Welcome to the Fit Small Business Xero training course! In our last lesson, we showed you How to Set Up Products and Services. This lesson is for those who are switching from another accounting software and want to import their existing products and services into 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!
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How Do I Import Products and Services?
In order to import your existing products and services into Xero, you should export this information from your old accounting software program to a CSV or Excel spreadsheet. It will make it much easier to copy the info into the products and services template we will download from Xero next.
If your current accounting software program does not allow you to download your existing products and services list into a CSV or Excel format, then you will need to manually enter this information into the Xero import template. Once you have the list, follow these steps to import the data into Xero:
Step 1 – Navigate to Products and Services
From the Accounts menu, navigate to Inventory as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 2 – Navigate to Import Screen
Click on the “Import” button and select Items as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 3 – Download Xero Items Template
Click on the Download template file link to download the CSV template as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 4 – Prepare Items Template
An excel spreadsheet similar to the one below should have downloaded to your computer. Be sure to save it before you begin entering product information.
There are a total of 12 columns. While the only required field is item code*, we recommend that you complete as much info as possible so that you don’t have to manually enter the information later on. Below is a brief description of what to include in each column.
Note: Columns #3-6 relate only to items you purchase (i.e. if you plan to send purchase orders and want to save items that you order frequently.) Column #7-10 are only for items you sell. (i.e. This info will appear on quotes, invoices and credit notes that you send to customers).
- Item Code (Required)* – This is the only required field on the template. If you have a UPC or SKU then use that as your item code. A combination of numbers and letters can be entered in this field up to a maximum of 30 characters. Item codes help you to organize and quickly locate items to complete forms like invoices and purchase orders.
- Item Name – Include a brief description of the item in this field. This is the internal description field for the item and not the one that your customers and suppliers will see.
- Purchase Description – Include the description that you want your suppliers to see on purchase orders. If you don’t use purchase orders, you can leave this field blank.
- Purchase Unit Price – Include the agreed-upon cost of the item in this field. This will prefill on purchase orders that you create and send to suppliers. You can always edit the unit price when you create the purchase order if you need to.
- Purchases Account – If you are setting up an item that you keep track of quantities and cost for (tracked item), then leave this field blank. Xero will use the code in the cost of goods sold column to keep track of purchases.
However, if you are setting up an item that you do not track quantity and cost for (untracked item) then enter the account code you use for purchases in this field.
Note: Be sure that you enter the account code and not the account description in this field. For example, account 5050 Purchases, you would enter 5050 in the template. If you enter anything other than the code, this information will not import into Xero.
- Purchases Tax Rate – If applicable, assign the appropriate tax rate to each item. In the How to Set Up Tax Rates lesson, we discussed how to manage sales tax rates.
- Sales Description – Include the description that you want customers to see on their invoices. Be as descriptive as possible so that your customer knows exactly what you are invoicing them for.
- Sales Unit Price – Include the price that you charge your customers for the item. This will appear on customer invoices and receipts. If pricing varies by customer, you can leave this field blank and complete it when you create invoices, quotes, and receipts.
- Sales Account – Enter the chart of accounts code that you use to track sales of the item. In the How to Set Up Chart of Accounts lesson, we covered how to add accounts.
- Sales Tax Rate – Enter the sales tax rate for each item in this field. If the item is not taxable, be sure to select the Tax Exempt option. In the How to Set Up Tax Rates lesson, we discussed how to set up and track sales tax.
- Inventory Asset Account – If you are setting up an untracked item, you can leave this field blank. However, if you are setting up a tracked item, then enter the account code that you use to track inventory. If you are using the default chart of accounts in Xero then the Inventory Asset account is automatically included on your chart of accounts.
However, if you imported an existing chart of accounts from another accounting software over the default chart of accounts in Xero, then you will need to add an inventory asset account before you can import this template. In the How to Set Up Chart of Accounts lesson, we walk through the steps on how to add an account.
Note: Be sure that you enter the account code and not the account description in this field. For example, account 1400 Inventory Asset, you would enter 1400 in the template. If you enter anything other than the code, this information will not import into Xero.
- Cost of Goods Sold Account – If you are setting up an untracked item, you can leave this field blank.
However, if you are setting up a tracked item, enter the account code that you use to track cost of goods sold. If you are using the default chart of accounts in Xero then the cost of good sold account is automatically included on your chart of accounts.
On the other hand, if you imported an existing chart of accounts from another accounting software over the default chart of accounts in Xero then you will need to add a cost of goods sold account in Xero before you can import this template. Head over to our How to Set Up Chart of Accounts in Xero lesson to add the necessary accounts and then come back to complete this template.
Note: Be sure that you enter the account code and not the account description in this field. For example, account 500 Cost of Goods Sold, you would enter 500 in the template. If you enter anything other than the code, this information will not import into Xero.
Once you have completed the items template, save it in CSV format.
Tips on Formatting your Import File
- Tip #1 – Do not make any changes or delete the header row. Keep all of the columns even if you do not plan to use them all.
- Tip #2 – Do not change the order of the columns.
- Tip #3 – The Item code field is required. You cannot leave this field blank for any item.
- Tip #4 – You can import up to 1000 items at one time. If you have more than 1000 items, you can put them on a separate template and import the remaining items or enter them individually.
- Tip #5 – Be sure to enter the account code only (not the description) for the following fields. If anything other than the code is entered, the data will not import:
Step 5 – Navigate to Import Screen
Return to the Import screen by selecting Accounts and then Inventory.
Click the “Import” button on the far right and select Items as indicated in the screenshot below.
Step 6 – 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. Click the “Continue” button.
If there’s any errors in your spreadsheet file, Xero will notify you on the next screen. The system should explain what specific problem/area of the spreadsheet needs to be fixed.
Step 7 – Confirm Items to be Imported
This will be your final opportunity to review the number of inventory items that will be created or updated in Xero. If the number of items that will be created or updated matches what you have in your template, click the “Complete Import” button as indicated in the screenshot below.
Note: As indicated in the screenshot above, you cannot undo this import. Therefore, be sure that you want to proceed before you complete the import.
That wraps up the section on how to import products and services in Xero. The next lesson in our Xero Training Course will be how to set up customers. In this lesson, we will walk you through how to add customer contact and payment information. 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.