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Heavy hitters – it’s a new Profit and Loss

Posted 6 years ago in Advisors by Xero
Posted by Xero

We recently released new reports as well as newer versions of reports that did, offering features that previously didn’t exist. We’ve already gotten feedback that these reports are making a difference to people. However it’s the heavy hitters, the core financial reports, which really shine – welcome to the new Profit & Loss.

The Profit & Loss is our next big step towards making the core financial reports in Xero the best in the world. There are lots of great aspects to this release, I’ll go over the headlines and look at some of the hot button topics we know you care about. This video provides a good overview of what our new reports have to offer.

As with all new reports, the Profit & Loss uses convenience dates to quickly select from a number of commonly used date ranges. Under Report Settings there is a selector for cash or accrual basis, as well as the number of columns you want to show on the report. Like all new reports, if you save a template, the next time you run the report it will remember the last settings. The on-screen version of the report and the PDF are better spaced with a huge focus on improving the readability.

Most importantly, behind that innocuous grey Edit link, there is a new layout editor. It does exactly what it says on the tin and lets you lay out the order of groups and accounts on your report in just the way you want. It uses an intuitive drag and drop interface, and allows you to do some things which haven’t been possible in Xero before.


Header groups

First, you can now create top level groups/header groups. Previously you had to live with the names of the groups in our default layouts and you couldn’t create any extras. Using the new layout editor you can create as many top level groups as best illustrates your financial performance. So, if you would like to split Investment Income from Trading Revenue, well now you can!

When adding groups in the layout you can set groups to be a Top Level group.

Adding a new top level group in Profit & Loss

Once the group is created, you can drag and drop accounts into that new group and see the final result.

A better breakdown of income

This ability will allow a much better breakdown of income items, expenses, and also allows you to create groups beneath Net Profit if you want to show distributions after profit for trusts or partnerships.

New header levels are great, but we need to make sure that these new groups will be totaled correctly as well. So therefore you can now create and edit your own formulas!


Since we added a new header level group to this report, we need to make sure our Gross Profit formula knows to include it. Simply click on the formula heading to edit it.

Making sure GP knows about our new group

Editing is necessary in this case, but it’s just as easy to add our own formula if there is a subtotal or some analysis you want to see on the report. For example, a Gross Profit percentage!

Gross Profit Percentage

There are lots of formulas which are useful – Net Profit before Tax, EBITDA, partnership profit splits – so we hope this feature helps you build a better P&L!

All the things

The final feature worth mentioning, is that you can now order everything. Whether it’s accounts, groups or formulas, you can now edit the order they’re displayed in the layout editor. In the past we sorted by name, but that didn’t work for some groups. So if we look at the Cost of Sales group in the screenshot above, the order is alphabetical, and not how you’d wish it to be. You can edit the layout to put accounts in whatever order you wish, in this case definitely not alphabetical.

A place for everything, and everything in it's place


The future

So there we are, the first release for the core financial reports, but certainly not the last. This release is mostly about the layout editor, and it’s a really important one for us because it lays the foundation for a lot of really great features to come. Expect to see the following features over the coming months.

  • Drilldowns from the new P&L to the new Account Transactions report
  • New Balance Sheet report
  • New Movements in Equity report
  • Hanging / switching accounts
  • Custom date columns in layouts
  • Custom budget columns in layouts
  • Custom formula columns  in layouts
  • Page break triggers for PDF export
  • Layout editing of schedules in many places

We have a lot of features coming out and as with previous releases, when we have something which adds real value, we will ship it. So while this P&L doesn’t have features like budgets yet, there is a ton of value for so many people that it would have been a shame to hold it back.

Let us know what you think and enjoy making beautiful reports.



September 9, 2014 at 11.57 am

Looks great. Looking forward to having tracking and budgets in this report too, and also account codes which are useful if you manipulate the data in excel as I do for forecasting.

September 9, 2014 at 1.14 pm

Thank you! Please can we have account numbers in the finished report, with options for both their visibility and their use as a sorting key.

Dona Skaife
September 9, 2014 at 9.39 pm

Brilliant! finally able to pull off a report in a format that means something to each of individual client. Loving the roll out of features at the moment, keep them coming….

September 10, 2014 at 4.11 am

The new reports look interesting and it will be nice to see a margin % on the report, but honestly the new reports are not that useful to us, I’m much keener to see automated statements sent out by email.

The new reports look fantastic, though I found many took a long time to open, and hopefully in due course it will be possible to click through items to see details as that’s our biggest use case. Also, if I run a report for the April 2014 to end of March 2015 (UK) P&L, the figures column is headed “2015” rather than “2014-2015” – I hope that can be fixed as to me “2015” means Jan to Dec 2015.

