Xero Projects Review – so how good is the all new Xero Projects?

 

Xero Projects Review

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This post was written in September 2017 just after Xero Projects was introduced.  Continue reading to discover my initial thoughts .

You might have noticed the recent announcement from Xero following the Xerocon conference in Australia. We now have PROJECTS in Xero. This will be a chargeable extra, but will be free for the remainder of 2017.

Here’s what Xero have said in their blog about Xero Projects currently –

“Today, Xero Projects has been designed with small service industries in mind – so if you have simple job costing and tracking needs, then Xero Projects is for you. If your job tracking needs are more complex, watch this space because we’re working on even more awesome functionality. Soon, everyone from architects, engineers and tradies, larger accounting and legal firms and more can make use of this helpful tool”.

Excited to see what it was all about I spent 20 minutes at lunch-time having a nosey  and produced a short video of my findings. Have a look and you will quickly get a feel for what Xero Projects is all about.

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Following my quick lunch-time tour I’ve managed to do a Xero Projects Review so that you don’t have to. Here’s what you need to do to get started in Xero Projects and I’ve also concluded with my thoughts.

SETTING UP A PROJECT

Firstly ensure that Xero Projects is activated,

Activate Xero Projects

 

And that Users are given access to Xero Projects

Xero Projects User

From the Dashboard:
Projects
Overview
New Project
Contact – I chose ‘Andy the Awesome Accountant”
Project Name – enter a description
Deadline – enter the estimated completion date
Estimate – enter the expected total amount you will be charging your client (exclusive of any VAT)
Create

Xero Projects New Project

 

 

CREATING TASKS IN YOUR PROJECT

Once your Project is created you  can start adding New Tasks to the Project.  Here’s how

Projects
Overview
Select Project
New Task / Add Task
Task Name – e.g Stage 1
Chargeable? – Yes or No
Charge rate /hr – I entered £50
Estimate hours – I estimated 2 hours for this task
Save and Add Another

Xero Projects New TaskContinue adding Tasks as required.

It might be worth considering how these Tasks will appear in a Report at a later date as by default they will be listed in alphabetical order.

 

ADDING EXPENSES INCURRED TO YOUR PROJECT

Once your Project has been created and you have added some Tasks you can then add some Expenses.
These are actual amounts that will be charged to the Project, rather than estimates.

Projects
Overview
Select Project
New Expense / Add Expense
Expense Name – e.g. Parking
Unit Cost – the cost amount
Quantity – enter a number of units
Chargeable – Yes or No
Unit Price – this is how much you will charge your client and can be different from the cost amount
Save and Add Another

Xero Projects Add Expenses

Continue adding Expenses as required.

 

ADDING TIME (HOURS WORKED) TO YOUR PROJECT

There are 2 ways to do this:

1) Entering time, possibly to more than one project

Projects
Time
Defaults to today’s date on the left, or select a different day/week
Add Time / New Time Entry
Enter an amount of time in the left block or choose a block of time by clicking on it
Clicking on 0:30 twice will add 30 minutes, then a further 30 minutes
You can over-write the total showing in the left box
Date – as selected already, or you can amend
Project – select Project
Task – choose from list (you cannot add Tasks on the fly here)
Description – optional text box
Create

Xero Projects Add Time

 

2) Entering time to a specific Project

Projects
Overview
Select Project
Add
Time Entry
Enter an amount of time in the left block or choose a block of time by clicking on it
Clicking on 0:30 twice will add 30 minutes, then a further 30 minutes
You can over-write the total showing in the left box
Date – default is today, but can be amended
Project – already selected
Task – choose from list (you cannot add Tasks on the fly here)
Description – optional text box
Create

 

REVIEWING A PROJECT

Projects
Overview
Select Project
You will then see a breakdown of your project on the left and a summary on the right.

