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Making accounting easier for not-for-profits

Doing the books when you’re a not-for-profit is no walk in the park. Fundraising is hard enough, as is managing tight resources. Often you’re reliant on busy volunteers without a background in finance to get the job done.

Xero is becoming popular with not-for-profits and it’s easy to see why. As fewer people have the time to volunteer, giving them the flexibility to run the accounts from the office, home or on the go, is essential. They can stay on top of cashflow and easily share the financials with the membership or board, which ensures transparency and trust.

New Zealand’s largest provider of services for under 5s, Plunket, is a not-for-profit that has set up its entire network – 400+ centres – on Xero. Watch this video to see how moving from a cumbersome paper and fax based system has made Plunket much more efficient and given head office greater visibility of the numbers.

Some of the advantages of using Xero if you’re a not-for-profit include the ability to produce streamlined reports – no more having to collate reports from numerous systems. Yah! Having an audit trail is also hugely important. Not only will this help detect fraud – which can sometimes be an issue in this sector – but it will clearly show how government and philanthropic funding has been used.

If  you’d like to find how Xero works for not-for-profit organisations, you can find out more here.


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23 February 2012 #

any discount for NFP? :)


Kelvin Hartnall
23 February 2012 #

I am a member of our local PlayCentre which is a not-for-profit cooperative organisation. As a cooperative, the PlayCentre is run my its members and decision making is by consensus. Changing our current desktop system to Xero would give all of our members far greater transparency and understanding of our funding and would help with our budgeting and decision making. Because not-for-profits often have a less hierarchical structure and decision making processes, I imagine that Xero would be even more beneficial.

Are you still doing discounted subscriptions for not-for-profit organisations? I don’t seem to find Xero on DonorTec or TechSoup NZ?

Gayle Buchanan
23 February 2012 #

super high five from all the mums out here – go Xero

Richard Phillips
23 February 2012 #

@Kelvin @Accountancy – yes we do! A 25% discount is available to new organisations signing up direct with Xero who have a registered Not for Profit status.

Rather than getting this discount via TechSoup or DonorTec – NFP’s can get this discount directly from us. Firstly we need to validate your NFP status – so email us at and we will work with you.

Gillian Rossouw
24 February 2012 #

Hi Leanne great blog & thank you, have just forwarded onto 2 new NFP orgs who signed up 2 days ago. (Both sport entities). They have moved from MYOB so that the secretary/treasurer can be proactive during the processing phase and assist their bookkeeper, end result reporting for committee members A+ who will have access prior monthly meetings. Is a win win situation for all.

25 February 2012 #

Does this work for UK registered charities as well??

Tania Short
28 February 2012 #

Hi Xero. You are so fabulous at most things. Great customer service. The multiple sign in thing for Trustees is excellent. I only have one issue which is rather major for non-profits. Unlike businesses, we don’t get all our funding from sales. We get a lot of it from donations and grants as well as sales. And all of this has to be reported back on to those funders. Unfortunately, even with tracking in Xero, it is difficult to drill down to the amount of detail assigned to a tracking code. It makes dynamic management of budgets for small projects quite tiresome to manage. Please make the tracking reporting better. It will really help non-profits if you put some development time into this. On everything else you are doing a good job…

Darren Jones
8 March 2012 #

Tania … what is the ‘multiple sign in thing for Trustees’ you mention? Is that simply the 5 licences it comes with as standard to all Xero systems?

Leanne Graham
9 March 2012 #

@Darren, Xero provides unlimited users at no additional cost so all staff, volunteer’s and trustee’s can have access, There are different access levels so depending on their role you can limit their access accordingly.

Mike Clahsen
9 March 2012 #

Xero is such a great fit for nfp’s. Xero combined with Majestri Membership ( gives these organizations the complete solution.

Most of them only catch-up for meetings once a month but with these two solutions in the cloud, they have 24/7 access to all of the information they require.

Makes volunteering so much easier so better retention rates (i.e. less burnout) for these valuable members of our communities.

One of the great things about Xero is that you can set up a tracking category in Xero for the grant. As the money is spent it can be allocated to that tracking category. At any stage you can report on the tracking category and compare it with other tracking categories if required. This doesn’t impact on the ability to run reports for the whole organization as well.

This is a great feature, and I recommend it to my NFP clients and use it the for the NFP I chair myself – the Victoria University Anglican Chaplaincy ( when we get tagged funding for the social programmes we run.

Tania Short
4 April 2012 #

Hi, sorry I took so long to reply. The multiple sign in is where all of our Trustees can look at our accounts from there own computers with their own unique sign ins. So they can track our performance at their own leisure. This is awesome for Trustees, Treasurer and in fact me as Manager, who can also keep an eye on the work of my Financial Controller and also invoice and quote from my end. My other reason for coming back today, was to ask, when will the budgeting feature be working? We want to input our 2012/13 budgets so that the Trustees and I can see whether or not we are tracking to performance or wildly out. We’ve heard whispers that it is coming, but not soon enough for us!! Cheers

16 June 2012 #

Xero looks great — is it set up/can it be set up for nonprofits in the USA?

29 June 2012 #

I’m looking at Xero for a NFP.
Does it do proper fund accounting?
I understand about tagging transactions, but the really useful information we want is how much is left in each donor account.
E.g. Say you have fund A and fund B each with opening balances of $10,000 and you’ve tagged $3000 of transactions to Fund A and $8000 to Fund B.
We’d need a report that shows each fund in a column, with opening balances for each fund on a row, expenses and income on rows, and then a row at the bottom which is the closing fund balances.
Easy to do in Xero?

Xero Review
9 October 2012 #

[…] are a non-profit or not-for-profit entity, Xero will give you 25% off the sticker price. Check out for their blog post about […]

11 August 2014 #


Do you offer a discount for social enterprises?



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