September 10, 2014 at 5.02 am

Looks really good. One nerdy question, will you still be able to click on the numbers in the P&L report (and see what’s behind the number)? Is this no longer a feature – or a feature yet to be built? Thanks…

September 10, 2014 at 10.44 am

Thank you. I think any improvement in this area is appreciated as this was an area that was a bit light.

September 10, 2014 at 1.26 pm

Nice work customisation of reports are a great update.

Mark Blundell
September 10, 2014 at 2.30 pm

Hi everyone glad you approve of the new features!

@Ollie that is an interesting point you raise about the dates. When we first tested this we had calendar dates presented as “2014” and financial years as “FY2014” and the overwhelming feedback we got was that calendar doesn’t matter. When you talk about the 2014 year, everyone assumed it meant financial year.
Keen to hear others opinions on this, we are always happy to respond to need.

Mark Blundell
September 10, 2014 at 2.31 pm

Oh and for people asking about drilldowns from the P&L, it will be in an upcoming release, not long to wait.

September 10, 2014 at 3.02 pm

New feature looks good so far, although slightly concerning that sub-total and total formulas don’t automatically adjust for any new groups added in the report before these lines, eg in the example shown you need to manually adjust the Gross Profit formula for the new group that was added above this line as the existing formula is no longer relevant. Any view to build in the smarts to do this Matt?

September 10, 2014 at 4.02 pm

I’m with Ollie on this. For example 2014 could mean 2013-14 or 2014-15.

Jerry Zhao
September 10, 2014 at 8.30 pm

wish we can use in out accountant’s annual pack…

Charlie Harris
September 10, 2014 at 9.30 pm

Love the new P&L, layout was definitely an issue for us (recent Xero converts) with existing P&L; I was having to relabel accounts in ways I didn’t want to just to ensure the their order was how we wanted them for management accounts. However, the drill-down feature is crucial – I won’t use this report until it has that feature. More generally, would be great to freeze the LHS row of account names and the top column title line so that when you scroll around you can remember what it is you are looking at! This applied to all reports, not just the P&L. Also, and I know this issue has been raised before, it would be good as one of the options to be able to have the option of amending the order of periods to have either earliest or latest period ‘first’ as preferred.

Charlie Harris
September 10, 2014 at 9.31 pm

And I’m with Jerry, as soon as the P&L is fully operational with all features, it should replace the existing one for the purposes of monthly management reports.

September 11, 2014 at 12.30 am

Good new features. Is it in the pipeline to be able to run the new style P&L with Tracking Categories?

September 11, 2014 at 3.05 am

Where is the long overdue Annual GST Information Report, required for ATO compliance???

This report should take developers no longer than 25 minutes, but takes your customers hours to put together because Xero simply does not collate the information.

Would be nice if we can get this before Feb next year, when it next has to be used. Based on the development of the Quoting module I certainly won’t be holding my breath in expectation though..

September 11, 2014 at 3.25 am

A big step, thank you. Please add a “Location” option to the P&L.

September 11, 2014 at 9.48 am

The P&L features are great – I often export P&L to excel and do the same margin calcs. Please can we have the comparison of up to 11 months back though! 9 months isn’t enough to enable to picture of the whole financial year when you get towards the end of it, and some customers like to look at a rolling 12 month period anyway.
Also, maybe these reports should come with a “health warning” if you can create your own forumlae then essentially you can determine what your net profit is by moving that calc around……I’ve already seen huge problems in another desktop system caused by the balance sheet not “balancing” when things are moved around. Maybe some calcs just need to be “hard coded” ie derived from how the accounts are classified in Xero rather than leaving it up to user decision?

Mark Blundell
September 11, 2014 at 10.46 am

We can’t automatically include new groups in totals because we can’t know if that’s the right thing to do for all situations. You are right, a formula like Gross Profit is fairly obvious to you and I as we inspect it; but if you use formulas to subtotal specific revenue items and then created a new expense group further up the P&L and we automatically added your expense group into your revenue subtotal, that would be annoying. This is a power feature for sure, but if we want to allow creation of GP% and other analysis formulas, we need to give flexibility.

Financial years are always labeled with the year in which they end, so if you were an Australian company and your accountant gave you your 2014 accounts, that would be 1 Jul – 30 Jun 2014 accounts.

We considered it but the huge amount of work to make new reports work alongside old reports in a pack is better spent building better report packs which only contain new reports. So we are focusing on that.

You can run the existing AS report for a full year to get your G2, G3, G10 and G11 figures. This will let you easily complete your annual GST Info return if you have chosen quarterly with option 2.

paul volpe
September 11, 2014 at 12.23 pm

Awesome work on the P&L guys – you guys just get the fine balance between adding useful functionality without killing the product with complexity

I would like to be able to drill into the numbers in the new P&L like the old P&L could though.

