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Maximize small business performance with Xero and Microsoft Power BI

Posted 2 years ago in Xero news by Craig Little
Posted by Craig Little

What use is information if it’s hard to understand, hard to communicate, and hard to share with the people that need it, when they need it the most?

To make smart, informed business decisions, you need rich, up-to-date, and accurate financial information. To complete the picture, understanding, communicating and sharing this information is just as important.

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Xero’s integration with Power BI is now available.

Microsoft-PowerBI-+-Xero

What is Power BI?

Power BI is a business analytics tool, used to analyze data and share insights. It’s perfectly suited for any business, or accountants and bookkeepers looking to provide business advice to their clients. Power BI enables you to monitor business performance and get answers quickly, with rich analytics available on every device.

As a Chartered Accountant, the Power BI integration is a personal favourite of mine. I’ve always been passionate about helping businesses succeed, and would spend hours manually manipulating data to find the opportunities that would help them get ahead. Using Xero and Power BI makes this process easy. As an accountant or bookkeeper, you can now provide high value services with confidence to all of your clients, knowing the insights are current and accurate.

 

Xero Content Pack

With the Xero content pack for Power BI, you can see your data in a format that makes sense, and can analyze it with greater speed, efficiency, and understanding. You can create visualizations for the most commonly tracked small business metrics including cash position, revenue vs. expenses, profit/loss trend, and return on investment.

You can drill down more specifically to uncover insights like your best performing products or services, or see where your time is best spent, with important actionable items being presented front and centre. All the information in Power BI is dynamic, surfacing what’s important and giving you the power to dive into the detail.

Using Power BI – Inventory Report

Understanding who your best customers are, or finding out what products or services are in demand, are important cues that tell you a lot about your business, and are a great catalyst for business improvement. They get you thinking;

Why are they your best customer? What do they buy, and when do they buy it? Do I have lots of great customers, or does my business rely on only a few? And am I exposed as a result, or can I, and how do I, replicate them?

These are all great questions that can be tackled by an accountant or bookkeeper. In Power BI, the Inventory Report, tells you all of this, and more. And the information takes only seconds to present, segment, and surface, so you can better understand how your time and money is best spent to grow your business.

Power BI - Inventory Report Power BI - Monthyly Sales Amount by Product

Using Power BI – Action items

What do you do when you start work for the day? What’s the most important thing you should do? Do you have a routine or process you follow?

While the answer to these questions will vary from business to business, there’s time during the day where you’ll need to check in on the following things:

  • have your customers paid you?
  • what bills do I have to pay today? and
  • do I have enough money to pay them?

The Xero Content pack in Power BI has a tile dedicated to Action items. Action Items allow you, at a glance, to get a sense of where things are, and help you understand what things you can do in Xero to bring things up to date. Action Items help you keep your accounting data up to date, so you maximize the value of real time information to impact your business.

With Messages highlighting what you can action, and direct links into Xero, it’s quick and easy to “tick” things off and bring things up to date. And get back to running your business, completely up to date.

Power BI - Action Items - Main Dashboard

View your business data across your applications

It doesn’t stop there, Power BI extends a small business owners and accountants view beyond Xero, and allows them to easily view the Xero data alongside front-office data, including Dynamics CRM, Mailchimp, Salesforce, Google Analytics, Zendesk and Stripe.  All of your critical business data in one place.

Quick sign up

There’s many other examples of how Power BI can assist you make smart business decisions, and they can be explored in minutes, not hours.

If you’re new to Power BI, setting up is super easy and super fast. In fact, it would have to rank as one of the fastest sign up processes I’ve ever experienced. Enter and verify your email address, connect a Xero organisation to Power BI, which only takes a few clicks, and your first dashboard is available and ready to go.

Here at Xero we’re always looking at ways to make it easier for our customers and partners to make more money with less effort, and this partnership is a great example of this.

All the hard work is done, all you have to do now is sign up.

