New Dashboards for Sales and Purchases

In our next major release we’ll be introducing some updates that will start us towards delivering some larger features due out next year. In particular, these changes will help us deliver functionality like purchase orders (currently sitting at 9th equal in community voting) and quotes (at 4th equal).

Firstly, we’ve replaced the terms Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable with more generic names, Sales and Purchases, respectively. We had a lot of feedback those terms were not commonly heard outside accountant and bookkeeper circles and we think most of our business users will find the new names a lot more natural.

You’ll also notice we’ve created two new dashboards, for Sales and Purchases. These are a redesign of the existing summary screens but with more emphasis on key information.

These new dashboards let us include functionality not directly related to accounts receivable and payable documents – like… you got it, purchase orders and quotes.

Along with these changes we’re going to be referring to invoices within Purchases as bills and invoices within Sales as sales invoices (or just invoices). This change is quite extensive and affects a number of pages, breadcrumbs and help documentation but we know you’ll quickly adjust and love the new functionality when it arrives.

So, that’s a quick preview of some changes coming to a screen near you shortly but wanted to give you a heads up.


November 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

Looks great! When do you anticipate the next release?

Andrew Tokeley
November 5, 2012 at 8:37 am

Hi Troy – certainly before Christmas, things are tracking well.

November 5, 2012 at 8:44 am


Is there any reason why Xero doesn’t record individual times that an invoice has been sent? I know i’ve resent an invoice to a particular customer on multiple occasions, but when i look at the history for that invoice it only shows the initial date it was sent?

November 5, 2012 at 9:19 am


Andrew Tokeley
November 5, 2012 at 9:54 am

@Troy – just discovered that this is actually “by design” but I’m going to look into getting this behaviour changed.

At the moment, a record is only written to Notes and History the first time the sent status is set to “Mark as sent” – this will happen on the first send and again if you unmark as sent and then resend (with the Mark as sent checkbox ticked). As you’ve discovered it won’t happen if you resend and invoice that is already marked as sent.

Can’t think of a reason why we wouldn’t record history every time you send the invoice, regardless of status.

Stay tuned.

Kieran P
November 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Any changes that’ll affect the API? e.g. will type of ACCREC and ACCPAY become SALE and PURCHASE respectively?

Andrew Tokeley
November 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm

@Kieran – no impact on the API, even in Xero key underlying codes will remain the same as they are now. This is more a visual design update.

Luke R
November 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm

great work!

November 5, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Are you saying we will have quotes before xmas, or this is the first step to enable quotes sometime next year?

November 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Awesome news!!!

Will purchase orders be multi-currency?

Kind Regards

Andrew Tokeley
November 6, 2012 at 8:44 am

@Andrew – the new dashboards will come before Xmas and next year we’ll be introducing Quotes and Purchase Orders.

@Craig – yes, we will support multi-currency on POs. Whether it hits the first release though is still to be decided as it does add a bit more complexity and would delay getting the main functionality out.

Gayle Buchanan
November 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

Yahooooo – thanks a bunch from all my customers who still look at me funny when I say AP or AR – gonna save a bunch of time, thanks so much for using end user lingo – awesome!

November 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

I think the AP and AR should remain in parentheses. For example, say that I bill someone for a reimbursement…that’s not really a sale, per se. Say that I have a deal that involves funding and I bill monthly. That’s not really a sale, either. It’s funding.

I get accounting speak can sometimes go over people’s heads, but there’s sometimes really good reasons why things are a certain way. (Now I sound like the stodgy accountant.)

All being said, I look forward to the PO functionality. I just hope it includes solid reporting, approvals, and fields for tracking.

November 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Wow, normal language for all my great tradies. They will love this. Plus like Gayle, I won’t get the side head glance of what language are you speaking. Go Xero, your the best. Can’t wait for the quoting option too.

Brett Lester
November 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

@Andrew Tokeley – I understand why it would take longer to release purchase order functionality if it has to be multi-currency. However I think it would be a serious mis-step for Xero to release it without it. Those who pay the increased subscription price for multi-currency will expect Xero to be fully multi-currency. It either is, or it isn’t. If multi-currency is not extended to purchase orders at the time of initial release, then the product is not multi-currency. Period.

Lisa Callaghan
November 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Thanks Tokes for the heads up. Will make sure our clients are all ready for the new updates. Much appreciated! I am know quoting will be very well received.

November 9, 2012 at 7:12 am

The changes are very much welcomed, further promoting the UI of Xero.. however: We’re crying out for self-bill invoices for complex invoicing to yourself on behalf of clients!!

Andrew Tokeley
November 9, 2012 at 9:03 am

@Brett – not saying it won’t happen in the initial release but I’m afraid I disagree that it must. The sooner I can get the core functionality delivered the better. It adds immediate benefit to those who need POs and don’t need FX support. We also get key feedback from users and can loop that back into future releases sooner. Adding multi-currency support is obviously important for you and others and it will be added, but if we think it’s going to delay the release by too much it may be something that gets added later.

