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Change the way you work with reports

Posted 5 years ago in Advisors by Xero
Posted by Xero

Today we’re releasing a new layout editor which allows you to customize nearly any aspect of a financial report, as well as a new report center experience. This brings unparalleled reporting power to Xero with the flexibility to suit any user.

Layout editor

A little over a year ago Xero released a layout editor to allow you to modify the key financial reports — the Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss, Movements in Equity and — for our partners using Report Templates, some very powerful schedule creation abilities. It was a huge step forward with powerful row level customization — grouping accounts together, creating formulas and ordering items exactly how you want them to show. Today we add the logical next step, column customization. Plus we’re making it available to all users of Xero reports — businesses and practices alike.

All the columns you could want

Prior to this release, columns were ordered in reverse chronological order, they were all the same time span, and they were all continuous. You couldn’t add budgets to anything, and you couldn’t define your own variance calculations. Now you can do all of those things!

You can define all characteristics of the date columns, what time frame they cover, what they are titled and in which order they will show.

add date

You can add budgets to the Profit & Loss and also to reports that contain schedules like the Notes to the Financial Statements. You can customize where they show, the time frame, and the titles.


Compare anything

Formulas let you calculate variances between any columns on your report. Whether actuals vs budget, actuals vs other actuals, you can now compare anything.

Budget variance 2

As well as the new columns behavior, the user interface for accounts, groups and formula rows has been improved. As before, there is still an easy and intuitive drag and drop interface to move items around. You can now hide total rows to create cleaner layouts, or you can rename them. Lastly, the means by which you show the detail of all the accounts, or summarize them together to create a single line is now a simple toggle, which also keeps your layout page cleaner.

Report Center

The report center has been completely rebuilt. It brings all of Xero’s reports, both old and new, into one place. We’ve added some great new functionality that we think you’ll love – especially the ways you can very easily tailor a report to suit your specific needs.

Reports are now grouped into new categories that make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Just click the three dots to expand a group and see more reports.

You can still use the star icon to favorite any report (new or old) so those reports always display at the top of that group and in the Reports menu.

Better yet, we’ve introduced a new search function so that you can quickly find the report you need. This screenshot shows the results when you search for “Rec”.

report center

Xero’s default report layouts are great — but sometimes you need to tailor them to your specific needs. Now after editing the layout and settings of any new report, you can save the layout to use again with one click. Simply click Save as Custom.

You can save more than one custom layout per report, so now you can create as many reports as you need to manage your business.

What’s next for reporting?

There are two pieces of work which are underway now, to be released in the coming months. Tracking Columns will allow you to set one or more tracking values to show in a column on a report. This will allow consolidation of multiple values into one column as well as showing more than one tracking value on any given report.

The To Date convenience picker option. (Year to Date, Quarter to Date, Month to Date.) Will allow even easier reporting up to the current day, taking advantage of the always online nature of Xero.

We’d love to hear what you think about the improvements to reporting in Xero and if you’d like to learn more head to the help center for a comprehensive guide of the new functionality.


July 26, 2016 at 7.26 pm

Have had a brief look at the new Report Centre and Layout Editor. There is a lot to like here and I’m keen to make use of the additional functionality. Well done the development team.

A couple of things are missing though which would be really useful. If you have a group of columns such as a 12 month spread – the formula to add all the columns for a total is clumsy. A “Sum” function like in Excel – or a button that you tick in Report Settings to create a total column or YTD column would be ideal – is that on the agenda?

I was told at a Roadshow that all of the template P&L reports currently in the old reports (ie Act vs Budget, Current Fin Year, Mth to Date Progress) would be replicated in the new style reporting – but that does not seem to be the case. Some of these are quite useful as a base report to then enhance – are there plans to offer those as an option – or do they need to be built from scratch as a custom report – client by client?

Following on from the last comment – will there be practice wide custom reports that can be created from a client – or do these need to be created from My Xero>Reports now?


John Mahon
July 26, 2016 at 8.24 pm

Looks good.

