Xero Tips and Tricks – the complete A to Z

Do you enjoy your Xero experience?

Are you part of my HAPPY XERO-ING gang?

Xero tips and tricks

If you’re not part of my gang, then I would like you to be. And knowing all the best Xero tips and tricks is one sure way to join. In this blog post I’ve came up with an A-Z list of my favourite Xero tips and tricks.

If you enjoy reading them, then please hang around for my (drum roll …) A-Z video series. I’m going to be recording this later in 2019!

OK, deep breath, here goes …

ADD NOTES

Did you know that you can have your very own digital post-it notes in Xero? You can ADD NOTES to Sales Invoices, Purchase Invoices and Contacts.

BANK RULES

Hopefully your bank is linked to Xero and you enjoy doing your bank reconciliation – it can be quite addictive! You should be entering Purchase Invoices but sometimes you will have bank payments that don’t relate to a purchase invoice. For any of these transactions that are recurring you can save time by creating BANK RULES. Here’s some examples of bank payments, where you might want to set up bank rules

  • Salary payments
  • Pension payments
  • Bank charges

CREATE NEW (THE BIG PLUS SIGN)

We all believe in saving clicks – and here’s a great way to do just that. I always talk about ‘the big plus sign’, the one on the top right of your screen. I now know it’s called CREATE NEW and it’s the best way to enter a new transaction. If you want to create a new sales invoice, you only need 2 clicks to take you to the input screen.

DISCUSS

Have you noticed the DISCUSS tab on the bank reconciliation screen? There’s a great sense of achievement if you reconcile every transaction, but occasionally you’re going to come across a transaction that needs a little bit of investigation before you are able to reconcile it. In these instances the DISCUSS tab is the perfect place to leave yourself a reminder of what you need to check.

EMAIL SETTINGS

When you email Quotes, Sales Invoices and Statements to your customers, Xero will use the same wording every time. This standard wording is already in Xero, but it’s always a good idea to change it to what you would like to say and you can do this by going to EMAIL SETTINGS. Then, whatever you change it to will be your default, but you still have the option to make amendments if required at the time of sending.

FIND AND RECODE

Confession time – FIND AND RECODE is my absolute favourite things in Xero! I’ve been using Xero since 2012 and I remember when this first appeared, it was hard to believe. Now I can’t imagine life in Xero without this option to amend multiple errors at the same time. If you’ve not tried it out yet, you don’t know what you’re missing.

GROUPS

Did you know that you can sort your Contacts into different GROUPS in Xero. Once you have a group setup you can then do clever things such as creating a Sales Invoice to all members in the group. You enter the sales invoice details and Xero creates a draft sales invoice for all Contacts within the group you have chosen.

HELP

You’re in the middle of Xero, and guess what you’re stuck. So what do you do? You might choose to ‘phone a friend’ but you always have the option to use the Xero HELP screens. You can access Xero Help from the question mark at the top right of your Dashboard.

ITEM CODES

If you need to track stock in your business you can use Xero Inventory. But did you know that you can also set up ITEM CODES in Inventory which can then be used as shortcuts when entering either Sales Invoices or Purchase Invoices (Bills)? Selecting an Item from the drop-down menu means that the description will be automatically filled in for you.

JOURNALS

On a day-to-day basis it’s unlikely that you will need to enter anything apart from Sales Invoices, Purchase Invoices (Bills) and Bank Transactions. But JOURNALS are really helpful when these transactions are not enough. Here are some examples of when you might enter Journals in Xero:

  • Payroll entries (if not using Xero payroll)
  • Corrections

KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

Here’s a great time saver which you can use from most screens in Xero. If you enter the forward slash (/) you can then use KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS to quickly jump to areas in Xero. As an example, forward slash then c will take you straight to All Contacts.

LOCK DATES

Once your year end accounts have been finalised you want to make sure that the figures in Xero are not then amended by mistake. The best way to do this is to LOCK DATES which will then prevent any data being changed up to the chosen date.

MERGE

Unfortunately it’s very easy to set up duplicate Contacts in Xero by mistake. So, it’s always a good idea to regularly review your Contacts and to know how to remove duplicates by using the option to MERGE any duplicates.

NOTIFICATIONS

At the top right of your screen you will notice a bell icon – pay attention to your NOTIFICATIONS from Xero when they appear here. Typical notifications will include:

  • Bank feed refresh
  • Files uploaded to Xero

OPENING BALANCES

If you move to Xero from another system, you need to make sure that you enter OPENING BALANCES. These are referred to as Conversion Balances in Xero, but the good news is that you can enter them when they are available – you can still go ahead and use Xero while you are waiting for them..

PAYMENT SERVICES

Did you know that you are guaranteed to get paid quicker by setting up PAYMENT SERVICES in Xero? For example you can set up an account with Stripe, link to your Xero account and then your customers will have the option to pay by card straight from the sales invoice that you send them.

QUOTES

Many businesses never use QUOTES in Xero. But why not consider issuing Quotes to your customers rather than relying on a conversation you had ‘on the phone’? It’s very straightforward to create a Quote, email it to your customer and then they can approve it online. Then with a few clicks you can quickly convert that Quote to a Sales Invoice.

REPEATING INVOICES

You can save time by using REPEATING INVOICES for both sales and purchases in Xero.
Repeating Sales Invoices – use these if you invoice clients on a regular basis e.g for ongoing monthly support.
Repeating Bills – use these if you regularly receive invoices for the same goods or services – e.g. monthly rent.

SEARCH

Have you noticed the spyglass on the top right of your Dashboard? It’s available on most screens and lets you SEARCH the whole of your Xero account for Contacts and Transactions. Give it a go, you can even find a Purchase Invoice just by entering your supplier’s invoice number.

TRACKING CATEGORIES

If you need to know how separate areas of your business are performing, then you can use TRACKING CATEGORIES. A couple of examples where this would work well are:
Property Investor – tracking property by property
Shop Owner – tracking by shop location

USERS

Many business don’t pay enough attention to the USERS with access to their Xero account. It’s a good idea to review them regularly and remove anybody who no longer requires access.

VIEW STATUS UPDATE

Sometimes there can be problems with Xero bank feeds. If you think there is something wrong with your feed, you can check by choosing VIEW STATUS UPDATE. This will take you to the Xero Blog where you can review any known disruptions.

WATCHLIST

Did you know that you can show Accounts you want to pay attention to on your Dashboard? From your Chart of Accounts if you tick ‘Add to Dashboard WATCHLIST’ against a specific Account, then the monthly balance and year to date balance will show every time you login. Examples of when you might use this:
Do you have a monthly or annual sales target?
Are you trying to reduce expenditure on a specific item such as stationery?

XERO CALCULATOR

Did you know that there is an inbuilt XERO CALCULATOR that you can use? When you are in a numeric field in Xero you can enter a calculation to create the value you need. Entering 7+2 will display as the number 9 in the field.

YOUR XERO

Don’t forget that this is YOUR XERO. You can customise the Dashboard and the Chart of Accounts for your business – think about what is going to work best for you?

ZERO

You have ZERO chance of ever getting bored now that you know all these Xero tips and tricks. If you can’t remember them, then just head back to A and follow the list of all over again!

And finally …

Ok, time for another confession – I think I could easily write another list if I had the time. I might struggle with a few of the letters, but there’s definitely loads more Xero tips and tricks that I use regularly.

What about you?

Did you know all these Xero tips and tricks already? What are your favourites? I would love to know in the comments.

And if you want to be the first to hear about my A-Z video series, head over to the contact form and send me a message.

Until next time, HAPPY XERO-ING 🙂

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