Welcome to the Fit Small Business Xero training course! In this lesson, we’re going to cover how to import customer invoices in Xero.
You can follow along on your own Xero account. If you don’t have one already, click here to sign up for a free 30-day trial and follow along below.
To complete this lesson, you can either watch the video below, read through the step-by-step instructions, or do both. Let’s begin!
Why It Is Important to Import Customer Invoices
If you are converting from another accounting software to Xero, then you will most likely have unpaid customer invoices. It is very important for you to create these open invoices in Xero for a couple of reasons:
- To ensure that you keep track of all money owed to you (also known as accounts receivable).
- When your customer does send in their payment, you have an invoice to apply the payment to.
It is much easier to import customer invoices into Xero as opposed to manually entering them one by one. In this lesson, we will walk through each step of how to import customer invoices into Xero.
How Do I Import Customer Invoices
Follow the steps below to import customer invoices.
Step 1 – Navigate to Sales
From the Accounts menu, select Sales as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 2 – Navigate to Import Template
Select the import button to the far right, as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 3 – Prepare the Import Template
Download and save the import template to your computer. Below is a chart that includes the columns in the template along with a brief description and an example of how to enter the info into the template. At a minimum, you must complete the fields marked in red with an (*).
However, I recommend that you provide as much detail as possible so that you don’t have to go back and complete any missing information manually later on.
|*Contact Name||Enter the customer name (i.e. Bill to) in this column.|
Note: This is a required field.
|Email Address||Enter the email address of your contact person at this firstname.lastname@example.org|
|PO Address Line 1|
PO Address Line 2
PO Address Line 3
PO Address Line 4
PO Postal Code
PO Zip Code
|Enter the bill to address in each of these columns. Be sure to follow the example and separate street address, city, state and zip into separate columns.|
Note: If the customer contact already exists in Xero then you can leave these fields blank.
|1234 Mockingbird Lane
|*Invoice Number||Enter the invoice number for each invoice.|
Note: This is a required field. This should be a unique number so be sure not to duplicate the invoice number or the import will not work.
|Reference (Sales CSV only)||Enter any additional information related to this sale in this field. You can use a combination of letters and numbers.||PO #99999|
|*Invoice Date||Enter the date of the invoice using the following format:|
Note: This is a required field.
|*Due Date||Enter the due date of the invoice using the following format: mm/dd/yyyy|
Note: This is a required field.
|Inventory Item Code||Enter the item code for the product or service that was sold. If you have not set up inventory items, Xero will create item codes that do not already exist. I recommend that you set up your inventory item codes prior to importing customer invoices.|
Note: If more than one product or service was sold then you will need to enter each product or service on a separate line (with the rest of the required fields).
|For example, Acme wants to import an invoice that includes an initial design consultation and building a website. Therefore, in the template, they would enter the item codes on 2 separate rows as follows:
|Description||Provide the details of the services or products sold.||New Client Consultation
Build custom Website
|Quantity||If applicable, enter the quantity for products or services sold.|
Note: For services, this can represent the number of hours. If you do not sell products and you charge a flat fee for the services then leave this field blank.
|*Unit Amount||Enter the sales price per unit for each product or service sold.|
Note: This is a required field. For services, this can represent the rate per hour or a flat fee; for products, this will be the price per unit. Do not include dollar signs “$”.
|Discount (Sales CSV only)||Enter any discounts that appear on an invoice.|
Note: Do not include the % sign.
|*Account Code||Enter the account code from the chart of accounts that this sale should be categorized to.|
Note: This is a required field. If you have not set up account codes, you must do that first before importing customer invoices into Xero.
|For example, if Acme codes all consultations to their Consulting Income - 4000 then in this column you just want to enter the numeric part of the account code “4000”.|
|*Tax Type||Enter the sales tax rate that should be applied to the invoice. Note: This is a required field in Xero so if there is no sales tax rate, enter Tax on sales 0%.|
Note: This is a required field. If you have not set up sales tax rates in Xero, I recommend you do this prior to importing customer invoices.
