Converting to Xero from another accounting system
Here are a few tips to get you started if you’re converting to Xero from another accounting system. This assumes you have already set your organisation up in Xero, chosen the date you want to start recording transactions in Xero, added a bank account and its balance, and that you currently don’t categorise your incomings and outgoings.
Take a look at our setup guide when creating your organisation in Xero. It’ll take you through the initial steps for setting up your organisation in Xero such as deciding a conversion date, entering conversion balances, inviting other users and creating a new chart of accounts.
Get data from your previous system into Xero
Next, you may want to start entering data from your previous systems. The following can all be imported into Xero in bulk via CSV files. Find out how to get started on the Importing and Exporting with Xero page. For more detailed help on each topic, try the links below:
- Import a Xero chart of accounts file
- Import contacts into Xero
- Import your invoices
- Import your bills
- Import fixed assets into Xero in bulk
If your previous system is listed below, you may also want to look at some more detailed information specific to converting from your previous system.
- Converting to Xero from Sage (PDF, 606KB)
Enter some transactions
- Starting from your conversion (start) date, enter any recent sales invoices or bills which you haven't already imported in bulk into Xero. Make sure you approve the invoices and bills.
- Starting from your start date, enter any cash transactions (when there is no invoice or bill) directly into your bank account – receive money for sales/incoming and spend money for expenses/outgoing.
Process invoice or bill payments in & out and reconcile Xero with your bank account
- When you receive or make a payment on an invoice or bill you've entered into Xero, go to the invoice or bill and enter the amount of the payment onto the invoice or bill and the bank account the payment is from.
- Go to your online banking to download the actual transactions that have gone through your bank account for the period matching the transactions you've entered into Xero, and import them into the same bank account you've set up in Xero.
- Reconcile your accounts. That is, match what's happened in your bank account with what you've recorded in Xero. In most cases, Xero will automatically match a downloaded statement line to the transactions and invoice or bill payments you've entered into Xero. Click OK to comfirm each match. You can change the match to something else if Xero's guess wasn't right (for example, several transactions for the same amount to different customers or suppliers).
- If you can’t download an electronic bank statement, you can view the transaction list for the bank account in Xero. Mark as reconciled when you see the transaction has been processed through your actual bank account.
- Later when you're familiar with Xero and don’t want to enter items into Xero before they go through your bank account, import your bank statement first then create cash transactions on the fly in Xero to match the statement (using the Create tab on the Bank Reconciliation screen). If you use invoices or bills, you do need to enter them into Xero first so you can match payments on your bank statement to them.
See how your business is doing - run a report
Some reports you might like to see to start off with are:
- Aged Payables Summary or Aged Receivables Summary – shows a list of outstanding supplier (payable/creditor) or customer (receivable/debtor) invoices or bills.
- Profit and Loss report – shows income for a month minus the expenses for a month, giving your profit or loss for the month.
- Balance Sheet – shows what you currently own (assets) against what you currently owe (liabilities), giving your total equity (worth).
Do your taxes
Go to your VAT Return. If you’ve entered your VAT settings, it will show the current VAT period.
- Use the VAT Audit Report to scan down through all your transactions entered in that period, and make sure everything you're reporting on for the period is there, at the right tax rate.
- In Xero, copy relevant figures from your Xero return to the return you'll submit to HMRC.
- Publish your report in Xero to end the VAT period. This reloads the VAT Return ready for the next period. Alternatively, if you have the Advisor or Standard user role, you can electronically file the return from Xero to HMRC. Xero automatically publishes the return when you do this.
Do you need help?
If you're unsure how to set your organisation up in Xero or how to do any of the tasks described in the Help Centre, our Support team can help you. Just click Contact Xero Support at the bottom of any Help Centre page to let us know your issue.
Your own accountant or bookkeeper, or one of our advisors can help you with keeping your accounting records.
You can invite another user into your organisation to see what you’re seeing and help you. Perhaps your accountant or bookkeeper.
Once you're underway with Xero there are lots more things you can do such as:
- Repeating Transactions – set up regular invoices or bills from or to the same people saving you data entry each time
- Expense claims – if you or your staff buy things on behalf of the business and you need to pay them back
- Budget – create a budget and report against it
- Bank Feeds – automatically get a bank statement every day rather than downloading it
- Tracking – break your account categories up further if you have departments or branches or activities to report on
- Users – add other users to login and view or update your accounts, they can have different 'roles' (access)
- Fixed Assets – add and record depreciation on your business assets.