This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
We’re pleased to present this tutorial in Xero, our pick for one of the best QuickBooks alternatives and leading small business accounting software. In this fifth and final lesson of our free Xero tutorials, we’re going to cover how to print reports in Xero, along with how to create and export them. We’ll also show you how to customize basic reporting options.
You’ll benefit most from this guide by following along in your own Xero account. If you haven’t yet subscribed to the platform, you can try it for free for 30 days.
Step 1: Access the Reports Section
To access reports in Xero:
- Step 1: In the top menu bar, click Accounting.
- Step 2: Select Reports.
The reports screen is divided into five tabs, which you’ll see at the top of the screen:
- Home: All of the available reports can be viewed here, where you can run a new report
- Custom: Reports that have been created and saved for your company are shown here
- Draft: All reports saved as draft either by you or someone else in your company
- Published: All reports that have been published by you or someone else in your company; these reports are read-only and require an adviser role to create and delete
- Archived: Any published reports that have been archived by you or someone in your company; these archived reports can be restored if necessary
Click on the tab that displays the type of report you’re looking for, then find and open the report. You can use the search field in the top right corner if needed. Search options include report name, description, keyword, report group description, or user who prepared the report.
Step 2: Select From the Available Reports
Xero ranks high with both its available reports and the ability to customize them to obtain the desired information. You can select from basic financial statements, specialized reports, and other accounting reports—but it’s missing two reports that would be useful in some cases: unbilled time and income/loss by customer. However, it more than makes up for it with 48 reports to choose from and the ability to create your own report with an empty template.
Here’s a summary of a few of the most popular reports:
- Balance Sheet: View your company’s financial position, and what you own and owe at a particular time.
- Income Statement: Also referred to as a Profit & Loss (P&L), it shows your company’s income, expenses, and profit for a certain period.
- Aged Payables Summary: View a summary of the amount you owe to each vendor, based on the age of the balance owed.
- Aged Receivables Summary: View a summary of the amount that each customer owes you, based on the age of the receivable.
- 1099 Report: Prepare your 1099-NEC and 1099-MISC forms by setting up rules to generate your 1099 report ready to file with the IRS.
- General Ledger: The activity and balances for all of your accounts are shown here. This includes the General Ledger Exceptions report, which shows irregular transactions.
- Bank Reconciliation Summary: Compare your balances in Xero with your bank balance, and check for missing, duplicated, or deleted transactions.
- Depreciation Schedule: View a list of your fixed assets, additions and disposals, and depreciation values.
Favorite a Report
You can mark a report as a favorite to access it easily from the Accounting menu or at the top of the Home tab in the Reports screen under Favorites.
- Step 1: In the Accounting menu, click Reports.
- Step 2: Select the Home tab.
- Step 3: Search the Reports screen for the report you want or scroll down the report in the list.
- Step 4: To add a report favorites, select the star icon next to the report’s name.
Step 3: Customize the Basic Report Options
This will assist you with how to create custom reports in Xero. When generating reports, you can choose how you want to display selected information. To do this, you need the Standard + All Reports, or Adviser user role. The specific settings and how to apply them vary, depending on the report you want to run. You’ll find all report setting options at the top of the report.
Here are a few common options that are available with most reports:
- Columns: Select the checkbox for each column you want to display on the report. Clear a checkbox to hide the column.
- Grouping/Summarizing: Set whether transaction data is grouped or summarized on your report and what variable it’s gathered by. Select Grouped by to view individual transactions sorted by your selected variable, such as by invoice date. Select Summarize by to display totals only for your selected variable.
- Filter: Click Filter and select a column to filter by, then enter or select details. As you add more filters, the report displays results based on all of your combined filters.
- More: Click More to add or remove additional details, such as the two described below.
- Accounting basis: Located under the More button, select Accrual to show revenue and expenses according to the transaction date. Choose Cash to show revenue and expenses according to the payment date.
- Decimals: Located under the More button, you can determine whether numbers show two or four decimal places, depending on the column. To show only round numbers, clear the Decimals check box. While it may not be as prevalent, using four decimal places can come in handy if you want the most accurate unit price when calculating inventory costs.
Once you have made your changes, click Update to view the results of your report. The next time you open your report, it’ll reset to the default settings.
In the example below, we have shown how to customize the date range, comparison period, and accounting basis for an Income Statement.
Save a Custom Report
Xero allows you to save a report that you have customized to access it easily later. To save a custom report:
- Step 1: Find and open the report you want to edit.
- Step 2: Apply the report settings you want to save for reuse.
- Step 3: Click the Save as Custom button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Step 4: Under Name, enter a new internal reference for the report. This is the name that will show for your custom report, and it can be different from the title displayed on exported versions of your report.
- Step 5: Select Make custom report the default if you want to apply your custom settings to this type of report (for example, an Income Summary) whenever someone runs it in the future.
- Step 6: Click Save.
To update a custom report, open it to make your changes, and then save it using the same name it was previously saved with. Or you can save the revised report with a new name to create a second custom report based on the first.
Step 4: Export & Print the Report
Before you can print or export a report, you’ll need to have the Adviser, Standard + All Reports, or Read Only user role. You can export reports in PDF, Excel, or Google Sheets formats. Once you have exported the report to the desired format, you can print it. The below information is useful for how to print reports in Xero:
- Xero reports in PDF: For a read-only format, you can export reports to a PDF file. It’s recommended that you use Adobe Reader 6 or above to view PDFs.
- Xero reports in Excel: Old-style reports are exported to XLS, and new-style reports are exported to XLSX. If you’re using a version of Excel that’s older than 2007, then you’ll need to install a compatibility pack to export new-style reports to Excel.
- Xero reports in Google Sheets: You’ll need a Google account to export reports to Google Sheets. You can share the report with anyone, even if they don’t have a Google account. You can also set the sharing settings to read-only.
- Step 1: Select the report you want to export.
- Step 2: Click the Export button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Step 3: Select either PDF, Excel, or Google Sheets.
- Step 4: Save or open your exported report.
Once the report has been exported, you’ll be able to print it. See below for an example of how to export an income statement to PDF and print the report.
You have now learned how to create, customize, and print reports in Xero. This concludes our series of free Xero tutorials. We hope that you have found this information helpful and encourage you to revisit these tutorials as questions while using Xero arise. You may also enjoy our Xero Review where we provide in-depth analysis of Xero pricing and features.