led Everything we do starts with design. So the simplicity and user experience are beautiful from day one, making your accounting magic and a real pleasure to do.


“Xero has helped our practice grow. Efficiencies allow us to take on more client work without the need for additional staff, and we’ve received referrals for potential clients who are searching for certified Xero advisors.” – Kurt Sawatzki, Devlin & Co



Section three: Game changing features Countless product updates, industry recognition, simplicity, community – and more. We’ve attempted to summarise Xero in ten reasons.




Multi-Currency Accounting “At this moment, the only online accounting software that I’ve reviewed that has a fully functional multi-currency implementation is Xero. With Xero, everything just seems to work and I haven’t found myself needing to compromise – whether in regard to any functionality, on making adjustments, or on doing workarounds.” – Greg Lam, Sleeter Group We built our core accounting engine with multi-currency right in the center. Xero lets you calculate and display real-time gains and losses on-the-fly. And you can do so in both the Profit & Loss, and Balance Sheet – something even large-scale ERP software doesn’t do. Find out more about Multi-Currency Accounting

All foreign currency transactions are converted into the local currency in realtime. With foreign exchange rates updated hourly, you instantly know exactly how gains and losses are affecting your cash flow.



Bank Reconciliation “I’d rather face root canal surgery with no anaesthetic than do bank reconciliations. But with Xero, there’s a game-like quality that actually makes it fun. And I’m disappointed when it’s done!” – Devan Sabaratnam Xero transformed the bank reconciliation from a painful monthly, quarterly or annual catch-up process – to an addictive daily activity. The connection of bank feeds into Xero and the revolutionary workflow of the bank reconciliation process have powered this transformation. Financial transactions are automatically imported into Xero and linked to the corresponding accounting transactions. All the user has to do, in order to confirm that the match is correct, is to press the Find out more about Bank Reconciliation

“OK” button and the transaction will be reconciled. Users who need to import feeds from more bank accounts, credit cards and PayPal accounts, will be happy to know that Xero can do this in a few minutes. You you can create custom rules to match bank transactions automatically to invoices, bills and purchases recorded in Xero – which makes reconciliation seamless.



Cash Coding “Just reconciled 5,416 transactions in under an hour! Thanks @xero #cashcoding.” – Brett Kellenberger Cash coding allows the rapid coding of a large number of transactions from imported bank statement lines or bank feeds. As well as being fast, cash coding ensures greater accuracy. You can select accounts and tax rates for multiple statement lines at the Find out more about Cash Coding

same time, so items are coded consistently. And when you save and reconcile, Xero creates a matching spend or receive money transaction. This means fast and accurate processing – in bulk.



Find & Recode “I just recorded 633 transactions in minutes with @xero find and recode function #lovexero #accountantsbestfriend.” – SilverLiningBusSol Find & Recode is a power tool for accountants and bookkeepers, giving you the ability to update up to 2,000 line items at once. Accounts, tax rates, tracking and contacts can be easily updated on both paid Find out more about Find & Recode

and unpaid transactions. Let Xero do the work and shorten hours of effort into a few simple seconds.



Invoicing and payments “@xero invoice reminders is a game changer - ‘a secret weapon to getting paid on time’ ow.ly/UAIOc #automation #innovation #ftw.” – illumin8 partners Online invoicing and payments make it easier for you to get paid on time and spend less time chasing unpaid invoices which helps to keep your cash flow healthy. Shifting from paper to PDF invoices is a more secure and transparent way to invoice. You simply email customers a link to a live invoice, which shows the most up-to-date Find out more about Invoicing and payments

details including payment status, history and a Pay Now button for taking online payments by credit or debit card – or PayPal. Xero lets you see when the invoice was received and opened, and sends automatic invoice payment reminders on outstanding invoices.



Files “3 in 4 SMEs still storing files in showboxes! buff.ly/1TiBNJQ Jump on the #xero Cloud bandwagon and make your life much easier!” – Cindy Milde Files puts your filing cabinet online so you can always access it, wherever you are. Say goodbye to lost or misplaced paperwork, stop scrambling to assemble files for review, and forget the endless back and forth with customers and suppliers. Files lets you store contracts and other documents either in a general library – or attached to a particular transaction. Find out more about Xero FIles

You can conveniently upload documents or email them directly into Xero. For example, attach your terms and conditions to an online invoice or quote – or attach a photo of a product or completed job. Now that you have a central repository for all of your important files – and the files are attached in the context where they are required – you eliminate the paper chase and related stresses.