Any chance soon of more than one entity per database? More than one VAT report?

Useful for example if a business has several shops each a separate company with different minority shareholders.



Marilyn A Parham
July 27, 2016 at 12.28 am

This is a great move forward for reporting. Unfortunately, I don’t see the one feature I have wanted since the beginning…% columns on the income statement. This is critical to an accountant analysis. It is probably the absolute MOST important thing besides the accuracy of the numbers themselves. I was under the impression this feature was implementing with THIS rollout. Am I mistaken? If I’ve missed it, please let me know how to access it. If I’m not mistaken, please provide a timeline when it will be available.

Luke McLeay
July 28, 2016 at 9.03 am

You can create this % column yourself using the formula column. I.e. Column 1 ÷ Column 2 x 100 in a formula will give the percentage you are after.

July 28, 2016 at 9.38 am

Hi Marilyn, thank you for the feedback.

If you are referring to % comparative columns these can now be added by using the formula column function and inserting the relevant formula.

Best, Neill.

Stephen Sweeney
September 12, 2016 at 6.42 am


Stephen Sweeney
September 12, 2016 at 6.44 am

I think Marylin is asking for common size column … like row as a % of revenue for a P&L, or row as a % of total assets on the asset section of a balance sheet. Pretty fundamental and glaringly missing.

October 8, 2016 at 9.44 am

Yes please Xerox, can we get an update on this?

Denise Chisholm
July 27, 2016 at 8.13 am

Not happy with the changes, was easy to customise the reports before, now is taking way longer. Also had no prior notice it was about to happen.

July 27, 2016 at 11.57 am

I like the new reports as I have been playing with them under the New Report section for the while. It takes a while to build your custom reports, but once established you can access them easily.

But I’m very disappointed that the Account Transaction still does not have a running balance. This has been asked for a long time, by many people, yet Xero continues to ignore it. Having a running balance in the Account Transaction report makes problem solving and reconciliations considerably easier. It is also available in every other accounting package I use. Xero development seems determined to add every other possible filter or column.

I know I can export to Excel & add it myself or export the entire General Ledger to Excel, but that is not the case with any other accounting package.

Xero please focus on adding the basics before moving onto adding features that will be rarely used.

September 2, 2016 at 1.53 pm

+1 on the running balance in the Account Transaction report. It is mind boggling that this feature is still missing. Maybe it’s not sexy enough so it doesn’t get the priority from either the marketing department or the programmers. As an adviser it is very frustrating to have such a basic feature missing from an accounting package. Exporting to Excel just to do problem solving and then switching back to Xero to open the entry is very inefficient

Sue Green
June 23, 2021 at 5.29 am

I would like to see this too
I don’t normally complain but this is a standard requirement when can we get it please

Beeny Atherton in reply to Sue Green Xero
June 23, 2021 at 10.02 am

Hi Sue, thanks for getting in touch. The running balance is available on the Account Transactions report and it displays a cumulative balance for each transaction grouping in your report. You can find more information here. I hope that helps.

Mark Lawton
July 27, 2016 at 12.36 pm

This is a great update and allows heaps more flexibility to the reports. – Well done Xero!

The only thing missing is the ability to use tracking codes which I think is coming and also a YTD date type so you can run a report at a certain date and automatically have it generate a YTD column for the current year and the previous year. At the moment you would have to do this manually using a custom date range which will not automatically update if you ran the report at a different date.

I have added a feature request here https://community.xero.com/business/discussion/38439489/

Bill Hardie
July 27, 2016 at 2.27 pm

I like what I see so far.

Any estimate of roll-out date for tracking columns and “to-date” columns? Year-to-date reporting in particular is a basic management reporting requirement and I see little value in converting clients’ existing (monthly management report) P&L’s until that is available. (The old “show YTD” tick box is simplicity itself.)

July 27, 2016 at 3.18 pm

While I do like the idea of the new reports – the features that have been lost make them un-usable for me.
To not be able to sort accounts by the account code, and not having the YTD options – are completely impractical, so I will need to keep using the old reports.

