Import a chart of accounts

When you set up your organisation in Xero and before you start entering transactions, you can import your own chart of accounts. This is an alternative to the default chart of accounts Xero sets up for new organisations. You might want to use a chart of accounts you export from another Xero organisation, or a chart of accounts you create using Xero's template.

  1. Before you start
  2. Download a file in the Xero chart of accounts file format
  3. Prepare data in the file
  4. Format your import file
  5. Save your import file
  6. Import your file into Xero

Before you start

  • Make sure you have all the tax rates you want to use set up in Xero before you import. If the tax rates on an imported file can't be found in Xero, they'll default to 'Tax Exempt (0%)'.

Download a file in the Xero chart of accounts file format

Use one of Xero's downloadable files to make sure your file contains data Xero will accept.

Either:

Prepare data in the file

Navigate to the downloaded file on your computer and open it.

Complete all mandatory fields

Mandatory fields are marked with an asterisk (*) on the column header in the CSV file.

  • Code

    Use letters, numbers or symbols, up to 10 characters. You can use symbols within the code, but not at the start.

    The account code must be unique.

    Xero uses tracking instead of subcodes.

  • Name

    Use letters, numbers or symbols, up to 150 characters. You can use symbols within the name, but not at the start.

    The name must be unique.

  • Type

    You must use one of these types (spelled and formatted the same).

    Xero uses only one Accounts Receivable system (control) account and one Accounts Payable system (control) account. If you previously used multiple control accounts, you'll need to merge them in Xero.

  • Tax Code

    Add a tax rate for each account. If you don't select a tax rate, Xero will import the account with the rate , which you can update later.

    For bank accounts, you must use the code Tax Exempt (0%).

    If you use a custom tax rate, include the rate value in brackets. For example, 'Tax on Expenses (8.5%)'.

Include optional fields you require

  • Description

    You can add a Description to all accounts other than bank accounts. For bank accounts, leave the field blank.

    Consider adding descriptions to accounts your users can choose when they enter receipts into expense claims. This helps users who are unfamiliar with the chart of accounts.

  • Dashboard

    Specify if the account should appear on the Dashboard in the Account Watchlist. Enter only Yes or No.

    For bank accounts, this field must be No or left blank.

  • Expense claims

    Specify if the account should appear in the drop-down list of accounts when entering an expense claim receipt. Enter only Yes or No.

    For bank accounts, this field must be No or left blank.

  • Enable Payments

    Specify if the account you're creating should appear in the drop-down list of accounts when you're entering a payment directly on an invoice, bill or expense claim. Enter only Yes or No.

    For bank accounts, this field must be No or left blank.

  • Balance

    If you want to import account balances, enter the balances immediately prior to your conversion date.

    Xero imports positive balances as debits, and negative balances as credits.

    Xero ignores symbols and non-numeric data, other than negative signs and brackets (showing a negative balance).

    If you don't want to import balances, leave the Balance column blank.

(Optional) Make changes for multi-currency

If you use foreign currencies in your organisation, you can't import a chart of accounts that includes balances in other currencies. You'll need to import the chart of accounts in your base currency, then add accounts for the foreign currency balances later.

Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper before making these changes.

Format your import file

  • Every column on the import file must have a column header.
  • Your file can have up to 700 rows (1 column heading row + 699 value rows). If you have more than 699 accounts, you'll need to add the extra accounts to your chart of accounts after importing.
  • If you don't want to include an optional field in your import, you can either delete the column or have all cells in the column blank.
  • Format the Code column as text.

    Microsoft Excel removes the leading zeros from account codes from the exported chart of accounts CSV file. You must format the Code column as text before importing the file back into Xero.

Save your import file

Save the file to your computer in CSV format, for example XeroChartofAccounts.csv.

Import your file into Xero

  1. In the Settings menu, select General Settings.
  2. Under Reports, select Chart of Accounts.
  3. Click Import.
  4. Select the Xero system option.
  5. Select whether your file includes balances. If Yes, enter your conversion date.
  6. Click Browse to locate your saved file on your computer.
  7. Click Import.
  8. Review the chart of accounts file import
  9. Click Confirm.
  10. If your import file includes bank accounts, select your bank account type (Bank, Credit Card, or PayPal) and add your bank account number.

    Save your selection.

What's next?

Learn more