September 24, 2014 at 11.21 pm

One of the common requests I get is tax estimation for a sole trader. As it is reported via their eoy tax return, I would like to be able to apply the different tax rates to each band of taxable net profit. Ie upto EUR20 is 36% tax, next band at 42% etc.

If there any way in the formula that I can enter a function such as if net income is greater than 20, then tax from first band is 20,000*.42. for the next band would be something like net profit >20k and netprofit <say 35k gives a taxable amount for this band at say 42%

Or is there another function elsewhere that is better for working this out. I am based in Europe so using the global edition.


October 3, 2014 at 4.18 pm

I am with Charlie on the headings being fixed on the screen for the P&L reports and to have a scroll down feature.

Adrian G. Simmons
November 22, 2014 at 8.57 am

Revisiting this update, and love it! I am so happy you are giving accountants the ability to design the report that works right for each customer. Your ability to add power features that aren’t clunky is one of the reasons I really admire your company. Thank you!

Peter Munro
November 25, 2014 at 1.29 am

Is this improvement available in the UK?

Mark Blundell
November 25, 2014 at 3.06 pm

@ Peter – yes this feature is out in all regions.

@Blair – I won’t say it is an outright yes, but there is a need for some advanced functionality in the formulas beyond the four mathematical operators we offer now. Will it allow what you describe, that remains to be built and tested but certainly it is an area that will get more work.

March 10, 2015 at 6.59 am

The P&L report does not show up in my list of performance reports. Do I need to be a premium user for this feature? is it available in the US? Do I need to upload a later version of the software (seems unlikely) or do you just not love me anymore 🙁

Mark Blundell
March 10, 2015 at 8.02 am

Hi Russ
If you are looking in the Performance Reports then you are looking at the old report centre. Under the reports menu choose New Reports and if you are in the US then the P&L report is named the Income Statement.

Jerry Robinnson
March 13, 2015 at 12.17 pm

Just spent an hour customizing the new P&L report. (Very nice!) However, I ended up needing to add a new account shortly thereafter. Is it possible to add the account to the new P&L template or do I have to redo from scratch?

Mark Blundell
March 13, 2015 at 3.09 pm

Hi Jerry if you edit the layout now the new account will be there, if you have any issues it would be best to log a support ticket, the team will sort you out.

March 25, 2015 at 12.59 pm

Interesting comments. I am a fairly new user so just catching up. We have a large number of reports feeding of the current P&L and like the fact that it gives totals eg total wages. If this is not going to be a feature in the new reports there will be a huge amount of customisation required to get the new template looking like the old reports. Will there be any functionality to save the existing format into the new reports as a template? I did raise separately some bug issues re departements and the editi functionality which I will wait to hear back on. Finally I am not sure how in this report you actually get your %gp totals. I am sure someone has figured it out, so can someone please point me to the documentation on this piece of functionality? I think this request has also been put in – we like the 3 month, month by month functionality and the month to month comparison for the year – If i read it right – this is coming? Thanks

May 1, 2015 at 10.45 pm

Hi there. The new layout options are great. A couple of things:
When i export the P&L to PDF the Month Headers on the 2nd page overlap the top 2 lines of figures;
I really need a monthly budget column and YTD column for actual and budget please. Will that be long in coming?


Mark Blundell
May 4, 2015 at 1.20 pm

This work is in development now, but is still a few months from completion, it will give you full flexibility over dates on actuals, budgets, and variances.

Karen White
July 3, 2015 at 11.55 am

Hi Mark,

Is there any further development on the completion of having the additional flexibility over the monthly budget and YTD columns in the V2 reporting?

November 10, 2015 at 7.29 pm

What is the timeframe on the roll out of the ability to add budget columns and column formula’s? I have school clients waiting very patiently for this feature so I can report from Xero their budget remaining by using this feature. Also being requested is a report where they can see for a selected account code – a transaction details report that shows year to date, full year budget and budget remaining.
Many thanks

Mandy Sullivan
December 23, 2015 at 3.33 pm

C’mon guys!!
Budgets on this report have been planned for over a year now, any idea when can we expect to see them? YTD budget & actual is also essential

Glen Williams
January 13, 2016 at 8.34 pm

Hi agree with the above. It seems to have been mentioned at the roadshows etc and part of the 90 promise. “Columns” were on the way we were told. For budgets, calculations anything we could imagine! I am working with a number of Charities and part of the decision for them to come over to XERO was the enhanced reporting options. I keep searching to find any update but can’t find anything.

Please advise state of play.


Al B
January 20, 2016 at 11.57 am

I’d be keen to see percentage changes available on the P&L when comparing periods against previous years to track growth and margins.

Also is there an option to print this in colour as in the previous report PDFs?

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