Power BI + Xero combines the scale of Microsoft-supported analytics with the approachability of the global-leader in small business accounting.- Amanda Aguillard, Aguillard Accounting

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Our team at Xero would really like to hear from you and your experience using Xero and Power BI.

Thanks.

64 comments

Nick Ciccocioppo
July 7, 2016 at 2.06 pm

This would be great to see – it’s just not working for me. If someone from support could contact me that would be fantastic.

Craig Little
July 7, 2016 at 3.03 pm

@Nick Sorry to hear – please feel free to email me directly with the detail and I’ll look into it for you craig.little@xero.com

Jerry Zhao
July 7, 2016 at 3.11 pm

Love it, best update!!!!

Peta Henley
July 7, 2016 at 4.44 pm

Would love to use, but my work email apparently looks too much like a personal email and wont let me sign up

Mike Reid
July 8, 2016 at 11.42 am

I was excited to see this, then it doesn’t load/connect.

Craig – I have emailed you direct as per above message – hopefully we can get this rolling.

Kylie
July 8, 2016 at 12.59 pm

Where do we sign up?

Craig Little
July 8, 2016 at 1.27 pm

@Kylie Hi Kylie. You can sign up via our Xero + Power BI Landing Page, or directly from the Microsoft website. Both links are in the blog above

James
July 8, 2016 at 2.53 pm

Great update over the Beta, can we expect to see payroll data anytime soon? It leaves a huge hole in our data analysis

Kylie
July 9, 2016 at 8.40 pm

I would love to sign up but it won’t let me! It doesn’t like my email as it doesn’t look like a “work” email…which is unlucky as my “work” email is a gmail, we are just a small business 🙁

Matthew Brooks
July 9, 2016 at 10.22 pm

Great idea, but when I click the Sing Up link and enter my email address I get a message:

Microsoft Power BI
Sorry, that didn’t work
There’s a problem on our end. We’re working on it, so try again later.

Chris Milne
July 10, 2016 at 7.28 am

Great tool – but not data coming through

Kerry Thompson
July 10, 2016 at 1.13 pm

Awesome stuff – already use Power BI for a number of things and glad to see Xero providing support for it.

Ed Henry
July 10, 2016 at 6.06 pm

Hi Craig, I cant seem to get it to work either. I have connected to my organisation but no figures are appearing. Thanks Ed Henry ed@5mc.com.au

Peter Johnson
July 11, 2016 at 10.26 am

Hi Ed,
I had the same issue. It takes quite a long time (hours?) for the data set to fully populate. Please let it run overnight and check it again in the morning. You should get a “Data set populated” notification on something to that affect once it’s done.
Regards,
Peter

Sonia Cuff
July 11, 2016 at 12.45 pm

Hi Craig, can you see your figures this morning?

Sonia Cuff
July 11, 2016 at 12.45 pm

Sorry, I meant Ed!

Craig Little in reply to Ed Henry
July 11, 2016 at 5.41 pm

@Ed. Hi Ed. @Peter has kindly covered this off for me. I’ve just posted a comment about the time taken for dashboards to populate for larger Xero files. Please let us know if you’re still experiencing issues.

Rachel
July 10, 2016 at 6.36 pm

Hi we run our email’s through gmail although have a different domain name. Looks like you can sign in with that email address. Is that correct? Is it only available to outlook users?

Will Fairhurst
July 10, 2016 at 7.51 pm

Love the idea but also finding no data on dashboard after successfully connecting…any thoughts? Cheers, Will

Daniel Mapletoft
July 11, 2016 at 2.40 pm

Not working for me either. No figures are coming through. Getting failed to publish dataset error

Daniel Mapletoft
July 11, 2016 at 2.48 pm

It says my credentials are invalid, but then how did I authorise it?

Craig Little in reply to Daniel Mapletoft
July 11, 2016 at 5.43 pm

@Daniel. Hi Daniel. Please see my comments re the time it can take for some dashboards to populate. In regards to your credentials, are you having trouble signing into Power BI or connecting to Xero?

