Welcome to the Fit Small Business Xero training course! In the last two lessons, we discussed how to add customers and suppliers manually. In this lesson, we’re going to cover how to import customer and supplier contacts in Xero. This is ideal if you have existing customers and suppliers that you would like to bring over from another accounting system.
The steps for importing customers and suppliers are exactly the same, but the type of info that you need to include is different. We will discuss the info you should include for customers first and then suppliers.
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!
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What Info You’ll Need to Import Customer Contacts
There are 2 ways you can enter contacts into Xero:
- Enter contacts manually
- Upload via spreadsheet
Since we discussed the first option in our previous lessons, this lesson will focus on importing contacts via spreadsheet. To do this, you’ll use an import template: A spreadsheet provided by Xero that specifies the data you need to include, and where to include it. Whether you are converting from another accounting software or not, importing via spreadsheet will cut your time in half compared to manually entering contacts.
The import template for customers and suppliers is exactly the same; however, there are certain fields that we will focus on for customer contacts only. Below is a snapshot of the fields that you will complete for your customer contacts, along with a brief description of what to include in each and an example of how to format the info:
The only field that is required is Contact Name, which is indicated with an asterisk (*). However, it will save you time later on if you import all of the information that you have for each customer.
|*Contact Name||The name of the business that you sell products and services to.||Dana’s Promotional Products|
|Account Number||If you assign account numbers to your customers, enter that info here. This field can be a combination of letters and numbers.||DPP123|
|Email Address||The email address that you use to contact your customer belongs in this email@example.com|
|First Name||The first name of your primary contact belongs in this field.||Dana|
|Last Name||The last name of your primary contact belongs in this field.||O’Neal|
|SA Attention To|
SA Address Line
SA Zip Code
|These 6 fields should include the address that you use to send invoices and other correspondence to your customers.||Dana O’Neal|
54321 ABC Lane
|Phone Number||The telephone number that you use to contact your customer belongs in this field|
Note: Be sure to include the dashes as we have in the example.
|Fax Number||The fax number that you use to send quotes, invoices and other correspondence to your customer belongs in this field.|
Note: Be sure to include the dashes as we have in the example.
|Cell Phone Number||If you have your customer’s cell phone, enter it in this field.|
Note: Be sure to include the dashes as we have in the example.
|Skype Name||Enter your customer’s skype ID in this firstname.lastname@example.org|
|A/R Tax Code||If the sales tax rate is different from the default sales tax rate for all customers, enter the sales tax rate for a customer in this field.|
Note: You must enter the exact sales tax name that you set up. Head over to How to Set up Sales Tax lesson to learn how to set up and track sales tax.
|Website||Enter your customer’s website address in this field.||www.danaspromotionalproducts.com|
|Discount||If your customer receives a discount on everything that they buy from you, enter that discount rate in this field.|
Note: Enter a number up to 2 decimal places. Do not enter the % sign.
|Due Date Sales Day||If you have set up special payment terms for a customer, enter them in this field. Otherwise, you can leave this field blank and the default payment terms for all customers will apply.||There are 4 options to choose from. In this field, you will only enter the number of days (XX). In the due date sales term field you will enter the text portion of the due date:|
XX Days (or day) of the following month.
XX days (or day) after the bill date
XX days (or day) after the end of the bill month.
XX days (or day) of the current month.
|Due Date Sales Term||Complete this field if you have included info in the Due Date Sales Day field. This field indicates how the due date is calculated.||Enter one of the following options:|
Days after end of month
|Sales Account||Complete this field only if the sales for a customer will not be tracked in the default sales account set up in the organization and financial settings.|
Note: Enter just the account code (numeric part only) of the sale account in this field.
|Sales Tracking Option 1|
Sales Tracking Option 2
|Complete this field only if you have set up tracking categories. Otherwise, leave these fields blank. To learn more about how you can track sales by cost center, department or location, check out our lessons on reporting in Xero.||Enter tracking code(s) if relevant|
|Branding Theme||If the branding theme for this customer differs from the default branding theme set up in the How to Set Up Invoices lesson, then enter the name of the branding theme set up for this customer here.||Enter the name of a branding theme that you have added here.|
|Default Tax Sales||Complete this field only if the sales tax is different from the default that was previously set up.|
Note: If you have not set up sales tax rates then you must do that before importing sales tax rates info.
