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Xero Projects: Drive profitability by easily tracking time and costs on every job

Posted 5 months ago in Xero news by Ben Watts
Posted by Ben Watts

Whether you’re a small business or an advisor working with one, it’s important to know which jobs deliver the best return on investment and which ones need to be reined in. Cue Xero Projects: the simple way to capture, track and report on the time and money spent on each job so you can proactively invoice, make informed decisions and manage your project financials more efficiently – all with one Xero login.

Projects makes it easy to track and understand your numbers

Profitability and time are the linchpin of service businesses and Projects was built with this in mind. It’s geared at businesses with straightforward time and job cost tracking needs and will really appeal to those still fiddling around in spreadsheets, or who find most project management software too complex.

With everything working together in Xero, and real-time information, it’s simplicity that really sets Projects apart:

  • Fully integrated with Xero
  • Unlimited number of projects
  • Supports fixed price and time and expenses invoicing
  • Available on iOS on Android
  • Assign your actual invoices, bills and bank transactions
  • Visibility across all jobs and how they’re tracking
  • Monitors budgets and job costs
  • Out-of-the-box reporting
  • Real-time view of all your Projects in one place

If your job costing and tracking needs are more complex, watch this space because we’re working on even more awesome functionality. Going forward, everyone from architects, engineers and tradies, larger accounting and legal firms and more can make use of this helpful tool.

Coming in 2018

  • 3 levels of Projects User permissions
  • Timesheet insights and reporting
  • Copy projects
  • Option to test-drive Projects in a Demo Company
  • Create projects from your Xero Quotes (later 2018)
  • Inform Payroll timesheets from your Project timesheets (later 2018)

Take a peek


Want in?

Xero Partners

Xero Projects is a great tool for small accounting and bookkeeping businesses, and it’s open to all Xero Partners at no charge. You can explore Projects for your own practice using the Xero Practice Organisation – and be sure to invite your clients to try it, too.

Simply pop into the explorer feature in Xero HQ to find clients most suited to Projects. Then flick them an invite directly from the Projects tab in their Xero organisation. If you’re the subscriber, you can enable projects for them right then and there. Not only is this a fantastic way to improve your client’s business, you’ll soon earn partner points for clients using Projects where you hold the subscription.

Small businesses

If you’re a small business with simple costing needs, Projects is likely the perfect solution for you. Reach out to your Xero bookkeeper or accountant and let them know you’re keen to get on board. They can help you decide if it’s a good fit,  then activate Projects and you’re good to go.

If you’re in the USA , and not working with a Xero advisor, keep an eye out for Projects in early 2018.

Learn more


Dave Jackson
September 13, 2017 at 5.10 pm

This looks like a great option, can you provide some detail on the cross over with Xero owned Workflow Max, or will this replace it?

Ben Watts in reply to Dave Jackson
September 14, 2017 at 4.28 pm

Hi Dave,

Workflowmax is still a big part of our job management strategy. Essentially we see them servicing different parts of the market.

Projects is best suited to small businesses and solo operators within professional service industries with simple job management needs such as design agencies and IT professionals. WorkflowMax is a full featured complete job management system. It has much richer customisation than Projects and is therefore better suited to those SMB’s running more complex businesses with large numbers of customers and staff.
Hope that helps

Tara in reply to Ben Watts
October 9, 2017 at 6.19 pm

However, Xero is much easier to use, and the invoices are much prettier and easier to customise, Workflowmax won’t let you have more than one invoice template – we have two locations and require a Vic and NSW template.
WFM won’t let you enter an ABN, it’s search function is absolutely terrible, and it won’t let you send expenses to your accounting software. The client data is pitiful – there’s no way to select multiple addresses for one client, there’s no way to set a specific accounts person for invoicing purposes.
WFM won’t let you give invoices a unique name or number.

September 13, 2017 at 5.27 pm

As a Xero user this is beyond offensive and literally makes me despise Xero. So because we buy direct from Xero, we can’t get this functionality we desperately need. But if we purchase through an accountant, we can get it, if they consider us worthy. If I were to end this the way I’d like to, it would involve profanities.

Ben Watts in reply to Josh
September 14, 2017 at 4.27 pm

Hey Josh,

For this initial release projects is available to clients of all Xero advisors. This means if your accountant or bookkeeper is a Xero partner, simply contact them to have the feature activated. Alternatively you can complete the form at and we can activate on your behalf. Towards the end of this year we will be making projects available directly to all organisations. Hope that helps.

September 15, 2017 at 11.19 pm

This enhancement will be a great addition for some of my clients, however I think Xero you need to keep an eye on your pricing, you are quickly becoming one of the more expensive in the market and hard to justify the cost.
$10 per person per company? Why not charge $10 total, to stop companies having multiple users just regestering one account and sharing it.