Daniel Mapletoft in reply to Craig Little
July 12, 2016 at 10.24 am

Hi Craig, thanks for you reply. No, no data yet for xero, although I have a mailchimp dataset that is showing now. I’ve deleted and readded xero and I’ll check again tomorrow.
I can log into both xero & power BI fine. It was just when I looked at the data source settings for the xero dataset it said the credentials were invalid.

Craig Little in reply to Daniel Mapletoft
July 15, 2016 at 12.00 pm

Hi Daniel. How did you get on? In regards to the Xero dataset credentials being invalid, I’ll follow this up as to why this may have occurred. Note that you can edit these credentials to revalidate and connect to the Xero org by going to datasets > schedule refresh.

Craig Little
July 11, 2016 at 5.37 pm

@Mathew Hi Matthew. How are you getting on now? If things haven’t sorted themselves out, please let me know by sending through any necessary detail to craig.little@xero.com

Craig Little
July 11, 2016 at 5.40 pm

@Chris @Will

Hi. The Power Bi dashboard pulls through up to 1 year of data and the time taken to do so is therefore dependant on the amount of data in Xero. While the initial sign up process is fast, for larger files it could take up to several minutes to happen. Please let us know if you’re still experiencing issues.

Gary Smith
July 11, 2016 at 7.45 pm

This is great news, we use WorkflowMAX (Practice Management) for a lot of our Power BI figures, are there any plans to integrate with this?

Stuart Williams
July 12, 2016 at 5.01 pm

Great integration but no data coming through. Is it just a matter of waiting or is there something l should do or check. I got my analytics integration & the data came through almost immediately, but still no Xero data? Hope you can help – Stuart

Stuart Williams
July 12, 2016 at 5.02 pm

Please ignore this as the dataset is now populated. There must have been a lot of info to pull through. Looks great 🙂

Michael Martin
July 14, 2016 at 3.50 pm

Like some of the others above it took a while before the dataset was populated.

However, now I’m getting emails from no-reply@powerbi.com titled “Refresh failed:Xero has failed to refresh”.
Yesterdays error was: “The last refresh attempt failed because of an internal service error”. This mornings one was “An error occurred while processing the data in the dataset.”

Our other online datasets (mailchimp and Google Analytics) seem to update ok. Any ideas what’s going on?
Michael

Craig Little in reply to Michael Martin
July 15, 2016 at 4.26 pm

Hi Michael. Thanks for posting. I’ve passed this feedback onto Microsoft and will be in touch. In the meantime, if you do experience refresh issues, you can manually refresh the data. Go to the dataset and select “refresh now” from the pop up “dots” menu that sits beside the name.

Marilyn Bryce
July 15, 2016 at 4.12 pm

Hi
I haven’t got any Xero data coming through either. A few hours after connecting, I got the message “The last refresh attempt failed. Cannot connect to data source” This was 6 days ago and I haven’t received any further messages and still do data.

Can Power BI be connected to multiple Xero files using 1 login?

Craig Little in reply to Marilyn Bryce
July 15, 2016 at 4.43 pm

Hi Marilyn. Yes, you can connect to multiple Xero files using the one login. You simply need to select “Get Data” from the menu on the bottom left hand side of the screen and then chose Xero from the Content Pack Library. From here you just connect to a different Xero file than you have previously.

If your data isn’t coming through from Xero, first check that you have either Advisor or Standard + Reporting access to the Xero file. If you do, then you can try reestablishing the connection by going to the dataset and selecting, from the “dots” menu beside the dataset name, schedule refresh > data source credentials > edit credentials. From here you follow the usual connection steps, select the Xero file etc.

Eric
July 21, 2016 at 6.34 am

Rubbish. I’m getting error message left and right. First a “Failed to import data” then some other error about trying to connect too many times. Grrr.