Simon Randall
November 13, 2012 at 10:11 am

Can you confirm when in 2012 quotes will be added?

Andrew Tokeley
November 14, 2012 at 10:19 am

@Simon – the only thing I can confirm at the moment is that Quotes won’t be delivered in 2012, but 2013. No ETA yet, sorry.

Ray Baxter
December 10, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Reversing Journals is great as we do a lot of cut-offs monthly for Clients. The name changes are good to. Adopting the best bits of QuickBooks and ignoring the bad bits is a good policy. Keep up the good work. You will eventually take over the world. Xero is disruptive technology. Sage could not get ahead of you because their business model got in the way. Now they have missed the boat!

Richard Dickinson
December 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Andrew – these features look great. Do you have plans to improve the look / customisation of your invoice template? We’re currently xero and harvest users, but as a design business we need good looking invoices so we use harvest to do all of our invoicing…it’s not ideal and we’d prefer to be able to use xero!

December 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I always thought Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable were fairly self-explanatory titles, but after a day using the latest release I’ve already got used to the new terminology. Two things that I think should have been changed are the “Postal Address” and “Physical Address” fields in the Contacts area, wouldn’t it be more user-friendly to go with “Shipping Address” and “Billing Address” as is used by thousands of websites rather than have different terms specifically for Xero?

I love how notes now include line returns. But when do we get the option to edit notes?

December 10, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Going to weigh into the discussion on releasing PO’s without multi-currency. I think its a serious shortfall. The current most frustrating aspect of Xero for our business at the moment is the non-multi-currency in Staff Expense claims. Its a hassle. With PO’s it would be worse because you would have a system/process being used for only some of your invoices.

Whilst this wont affect businesses who don’t have consideably foreign currency transactions, for those of us that do and love using Xero, it presents a problem. From a personal perspective, we just wouldn’t use that functionality until it was multi-currency. I appreciate the desire to get features out there, but I have to agree with Brett that having a feature which is only a part feature is not great from a user perspective.

Jon Thompson
December 11, 2012 at 11:01 am

I am downright unhappy about the change in accounting terminology that was just released.

The word “sale” has too many meanings to be useful in a professional accounting system.

– Do I mean that I’m lowering the price to increase volume?
– Do I mean that I have an AR invoice?
– When I am looking at a customer, are you talking about an AR invoice?
– When I am looking at a vendor, are you talking about an AP invoice?

All of these could be correct. Please allow me to revert back to well defined terminology that I find vital to being efficient in an accounting system.

December 11, 2012 at 12:21 pm

We purchased Xero as an Accounting Package for a mid-large size company, not as a BookKeeping Package for a small business, because we were assured that Xero would be catering to larger businesses as well.

For accounting staff, this change was a backstep. Would much prefer if there was the option of “Go Classic View”, or “large business” view

Wendy T
December 12, 2012 at 12:05 am

Just when I had all my clients/Xero students understanding that ‘I receive money for
Receivables’ and ‘I pay money for Payables’ you toss in terminology that is actually too generic. I pay bills and I receive bills as well. Too many ‘bills’ if you get my meaning. Every industry has terminology that people have to learn and I site the computer and internet as the biggest perpetrator of these but we all seem to manage to expand our use of the lingo and expand our vocabularies if it becomes necessary to do our work.
I completely understand that Xero is trying to be all things to a broad client base around the world but I’m not sure ‘bills’ is going to work. It’s like ‘Invoices’. It goes both ways. Stick with ‘Purchases’ at the very least.
Last time I checked Xero was for Business Accounting so people should expect it to have a few accounting terms in it.

On the matter of Multi-currency in Purchase Orders. This is a must have for my large clients who are purchasing and selling goods in Asia and the US. That was the main reason for my vote to put both quotes and purchase orders high on your priority list. I’ll be happy to see both but prefer to see them come with multi-currency so I am prepared to wait a bit to have it right the first time.

December 12, 2012 at 10:21 am

I too am not liking the changes to the terminology. I simply don’t like it at all. Like Wendy T, I expect accounting terminology in an accounting package. It too vague calling invoices as Bills and income as Sales.
PS when are we getting the option to include branding and contact details in the remittance advices.

December 12, 2012 at 2:03 pm

I also hate the change in terminology. Are Xero trying to dumb down their application to the lowest common denominator or something?
Please give us the option of using proper accounting terminology.

December 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Hi, Can you investigate updating the dashboard to include all accounts receivable not just overdue and the same with Accounts payable

December 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I’m with others that don’t like the terminology – Surely there should be an option to call it what we like.