Ben Watts in reply to David
September 18, 2017 at 1.19 pm

Great to hear you’ve got lots of clients projects will suit. We know it’ll be super useful for a range of small business and it should also help you work with your clients to see where they can trim their costs and focus their time.

An introductory launch price (from January 2018) of NZ$7/per user per month will apply as we build out the product rising to the $10 price point thereafter. We have extensively researched the market and are confident this pricing offers huge value for our customers as we roll out more projects features and functionality into 2018 – keep an eye out for our product release updates to see how this is tracking.

Victoria in reply to Ben Watts
September 24, 2017 at 10.25 am

The features and idea are really great, but I really hope it’s not going to be $10/per user/month as it’s going to be too much of an additional cost comparing to other work management app or even with just using excel. You’re asking the business owners to pay at least an extra $120 per year on top of what they are already paying for the monthly subscription, and that’s only for one single user; I don’t think business with multiple users needing access would like that…

September 19, 2017 at 2.12 pm

I have had a look but it probably has a way to go to replace WFM for us and we are a small accounting firm. We have all our clients set up with a monthly recurring job template that adds in their various software costs. Xero projects looks like it is more suited to low job volume (under 10 or so per month), otherwise it will take hours each month setting everyone up

George Andrianakos
October 11, 2017 at 12.48 pm

Hi all

Just wondering which subscriptions Xero Projects is available for. I am an accountant and currently I have noticed that Xero projects is available for some clients but not all.

Any thoughts?

Ben Watts in reply to George Andrianakos
October 11, 2017 at 1.55 pm

Hi George,

Xero Projects is only available to Partners until full public release at the end of this year. Partners however can give access to their clients. This means if you have practice access to your client’s Xero organisation, you’ll be able to see the Projects tab in their org. If you are the subscriber, you can enable Projects for them right there and then. If you are not the subscriber, you can invite the subscriber to try Projects. This will send them an email and will make the Projects tab visible to the subscriber next time they log in.

Remember for a user who is not the subscriber to see the Projects tab, they will need to have the Projects user permission set for them.

Hope that helps

October 14, 2017 at 10.25 pm

I use xero now but FreeAgent has had this ability built in for ages within the standard price which is much lower than xero.

While I completely welcome this addition as it looks great , I think it’s long overdue and I don’t think it should be an extra cost when it’s only really adding something that other packages have done for awhile for much less!

Phil Hawkins
October 18, 2017 at 12.08 pm

Hi Ben

Is there a limit to the number of projects that can be created? Also, for customers with multiple projects, is there functionality to report on both the individual project and the total projects for a particular customer (eg. a customer may have 5 sites and we want to see the project P&L for the individual site/s and consolidated view? thanks.

Ben Watts in reply to Phil Hawkins
October 19, 2017 at 12.02 pm

Hi Phil,

No there is no limit on the number of projects that can be created. Within the current Project Summary report you can see a summary of your projects, either in progress, or all projects grouped by customer. This can give you an overall view of what is going on across all the projects for that customer. You can find out more about Projects reports here: Hope that helps.

November 19, 2017 at 11.28 am

Totally second the comment re: FreeAgent has had this for years!
I only discovered today that my moving to Xero will mean that I cannot have time by project, this is ridiculous!
Thank you for bringing this feature so that you can now align with other similar SAAS.

November 22, 2017 at 10.17 pm


I am working in IT Contracting company which we have Projects need to tack each cost and profitability per projects by using cost center or project profitability tracker, So please how can I get this option/Tool to be provided by Xero, We need it very urgent

Ben Watts in reply to Mohannad
November 24, 2017 at 3.30 pm

Hi Mohannad,
Great to hear Projects is going to be a good fit for you and your team. We’ll be making it more widely available during December. Keep an eye out within Xero, a new Projects tab will appear as soon as it’s available for you.

Stephen Harris
December 2, 2017 at 5.25 am

Hi All,

When it says Coming in 2018, do you mean January 2018?

Im trialling it out with a project and its necessary to have the expense claims linked straight to it, in fact all that you mention needs to be released asap (the user permissions, Project templates and timesheet insights).

Many thanks

Ben Watts in reply to Stephen Harris
December 14, 2017 at 3.40 pm

Hi Stephen,

Glad you’ve tried out Projects. If you’re also trying out the New Expenses claims you can already link these to your projects via the web interface.

We’re working hard on those other features so keep an eye out for product updates as we go through 2018. There will be new features in January 2018 but not everything described above.

December 13, 2017 at 6.51 pm

We’re a small consultancy but our billing is convoluted with a mix of fixed price and t&m projects that all have billable and non-billable time plus salaried and sub-contractor staffing. We use Harvest with a lot of manual guff throughout. I’ve now added Projects to my subscription, and its looking good, but very basic.