Reporting “We absoutly love custom report templates in @xero. Saving up to 60% of compliance hours!!. @anna_Curzon #xerocon #welovexero.” – Consolid8 Accounting Xero reporting changes the way accounting businesses provide reports to their clients. Reports that took hours are now completed in 20 minutes. Xero has recognised this bottleneck in financial account production. With the Xero report templates, advisors have the tools to make client reporting fast, simple and dare we say – fun. Report templates remove the long-standing issue of multiple chart of accounts in your Find out more about Reporting

client base by introducing one standardized mapping system called report codes. With report codes, you can continue to maintain separate charts of accounts or generalize as you please at the client level. Every account in your client’s chart is mapped to the relevant report code and your reports are then built using the report codes standardizing the data within, regardless of source.



Assurance Dashboard “@xeroroadshow make sure you’re using @xero assurance dashboard. A free audit tool & clients will appreciate the adt financial controls.” – Michelle Taggart The assurance dashboard surfaces Xero’s in-built controls to monitor the accuracy and integrity of clients’ financial data in realtime. This identifies errors and potential fraud early. For example: – Confirm if any suppliers have duplicate bank account numbers or if those accounts have been recently edited. Find out more about Assurance Dashboard

– Drill into invoices or bills that have been backdated or edited. The assurance dashboard complements the traditional audit, strengthens compliance and serves as a value-added service to clients.



Payroll & Accounting together “Now that my accountants have payroll set up in Xero, it’s there and it gets done, without me having to worry about how it’s getting done. It’s awesome.” – Shane Jones Xero seamlessly combines these two invaluable functions. Businesses can track working hours, approve time off and make payments to employees – all while automatically calculating the appropriate

Find out more about Payroll & Accounting together

tax. Employees can also use Xero Me, the employee mobile app, to view pay slips, submit timesheets and apply for time off.



Xero App Marketplace “@TheWorkBees Theres are so many great ones out there & can be real time savers. I love @xero and they have a great app marketplace #SIBNhour.” – The Number Ninja With over 500 industry specific apps, seamlessly integrated with Xero, you are bound to find one that suits your needs. The integration with Xero means no more double handling and more efficient processes resulting in a definite increase Find out more about Xero App Marketplace

in productivity. The Xero App Marketplace features advanced solutions for payments CRM systems, time-tracking, inventory management, point-of-sale, ecommerce and more.


“Unlike other accounting software, Xero has built a clean engine that respects basic accounting principles and reinvents traditional approaches to core workflows.” – Jo Blundell, Xero Global Product Manager



Section four: Features checklist The complete checklist of features shows how Xero serves small businesses, accountants and bookkeepers every day.




Small business features Main dashboard The Xero dashboard is where business owners can get a complete picture of their key accounts, income and expense reports, upcoming bills and pending invoices. This provides a valuable overview that gives users a clear understand of all their company’s financial activities in a glance. Moreover, certain accounts can be watch-listed and monitored in greater detail by enabling notifications.

Business performance dashboard Get the information you need, now. Charts and graphs track business performance across a wide range of standard business metrics such as gross profit, net profit on net sales, and debt to equity. Add metrics to your main dashboard so your favorite measures are right in front of you.

Invoicing Our invoicing system forms an important part of the accounting suite letting you generate and customize professionally branded invoices. The customization options include the addition of your company’s logo, foreign currency conversion, and the ability to save different templates to be used for separate clients. Create invoices quickly, add easy payment

options including Stripe and PayPal, customize your own designs, or add your logo to the professional invoice templates in Xero. Automate invoice payment reminders and get paid on time with personalised emails to customers.

Receive payments Get paid sooner with online payments. Accept debit and credit card payments on every invoice to speed up payment time. Xero is integrated with leading payment services including Square, Stripe and PayPal.

Multi-currency Get paid in over 160 different currencies. All foreign currency transactions are converted into your local currency in real-time. With foreign exchange rates updated hourly, you instantly know exactly how gains and losses are affecting your cash flow.

Sales tax Let Xero + Avalara handle your sales tax and make tax compliance less taxing. Avalara works seamlessly behind the scenes to take care of your sales tax calculations. Avalara can also file your sales tax returns in less than 5 minutes (yes, less than 5 minutes).