December 13, 2012 at 3:33 am

I commented before and received an email that my comment would be posted as well as the information that I am NOT from an accounting background. I am into day 3 of the changes for Bills/Purchases and the only way I can remember which is which is the “P” in purchases, thus Accounts Payable. Someone suggested an option of using one or the other; great idea! However I also think that if one is using an accounting/bookkeeping program then it follows one should also learn the terminology.

December 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

I am with the naysayers who prefer accounts receivable and payable. In our business we get invoices from subcontractors, and no-one ever calls them bills. They say things like (have you paid my invoice?). We else have invoices receivable for other reasons apart from sales (such as on-charging costs to clients). These are rightly receivable, but they are not sales.

December 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

I don’t like the newly titled “Sales” and “Purchases” either.

As both Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable are official job titles in the workforce, not just “accounting” terms. I believe that there are enough people out there that use these titles on a daily basis that normal people will cope with these titles back.

There must be a line between making it easy to use for normal people and completely dumbing it down.

December 16, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I have to echo with the comments on here, I strongly dislike the terminology sales and bills. Come on, this is an accounting package – stick with Accounts Receivable and Payable.

Doesjka Trevarthen
December 17, 2012 at 9:34 am

Bring back Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable terminology. Accounting is the function we are performing after all!

If people don’t understand proper accounting terminology then perhaps they shouldn’t be using accounting software.

PS it would be nice to have the functionality to ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ with others posts (note I didn’t use the Facebook ‘like’ ;o))

Philip Fierlinger
December 17, 2012 at 10:54 am


We hear you.

But we’d really appreciate your patience – in future releases over the next year it will become more and more clear why this terminology works best.


December 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

“why this terminology works best” carries a strong odour of “we won’t be changing it back”.

December 17, 2012 at 9:26 pm

I too strongly dislike the dumbing down of Xero. I find working with these changes frustrating and actually serve to make training new staff in our AR/AP processes more difficult. The use of overly generic terms in a professional space is unhelpful and confusing. Please provide the option for users to revert to a more professional interface – saying ‘we hear you’ but at the same time ‘we know best’ is not really helpful.

Scott Dudley
December 18, 2012 at 5:40 am


I too hate the new transition to “dumbed down” non-accounting terminology for A/R and A/P.

PLEASE VOTE FOR THE FOLLOWING FEATURE REQUEST to ask Xero to give it back (or to at least allow us to make it optional):

Like I wrote in the feature request, it’s just wrong that I have to go to “Purchases” in order to find last month’s payroll tax that I owe to the government.

Munawar Ahmed
December 21, 2012 at 8:49 am

The terms “Accounts Payable” and “Accounts Receivable” are clear, concise, and unambiguous. They are established industry terms and exist for a reason. We’ve been touting Xero as professional-grade, cloud-based accounting to all of our partners, clients, and anyone who will listen. When you replace basic accounting terminology with dumbed-down, ambiguous language, you’re making it both unpleasant for us as users, and much more difficult to proudly recommend Xero to our partners and clients. This is my first public comment and criticism of Xero. Please, no more dumbing down. You’ve got a great product here, and a loyal customer base. Let’s keep it that way. If we can’t remedy this soon, we’ll be compelled to feature this on the “How to F*** Up a Great Product” series.

December 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

On relfection I tend to agree with the above comments – I hate the new terms “Bills” and “Purchases” and “Sales” – they make no sense to a large proportion of users.

Marg Roy of BFB
December 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm

There is another thread on Xero Community “Tell us how we are going” and most people do not like the change in terminology.

Philip the terminolgy is wrong and inaccurate in defining what the sub ledgers are doing. The Accounts Receivable sub ledger holds details of all debtor activities and reconciles to the Ledger Balance Sheet account called Accounts Receivable. Sales is one component of the total debt held by a client and in the Ledger is a P&L account! So using the new terminolgy SALES (sub ledger) = Accounts Receivable (ledger) or Sales (P&L teminology) = Accounts Receivable (BS terminolgy). How could your accounting advisers approve this?

December 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

Stop bitching about the new terminology and get on with it, sometimes you just have to move on with the times, Xero is the best Accounting System on the market and is also light years ahead of other packages.

Murray Long
December 30, 2012 at 5:59 am

I also agree with Munawar Ahmed and Chris. But if there is no appetite to change it back permanently can users at least be given the option of which terminology they prefer?

January 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm

The new terminology is a major step backwards – I agree bring back the option of the correct accounting terminology for those who wish to use it. For example not all outgoings are “purchases” for example loading a tax invoice…. thats not a “purchase” at all !! Xero you’ve dumbed it down too too much.

March 1, 2013 at 4:11 am

Can you please let me know when is the next release for Purchase order. in terms of quote I am happy using Quote roller. I only need Purchase Order processing.

April 21, 2013 at 12:24 am

What Amine said… :)

April 21, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I have same question. When do you expect to have purchase orders? That may tip the scale for me to switch from FreshBooks. I love the simplicity and some other parts of freshbooks, but I’m starting to find a few limitations, that Xero takes care of.

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