A Guide to Xero's Top Features and Functions for Accounting Success

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April 16, 2024

Xero is an award-winning and leading cloud-based accounting software for small businesses and has over 1 million subscribers worldwide. It is known for its easy-to-use and “beautiful” user interface which enables users to connect regardless of their location or device.

There are many features in Xero which are not fully utilized by Xero users and/or prospective users may not be aware. Xero's philosophy is to provide business owners with real-time visibility of their financial position and performance in a way that’s simple, smart, and secure, therefore its functionality will be designed to be in line with this.

Xero Dashboard

One thing that makes Xero Accounting unique and exclusive is the dashboard.  Here you can see all your key information in one place.  You will be able to track your bank balances, invoices, bills and so much more.  This feature allows you to keep a close eye on your business finances and will help with the following:

  • Cash Flow – The dashboard will monitor your cash flow using simple easy-to-read charts and graphs. You will be able to customize reports, so you can track the monthly trends pertaining to your business.

  • See All Your Banking Information in One Place– You can choose which bank accounts and credit card accounts you want to monitor on the dashboard.

  • Proactively Follow Up on Outstanding Invoices – You will see a summary of all invoices owed to you and the software gives you the tools to follow up on those invoices that are outstanding or past due.

  • Track Specific Parts of Your Business – Continue to be up-to-date with what is happening in your business by customizing your dashboard. Simply add the areas you want to monitor to your dashboard.

Automated Late Invoice Reminders

Xero automates the late payment reminder on past due invoices. Once Xero detects that an invoice is overdue, it will send out an email notification to your customer and these reminders can be sent at intervals of 7, 14, or 21 days.

Inventory Module

Xero’s inventory function provides the ability to log and track inventory that is sold regularly. It also can connect to third-party applications such as an Amazon seller account.

Tracking Categories

The tracking feature is useful when tracking multiple businesses, revenue streams, or departments. For example, if it is needed to track the sale of a product at two different locations, it is possible to set up a category for each one to help track their performance.

Going paperless

In the quest for a paperless streamlined business, Xero can help in the following ways:

  • Keep Documents with Related Transactions – attach multiple documents to transactions and records. You may want to attach files to invoices, so your customers can see them.  You can also add relevant documents to customers' and suppliers’ contact records.

  • Use Xero As Your Online Filing System – You can use the filing library to store all business documents.

  • Make Data Entry Simpler with Side-by-Side Files – You can make it easier to enter transactions when you see them next to each other.

  • Easily Share Files with Your Accountant or Bookkeeper – When you upload files it will give you access to share files with your bookkeeper or accountant easily.

  • Use Photos to Illustrate and Explain – To make it more visual you can use photos of your transactions, items, and invoices.

Mobile App

Xero also comes with a mobile app version, it can be used to run and operate your business while on the go. The features available on the app are as follows:

  • Bank Accounts – You can access your bank accounts and view your balances, view statement lines, and transactions, reconcile account transactions, and view your bank feed notifications.

  • Invoices – You can view all your invoices, add invoices and attach files, edit all your invoices as well as add and remove files, approve and send invoices, and record or delete payments on invoices.

  • Quotes – You can view all your quotes, and revise your quotes, approve and send quotes.

  • Receipts – You can view your receipts, add, edit and submit your receipts.

  • Contacts – You can view contacts, add and edit contacts, add notes to contacts, and archive or restore contacts.

  • Files – You can view, add and delete files in the Files inbox and add folders to the files inbox.

Bank Reconciliation

With Xero, you can reconcile your accounts with a few simple clicks of the button. As you reconcile your statements with Xero it will find both your transaction and the record on the statement, this then posted the bank journals in the background so you don't have to.

  • Know Your Cash Position When You Reconcile Daily – With Xero, you can automatically and securely import your bank transactions every business day.

  • Reconcile Easily with Coding Suggestions – Xero will ask you to confirm the type of transaction each one is for accuracy in comparing with your statement lines. Xero will suggest what the transaction is and all you need to do is confirm it. You can also set rules for automating items in your bank transactions to invoices, bill payments, and purchases that are already recorded.  This process makes reconciliation seamless.

  • Reconcile Large Numbers of Transactions Quickly – If you are tired of reconciling every transaction you can code Xero into matching transactions that are in similar groups. This is great if you are importing back-dated transactions.


Every business needs to create a budget.  This will act as a guide to help run your business.  With Xero, you can create a budget.  Here you will see the comparison of what you planned vs. what you spent to help you stay on track with revenue and profitability targets.


Xero is equipped with accepting different types of currencies.  If you are expanding outside of your country and will be accepting different types of currencies.  You can send invoices, quotes, and purchase orders or receive bills and payments for over 160 currencies.  You also can set up foreign bank accounts and reconcile them with Xero.

Time Tracking

Examples of time tracking apps available in the App store are WorkflowMAX and Timecamp. These apps integrate seamlessly with Xero to monitor and input time tracking data.

Fixed Assets

Fixed assets can be recorded and depreciation can be automated to help streamline this process without the use of an offline excel spreadsheet, it also includes the following features:

  • Record and Update Your Assets – Keep track of your business assets such as vehicles, machinery, hardware, and office equipment.

  • Manage Depreciation and Disposals – You can work with your accountant or bookkeeper to manage the depreciation and disposal of your business assets.


Providing customers with quotes is possible through Xero, it includes the following features:

  • Create quotes quickly from anywhere
  • Send beautiful quotes, in Xero you can customize the quote template to make it professional looking along with keeping up with your brand profile.
  • Check the status of quotes online by logging into Xero.
  • Convert quotes into invoices seamlessly without duplication of work.


As your company grows, you may need to find a transaction.  The bigger the company gets the more transactions you will need to sift through.  Finding this information is made easy with Xero.

  • Find the Information You Are Looking For – With the search option you can easily type what you are looking for and it will bring up anything with those keywords.

  • Go Where You Want to Go, Fast – For speed, you can use keyboard shortcuts to find what you are looking for.

  • Complete New Tasks Quickly – With the search feature, you can find and complete each transaction faster and accurately.


This is a great way to track your time and the money you spend on every job and the feature is perfect for small businesses and professional services. This function allows the following features:

  • Get Your Billing Right Every Time – You will be able to track your time, assign bills and expenses as well as record any deposits you may have.

  • Invoice the Way that Suits You – You will be able to create invoices for a fixed price, progress payments, or time and materials. Will save you time and help you to avoid errors.

  • Gain Insight You Need for Success – Will make tracking and monitoring easy for project performance with real-time tracking and key insights. Perfect for helping you stick to your budget and decide when you should send an invoice.

  • Fully integrated with Xero

  • Supports fixed price, time, and expenses for invoicing

  • Assigns you actual invoices, bills, and bank transactions

  • Visibility across all jobs and how they are tracked

  • Monitors your budget and all job costs

Third-Party Apps

Many businesses will be running many apps and software to support their business, integrating this into your accounting system is essential to streamline processes and run reports accurately, the following popular app integrations are made possible by Xero:

  • Payment solutions such as Square, Stripe, and Paypal
  • Time tracking such as WorkFlowMax, Harvest and Tradify
  • POS systems such as Square and Kounta
  • E-commerce such as Shopify, Big Commerce, and A2X for Amazon

If you would like to know more about Xero or would like to take up our free implementation offer, submit your contact details here and one of our consultants will be in touch.


This article has been written in general terms and therefore cannot be relied on to cover specific situations; application of the principles set out will depend upon the particular circumstances involved and we recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of its contents.

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