Share this content

Questions about Xero functionality

Questions about Xero functionality

I use QuickBooks 2008 (local PC version) to run my small consultancy business and have found it to be more than capable of meeting our needs. But there is a lot of fuss about Xero (and web based accounting systems generally) in the press so I thought I would evaluate it by signing up for a trial [before Intuit figures out another way to get me to upgrade :) ].

I found Xero very easy to get into, setup and use but I have run into a few 'difficulties' and I wonder if any Accounting Web readers (or Xero!) might be able to tell me where I am going wrong? Many thanks in advance!

I would like a two-level Chart of Accounts so that some accounts are sub-accounts of others. Is this possible?

What is the purpose of the account numbers (e.g. 200 Sales). Why not just have Sales? The numbers do not appear to determine where the account 'sits' in the P&L.

I want to report all P&L transactions for a certain analysis code e.g. Salesman=Fred. I can see the mechanism to categorise transactions (tracking) but none of the transactional reports then allow you to select by tracking code.

If I must have account numbers then I want to be able to report on a range of accounts e.g. accounts 500 to 599. But none of the reports allows filtering / selection of data by a range of accounts. This is related to my question (above) as to the purpose of the account numbers.

Finally, the expense claim facility seems odd to me. My process is to journal the expenses into the relevant expense accounts with the balancing entry as the relevant director's Directors Loan account. We then periodically clear the Directors Loan accounts using a bank to D/L transaction. The expense processing in Xero appears to expect payment in cash to be the clearing mechanism which does not work well for directors who may have numerous entries in their D/L before the account is cleared.

Possibly I am missing the point somewhere, but unless I am missing the point, the functionality and particularly the reporting in Quickbooks (local PC software) seems to be ahead.

Any advice gratefully received.

Happy new Year everyone!


Please login or register to join the discussion.

01st Jan 2012 01:57

Let's start with the account codes - they are optional, however we found very early on that users really wanted them. You can choose to use them as you like, however they can make data entry faster. They are also useful in the next point…

A 2-level Chart of Accounts is possible, however we were very explicit in not forcing a hierarchy so as to keep the Chart of Accounts as light as possible. Therefore if you want some hierarchy then I suggest using the account codes to infer a hierarchy, and then use custom report layouts to build that hierarchy into your reporting. Customizing reports is also where account codes can be useful (you can group by account code or by range of codes as necessary). Also note that account codes can be used for sorting on a report - reports like the P&L often have more sorting options under "More Options".

As you've found, one of the reasons behind the flat Chart is the ability to add tracking dimensions - and this is absolutely for reporting purposes. This also includes the P&L and the Account Transactions Report.

The expense management module is designed to reimburse you or other users (employees perhaps) in cash for business expenses incurred personally as well as process those transactions you were processing in QuickBooks (though it's a little more formal than just pure journals). To enable payments to accounts other than bank accounts you need to mark those accounts (such as Directors Loan etc) as "Enable Payments". There is more information on using Expense Claims in that way here.

Thank you very much for taking the time to investigate Xero and we hope this response gives you the impetus to get back into it and have more of a play. We really believe in the software we've built and are always looking to improve it.

Thanks (0)
01st Jan 2012 10:53

Thanks for the tips!

Hi Catherine

Firstly many thanks for the prompt reply. I will look into the things you have noted (it looks to me from your notes that I need to get into the Custom Report Layouts aspect which I had not reached in my basic tests).

Thank you once again and Happy new Year!

Thanks (0)
Share this content