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Xero for Dummies, Third Edition


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Table of Contents

Foreword xv Introduction 1 About This Book 2 Foolish Assumptions 3 Icons Used in This Book 4 Beyond the Book 4 Where to Go from Here 5 Part 1: Getting Started with Xero 7 Chapter 1: Getting to Know Xero 9 Understanding the Advantages of Xero 10 Exploring Xero's Different Editions 13 Homepage: Checking Out the Dashboard 15 Understanding Your Team's Needs 16 Integrating Xero into Your Strategic Planning 20 Generating accurate, complete and timely data entry 20 Introducing Management Reporting and the analysis capabilities of Xero 20 Taking Advantage of Support Options 21 Using Xero in a Training Environment 22 Chapter 2: Getting Organised: Setting Up Xero from Scratch 23 Preparing for Set-Up 24 Checking your browser and system requirements 24 Collecting your business data 26 Signing Up for Xero 27 Getting started 28 Organisation Settings 32 Financial Settings 34 Understanding Bookkeeping Basics 35 Working out how account types affect your reports 36 Creating a chart of accounts that works for you 38 Developing your own chart of accounts 39 Setting Up Your Chart of Accounts 41 Using Xero's default Chart of Accounts 42 Customising your chart of accounts 42 Putting Your Accounts into Practice 46 Checking your conversion balances 46 Adding comparative balances 49 Entering historical invoices, bills and credit notes 50 Adding Ways to Get Paid 51 Setting up bank accounts 51 Including credit cards 53 Online payment options 53 Tax Rates 55 Chapter 3: Converting to Xero from Another System 59 Preparing to Import Data from a Non-Accounting Program 60 Converting paper-based records 60 Working with spreadsheets 60 Getting Ready to Convert from an Accounting Program 61 Getting ready to convert 63 Converting exported CSV files into Excel 65 Preparing data for import 68 Mapping tax rates 70 Importing Data into Xero 70 Chart of accounts 71 Contacts 73 Inventory items 74 Sales 76 Purchases 77 Bank transactions 79 Manual journals 81 Fixed assets 82 Unpresented payments or uncleared funds 83 Turning Off Your Old System 84 Accessing historical data 84 Moving to the new system 84 Confirming the switchover date 85 Chapter 4: Fine-tuning Your Set-Up 87 Tools of the Trade: Understanding the Dashboard 88 Xero balance versus bank balance 88 Account Watchlist 90 Invoices owed to you 91 Bills you need to pay 91 Dealing with expense claims 92 Setting Up Users 92 Understanding user access levels 92 Inviting other users to access Xero 93 Taking Advantage of Live Bank Feeds 96 Activating live bank feeds 97 Organising bank accounts on your dashboard 100 Managing bank feeds 101 Manually Importing Statements 102 Bank Rules 102 Setting up bank rules 103 Managing bank rules 106 Using File Storage and the Xero Inbox 107 Part 2: Daily Activities 111 Chapter 5: Managing Your Contacts 113 Setting Up Customers 114 Setting Up Suppliers 122 Connecting Your Email Account to Your Contacts 122 Tweaking Your Contacts after Set-Up 123 Finding your contacts 123 Managing your contacts 125 Grouping your contacts 125 Merging your contacts 126 Unpicking accidentally merged contacts 126 Archiving your outdated contacts 127 Setting Up Employees 127 Utilising Smart Lists CRM functionality 130 Chapter 6: Managing Your Sales 133 Navigating the Sales Dashboard 134 Money Coming In 136 Customers Owing the Most - list 137 Customers Owing the Most - pie chart 137 Mastering Basic Invoice Functions 137 Creating a new sales invoice 138 Saving, approving and cancelling invoices 142 Sending an invoice to a customer 143 Mastering More Advanced Invoice Functions 148 Designing clear invoices for a positive cash flow 148 Working with repeating invoices 157 Invoicing contact groups 158 Managing credit notes 159 Creating a new quote 160 Recording Payments 161 Receipting against sales invoices 162 Sending receipts 162 Recording income for a simple cash business 163 Making use of batch payments 164 Removing