Make Xero Yours: Customize Transaction Forms and Reports

Xero’s exceptional flexibility makes it a great application for countless types of businesses. Here’s an overview of some of your customization options.

Clothes come in different sizes and colors. Vehicles come in a variety of makes and models. And there are enough types of mobile devices produced that you can easily find one that fits your needs, your pocket or purse, and your budget.

Financial websites are a trickier fit. They have to be broad enough to manage the processes that most small businesses need without being too complex. Xero’s multiple subscription levels, hundreds of add-ons, and numerous settings options help you mold its framework to fit the unique requirements and workflows of your company.

But the site does more. Transaction forms and reports can be easily modified to match your needs. Here’s a look at what’s available. 

Transaction Forms 

It’s not just big corporations like Apple and Coca-Cola that have brand identity. Your small business should, too. One way to reinforce this is by sending invoices, purchase orders, etc. that are tailored with your personal stamp, including your logo, your language, and your payment options. Xero comes equipped with default form templates that can be altered to reflect your brand. You can also create multiple variations for different audiences.

To get started, you’d click Settings | General Settings | Invoice Settings. Click on the bars at the top of the screen to work with the options below:

Figure 1: You can change some of the content and appearance of your customer and vendor forms using Xero’s simple customization tools.

  • New Branding Theme. Click on the arrow to display the two levels of customization here. Standard is quite simple. Among other things, you can insert your logo here and specify some of the fields, field names, and columns that appear by simply checking boxes or editing existing text. This allows you, for example, to create quote forms by changing the form’s name and removing unneeded fields. The Custom.docx template can be altered in far more sophisticated ways, but you’ll need some design skills to work with these complex boilerplate forms.
  • Default Settings. Do you want a default due date on invoices and bills? A standard prefix and starting numbers for forms? Should there be a link to outstanding invoices for each customer? Set those up here.
  • Payment Services. One of the best ways to improve your cash flow is to include links on invoices that allow customers to submit their payments through an authorized gateway like PayPal. You’ll establish that link and create an account if necessary here. Questions about how to proceed? We can help.

Reports

We can customize financial reports like Profit and Loss in Xero, but you have some options on the periodic reports that you create, too. For example, your Aged Receivables report can be displayed as of a specific date and also by Month name or Month number (number of months past due). Xero can make the necessary calculations beginning at the Invoice dateor Due date, and it can show you a graph for quick comprehension.

Figure 2: You can choose to have Xero calculate receivables aging beginning at either your invoices’ creation dates or due dates. 

Xero offers a very powerful way to customize the content of your reports: Tracking. You create Tracking Categories that can be assigned to sales invoices, bills, bank transactions, and receipts. Two can be active at any one time, but each can have an unlimited number of options.

Note: Consider carefully before you create your Tracking Categories. Let us help youdetermine what makes the most sense for your business — and which ones will make your reports more meaningful.

If you have multiple sales outlets and want to be able to compare how each has done, for example, you could build a list of categories like Downtown, North Side, Southern Suburbs, and Rural, and name it Location. Once you’ve saved this, applicable forms will include a column with a drop-down list that contains the entries you built.

Figure 3: It’s easy to add Tracking Categories to transactions. Xero inserts a column in the appropriate places.

We can help you use Tracking Categories in multiple areas of Xero, like the Budget ManagerTracking Summary and Payroll reports, and financial reports like the Balance Sheet.

Xero is such a thorough, comprehensive application that you could use it as is. But if you haven’t already looked into its customization capabilities, it’s never too late to make it your own.

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