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Xero is an accounting software specially designed for small organisations. It's cloud-based, and specifically designed to help automate many manual accounting tasks.

With the Xero app for Beacon, you can:

  1. Export payments in Beacon directly to Xero

  2. Invoice people and organisations without leaving Beacon

In this article:


Export payments to Xero

Beacon lets you export payments in your database to Xero as account transactions in a few clicks.

During export, we'll auto-set Xero accounts based on the income streams set on your payment records (we'd recommend a rules-based smart field for this), making it easy for income in Xero to be categorised in the same way as your Beacon database.

You'll also get full control of:

  • References set on each transaction

  • Item descriptions

  • Tracking categories (optional)

  • Inventory item codes (optional)

Example video

Mapping to Xero accounts

The Xero app lets you choose a drop-down field on your payment record type as your Xero account mapping field:

For each drop-down option, you can choose the Xero account that it should correspond to:

Tip: Whilst you can use any drop-down field as your account mapping field, we recommend using a rules-based smart field to automatically allocate your income streams, so you don't need to set them manually.

Payouts (or "batches")

Payouts (e.g. from Stripe, JustGiving, cheques) can be tricky to reconcile, as usually they represent multiple payments - but are only one line on the bank statement.

We've thought hard about this 🤔, and Beacon has a payout record type which works with Xero, making this a piece of cake.

When exporting a payment to Xero, if it points at a payout record in Beacon, we'll use a couple of fields from the payout record to set on transactions:

  • Reference = set from the payout Reference field

  • Payment date = set from the payout Banked date field

Note: While a single payout is only one line on your bank statement, the Xero app will create one transaction per payment in Xero.

During reconciliation, you can search for the payout reference to match up multiple transactions against the single bank line.

Tracking categories

Want to categorise your income in Xero further? You can take advantage of Xero's tracking categories to help with reporting. (Xero lets you have up to two active categories)

Tip: Many organisations set Fund as one of these categories, to represent the restricted fund a transaction is allocated to.

When configuring the Xero app in Beacon, you'll see the available tracking categories, and can choose a field (short text or drop-down list) in Beacon to map to them.

When exporting to Xero, we'll set the tracking categories accordingly:

Warning: Heads up! Beacon does not create tracking category options for you. During export, we'll only set the category value if the field value in Beacon matches one of your allowed options in Xero.

Inventory

Similarly to tracking categories above, you can map a field to the inventory "Item code" field.

Xero contact

Beacon does not create contacts for each supporter in Xero when exporting payments. If you're like many charities, you may have thousands of supporters, and creating contacts for each supporter could get messy, quickly!

To keep your Xero account clean and tidy, Beacon creates a single "Beacon transaction" contact in Xero. All payments exported from Beacon are allocated to this contact.


Invoicing

Invoice any contact

When viewing any individual person or organisation record in Beacon, you can use a Xero card to create a new invoice:

When invoicing someone, you'll be prompted the details of the contact in Xero, along with the amounts you'd like to invoice them for:

When you send the invoice, Beacon will automatically do the following:

  • Create a contact in Xero if they don't already exist

  • Create an invoice for the contact

  • Email the invoice to them (through Xero's emailing system)

When viewing an organisation or a person, Beacon will check (in real-time) your Xero account to see the status the invoices you've sent to them through Beacon:

Screenshot 2020-04-27 at 18.54.45

Install guide

  1. Navigate to the apps directory in your Beacon sidebar, and click Install on the Xero app.

  2. Next, you need to connect your Xero account with Beacon. (You'll be prompted to give Beacon specific access to your Xero account)

  3. After connecting, configure your export mapping settings, and click Save Integration.

  4. (If you'd like to invoice from Beacon) Go to any Person or Organisation record in your database, and open customisation mode. Add a new card, and choose the List of invoices option:

  5. That's it!


Frequently asked questions (exporting)

What happens if I re-export a transaction?

Beacon will update the transaction that was previously exported.

How many payments can I export at one time?

10,000. That's a lot of payments though, so it may take some time to complete!

How does Beacon handle split payments when exporting?

If you have split payments enabled on your account, the Xero integration will create one transaction per group when exporting to Xero.

Each payment within the split group will be a separate line item within a single transaction.


Frequently asked questions (invoicing)

Does Beacon create contacts in Xero when I invoice someone?

Yes.

If you're invoicing a person, we check to see if they're already in Xero based on their email address. For organisations, this is based on their name.

Additionally, if you've already invoiced someone through Beacon before, we store linked contact in Xero, and will send invoices to them going forwards (even if the name/email has changed).

Is it possible to add multiple line items in invoices sent?

At the moment, it's only possible to send invoices with a single line item. If invoicing with multiple line items is a requirement, please let us know!

Is it possible to see invoices I've sent through Xero on an organisation record in Beacon?

At the moment, the 'List of invoices' card found on organisation records in Beacon will only display invoices that you sent through Beacon. If it would be useful to you if Beacon also displayed invoices sent externally from Beacon, please let us know!

A screenshot of the 'List of invoices' card usually shown on the right hand side of organisation records in Beacon.

How is the tax rate set?

We'll automatically apply the default rate of tax attached to the "Line item account code" (e.g. 200 - Sales).

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