Running a small business, freelancing or managing property can be a complicated and time-consuming affair. To help you streamline your finances and save time, Xero has become the go-to online accounting software for many SMEs, freelancers and landlords. In this blog, we’ll share some tips, tricks and shortcuts that will help you get the most out of Xero, drawing on insights from various sources including Living Business, NerdWallet, and Xero Central.
Customise your dashboard
Your Xero dashboard is the first screen you’ll see when you log in, and it offers a snapshot of your financial position. To make it more relevant to your business, customise the dashboard by adding, removing or rearranging tiles. For example, you might want to display your bank account balances, outstanding invoices, expense claims and bills to pay. To customise your dashboard, click on the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner of each tile and drag it to your preferred position.
Use bank rules
Bank rules are a powerful feature that can save you hours of manual data entry. They allow you to set up automatic categorisation for your bank transactions based on specific criteria. For example, you can create a rule that assigns all transactions from a particular supplier to a specific expense account. To set up bank rules, go to ‘Accounting’, then ‘Bank accounts’, and click on ‘Manage Account’, followed by ‘Bank Rules’.
Set up invoice reminders
Chasing unpaid invoices can be a drain on your time and resources. To ensure prompt payment, set up automatic invoice reminders in Xero. You can customise the reminder schedule, and tailor the email message to suit your business. To set up invoice reminders, go to ‘Settings’, then ‘Invoice Settings’, and click on the ‘Email Settings’ tab, followed by ‘Invoice Reminders’.
Use Xero’s mobile app
Managing your business on the go has never been easier, thanks to Xero’s mobile app. The app allows you to create invoices, capture receipts, and reconcile transactions from your smartphone or tablet. To get started, download the Xero app from the App Store or Google Play, and sign in with your Xero account details.
Learn keyboard shortcuts
Using keyboard shortcuts can significantly speed up your work in Xero. For example, pressing ‘A’ in the bank reconciliation screen will ‘Approve’ a matched transaction, while pressing ‘N’ will ‘Create a new transaction’. To view a full list of keyboard shortcuts, press ‘Ctrl’ + ‘Alt’ + ‘K’ (Windows) or ‘Cmd’ + ‘Option’ + ‘K’ (Mac) while in Xero.
Set up bank feeds
Bank feeds are a game-changer for managing your finances in Xero. By connecting your bank account to Xero, you can automatically import your transactions, making reconciliation a breeze. This not only saves you time but also ensures that your financial data is accurate and up-to-date. Additionally, you can set up rules for bank feeds to automatically categorise transactions, further streamlining your bookkeeping process.
Use batch payments
Paying multiple bills at once is more efficient and minimises the risk of errors. In Xero, use the ‘Batch Payments’ feature to pay multiple suppliers in one transaction. Go to ‘Bills to pay’, tick the bills you want to pay, and click ‘Batch payment’ to generate a single payment file for your bank. Upload this file to your online banking platform, and you’re good to go.
Xero’s budgeting feature
Xero’s budgeting feature allows you to create and track budgets for your business. This can be incredibly useful for planning and forecasting, as well as keeping track of your spending and income throughout the year.
One of the great things about Xero’s budgeting feature is that you can set up alerts to notify you when you’re close to exceeding your budget. For example, you can set up an alert to notify you when your actual expenses reach a certain percentage of your budgeted expenses. This can help you stay on top of your spending and avoid overspending.
Reconciling your accounts
Reconciling your accounts means ensuring that the transactions in Xero match the transactions in your bank statement. This is an essential step in managing your finances and can help you avoid errors or discrepancies in your records.
When you reconcile your accounts in Xero, you’re essentially comparing your bank statement to the transactions recorded in Xero. You can mark transactions as reconciled, unreconciled, or disputed in Xero, depending on whether they match your bank statement or not.
Customising your invoice templates
Customising your invoice templates in Xero can help you create a professional-looking invoice that includes all the necessary details for your business. This can help you build trust with your customers and increase the likelihood of getting paid on time. One of the benefits of customising your invoice template in Xero is that you can ensure that it includes all the necessary information for your business. This might include your business name, address, and contact details, as well as the customer’s name, address, and invoice number. You can find out more about how to invoice here.