Are you planning to discontinue the old reports? Because that would be a major disadvantage!

John Patel
July 27, 2016 at 5.05 pm

Taking too much time now , also accounts are hidden under sub Account heads, we need to make guess where is the account

Kingsley Davidson
July 27, 2016 at 5.44 pm

Looks good, but as Natalie says, we also need to be able to sort by Account Code and more importantly, display the Account Code. My client has hundreds of accounts in their P&L and their Board uses the Account Codes to quickly find the accounts.
Can this PLEASE be included? Pretty please???

October 8, 2016 at 9.44 am

Yes please!!

Mike Smith
July 27, 2016 at 9.38 pm

When are the new flexible features coming for the Trial Balance? I know my team would love to see a TB with 2 years of figures side by side.

And what are the plans for updating the Management Report pack to include the flexible new reports instead of the old fixed ones?

Now that would be a winner!!

Luke McLeay
July 28, 2016 at 9.11 am

The statement “You can add budgets to the Profit & Loss and also to reports that contain schedules like the Notes to the Financial Statements.” Is not correct, while I have found you can add a budget column in a Profit & Loss this column can not be added in any other report including the Xero default Notes to the Financial Statements.

Luke McLeay
September 13, 2016 at 9.56 pm

Looks like you have fixed this issue now, I have now created a report that is not a P&L that has a budget column. Still waiting for a column that can have custom numbers in it similar to a custom row though.

Helen Fox
July 30, 2016 at 11.40 am

Enjoying working with the new reports. Getting easier each time I go in and customise (less clicks too). Thank you Xero you’re awesome.

Mark Blundell
August 1, 2016 at 11.36 am

Yes we will do more layouts, but we don’t want to create lots of different layouts in report centre to do it, but rather have a better Report Settings experience within a report to get to the common variants. You can then customise these further and save them if you wish.

If you need divisional reporting then Tracking in Xero is ideally suited to that, however if you need to run multiple separate entities each with its own discrete VAT return you will need to set each up in its own organisation.

This was a foundation release and a number of features that clearly belong in the layout editor are not there yet. % variance against a group total, rather than a column value is definitely in our near future but before we can get there we needed a lot of things like the drag and drop to place columns in specific places, renaming of columns and the formula editor. Those are very useful in and of themselves and so we choose to release now. If you were lead to believe % would be in release one then I’m sorry but that wasn’t what the first release was going to be, but rest assured we are now much closer to it with this release under our belt.

We will do it, and we have a plan, but it needs other things to line up first. I don’t agree that the features in this release will be rarely used. A scan of social media, and also my inbox shows that a lot of people have been waiting a long time for this and are very happy with this first stage.

I totally agree, tracking first then the YTD/QTD/MTD date pickers. We are already working on it.

Tracking columns is iterative on top of what we released last Tuesday and I see that being released within the next two months. The YTD/QTD/MTD date options are a little more involved and will be devloped in parallel to tracking columns, but will take a a bit longer before they are released.

In most ways the new reports now entirely eclipse the functionality of the old ones, certainly in terms of how precisely you can layout the reports.
Will the old reports be retired? Absolutely, but not until we have full feature parity. We definitely will not remove access to the old reports until things like YTD, account codes, currency related features etc are all there. Even once we have parity we will give a lot of warning before anything changes.

@Mike Smith
Ultimately all reports will be moved over to the new reporting system, and the trial balance is fairly high on the priority list.

Heather Smith
August 10, 2016 at 11.24 pm

The first video in this blog at 1:37 mark suggests it is easy to access “Business Performance” dashboard – but infact it has dropped off the Reports tab, and you can’t star it.

On a text box in the new report – if you don’t overtype the second line that says ‘Enter text’ it appears as dull grey – it does not disappear from the final report…see here at 3:10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNyCgiq5CnQ

Heather Smith
August 10, 2016 at 11.28 pm

A reset option would be good too.