allocated payments 166 Taking Advantage of Email Templates 167 Defining your user email addresses 168 Creating a new email template 169 Deleting customised templates 170 Connecting with contacts via social media 170 Following Up on Outstanding Debtors 171 Setting up invoice reminders 172 Making use of statements 173 Chapter 7: Managing Your Payables 175 Navigating the Purchases Dashboard 176 Managing Your Supplier Bills 179 Creating a new bill 179 Approving and cancelling bills 182 Generating a purchase order 184 Making Payments 186 Recording an individual payment 187 Recording batch payments 188 Removing allocated payments 191 Mastering Other Payment Considerations 191 Printing bills 192 Working with Repeating Bills 192 Scheduling payments 193 Stylising your check 194 Sending remittance advice 196 Managing credit notes 197 Entering Expense Claims 198 Adding a new expense claim 200 Making mobile expense claims 201 Submitting a claim for approval 203 Reviewing and authorising the claim 204 Paying the claim 205 Chapter 8: Reconciling Your Bank Accounts 207 Preparing to Reconcile 208 Automagically Reconciling Accounts 210 Understanding the hierarchy for matching 210 Accepting transactions Xero has matched correctly 211 Tweaking Transactions to Reconcile 214 Matching misfit transactions 215 Create 219 Transfer 220 Discuss 221 Reviewing other possible matches 221 Taking Advantage of Cash Coding 222 Getting familiar with Cash Coding 222 Understanding bulk coding 224 Viewing Bank Statements 225 Viewing Account Transactions 226 Using the Spend Money and Receive Money Options 227 Direct payment 228 Prepayment 228 Overpayment 229 Underpayment 229 Processing prepayments and overpayments 230 Searching for a transaction 230 Fixing Errors 231 Resolving the difference between Xero balances and bank balances 231 Undertaking detailed searches to find and recode transactions 235 Unreconciling a bank transaction 237 Removing and undoing a bank transaction 237 What Happens in Life Happens in Xero 238 Part 3: Making the Routine, Routine 241 Chapter 9: Generating Reports 243 Understanding the Reports Available in Xero 244 Accessing Xero's business reports 244 Selecting your favourite reports 248 Sorting and filtering 249 Customising Reports 250 Customising report layouts 250 Adding reporting 'bling': Summaries and footnotes 258 Changing views 259 Understanding Xero's Different Reporting Options 260 Draft 260 Published 260 Connecting reports 262 Archived 263 Exporting Reports 263 Accessing Management Reports 264 Chapter 10: Mastering Your Weekly and Monthly Tasks 265 Confirming Accounts are Complete 266 Reconciling Bank Accounts, Credit Card and Online Payment Gateway Accounts 267 Reconciling Your Clearing Accounts 268 Reconciling Your Consumer Tax Control Account 270 Reviewing Your Business Information 272 General Ledger Exceptions report 273 Invoicing 273 Aged Receivables 274 Aged Payables 276 Reporting to Your Tax Authority 277 Australian reporting 278 New Zealand reporting 281 US reporting 284 UK reporting 286 Recording payments to your tax authority 288 Taking Advantage of Xero's Budget Functions 289 Creating a budget 290 Reviewing and editing your budget 292 Setting a Period Lock Date 293 Chapter 11: End of Financial Year Reporting 295 Getting Ready for the End of the Financial Year 296 Finding out where you're at 296 Being prepared early 297 Reconciling tax payments for the year 298 Processing a bad debt 298 Preparing Accounts for Your Tax Accountant 299 Helping with Tax Accountant Tasks 303 Enabling your tax accountant to work directly in Xero 304 Exporting general ledger transactions 305 Entering manual journals 306 Special Considerations 308 Publishing end-of-year reports 308 Locking down accounts 308 Part 4: Getting the Most Out of Xero 311 Chapter 12: Monitoring Your Business 313 Identifying Key Metrics 314 Using Xero to set realistic targets and strategies 314 Setting KPIs and rewarding success 315 Reviewing your business strategy 317 Generating Useful Information 317 Taking advantage of management