Bank reconciliation Connect your bank account to receive automatic daily updates and reconcile large numbers of transactions quickly with bulk cash coding.

Inventory Track inventory, control stock and report on the performance of your products and services, and use the information to make the right decisions on ordering and pricing.

Expenses Record expenses, capture receipts and approve expense claims – or mark an expense as billable to a customer.

Bill payments Schedule payments, batch pay suppliers and manage cash flow with visual graphs that show what bills are due for payment.

Purchase orders Create and email purchase orders, convert purchase orders to bills or invoices, and stay on top of supplier costs.





Send beautiful, professional quotes quickly, get instant acceptance of quotes online and easily turn quotes into invoices.

Process tax calculations automatically and easily pay employees with direct deposits or printed check. Manage leave and view pay history from anywhere on mobile with Xero Me. Available in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and 25 US states.

Reporting View and share over 40 interactive reports and budgets in real-time. Use custom columns, formulas, text blocks and drag-and-drop accounts to easily edit and customize your reports, compare against any metric and track performance.

Contacts View your customer’s transaction history including invoices and bills, most-purchased products or services, and drive sales based on purchase history.

Smart lists Segment your contacts based on their buying behavior, invoice amounts, and even location, to create targeted marketing campaigns.

mean you can also reconcile your bank transactions to your sales and purchase activity on mobile in seconds.

Data security

Track and manage fixed assets, depreciation and disposal of business assets.

Rest easy, knowing that Xero data is encrypted, has multiple firewalls in place and can be further protected with two-step authentication. All access to our data centers and servers is controlled and monitored 24/7 in line with industry best practice.



Fixed asset management

Keep all your documents and transactions in one place and conveniently attach files and documents to transactions in Xero.

Search Search and find what you need from wherever you are. Add a new contact, invoice, bill, quote or purchase order directly from Xero search to save time navigating between tasks.

Gmail and Microsoft Office 365 integration


See a complete history of your Gmail or Microsoft Office 365 email conversations and attachments against each contact in Xero.

Take Xero with you. Xero’s mobile app makes it easy for businesses to raise invoices, capture expenses and manage contacts on the go. Daily bank feeds

Enjoy help when you need it. Unlimited emailbased support, requested phone call-backs, video tutorials, online help centre, certified Xero advisors and an online community of engaged users are all free and readily available.



Partner features Xero HQ for accountants Xero HQ Streamline your work, bring all of your clients together in one place and customize your workflow with Xero HQ – the open platform for accountants and bookkeepers. Connect Xero practice products Xero Practice Manager, Xero Workpapers and Tax – and third-party apps from a curated list of best-inbreed solutions. Use the activity feed to prioritize client work with alerts fed from Xero and third-party app connections. Maintain a single client list in one convenient place, even if your clients are not using Xero. Pivot your entire client base with Explorer and discover key learnings: the most popular apps in your practice, a list of your clients’ industries, your clients’ banking relationships and more.

Use report templates and enjoy the fastest reporting solution in the cloud with fully-customizable templates that you can apply to all of your clients.

Advisor tools in Xero Bulk code transactions Accelerate the bank reconciliation process by coding transactions in bulk rather than line by line. Find & Record Find transactions, fix errors and recode items in bulk by adjusting the source transaction so the ledger is always correct. Uncoded statements lines list Export a list of uncoded bank statement lines as a CSV or PDF so your client can work with you without having to log in to Xero. Perform manual journals Make ledger adjustments easy using manual journals and oversee actions with full reporting of all postings.

Partner Products Xero Practice Manager Record time, manage jobs, maintain your clients, quote and invoice from one integrated practice management solution. Workpapers Stay on top of compliance using Workpapers, the cloud based compliance tool. Send queries, sync with your clients Xero single ledger and keep all of your records in one place.


Further reading QuickBooks Online Multicurrency Update vs Xero QuickBooks Online Bank Reconciliation vs Xero Xero Blog Xero Community Xero TV PC mag reviews Xero PC mag reviews accounting software Media Assets



“I have to give Xero the edge here. It’s just a more complete and thought-out solution. Xero can handle more exceptional situations and in general seems to be the “smarter” system, or perhaps the system that is less prone to errors. Once you have your data in, it’s easier to navigate and double-check it in Xero... Xero’s system is more usable, customizeable, and accurate.” – Greg Lam, Sleeter Group




Beautiful accounting software