August 16, 2016 at 5.29 pm

I completely agree with this. I’ve saved the old New Report Balance Sheet as Template before & it has locked it as that days day and there is no way to re-set it to show “Todays” date.
I’ve tried, Xero Support have tried and still no luck.
A re-set option would cover this and many other possible boo boos.

Heather Smith
August 10, 2016 at 11.31 pm

Is there a way to migrate old customised report layout styles to the new reports?

August 16, 2016 at 5.36 pm

Is the Budget Manager likely to undergo any updates in relation to the reports soon?
I love the grouping on the new reports, and would love to see this flow through to Budgeting.
An example is we list the company cars in Xero & each car gets its own account.
The difficulty this poses then is that Budgeting for the Registration i need to go to the specific month whereas entering in a one off yearly budget would be a lot less research.
A second issue we come across is that we link multiple accounts under one Group in Profit & Loss. The option to link multiple accounts in the Budget and have them flow through to other reports as a Group would also be ideal.

Karen Bussing
August 28, 2016 at 6.47 pm

I recently created a custom P&L in New Reports with great success – the client loves it and creating it was easy. One thing – how do you include accounts that don’t yet have balances in them?

Ken Grimes
September 4, 2016 at 12.25 am

So how are you going with a Livestock Trading report, workable Australian Depreciation schedules, Balance forward options for equity accounts, etc.

September 15, 2016 at 12.52 am

I’m trying to use the formula in the variance column to show a negative for overspend or lower revenue and vice versa but it treats the report figures as positives regardless of accounting sign. Do I need to use the “if” function ?

November 3, 2016 at 4.19 am

Confused…. I have spent an hour trying to create a budget vs actual report under a tracking option.
I have the columns in but the dates seem fixed to what they were when I created the columns (entering dates in the date range on running the report doesn’t change them!?)
Surely we don’t have to set one up for every month/quarter etc?!

Mark Blundell in reply to Charlotte
November 3, 2016 at 8.35 am

Hi Charlotte I suggest you reach out to the support team on this.
If you have a report dated November and you add tracking and budget columns for November as well, then if you update the report date range to December, the columns will move along too.

Amy Dingley
November 14, 2016 at 8.11 pm

As a Xero Partner and Xero Practice Studio User , can I customise a P&L and save as a template to use across all clients? or do I have to create custom P&L’s in each clients Xero?

If I can save as template and use across all clients.. can you please tell me how to do this.

Michael Teixeira
November 25, 2016 at 11.20 pm

Tracking Columns is a real game-changer for us – to be able to produce a P&L with both tracking fields, by month – any update in timing for this?

December 12, 2016 at 2.46 pm

WOW, just love the fact that I can now do a YTD actuals compared to full year budget then do a calculation to see how much budget is left. I was getting sick of exporting and modifying the reports for individual cost centres. Really happy with the improvements. Keep it up xero

Tom Trainer
February 1, 2018 at 6.06 pm

I hope we don’t lose the old reports. They had a unique URL that you could send to a client if you wanted. The new ones don’t.

Also, the new ones don’t have the client name in the title of the browser tab, which helps in conjunction with other software such as Chrometa.

August 6, 2020 at 2.20 pm


Without having read all the comments above, I just want to see PLEASE keep the old reports – they’re a quick easy format.

The biggest barrier to the new reports for me is when you dump them into excel they have merged heading fields, and you can’t simply sort/amend/add – fixing that one thing would enable us to move across easily.


Beeny Atherton in reply to Bridgette Xero
August 6, 2020 at 7.01 pm

Hi Bridgette – thanks so much for your comment and for sharing your thoughts with us, which I will pass on to my team.

Khaled menaist
September 22, 2021 at 4.02 pm

Hi Xero team,
An urgent need to be able to separate tracked categories in rows in one column.
This will help separating Operating expenses from general and admin expenses. Currently i am doing so in excel.
Hope to see this feature soon as will safe time and improve reporting.

Xero in reply to Khaled menaist Xero
September 23, 2021 at 10.42 am

Hi Khaled, your comment has been shared with the relevant team who will look into this matter.

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