Setting Up Settings in Xero

Xero was built to support numerous types of small businesses, but you can customize it to meet your company’s unique needs.
 
One of the 10 best things about Xero is its flexibility. It was designed to appeal to a very large audience: small businesses across the globe, from sole proprietors to companies with dozens of employees. It offers six pricing levels to accommodate this wide variety of organizations; the differences between them lie primarily in the number of employees and support for multiple currencies.
 
With the exception of the Starter level, though, all users have access to all of the site’s accounting tools – and their customizability. You can shape many of Xero’s features to “fit” the structure of your company. These are referred to as settings. You’ll find them by clicking on Settings in the top navigational toolbar, and then on General Settings.
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Figure 1: You can customize Xero’s Settings menu to display the settings that you access the most frequently. These are designated as Favorites.
 
You already made some of your preferences known as you went through Xero’s setup process. But that series of screens doesn’t cover everything. Plus, you may want to go back and revisit the settings you’ve already completed to make sure that everything is accurate before you start entering your financial data.
 
Warning: Some settings are simple and self-explanatory and don’t require any expert assistance. Others are more complex and can cause serious problems down the road if they’re not handled properly. We hope you’ll let us help you structure the framework for your company in Xero.
 
Commonly-Visited Settings
 
You don’t have to go through absolutely every setting before you start entering data in Xero, though you might look through them to see what’s there. Some do need to be addressed right away, like Organization Settings. Make sure that anything you entered in setup is correct. Your company name and address, for example, will appear on sales and purchase forms and other important documents.
 
You can also add your logo here by browsing through your system directory for a graphics file. If you don’t have a logo, you need to create one. This is a central element of your corporate identity, your brand. It, too, will appear on forms. You don’t have to pay an agency hundreds of dollars to design one. Sites like Fiverr give you access to professionals who will design a logo for you for as little as $5.
 
Click on the Chart of Accounts link to see the accounts that you’ll be assigning to transactions. If you feel that any critical ones are missing, or if you want to pare down the list, please talk to us. Unless you’re very familiar with double-entry accounting rules and procedures, you could do serious damage that will be hard to untangle. 
 
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Figure 2: You can add bank accounts on your Chart of Accounts page, but please don’t modify any of the existing numbered ones. We will be happy to help you if you think it’s necessary.
 
You’ll also want to look at your Email Settings. Xero comes with eight standard templates that are designed to go out to customers and suppliers with transactions like invoices and purchase orders. They’re already set up as mail-merge documents, so the information that will change in each email, like the contact’s name and dollar amounts, will automatically be inserted. You can, though, change the language of the messages themselves.
 
Financial Settings and Tax Rates must be 100 percent accurate. If your sales tax settings are not correct, you will run into trouble not only with customers, but with taxing agencies.
You may want to spend some time with your Invoice Settings. Here, you can work with the layout(s) for your invoices to make them look as professional and polished as possible. Here, too, you can sign up for a Payment Service Like PayPal or Stripe. This will allow you to accept payments from customers who want to use a credit or debit card, which can be a real boon to your company’s cash flow.
 
Finally, if you’re not the only individual who will have access to Xero, you need to indicate where Users will be allowed to go on the site and what they can do.

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Figure 3: Xero lets you restrict other users to specific areas and functions.
 
There are other entries in the Settings menu that you may want to eventually explore. Working with us to go through the settings that we described here, though, should allow you to get started using your customized, unique version of Xero.