|Enter one of the following sales tax options:|
What Info You’ll Need to Import Supplier Contacts
|Contact Name||The name of the business that you purchase products and services from.||ABC Company|
|Account Number||If you have an account number that your supplier has assigned to you, enter that info here. This field can be a combination of letters and numbers.||ABC123|
|Email Address||The email address that you use to contact your supplier belongs in this email@example.com|
|First Name||The first name of your primary contact belongs in this field.||Christopher|
|Last Name||The last name of your primary contact belongs in this field.||Johnson|
|PO Attention ToPO Address LinePO CityPO RegionPO Zip CodePO Country||These 6 fields should include the address that you use to send payment via check and other correspondence to your suppliers.||Christopher JohnsonP.O. Box 123Los AngelesCA90210US|
|Phone Number||The telephone number that you use to contact your supplier belongs in this field.Note: Be sure to include the dashes as we have in the example.||818-753-7129|
|Fax Number||The fax number that you use to send purchase orders or other correspondence to your supplier belongs in this field.Note: Be sure to include the dashes as we have in the example.||818-753-7130|
|Mobile Number||If you have your supplier’s cell phone, enter it in this field.Note: Be sure to include the dashes as we have in the example.||818-753-7131|
|Skype Name||Enter your suppliers skype ID in this firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Bank Account Name||In order to use the batch payments feature, you must enter the name of your supplier’s bank in this field. You can learn more about how batch payments work in our How to Set Up Suppliers lesson.||Bank of America|
|Bank Account Number||Enter the routing number and account number of your supplier’s bank account to send payments.||121000358-987654321|
|Bank Account Particulars||Enter the type of account (checking, money market) that you use to send batch payments to your supplier.||Checking Account|
|Tax Number Type||This field goes hand in hand with the next one (Tax Number). Enter thetype(EIN, SSN, ITIN) of tax number in this field. You will enter the actual number in the Tax Number column.||EIN|
|Tax Number||Depending on thetype.Enter the tax number using the correct format in this field:EIN: xx-xxxxxxxSSN: xxx-xx-xxxxITIN:9xx-xx-xxxx||12-3456789|
|A/P Tax Code Name||If the A/P tax code for a supplier differs from the default established in the How to Set Up a Chart of Accounts lesson, then enter the name of the tax code that should apply to A/P for this supplier here.||Tax on Purchases (0%)|
|Website||Enter your supplier’s website info in this field. Be sure to begin with “http://” as we have done in this example.||http://www.abcco.com|
|Discount||If you receive a discount on all purchases from this supplier, enter the discount rate in this field.Note: Enter a number up to 2 decimal places. Do not enter the % sign.||5|
|Due Date Bill Day||If you have received special payment terms from a supplier, enter them in this field. Otherwise, you can leave this field blank and the default payment terms for all suppliers will apply.||There are 4 options to choose from. In this field, you will only enter the number of days (XX). In the due date bill term field you will enter the text portion of the due date:XX Days (or day) of the following month.XX days (or day) after the bill dateXX days (or day) after the end of the bill month.XX days (or day) of the current month.|
|Due Date Bill Term||Complete this field if you have included info in the Due Date Bill Day field. This field indicates how the due date is calculated.||Enter one of the following options:Current monthFollowing monthDays afterDays after end of month|
|Purchases Account||If you track purchases, enter just the account code from your chart of accounts in this field. If you don’t track your purchases, leave this field blank.||4040|
|Purchase Tracking Option1Purchase Tracking Option2||Complete this field only if you have set up tracking categories. Otherwise, leave these fields blank. To learn more about how you can track purchases by cost center, department or location, check out our lessons on reporting in Xero.||Enter the tracking category (i.e. department, location or region) in this field.|
|Branding Theme||If the branding theme for this supplier differs from the default branding theme set up in the How to Set Up Invoices & Quotes lesson, enter the name of the branding theme for this supplier here.||Enter the name of a branding theme that you have added here.|
|Default Tax Bills||Orange County|
Tips for Importing Customer and Supplier Contacts
- Tip #1 – You can put all customer and supplier contacts on the same import template.
- Tip #2 – You can import up to 1000 supplier and customer contacts at one time. If you have more than 1000 contacts, you can put them in a separate template and import the remaining contacts or enter them manually.
- Tip #3 – Do not make any changes to the header row. Keep all of the columns even if you do not plan to use them all.
- Tip #4 – Do not change the order of the columns.
- Tip #5 – The Contact Name field is required. You cannot leave this field blank for any customer or supplier.
How Do I Import Customer and Supplier Contacts?
As we discussed previously, the steps to import customer and supplier contacts are exactly the same.
Follow these steps to import customer and supplier contacts.
Step 1 – Navigate to Contacts
Click on Contacts and select All Contacts as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 2 – Select Import
From the Contacts screen, click the “Import” button as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 3 – Download the Template File
Click the “Download Template File” link to download and save the import template to your computer.
Step 4 – Prepare the Template
Below is a snapshot of the first few columns in the template that you will prepare for import. Complete the fields for customer contacts and supplier contacts as we discussed previously in this lesson and save the file as a “CSV” format.
Step 5 – Upload Template to Xero
Click the “Browse” button as indicated below to locate the template that you want to import.
Step 6 – Verify Correct File has been Selected
Once you have selected your upload file, you should see the file name to the right of the “Browse” button. Once you verify the filename, click the “Import” button as indicated in the screenshot below.
Note: In addition to importing new contacts, you can also update information for existing contacts. When doing so, you will need to let Xero know how you want to handle any empty fields for existing contacts.
You can either have Xero ignore the empty fields or have Xero delete the existing information for any fields that are empty in the template. To learn more about how to update multiple contacts at once, click here.
Step 7 – Review & Complete Import
In this step, Xero provides us with the action that will be taken once we complete the import. The total number of contacts is listed here along with a breakdown of the number of new contacts versus existing contacts with updated information.
In addition, you will see any warnings. If you are fine with the results, click the “Complete Import” button as indicated in the screenshot below. Note: Once you click this button, you cannot undo this action.
Don’t forget, when you import your contacts they will show up in the All Contacts group. Xero will categorize your contacts as either customer or supplier after you have entered a transaction (invoice, bill, credit note) for the contact.
That wraps up the section on how to import customers and suppliers. The next lesson in our Xero Training Course will be how to import customer invoices. In this lesson, we will walk you through how to import your outstanding customer invoices when converting from another accounting software. 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.