Craig Little in reply to Eric
July 25, 2016 at 4.56 pm

Hi Eric. How are you getting on now? Sorry about the delay. If you’re still getting errors, please feel free to send me an email craig.little@xero.com with the technical details.

Martin
July 21, 2016 at 10.03 am

It’s great to see this up and running. I was surprised not to find an option to report by tracking category on the trial balance table. Am I missing something?

Craig Little in reply to Martin
July 27, 2016 at 3.45 pm

Hi Martin, yes you do have the ability to report by tracking category. In the dataset for your chosen Xero file, you find tracking categories under the “InvoiceLineItems” field header.

Martin in reply to Craig Little
July 30, 2016 at 1.12 am

Hi Craig

I can get the tracking categories for items on the invoice / invoice line items tables (e.g. supplier spend by tracking category)

What I’m after is to be able to analyse the balance on each trial balance account code by tracking category and contact name (we’re a charity so we don’t use a sales ledger but all income is coded to a tracking category)

Craig Little in reply to Martin
August 3, 2016 at 3.38 pm

Hi Martin, Got ya. Right now tracking categories coming through to PowerBI are only available for Bills & Invoices. A great suggestion to add as a feature requests though. Please feel free to add this here: https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas.

Test
July 23, 2016 at 6.02 pm

Can’t seem to get the Schedule-Refresh working for Xero in PowerBI. (Manual Refresh seems to be working fine but not intuitive).

In the Schedule Refresh section, i have put the credentials and it seems to authenticate fine. However the scheduled refresh keeps on failing:

Something went wrong.
There was an error when processing the data in the dataset.
Please try again later or contact support. If you contact support, please provide these details.
Data source type
Processing errorException of type ‘Microsoft.DataProxy.Exceptions.HybridException’ was thrown.
Cluster URIWABI-AUSTRALIA-SOUTHEAST-redirect.analysis.windows.net
Activity ID4b9a6af6-1bbf-4348-bb66-754ec63bcf87
Request ID4954475e-7e84-453a-a67d-122ebc674967
Time2016-07-23 05:46:26Z

BB
July 25, 2016 at 4.45 pm

As mentioned by a number of others here, we really need to slice by Tracking categories. That would make this very useful.

Craig Little in reply to BB
July 27, 2016 at 3.46 pm

Hi BB, you do have the ability to report by tracking category. In the dataset for your chosen Xero file, you find tracking categories under the “InvoiceLineItems” field header. You can then mix and match this field with any other you wish to report on.

DK
August 2, 2016 at 8.12 am

Hi, I finally got my data to populate only to see that there is no forward cash flow projections. Will this be added. This is fundamental to running small business and this is why we signed up. Please let me know.

Craig Little in reply to DK
August 3, 2016 at 3.14 pm

Hi DK. Thanks for your feedback. This is not something that is currently planned, but please feel free to add this as a feature requests here: https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas.

PowerBI is a business analytics add-on, aimed primary at understanding the key aspects of your business. For cash forecasting & budgeting we would recommend out forecasting/reporting & budget add-ons like; Spotlight, Crunch Boards, Float, etc.

Brett
September 3, 2016 at 1.25 pm

Xero is not showing up as a service for Power BI for me. I go to Power BI -> Get Data -> Services -> Get. A search for Xero returns no results, and going to More Apps and searching Xero returns no results either. Was the app pulled from the store? I see QBO on there but not Xero.

Craig Little in reply to Brett
September 6, 2016 at 12.21 pm

Hi Brett. Very strange. No, the content pack hasn’t been pulled from the Content Pack Library. Possibly search isn’t working? Try scrolling to the bottom of the page (page 1) and it should be on the bottom row on the right. Let me know if you’re still having problems.

Karen
September 30, 2016 at 10.49 am

I have the same problem. Xero isn’t an option to select. Should this work on the Global Edition?

Toby
September 10, 2016 at 5.18 pm

Is it possible to use PowerBI to report on Profit and Loss Actual vs Budget or similar?

Tim
September 19, 2016 at 8.17 am

Created a new free Power BI account to test this.