reports 318 Delving deeper into the Executive Summary report 320 Assessing your performance 325 Evaluating your position 325 Unpicking the details 326 Customising the Management Report 326 Unravelling the Business Performance dashboard 329 Understanding Xero's Tracking Options 331 Using Tracking 332 Working out what your business should track 332 Setting up Tracking 333 Editing, deleting and applying Tracking options 334 Reviewing Tracking reports 335 Tracking conversion balances 336 Maintaining Budget Control: Budget Manager 339 Chapter 13: Managing Your Inventory Items 341 Understanding Inventory Items 342 Periodic and perpetual inventory 342 Defining inventory accounts 343 Setting Up a Xero Inventory Item 344 Creating inventory items 344 Importing and exporting item details and importing opening balances 346 Managing Inventory Items 347 Making use of inventory items reports 347 Searching for and reviewing inventory items 348 Editing and deleting inventory items 348 Adjusting Inventory Balances 350 Periodic stocktakes 350 Adjusting untracked inventory values 351 Adjusting tracked inventory quantities 352 Adjusting tracked inventory values 353 Accessing Add-On Solutions 354 Chapter 14: Working with Fixed Assets 355 Recognising Fixed Assets 355 Entering a fixed asset into the register 356 Dealing with depreciation 362 Selling or removing a fixed asset from the register 364 Accessing Fixed Asset Reports 367 Chapter 15: Working with Multi-Currency Transactions 369 Setting Up Multi-Currency in Xero 370 Upgrading your Xero plan 370 Adding currencies to Xero 370 Processing Multi-Currency Transactions in Xero 372 Understanding tax rates 372 Working with foreign currency exchange rates 373 Creating a foreign currency invoice 373 Purchasing in a foreign currency 378 Conversion Balances and Multi-Currency Bank Accounts 379 Viewing Reports in Foreign Currency 380 Chapter 16: Xero Online Network 383 Working with Xero to Xero Networks 384 Understanding the Benefits and Risks of Add-On Solutions 385 Ascertaining implementation costs 385 Working out if the solution is right for you 386 Looking at longevity 386 Checking response times 387 Understanding intellectual property security 387 Making Use of Online Cloud Integration Specialists 387 Getting a Feel for Available Solutions 388 Connectors 388 CRMs 389 Debtor tracking 390 e-commerce 390 Bills and expenses 391 Inventory 391 Job tracking 392 Payments 392 Documents 392 Payroll 393 Point of sale 393 Financial services 394 Time tracking 394 Reporting 394 Looking at Custom Integration 395 Part 5: The Part of Tens 397 Chapter 17: Ten (Plus One!) Tips for Long-Term Success with Xero 399 Embrace the Cloud 400 Make Use of Networking Technology 400 Export Data to Create Graphs 400 Set up Bank Feeds and Reconcile Regularly 401 Use the Batch Payments Feature 401 Keep Bank Accounts for Business Use 401 Embrace Change 402 Use Tracking to Sharpen Reporting 402 Take Advantage of Repeating Bills and Invoices 403 Collaborate with Your Xero Advisory Team 403 Effectively Tap into Online Storage Features 403 Chapter 18: Ten Common Mistakes Made in Xero and How to Avoid Them 405 Not Making Use of Expert Help 405 Not Understanding Terminology Differences 406 Messing Up Bank Reconciliation Autosuggestions 407 Using a Communal User Account 407 Not Deleting Old User Accounts 407 Thinking Your Xero Emails Are Stored 408 Not Realising the Subscriber Owns and Controls the Data 408 Trying to Make Xero Do What Your Old System Did 409 Watching Your Bank Feeds Refresh 409 Paying Full Price If You're a NFP 409 Index 411

About the Author

Heather Smith is an accounting consultant who specialises in management report development, data detox, and cloud suitability scoping services. Heather remotely assists global businesses advising on process automation and maximising integrated data opportunities. A business and tech writer, Heather hosts the popular Cloud Stories podcast. She is an advisory board member for many dynamic businesses.

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