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Xero for Schools

Posted 9 years ago in Advisors by Rod Drury
Posted by Rod Drury

Xero for SchoolsWe’re getting a lot of interest from accountants on using Xero for Schools. Often accountants are on school boards and if they can easily review the school financials online it makes it easier for them to add value and work remotely.

We’re very interested to talk to people running school accounting software to understand what their requirements are for school financials.  There is plenty of time between now and beginning of the 2010 school year to look at getting those requirements into Xero.

What types of reports would you want to see? What does your chart of accounts look like? Do you use the MinEd model accounts? How do you use cost centers?

Also keen to know what software you use now? and what other systems we should be talking to – like Student Management Systems?

If anyone would like to be involved in helping to shape Xero for schools, please contact us at


Wayne Robinson
August 6, 2009 at 3.06 pm

I know this is a little off-topic but when I was in school (about a decade ago now, sheesh), our accounting subject had a section on computer-based accounting of which we used MYOB.

Xero might want to investigate offerring a low-cost or free alternative that gets potential future users hooked early with a simplish interface for teachers to create a number of accounts for their students and have a look at their files (a lot like the customer/accountant model you have now).

Rod Drury Xero
August 6, 2009 at 3.21 pm

We’d love to provide a free teaching resource for schools. Just need an accounting teacher to work with to build some courseware and processes around learning. If anyone wants to help there, please let us know.

August 6, 2009 at 4.29 pm

Rod, we are an existing Xero client and we run a private language school. The needs of a state school are slightly different but fundamentally I can’t see why schools can’t use Xero. It’s a great initiative. Would be good to have Xero integrated with something like Learning Source which we are also looking at implementing. Schools spend a lot of time and effort tracking payments and matching this against a student database. Great to see Xero keep innovating.

Wayne Robinson
August 6, 2009 at 4.58 pm

Oh, just a quick warning too… Blackboard (HQ in Canada), makers of quite a lot of educational software delivered as web-based platforms (not very good in my opinion) are a very litigious organisation and seem to be capable of making very obtuse, lateral connections between the software of others and their own patents/trademarks. I’ve had cease and desist letters from them for social software that used the ‘chalk’ metaphor for group collaboration (of course it never went further than that).

August 7, 2009 at 12.47 am

Oddly enough I was thinking the exact same thing about another type of board: the ones for charities, voluntary ogranisations. Most of which have accountants on them.

However it’s disappointing to see you think there’s merit in Wayne’s suggestion of pushing a brand of software into our schools with a free taste under the guise of course-ware to “get potential users hooked early”? I think you’ll find the MoE is pretty wary of tactics like that too.

Rod Drury Xero
August 7, 2009 at 9.02 am

@Steve, that’s a very ‘glass is half full’ perspective. Almost all vendors offer discounted software for schools. Of course it may be good for business, in the very long term – but is is also a great way for companies to give something back.

It’s also a useful way to get students onto contemporary software. It makes me cry seeing some of the technologies students are learning which will be well out date by the time they hit the workforce.

Students and teachers are smart enough to work out what’s going on and they still have choice. Surely that would be a win-win.


Ben Kepes
August 7, 2009 at 10.26 am

@Steve – despite Rod being plenty big enough to fight his own battles I thought I’d put my oar in here – especially since being independent of Xero maybe gives me more neutral credibility on this one.

Sure Rod and the Xero team are fiercely ambitious for their product and will do everything to succeed however your comments about offering products “under the guise of course-ware to get potential users hooked early” is unfair in my view. I’ve seen the stuff Rod et al do to advocate for positive changes around technology and it’s not all about self-interest.

I sit on an advisory board with Rod that, admittedly may have some downstream positive benefit for Xero, but to suggest that’s the only reason he’s involved is, in my view, unfair….

August 7, 2009 at 11.15 am

I am an existing, very happy, user of Xero across three organisations and am about to join the School Board of Trustees for the Primary school that our family is associated with. I had though that an online solution such as Xero would be an ideal solution to a school scenario with part-time Board members typically doing most of the school related work from very varied locations.

I would certainly appreciate being kept up to date with the development.

ps. Love the product but can’t wait till the creditor batch payments option is available.

Ben Duflou
November 21, 2009 at 10.27 am

Hi all, We have been running Xero at Newlands Intermediate for 15 months now. Its is working well, created less work for admin team, taught them new skills, reduced costs and most importantly provided understandable reports to the Board of Trustees.

We have been working with Xero recently to help improve the reporting functionality, but for primary and intermediate schools, we believe the Xero platform is more than adequate. Though improvments will only enhance the system.

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