As per earlier comments it’s either the Power BI service or Xero dataset retrieval that is flakey.
The Xero Dashboard, Reports, and Dataset links have been created

The Dashboard has all the visualisation widgets but they are empty

Trying to run the Xero report results in an error
1. Loading Data..
2. Almost Done
3. ‘Something went wrong’ modal

I have to refresh the Power BI tab to click the … for the Xero dataset as it is disabled. Clicking the main ‘Xero’ dataset link does nothing, though I don’t know what it should do being a new Power BI user.

Tried manual refresh of Dataset but nothing changes.

Most of the time the ‘Xero’ link under Datasets on side menu is disabled, including the …
This looks like a Power BI issue.

If anyone has got this working out of the box first time or has done it successfully in the last day please advise as it’s a bad start..

Tim
September 19, 2016 at 8.31 am

It works.

Took over 20mins for the Dataset to be populated with unfortunately no visibility of progress in Power BI web.

Craig Little in reply to Tim
September 21, 2016 at 5.43 pm

Hi Tim. Sorry to hear you had trouble getting started. Depending on the volume of data in Xero, it can take some time. I like the idea of a progress bar, or similar, so you can see things working away. Please feel free to add this as a feature request here: https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas

andy morrison
November 23, 2016 at 10.06 am

Ive tried for days to get this to work.
It worked once but now failed.
Ive tried setting up additional bi accounts but everyone fails saying no credentials for data set.

Looks lime a good product, but its unusable.

Craig Little in reply to andy morrison
November 23, 2016 at 3.16 pm

Hi Andy, I believe this error is a result of access roles in Xero. You require either the “Standard + Reports” or “Advisor” user roles to access the reporting data for the organisation you’re connected to. Give this a shot, and please let me know if you’re still having problems.

Katrina
November 23, 2016 at 1.01 pm

I have added xero no problem in Power Bi but the dashboard has no data in it and refreshing it doesn’t work. I really need this to work ASAP!

How can I get this to work?

Craig Little in reply to Katrina
November 23, 2016 at 3.21 pm

Hi Katrina, depending on the volume of data in your Xero organisation, it can take some time to populate the tiles in Power BI. Instead of refreshing, try and give it a little more time and see if that helps. I just gave the process a run through myself and everything worked as it should. Probably took about 3-4 minutes to populate. Please let me know if you’re still having problems.

Tom Larkworthy
June 19, 2017 at 6.04 pm

Having no problems creating dashboards from multiple Xero organisations.

Although I would like to be able to look at the data as a whole from a group point of view. So, instead of viewing one organisation at a time, I want Power BI to allow me to create a dashboard that combines the group-wide data. The account codes are all the same in each organisation, as is the account names.

Is this at all a possibility?

Craig Little
July 4, 2017 at 2.43 pm

Hi Tom

Great to hear Power BI is working well for you. Unfortunately you can’t consolidate dashboards and this functionality isn’t something currently planned. Please feel free to add this as a feature requests here: https://ideas.powerbi.com/forums/265200-power-bi-ideas

If you’d like, we do have a number of other reporting apps that do perform consolidation. You may want to check these out here: https://www.xero.com/marketplace/app-function/s/reporting

Jono Rees
July 18, 2018 at 6.56 pm

Latest changes to either Power BI or the Xero reporting app has made the service somewhat useless for users who are trying to add new connections. The Xero App simply loads as read-only in the App section and cannot be published to a workspace.

Hope Xero or MS correct this asap.

Peter Harvey
August 13, 2018 at 6.30 pm

Hey Jono
There are two ways to use the Xero – PowerBI integration.
Users can install the Xero reports either as a Power BI app or as a content pack (see image attached). When you install it as an app, the content can’t be edited. When installed as a content pack, the content becomes part of a workspace and the report and dashboard can be edited.

Take a look at this image to see what I mean: https://ibb.co/mzXpRU

Thanks for your comment.

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