Xero & SharePoint Synchronization

Xero is based in New Zealand and claims “700k+” subscribers. Xero’s pricing runs from $9.00 to $49.00 per month. This post follows the same outline as the FreshBooks & SharePoint Synchronization post.

Customer Synchronization

Customer are set up under Contacts in Xero. Like FreshBooks, Xero does provide an example .CSV spreadsheet for importing clients. The potential record length is over 50 fields (Excel cells) and like FreshBooks it requires client name on every row. If you have multiple contacts for a client, the result is the same client showing up multiple times after the import. Again like FreshBooks, you then need to delete all but one of the instances and then enter the contacts manually. So unless there is only one contact per client, you don’t want to be importing from a SharePoint list. There is a Client export using the same spreadsheet format as the import spreadsheet so it is possible to sync SharePoint customer lists. Like FreshBooks the concept of types does not exist in the software. Meaning you can’t classify clients as commercial, residential, etc.

Project Synchronization

The post “The Case for a Project List” – I suggest you should set up projects in both SharePoint and QuickBooks. I also point out that although you can import from QuickBooks to SharePoint, there are multiple steps involved. It is easier to go from SharePoint to QuickBooks. There is no concept of Job or Project in Xero. You can setup up Items and use them to track projects but then you can’t use items for other billing purposes. Bottom line is that project synchronization does not come into play.

Task Plan Synchronization

There is no concept of Task in Xero. As mentioned above, you can use Items to track tasks but then you can’t track a project. You could put task into the Description field on the Xero Sales Invoice but this a text box so it can’t be repeated in a drop down or combo list.

Time Tracking

The post “SharePoint Task Plan – Tracking Time” discusses time capture alternatives. Xero does have a timesheet capability but I could not evaluate it. Timesheets require setting up Xero’s payroll function. You have to specify a U.S. state for setting up payroll and I tried a couple of states including my state of Arizona and got a message it wasn’t supported.

Billing

Xero Quotes and Sales Invoice features do support exporting of reports into Excel so you could update SharePoint with Invoice information. Xero does support import through an Excel spreadsheet. Consequently, you could prepare your invoices in SharePoint and import the data need to setup a basic accounts receivable in Xero. You could then do your collection recording in Xero.

Employee Synchronization

The posts “Example Employee List from QuickBooks” and “Setup Users by Importing” discuss synchronization between QuickBooks and SharePoint Online. I could not evaluate Xero’s capabilities in these areas since it is also dependent on its payroll function.

Document Management

Like FreshBooks, Xero has no truly document management capabilities. There is nothing comparable to QuickBooks’ Doc Center. See the post “QuickBooks Doc Center or SharePoint?” for discussion on when SharePoint document management capabilities vs Doc Center.

Overall Import/Export Capabilities

As you can tell by the summary above, synchronization between the two products would be very limited. Like FreshBooks, Xero does have an Application Program Interface (API) that can be used by third parties to provide integration, but I am not aware of SharePoint to Xero real time updating capability. See my post for “Real Time Updating Between SharePoint and QuickBooks” for more information.

Bottom Line

If you decide to run your business mostly using SharePoint Online, you can use Xero to do your basic accounting and financial statement preparation. You do need to check if your state is supported to use their payroll function.

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