Xero Projects Overview
In our example:

Breakdown on the left
The actual hours charged to the project are 12 – the value (£600) is not shown!
Stage One – we are over budget by 3 hours
Stage Two – we are over budget by 2 hours
Project Expenses are £10 – this is the amount to be charged to your client including any mark-up

Summary on the right
The due date is in 10 days time
The project estimate is £1,000
Nothing has been invoiced
We are currently at 61% of our cost – £610 out of £1,000 budgeted

 

PROJECT REPORTING

At this stage, there are 2 project reports available

1)Project Details Report

Reports
All Reports
Project Details
Project State – All / In Progress / Closed
Date Range – default is today, and it’s the date the report is up to, not a date range

The fields you want to see on your Report can be chosen in Report Settings
You may be able to select a specific report using the ‘Add a Filter’ option in the Report Settings
You can sort on columns

Xero Project Details Report

Here we can see the individual Expenses, then individual Tasks line by line.
For each Task the estimated amount is shown, with the total of £1,000
Total cost for Expenses is £9
Actual Column – £610 chargeable – £10 on Expenses and £600 on hours spent on Tasks
All uninvoiced, nothing invoiced at this stage

 

2) Project Summary Report

Reports
All Reports
Project Summary
Project State – All / In Progress / Closed
Date Range – default is today

Xero Project Summary Report

Here we can see that we expect the project total to be £1,000
Cost = Expenses – we’ve spent £8 on parking
Actual = Total Amount to charge client to date
All uninvoiced, nothing invoiced at this stage

 

INVOICING A PROJECT

Projects
Overview
Select Project
Invoice

You then have 3 choices:

1)Deposit
Let’s you invoice in advance
You can invoice a % of the project or a custom amount

2)Tasks and Expenses
Let’s you select the Tasks and Expenses you want to invoice.
You can also choose a specific time period – e.g. this month

Xero Projects Invoicing

 

3)Project Amount
Let’s you bill a specific amount up to the total remaining uninvoiced.

We have selected to invoice specific Tasks and Expensese
Then we can go to the Draft Invoice.
Included in the draft is who we are billing (Andy), the invoice date (today), the task descriptions and amounts.
We need to add the accounts code for Sales then Approve.

Xero Projects Invoice

 

Now if we go back to Overview:

Projects
Overview
In Progress
Select Project

We can see £506 has been invoiced, with £104 still to be invoiced from the current Project total of £610.

Xero Projects Final Overview

 

IN CONCLUSION

So that’s my roundup of what you need to do to get Xero Projects up and running. If you need some help, then let me know and I’m happy to book an online training session to get you started. It’s very early days and no doubt there will be a huge amount of updates already in the pipeline, but here are my initial thoughts.

The good bits …

🙂 Well done to Xero for adding this much-requested feature
🙂 Very user friendly (no surprise there Xero)
🙂 Quick to setup – I only spent 20 minutes
🙂 Easy to amend – time entry, project details
🙂 Adding blocks of time with a simple click is cool
🙂 Slick invoicing process

The not-so-good bits …

🙁 Basic reporting
🙁 Unsure of costs (free until the end of 2017)

And my wish list …

  • Overview – would be good to see value of Tasks, not just the hours worked
  • Project Details Report – separate columns for Tasks and Expenses
  • Option to flag individual Tasks as completed
  • Access Reports directly from Projects
  • Link rechargeable Expenses to costs already in Xero
  • Different User access levels for Projects

Have you had a chance to do your own Xero Projects review yet? Would love to hear your initial thoughts, let me know in the comments below.

UPDATE FOR 2018 …

To all you accountants out there.  Do you want to do an in depth review of Xero Projects but don’t have the time?

Business owners, would you love to know if Xero is right for your business?

Well, I’ve done the hard work and achieved the perfect solution for you.  I’ve created a Udemy course which in just 2 hours will take you from beginner to expert.  If you sign up here, you can take advantage of the special price of just £9.99.

Xero Projects Offer

Let me know what you think.

 

4 thoughts on “Xero Projects Review – so how good is the all new Xero Projects?

  1. Terry Hopper says:

    Thanks Marion, a very useful overview of Projects.
    I’m looking forward to testing it out. I’m a Xero Certified Advisor, but I’ve not had a chance to look at Projects until now.
    Do we know how much it will costs yet? And will it be free for Practice edition users?
    Thanks again.
    Regards, Terry.

    • Marion Thomson says:

      Hi Terry,
      Glad you found the information which you are right is now available. Cue for me to update the blog post! Depending on what you are looking for the Xero Tracking option can sometimes be used rather than Projects.
      Regards,
      Marion

  2. Chris says:

    I discovered that time entry descriptions in Xero Projects don’t flow to invoices. This is a huge omission in Xero Projects. It’s time entry is not truly useable without the descriptions of ones work showing up on the invoice. Third party time tracking applications don’t integrate with Xero projects yet either. It’s a non-starter at this point.

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