Hints and tips on using Xero

In the start of a series of articles, Stewart Halton, shares some useful hints and tips. This month his tip are on using Xero.

1. Xero now offers two-step authentication to make logging into your data more secure. Here is how to set this up:

  • Open up Xero and click on your own name towards the top-right hand corner of the screen.
  • Select ‘Account’ from the drop-down.
  • Click ‘Setup’ under the heading ‘Two-step authentication’.
  • This will enable you to enter your password as normal to log in, as well as entering a code which is generated by an app on your phone.


2. If you receive lots of similar invoices from the same supplier, you’re able to copy the details of a previous invoice into a new entry, to avoid lots of data entry. This is particularly useful if you don’t use Receipt Bank. Open up Xero and find a previous invoice from a particular supplier. To do this:

  1. Click on the magnifying glass near the top-right hand corner and type the supplier name in the box.
  2. A list of previous entries relating to this supplier will show up in the list below – select the one you wish to copy..
  3. Select ‘Bill Options’, then ‘Copy’ from the dropdown list.
  4. A new supplier invoice template will be generated based on the detail of the existing invoice.
  5. All you would need to do is change the fields which need to be changed (i.e. date and reference) and Save/Approve.


3. If you have recurring payments which come out of the bank (such as monthly bank charges), you can set up ‘Bank Rules’ so Xero will use the information from a certain field (Name, Description or reference) and pre-fill the information which you would need to enter to reconcile the transaction. You can apply the same principal to amounts received too.


4. When entering transactions on Xero, you can cut the time down spent on entering dates by using the following shortcuts in the date/due date boxes:

+0           today.   

+1           tomorrow.

-1            yesterday.

-7            Last week.

+7           Next week.

+31         In 31 days etc.


5. If you press ‘/’ at any time that you are in Xero, you will be taken to the search field box. Here you can search transactions by names and references.


6. If you save a short-cut link to access Xero in your internet favourites, your username will be pre-filled in.

i.e. https://login.xero.com/?username=test@testemail.co.uk  This would be the link to use if your login email was test@testemail.co.uk


7. Finally, Xero and Receipt work at the optimal level if you’re able to import your bank statements into Xero – either through Direct Feed, Bank Feed or Manual import. In some instances this is not possible, either because you don’t have online banking or the export functions from your online banking aren’t the best. In this instance, you’re able to use another piece of third-party to scan your bank statements, which will create a file that you can import into Xero – this cuts down on a lot of data-entry time.