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Laying the foundations for a more beautiful user role experience

Posted 5 years ago in Product by
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Those that have lived and breathed Xero for some time will know that we’ve been updating our pages to make them more beautiful, intuitive and simpler to use. As part of this process, we’ve redesigned the User Permissions page. We’ve also completed some important work in the back-end to ensure that Xero could support more user role options in the future. New Expenses and Xero Projects need more flexibility with who can do what, and this update allows for this – more on those below.

Don’t worry, we haven’t removed any of the abilities you have now, but there are some changes of wording that you might want to familiarise yourself with:

  • Invoices becomes Sales and purchases for Standard and Advisor users
  • Bank reconciliation is now Bank accounts and balances
  • Contact Bank Account Admin is simply called Bank account admin
  • What is Cash Coding? This is now better explained for ‘non-cash-coding’ and ‘cash-coding’ permissions.

We’ve had requests for every type of role under the sun. In Community alone, there have been over 100 individual feature requests for every user role permutation imaginable. While this release won’t satisfy the want for grand, complex, completely customisable settings – it is a great step in the right direction. As new products and features are added to Xero, more user roles are likely to be created down the track. For now though, we need to get on building those new features!

For a quick reminder of what each role can do, take a nosey at our updated Help Centre pages.

Manage the level of access to Xero Projects

Not everyone in your business needs to know everything about everything in your projects. In fact there’s often sensitive information that you may well not want your staff to know. Yet this needs to be balanced against giving them enough access to be able to do their job without having to constantly bug someone with a higher level of access.

Following the update on the 23rd April, we’ve just introduced three Xero Projects user roles to support the most common roles we encounter when working with service businesses.

Projects admin is for the boss, or financial person, who needs to know everything about the financial detail of your projects, including how much you pay your staff. So Projects admin can do anything in Projects.

Projects standard is for your project managers, site managers, or anyone who needs to set up projects and make sure they’re on track. They can do everything that the Projects admin can do, minus access to that sensitive information about staff. They can track their own time, and see time entered by other members of your team.

Projects limited is primarily for your team. They need to track their time, see how they’re progressing against estimates for projects and tasks. And that’s pretty much it.

Managing Projects invoices and assigning bills and bank rec to a project. If your Projects users need to do things like edit or send invoices, assign bills or spend money from bank rec to a project, you’ll need to give them access to those areas in Xero too using the Accounting roles. Likewise, if they to set up Inventory items to allow quick creation of tasks and expenses. Limited users won’t be able to create invoices from Projects, regardless of their Xero role.

Learn more here.

Coming soon – Manage the level of access to new Expenses

Due to be released soon is our brand new Expenses feature. This will include three new permissions that give you more flexibility, and control over the expense claims process. This will significantly simplify your workflow and boost efficiency, as only the people you choose can view, submit, approve/decline, and pay an expense claim.

Submitters can view and submit only their own expenses.

Approvers are able to view and approve others submitted expenses, along with their own.

Admins have the ability do to all of the above, and hold the purse strings to reimburse employees for the expenses they’ve submitted.

One helpful, highly requested features will be the ability to submit an expense claim on behalf of somebody else. Approvers and Admins will both be able to do this in new Xero Expenses.

During the setup process, you’ll be asked to assign user permissions. But you can always add these in later in your Expenses Settings page.

Keep an eye out in Xero for when new Expenses drops. So you can start setting up your employees with Expenses and give them the permissions they need.


April 15, 2018 at 2.00 pm

Is that it?! You would think that after all this time and all the requests from users on the Community Forum that Xero would be able to deliver a lot more. Where are the additional security and privacy settings? Why can’t I create profiles and roles for my staff in Xero?

I don’t want my admin staff to access to every bank account, just the one they are paid to reconcile. How come every payroll admin can approve anyone’s leave?

Brittany Hoare in reply to David
April 24, 2018 at 2.03 pm

Hiya David, I definitely get where you’re coming from. This release is to support Expenses and Projects, and new features to come in the future. It’s incredibly hard to add new roles to existing parts of Xero, which is why it hasn’t been added to the road map. What you’re asking for here around limiting bank account access would be one of the more difficult roles to add. Xero revolves around bank reconciliation, with pretty much every screen effected by the bank accounts! Community is the best place to stay updated on any changes with this though, so I’ll keep you in the loop there. Cheers, Britt.

Scott Mason
April 16, 2018 at 8.10 pm

What nonsense. I recommend you take a look at your so called user community board and you’ll see what your exasperated users have been asking you for years to change on roles. These tweaks to shoe horn in more sale-able features are worthless to most existing users.

