School Accounts

Xero Updates for Schools

Who doesn’t like a few good workshops every now and then? Well not everyone does, but I took a hit for the team and attended the latest Xero Roadshow so I could pass on the best bits to you the school community. The hardest part was choosing which workshops to leave out when really if I had my way I would have gone to them all!

Things you may have noticed:

If you are a regular Xero user you may have already picked up the odd tweak here and there from Xero that have overall improved the hands on stuff. Here are some of them:

Old and new reports are now all in the one place. Don’t forget to tick the ‘star’ next to the reports you use the most so they appear in your drop down list. Also be aware that you can’t actually see every single report in one go – there are little ‘dot dot dots’ like this . . . to open up the full list under each category. Now is a good time to ‘star’ the new reports.

Those of you who use the cash coding function (when you have a large backlog of bank statement lines to reconcile) there are more features here such as selecting in bulk and applying a bank rule, and showing lines with suggested matches. Make sure you have a driving lesson before trying to use cash coding however – things can go awry if you don’t know the rules. Watch here for more.

Speaking of bank rules, man these rule! Have you created some lately? Once again, you need to know a few little tips to make them work every time. I recommend you use the condition ‘Any’ instead of ‘All’ and don’t create too many conditions. Trouble is the bank tends to change its descriptions over time, so if you are too specific it will stop working. Also use ‘contains’ instead of ‘equals’ and you are going to be okay. But here is the new bit I picked up from the Roadshow: use the one bank rule to rule them all. What? For example, if there are several different types of bank fees that will all go to the same code, use ‘any’ and then list all conditions that pick up the various bank references/payees/descriptions on bank fees, and select ‘all bank accounts’ (no. 6) and then you only need the one rule for all bank fees. The same with fuel companies, and so on. Ideally 80{5d9813fdab8383e3716ac8b1c27a383d40d7c18ef85580f98cf318169ae62b96} of your bank coding should be using bank rules.

Searching for things got a whole lot easier when Xero introduced the global search function – the magnifying glass at top right of the screen. You can still search within each area you are in, but from anywhere you can use this ‘one search to rule them all’ and type in anything from a number, contact, keyword etc. and up pops a whole lotta options. The keyboard shortcut for global search is forward slash “/”. I now use this instead of ‘Find and Recode’ when looking for just a couple of things. Even to see if a creditor has been paid or not. It is like a shortcut to Mount Doom.

If that is a bit ‘Lord of the Rings’ for you, maybe you’d be more interested in the Reports changes. Now you can save as a template reports you use often as ‘Custom’  (instead of draft or published as per previously). Then just pick it up from Reports/Custom tab each time you want to run it. Perfect for department reports if you have cottoned on to using the new Account Transactions report for these, and don’t forget the ‘Report Settings’ area lets you customise these further.

Earlier I mentioned Find & Recode (an Advisor only function); this magical feature means that if you or a colleague (not you of course) has been making the same mistake all year, your Advisor can fix it in one go instead of having to literally find and recode one transaction at a time. So don’t waste your time doing things the hard way – be brave and confess your sins so they can fix it quickly.

Things you may not have noticed:

Filing GST just got easier with a ‘File Now’ button that takes you straight to your myIR login and Xero populates it all for you.

The Xero Add On partners have now grown to 500 plus. So they have developed a ‘Marketplace’ where you can search by the type of function you are looking for OR by the type of organisation/business. Brilliant. Many of the more popular ones have reviews or ratings to help you decide, and just about all of them let you try them for free. Some Add On functions relevant for schools in my books are:

  • Inventory (school uniforms/tuckshops)
  • Payments (if you run school fees from Xero)
  • Point of Sale (for the shop)
  • Bills + Expenses (if you have 30 plus supplier invoices to enter each month)

In Summary, Xero Roadshows are worth going to so that you know what features you, your staff, or your Advisor should be using to maximise efficiencies for the school. If more than one of you use the software, make sure you update each other each time you learn something new – perhaps make it part of a regular staff meeting ‘check in’.

And if most of this article just sounded like Elvish to you, maybe a training session is due. Contact us at School Accounts; we speak your language.
Super Xero Updates

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