How to Get Setup on Xero

As Xero Certified Advisors, we have a number of businesses approach us on how to get setup on Xero.  As with all systems, there are many facets to ensuring the system is properly configured and suited to the business model and while there are step by step instructions in the Xero help centre – these are generic to small business and honestly do not go into enough detail to ensure transparency across your data.

Essentially, the move to Xero can be done by establishing a new Xero file or by Converting your old accounting system to Xero – in either scenario, we strongly recommend consulting a Xero Certified Advisor before you get started.

Most commonly, we setup new businesses on Xero with fresh new data files, that have been custom designed to suit their business and industry, also allowing them to dictate how they want their reports laid out, what terminology they understand and even have custom invoice templates developed to match their branding.

Understand your Business

You firstly need to understand how financial data moves through your business and where it appears in your reports, most importantly you also need to determine how you wish to categorise data.  This could mean, how many revenue streams do you wish to track with their own income accounts?  Do you want individual motor vehicle expense accounts for fuel, insurance, registration – or do you want them all lumped in to one?

This step is basically understanding what metrics are important to your end goal – data analysis.  If it’s irrelevant how many widgets you sold versus doodads, then we don’t need to go to the extent of detailing your accounts to that level.

Remember – sometimes generating data for the sake of generating data is just overkill – if its not going to be a measurable metric on your path to achieving goals, forget about it and save your energy for more important things.

Do your Homework

Is this system going to be the right fit for you?  Is it going to scale and grow as your business scales and grows?  If you’re anticipating some seriously advanced requirements for your operations, be sure that you cover all bases of what this platform CAN and CANNOT manage, as you’ll need to financially invest in additional systems to manage those advanced functions – or spend additional time moving to yet another platform that may or may not suit.  Do once, do well.

Consult a Pro

If you’re an accountant, financial advisor, BAS Agent or even an experienced accounts manager – go nuts getting yourself setup as you’re an expert in your field and you’ll have a pretty good idea on how to structure your chart of accounts and how to configure the system to calculate GST and ATO liabilities correctly.

If you’re NOT however, a pro or experienced in this field – we strongly suggest that you consult a Xero Advisor in establishing your account.  This may be an up front cost however, it’s going to save you money in the long run if you get it wrong and have to have the system ‘fixed’ after you’ve been running it for a while.  (We offer startup support packages for new users and would be happy to discuss your options)

Old Data into New

If you’re moving your data from another system over to Xero, you MUST ensure that the data is CLEAN AND COMPLETE.  If your old system is a mess, and you try to convert it to Xero – you’re just going to inherit that mess in Xero.  Your old data file must be spic and span before you commence any form of data migration.  From experience, cleaning up a conversion gone wrong can quite often cost a small business owner 2 – 3 times what they may have paid to have it done in the first instance.  Garbage In = Garbage Out.

We offer both New System Establishments and Conversions to Xero, these generally come with a minimum 3 month startup support package so we can ensure you are using your file correctly and we’re available for any support issues you have after your establishment/conversion.

Get In Touch if you’d like to discuss the move to Xero!


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