|Tax on sales (0%)|
|Tax Amount||Unless you need to adjust the sales tax rate for an invoice, leave this field blank. Xero will automatically calculate the sales tax amount based on the information you entered in the Tax Type field above.||Do not enter anything in this field unless it is a sales tax rate adjustment.|
Tracking Option 1
Tracking Option 2
|Complete this field only if you have set up tracking categories to track sales by cost center, department or location. Otherwise, leave these fields blank.||Enter tracking codes, if applicable.|
|Currency||If you track sales in multiple currencies, enter the 3 letter code for the foreign currency the invoice is in, if it is not your native currency.|
Note: If you have not set up the multiple currency feature, do this first before importing customer invoices.
|For example, if Acme needs to import invoices in Canadian dollars, they would put “CAD” in this field to import an invoice in Canadian currency.|
|Branding theme||If you set up a custom branding theme (template) for invoices, enter the name of the theme in this field. Otherwise, leave it blank and Xero will use the standard branding theme (template).||If applicable, enter the branding theme (template) name in this field.|
Tips for Importing Customer Invoices
- Tip #1 – To import a credit note (memo), enter them in the invoice template with a negative unit price.
- Tip #2 – Do not make any changes (or rearrange) the header row or the import will not work.
- Tip #3 – You can delete any columns that are not required, but I recommend that you leave them since there is no harm in doing so.
- Tip #4 – If your file contains data in the quantity, unit amount or tax type columns, you must leave the total and total amount columns empty. Xero will make the calculations for you.
- Tip #5 – If you have already set up customer contacts in Xero, be sure to enter the name of the customer contact exactly as it appears in Xero in the Customer Contacts field; otherwise, Xero will assume it is a new contact and set it up accordingly.
- Tip #6 – If you have already set up the customer contact in Xero with the address then there is no need to complete the PO Address fields unless you would like to make changes. Any information entered in these fields will override what you have currently set up in Xero.
- Tip #7 – For Invoices with more than one line item, each line item must include the same invoice number and currency (for multi currency invoices).
Step 3 – Navigate to Import Screen
Return to the Import screen by selecting Accounts and Sales as indicated in the screenshot below.
Click the “Import” button as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 4 – Select the File you want to Import
Click the “Browse” button to locate the file that you want to import. Once selected, you should see the filename appear to the right of the “Browse” button as indicated in the screenshot below.
Before proceeding with the import, there are a couple of questions that you need to answer to assist Xero in handling contact address details and sales tax:
- Would you like to update contact address details? – As discussed, if you have already set up the customer contact in Xero, then there is no need to include address details in this template unless you want to update the information that was previously entered during setup.
- Is the Unit Amount Field tax inclusive or exclusive? – If you included tax in the Unit Amount column of the template, then select Tax inclusive; if you did not include tax in this column then select exclusive. In our sales tax lesson, we discussed how to track, pay and report sales tax.
After you have indicated your response to these questions, click the “Import” button as indicated in the screenshot above.
Step 5 – Confirm Invoices to Import
In the next screen, you will have a chance to review and confirm the invoices that will be imported. If for some reason you find an error, click the “Go Back” button to stop the import.
- Total Invoices that will be imported – In this section, Xero provides you with the total number of invoices that will import. Make sure this agrees with the total number of invoices in your spreadsheet. If it does not, you will see a notification in this section of errors for the invoices that will not import.
Note: All invoices will import in a draft status. This simply means that the invoices will have to be approved after they have been imported. You can give certain users permission to approve invoices. We will discuss this in more detail in our lesson on how to invite users.
- Inventory – In this section, Xero provides information about the inventory items we have included in the template. In our example, we have used existing inventory codes but we have a different description and/or price on our invoices which is acceptable.
- Complete Import – If you are ready to proceed with the import, select the “Complete Import” button as indicated in the screenshot above.
Step 6 – Review Imported Invoices
If the import was a success, you will see a notification similar to the one below. The invoices that were imported will be listed directly below that for you to review and approve.
That wraps up this section on how to import customer invoices. The next lesson in our Xero Training Course will be how to import supplier bills. In this lesson, we will walk you through how to import unpaid bills that you have received from your suppliers. To access this lesson or any of the others in the series, click here. For a free 30-day trial of Xero, click the button below.