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Compare all areas of your business side-by-side with ‘Xero Tracking’

Posted 4 years ago in Product by Aaron Palardy
Posted by Aaron Palardy

Now you can easily dive into the detail of your business with tracking in Xero’s new reports.

All areas of your business, such as departments, cost centres and locations can be quickly and easily split out. The new reports combined with tracking provide even more information, in real time to enable better business decisions.

Checkout our example Financial Statements using Tracking for a property company.


Tracking categories are an addition to the custom report columns we released last month.

Now available in the:

  • Profit and Loss
  • Balance Sheet
  • Movements in Equity
  • Statement of Cashflows

As well as adding multiple columns each with different tracking, you can also set one column to  consolidate multiple tracking values.

“If you are a not-for-profit, you may want to set-up tracking categories to track grant income and expenditure, and therefore produce profit and loss reports detailing each individual grant or all grants as separate columns.”

Brad Harpur, Laurenson Chartered Accountants, Wellington


Using the recently released custom columns, you can now compare up to 36 columns side by side using actuals versus budgeted numbers, customizable dates, formulas, and notes.

  • Xero uses tracking instead of department codes or cost centers. This keeps your chart of accounts manageable and makes reporting on different departments very easy.
  • You can have two active tracking categories with many tracking options for each tracking category.

We trust you’ll love the flexibility that tracking columns bring. We’re looking forward to bringing you more reporting improvements in the future.

If you’d like to learn more, head to the help centre for a:


Tarun Aerry
October 4, 2016 at 11.40 am

What about tracking GST Report for a branch. This is being required for ATO reporting purposes where the client has applied for a branch under the same ABN, so that the client may lodge separate BAS reports but need to do signle tax return for business as whole.

Christian Newman in reply to Tarun Aerry
October 7, 2016 at 11.52 am

Hi Tarun,

Thanks for you feedback.

Currently Xero tracking does not allow for separate GST reporting, as you have noted. What I recommend is setting up two separate Xero organisations. When it comes to year end, you will need to consolidate the accounts to reflect the correct tax position for the entity as a whole.

This will make BAS reporting for each branch simple and efficient, as it will need to be done numerous times throughout the year compared to the Tax Return which will only need to be consolidated once at year end. There are numerous apps that can help with this including Spotlight Reporting for example. Please check out the App Market Place for more information.

I will pass your feedback on to our product teams to consider when planning future development.

Debbie Burgess
October 5, 2016 at 10.31 am

Great option but without being able to keep my financial reports and bank statements locked from administration staff there is only myself and my Administration Manager whom I am willing to give access to Xero. I am not even comfortable with my Administration Manager being able to drill down into the company financials to the level she is able. Please fix access levels and security as a matter of priority so that mid-sized companies such as ours can roll this system out throughout the organisation. This is a good product that is not being endorsed in Accounting circles because of the lack of security.

Jeff wright
October 10, 2016 at 2.52 am


Arn Aston
October 5, 2016 at 6.47 pm

I assume Xero still has the Reports split by Account Category?
If so then too cumbersome to get an overall picture, Xero would be better of fixing the selections for all/most clients who need it so the Tracking Report is by the Tracking Category and then whatever Account Category. Until this happens then Tracking is Xero is way too cumbersome. Hundreds have commented on my comments previously in the XeroCommunity Blog so I’m not the only one wanting a fix. Come on Xero get with it or at least explain to the many users why it cannot be by Tracking Category then Account Category.

Christian Newman in reply to Arn Aston
October 7, 2016 at 12.07 pm

Hello Arn,

Yes, Xero still has reports displaying accounts as per your chart of accounts. In order to give Xero Reports more flexibility and depth, we have given you the added optional benefit of using Tracking to overlay further details across those accounts.

This means that while your chart of accounts still exists, it can be much smaller and less complicated. You no longer have to have sub codes and departments that run down the page as we give you the option to run your tracking categories across the page. Making viewing the reports a much more beautiful experience for our customers.

Glen has raised a question that leads on from this as below, which gives you a good use case where you can actually use both Tracking with account codes to further expand your flexibility. I have included the response to this below.

If you wanted to have a grid style report (rows and columns), then you can use a mixture of Xero Tracking Categories, which show horizontally across the page, combined with your regular Account Codes, which will show vertically down the page.
Note that you can have up to 36 columns across the page to compare everything from budgets and actuals, formulas and tracking categories.

Glen Barnes
October 5, 2016 at 8.06 pm

So can we set up tracking categories by row and column? For example if you have 2 tracking categories “store” and “product group” and you want to have a grid rather than endless columns So given:

– ABC Street
– FGH Street

Product Group
– Prod Grp 1
– Prod Grp 2
– Prod Grp 3

You might want sales broken out by row by store and by column for production group. It seems that the reports are pretty one dimensional in this regard? Rows aren’t something that you have much control over?

Christian Newman in reply to Glen Barnes
October 7, 2016 at 12.01 pm

Hello Glen,

If you wanted to have a grid style report, then you can use a mixture of Xero Tracking Categories, which show horizontally across the page, combined with your regular Account Codes, which will show vertically down the page.

Note that you can have up to 36 columns across the page to compare everything from budgets and actuals, formulas and tracking categories.

October 6, 2016 at 11.22 pm

This is not as valuable as increasing the the number of tracking categories we can have. 2 is not enough 🙁

Stuart of the brew
October 10, 2016 at 8.01 pm

I agree Viktor when I saw Xero’s message about tracking reports being improved, I though yay, now I can get more detail by adding more tracking categories, but alas they have spent time allowing me to report in more detail about what really is very simplist set of categories. Please Xero give us at least two more categories to splice and dice our data with.

Linda Borst
October 7, 2016 at 2.46 pm

When will reports broken down (such as the income statement) by Tracking Category only show tracking categories WITH ACTIVITY for that period? I have a couple of clients with 20+ tracking categories and every time we run an Income Statement that shows All of
The tracking categories and the total of all of them, the report includes ALL tracking categories not just the ones with activity. It is even including archived categories. I have to download into Excel each month and remove the columns with no activity during that time frame. Way too time consuming. Please contact me if this doesn’t make sense.

Christian Newman in reply to Linda Borst
October 10, 2016 at 9.03 am

Hello Linda,

As far I can tell, you are still using the old reports which will show 0.00 in all columns when you select tracking. Please note that archived tracking values will show if any transactions were coded to that value during the reporting period selected.

I suggest you change to the new reports where you can pick the columns you want to show. So if there is no activity in a certain tracking category, you can simply not select to show it.

We are working on adding a setting that will offer the additional option to “show all columns that have activity in this period.”

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