Brought to you by

The beautiful alternative to sub-accounts

Posted 5 years ago in Advisors by Genny Stevens
Posted by Genny Stevens

At Xero we’re always challenging the status quo and thinking about the best way of doing small business accounting from a design perspective. This can occasionally leave those of us who have used other accounting software packages trying to do things “the way we’ve always done it”. Case in point – sub-accounts.

If you’re used to carefully setting up your accounts in a way which clusters similar activities together by account code, or are used to relying on sub-accounts to sort your data for reporting, the simplicity of Xero’s chart of accounts may appear daunting

Xero’s philosophy of being “beautiful” really shines here. Instead of having a bloated and clunky chart full of sub-accounts, Xero has two functions available to all users – report grouping, and tracking.

The video we’ve created takes you through just how simple it really is to get comprehensive reports without sub-accounts.

Report grouping lets you create fully customised reports – from high level overviews through to highly detailed reports. This gives you full control on how information is reported. Tracking categories can separate your financial data out even further – without having to create numerous new accounts.



December 3, 2013 at 1.49 pm

I love the simplicity of Xero’s customised report layouts – I think it’s pretty much best in class. I would prefer if more of the reports were customisable (rather than just P&L and Balance Sheet) and if there were more sorting options (alphabetical isn’t always best), but overall I think they’ve done a great job balancing simplicity and functionality.

December 3, 2013 at 8.22 pm

Agree with Chris other reports need ability to customize as does budget manager need layout options available.

December 4, 2013 at 10.48 am

I’ve heard rumblings about a major rewrite of reporting, is this true?

Andrew Tokeley
December 4, 2013 at 4.00 pm

@Taylor – yes, we are doing a lot of work on reporting at the moment. The main concepts will remain the same but we’re adding more options to control filtering, sorting, selectable columns…

@Ed – Budget Manager is a “special” report and so won’t inherit this redesign.

Derek Draper
December 7, 2013 at 4.34 am

Looking forward to a more robust reporting solution for US partners!

Jay Kimelman
December 9, 2013 at 10.11 am

We have been using the report groupings to meet our clients reporting requirements. Can wait for the reporting enhancements to be released, excited to see the tag feature!

December 9, 2013 at 6.48 pm

Unfortunately this grouping does not apply to a financial reporting?

December 9, 2013 at 6.49 pm

Can’t wait for the unlimited Tracking Categories update 🙂

September 23, 2014 at 8.43 am

Can group tracking be used on the Balance Sheet? I’d like to perform fund accounting to track grants and other restricted funds.

September 24, 2014 at 11.09 am

I use the tracking category to track grants in the P&L and then journalise the balance sheet values at the end of each month. This means when I print a P&L (cash basis) for one or all grants it gives me the unspent fund value for each grant. The balance sheet journal doesn’t affect this value.

AliAsgher Sunelwala
June 14, 2015 at 4.12 pm

We still need the ability to see grouping in other reports like Direct Costs (COGS) where you can see how much money was spent in different Direct Cost accounts with different vendors.

Anthony Yeung
November 17, 2015 at 3.46 am

Xero does not allow you to view in a single Balance Sheet report all the different tracking categories, which defeats the whole purpose of them getting rid of sub-accounts or hierarchies.

Strangely, Xero provides this capability on the P&L but just not on the Balance Sheet report.

October 13, 2017 at 4.11 am

This isn’t beautiful, it’s just had to use. Might be nice for small businesses, but not very helpful for small charities who need to break their expenses down 4 different ways.

December 31, 2017 at 2.14 pm

After fighting with this for a bit just went back to QuickBooks. I don’t care how it’s structured behind the scenes- Xero should be able to make it *look* like there are multi-level sub-accounts so that we can easily drill into reports. Really disappointing.

January 1, 2018 at 1.28 pm

Nothing new here re Tracking. It’s just like businesses that use Cost Centres. The COA remains the same size, but the Cost Centres are used to distinguish between different departments. Come on Xero…you haven’t “revolutionised” anything here.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *