Account balances are the closing balances of your accounts or bank accounts on the last business day before you start using Xero. They form the opening balances of your accounts in Xero.
Before you start entering your account balances
- Decide if you want to enter all your account balances now
- Choose a method for entering your account balances
Enter your account balances
Decide if you want to enter all your account balances now
- Account balances are the first step towards preparing your reports in Xero. Your reports won't be accurate until you've entered your account balances. However, you can start using Xero without entering any account balances.
- You only need to enter balances for accounts that have them. If your business has just started trading, your conversion balances are likely to all be zero and you won't need to enter any. Or, you may have just a bank balance and owners' balance to enter.
- When you set up Xero, you may want to enter balances for just some accounts - many people start by entering just their bank account balance. This means they can start reconciling their bank account soon after switching to Xero.
- You or your accountant can go back and finish entering account balances at any time.
Choose a method for entering your account balances
When you're ready to enter all your account balances, choose from 3 methods:
- Method 1: Manually enter your account balances
- Method 2: Import your account balances
This is a good method if you don't mind doing data entry. It's also a good method if you don't want to enter every account (in your chart of accounts) from your old accounting system.
This is a good method if you're experienced with importing files or if you have a lengthy chart of accounts. You cannot import just your account balances - instead you need to add your account balances to a chart of accounts import file.
How to enter your account balances
Follow these instructions if you're manually entering or adjusting account balances.
You will need a copy of your previous accounting system's trial balance for the day before your conversion date. (For example, if your conversion date is January, use your trial balance that is dated 31 December.)
- Click Show all accounts.
Enter balances from your previous accounting system's trial balance into the debit and credit fields.
- Click Next.
Enter any invoices, bills and any credit notes that were unpaid in your previous system (if you have any).
Tips for entering account balances
This section provides general guidance and tips for entering account balances. It also provides tips for some specific accounts which you need to set up correctly so Xero can create accurate reports for your organisation.
- Always enter positive numbers
- Your total debits and total credits should match
- Add new accounts if you need to
- Xero helps you convert foreign currency balances
Enter debits in the Debit column as positive numbers. Enter credits in the Credit column as positive numbers.
If the trial balance from your previous accounting system has negative numbers, enter these in the Credit column as positive numbers.
When you've finished entering your account balances, your total debits and total credits should match. However, if they don't, Xero records an adjustment which you or your accountant can correct later.
Click Add a new line, then +Add new account if you need to add a new account to your chart of accounts.
Xero helps you convert your foreign currency bank balances and your foreign currency Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable balances.
Click into the account balance in the debit or credit column and click Edit as Multi-currency Balance.
Enter all your other balances in your base currency.
Tips for specific accounts
- For your bank and credit card accounts, enter balances from your bank statements
- Your Accounts Payable balance needs to equal total outstanding bills
- Your Accounts Receivable balance needs to equal total outstanding sales invoices
- If you want to use tracked inventory
- Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable balances and tracked inventory
- Combine your Sales Tax accounts
If you have reconciling bank items such as uncleared cheques, enter a separate balance for these.
Enter positive balances for bank accounts as debits, and negative (overdrawn, loan, or credit card) balances as credits.
If you have other amounts included in your Accounts Payable balance, enter these as a separate balance.
If you don't have all your outstanding bills ready to enter now, leave your Accounts Payable balance at zero. You or your accountant can come back to it later.
If you have many outstanding bills you may want to import them. This will save you data entry time. Leave your Accounts Payable balance at zero and import your bills into Xero.
If you have other amounts included in your Accounts Receivable balance, enter these as a separate balance.
If you don't have all your outstanding sales invoices ready to enter now, leave your Accounts Receivable balance at zero. You or your accountant can come back to it later.
If you have many outstanding sales invoices you may want to import them. This will save you data entry time. Leave your Accounts Receivable balance at zero and import your sales invoices into Xero.
Set your inventory account balance to equal the value of inventory items you want to track.
Enter your inventory account balance, but don't use tracked inventory items in the invoices and bills you enter to support your Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable balances.
Afterwards, you can import your inventory items and enter inventory opening balances. This avoids double-counting.
Xero uses just one Sales Tax account. If you have more than one Sales Tax account you will need to combine them. That is, add together your Sales Tax balances.
Tips for foreign currency accounts
- Add balances for foreign currency bank accounts
- Enter Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable balances for foreign currencies
- Enter one rate per currency as at the conversion date
If you've added foreign currency bank accounts in Xero, add the account balances by clicking in either the Debit or Credit column.
The XE.com exchange rate for that currency as at your conversion date is provided by default. It converts the foreign currency balance in to your base currency.
If the converted balance doesn't match your calculation of the balance to your base currency as at the conversion date, you can edit the exchange rate. Click in the Exchange Rate box and enter the rate you used on your Trial Balance or other method of calculating your balance at your conversion date.
Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable balances can be entered in your base currency, a foreign currency, or a mix of both. To enter a foreign currency balance, click into the Accounts Payable or Accounts Receivable field, then click Edit as Multi-currency Balance.
Only the currencies you've added will display - use some or all as required. Enter the total amount of outstanding sales invoices or bills you have in each currency on your conversion date. The balance can be positive or negative representing outstanding sales invoices, bills or credit notes respectively.
If the converted base currency amounts don't match your calculation of outstanding invoices and bills in your base currency, you'll need to edit the exchange rate. Click in the Exchange Rate box and enter the rate you used on your Trial Balance or other method of calculating your balance at your conversion date.
When you save your balances, you'll need to add the unpaid sales invoices, bills or credit notes (or unpaid portions) in each currency to make up the balances in each currency.
Click on the + icon to expand each currency, then enter the required sales invoices, bills and credit notes to make up the balance in that currency.
You can only enter one exchange rate per currency. For example if you have several bank accounts using the same foreign currency, each bank account would use the same exchange rate at conversion.