Keen on knowing when user access will come in (2018 early/late?) so my consultants don’t get to see invoicing and charging details, and also when timesheets and payroll will be integrated so that leave can be booked for perms right alongside project timesheeting (at the moment its two places!) and so that casuals can be paid from project billable time. Finally, you have charge rate at the task level when its often at the resource level (ie, same task can have separate rates for different resources) – presume there will be no change on this, and it will mean setting up tasks for every combination of task x resource-rate permutation?

Overall looks good but basic and might not take us away from Harvest just yet..

Ben Watts in reply to Joe
December 14, 2017 at 1.33 pm

Hi Joe,

Projects user permissions is currently work in progress, so would be earlier in 2018 rather than later. Appreciate the double entry currently between Projects time and Payroll time, and it is something we intend to look at. Assigning a charge rate at resource (staff) level is something we are looking it doing, however no specific timeframes at this stage.

Thanks for taking a look and passing on your feedback.

Charlotte Hunter
December 16, 2017 at 1.37 pm

Hi, when will quotes be integrated with projects please?

Ben Watts in reply to Charlotte Hunter
December 18, 2017 at 10.17 am

Hi Charlotte,

No specific dates at this point in time but is definitely on our roadmap.

January 11, 2018 at 4.59 pm

I also just wondered about integration of time tracking with payroll as well. We currently use Harvest and it’s pretty good but I can see you guys developing a more integration solution at the same price point — easy choice to come over for me. I’ll keep an eye on this development. I think it’s a good software development choice and the price is already what we pay to HArvest.

Ben Watts in reply to Mikey
January 12, 2018 at 1.39 pm

Thanks Mikey, lots more product development for Projects to come, including Payroll.

February 18, 2018 at 1.22 pm

Hi, I was looking at Xero for my general contracting business as an alternative to Quickbooks. Am I correct in understanding that Projects is still not available directly through the software for the customer? There are no local to me Xero accountants when I searched on your site, so does that mean I am excluded? I was seriously considering this software, but that is a feature I really need so it’s kind of a deal breaker.

Ben Watts in reply to Kayla
February 19, 2018 at 11.26 am

Hi Kayla,

Projects is currently still only available in the US through Xero partners, in all other regions is available to add directly to your Xero Subscription. I’ll ping you directly and make sure you can get access. Cheers!

Vicky Dryburgh
February 18, 2018 at 11.59 pm

Hi there
I have a client using Harvest which we integrate with Xero very nicely with regards the Invoicing side of things.
The client loves the timesheet process and data and the Budget and cost converstion to Invoice. Are there any differences other than price between Harvest and XERO Projects please? I can’t see any?
Thanks a lot
XERO Partner

Ben Watts in reply to Vicky Dryburgh
February 19, 2018 at 11.24 am

Hi Vicky, I’ll get one of our team to catch up with you directly. Thanks!

February 19, 2018 at 1.12 pm

Hi, My client is looking to switch from Timepro to a new project management product. We are looking at Projects or Workflow Max at this stage.

In projects, whilst time is still tracked separately to the payroll timesheets, are we able to view reports on an employee’s chargeable vs non-chargeable time from the project timesheet function?

Also is Xero looking at a feature to be able to include all detail from the task level into the invoice? If so, what is the timing on this?

Ben Watts in reply to Lexie
February 20, 2018 at 10.26 am

Hi Alexia,

At this point in time in Projects is still separate from Payroll, but we intend to have Projects time inform Payroll time. We are also working on visualisation of how time is spent by employees in a business for things like chargeable vs non-chargeable or total time entered over a given week say. Keep an eye out for that in the coming months. This will be supported by a more traditional report but I don’t have a specific timeframe on that.

If by all the detail on the task, you’re referring to the descriptions entered on time entries, then this is a common request that we are investigating, but no more than that at this point in time. Currently a project’s tasks are set up to mirror what will flow through to the invoice for a task and expense invoice. Hope that helps.

February 20, 2018 at 5.26 pm

When is the project templates function going to be released please? For monthly retainer based projects/services, not being able to duplicate/copy existing projects nor create a project from a template is going to make Managed Service (vs Professional Service) projects in Xero very painful.

Many thanks,


Ben Watts in reply to Jason
February 21, 2018 at 9.57 am

Hi Jason, look out for a copy project option coming soon 🙂

February 22, 2018 at 11.36 pm


Is it possible to import a project list via CSV?

Ben Watts in reply to Cat
February 23, 2018 at 11.40 am

Hi Cat,

No sorry, no import of projects at this stage.


February 23, 2018 at 3.06 am

We are currently looking to come on board with xero.
I see I can track costs of purchases and sales.
However I also need to enter labour to projects as a cost that is not billable.
Am I correct in thinking I can do this through the Expenses route, enter the charge but not charge?

Ben Watts in reply to kaz
February 23, 2018 at 11.39 am

Hi Kaz,

You can mark tasks or expenses as “non-chargeable”. This will then track their cost but not make them available to invoice. For bills or spend money you will need to assign them through to the project and then within that project mark it as non-chargeable. hope that helps

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