Once again for clarity – Please Xero could you make the make the features that you advertise ‘out of the box’ work properly out of the box before you add ANYTHING ELSE. Either that or be honest about it and tell everyone that most features will only work adequately at best out of the box and that if you want them to work properly you’ll need to spend a fortune on 3rd part add on’s from the developer community.

Thank you

Brittany Hoare in reply to Scott Mason
April 24, 2018 at 2.33 pm

Hi Scott, rest assured all of the comments in Community have been looked at, however what’s been released here is solving a different problem. In order to fully support Projects and new Expenses (both large requests themselves), and to more easily add roles to future products, user roles needed some work. I can 100% appreciate that there’s a lot of flexibility that’s been requested over the years and if it was simple to do we’d be on it. So at this stage we don’t have plans to add more roles. As soon as that changes though, and our teams are able to start looking into new roles, we’ll update the threads on Community.

April 16, 2018 at 10.03 pm

When can we expect the new features for Expense Claim tool to be launched?

Brittany Hoare in reply to Sylwia
April 24, 2018 at 2.34 pm

Hiya Sylwia – all going well, will be in the coming weeks. No exact ETA but we’ll keep you updated.

Ken Doyle
April 20, 2018 at 12.46 pm

Maybe we need instant advice, filtered for an hr trying to add advisor, advisor page does not work in general settings atm,
I know changes are being made but this does not help me to add new advisor now which is quite urgent

April 23, 2018 at 1.17 pm

What happened to being able to add simple payroll employee users??? No I have to email each payslip individually if the employee loses theirs! Arghh!!

Brittany Hoare in reply to Kaushal
April 26, 2018 at 9.07 am

Hey Kaushal, you’ll still need to invite in employees through the Payroll setup as per usual. Add them as an employee, and then invite them to My Payroll. Once they’ve accepted the invitation you’ll see them as a Payroll Employee in the new User Permissions page. Cheers.

Jeff Burley in reply to Brittany Hoare
May 28, 2018 at 1.09 am

Brittany, your statement is vague – actual instructions would be appreciated, except I don’t think you can provide instructions because Kaushal is right; we cannot add payroll employee users. I tap Payroll -> Employees -> select an Employee. I’ve gone through every menu item here and there is nothing about Payroll Users. I also went to Settings -> Payroll Settings and went through every tab, but there is nothing about Payroll Users. The second paragraph on this page says “Don’t worry, we haven’t removed any of the abilities you have now…” but that is incorrect.

Brittany Hoare in reply to Jeff Burley
May 28, 2018 at 10.52 am

Heya Jeff, exact instructions on how to do this is here: central.xero.com/s/article/Employee-access-to-My-Payroll-NZ – you need to ensure the employee has an email address and then you can invite them to My Payroll.

Brittany Hoare
April 24, 2018 at 2.45 pm

Ken, if you reach out to Support directly (support.xero.com) the team will be able to help you out with any issue.

sara white
April 24, 2018 at 8.27 pm


I’ve asked before but I think it’s huge for small businesses to give a stand user access to their bank account. Can the access to bank for a standard user not be a check box so you can have users who can run reports but not access bank or bank reconciliation. It seems like it should be such an easy fix I can’t understand why it hasn’t been looked at. The user permissions (along with a 5 day delay in the abks feeds) are a major downside on xero which is a shame as there are lots of other great features but it misses on these basic points.


Paul Mulligan
July 28, 2018 at 10.19 pm

totally agree it should be and I thought it was. Maybe time to opt up the quickbooks solution.

April 25, 2018 at 10.02 pm

Unfortunately since the update I can only view Current Users, how do I view Pending Users? Also, I am unable to access the Users on this page now

Brittany Hoare in reply to Shirley
April 26, 2018 at 9.02 am

Hey Shirley – if an employee is still pending you’ll see this on the new User page. Scroll down to the ‘Pending’ header. If you still can’t see on your page then best to reach out to Support.xero.com

Grant Pearce
May 1, 2018 at 11.12 am

Attempting to add a new user but the the “button” doesn’t exist any more in the new “updated” users page – what do I do now??

Brittany Hoare in reply to Grant Pearce
May 2, 2018 at 10.20 am

Heya Grant, not sure if you’ve pinged Support about this one, but they’re the best placed to help with any issues. It could be something as simple as a cookies/cache issue, but always best to let them know: Support.xero.com

Jennifer Heath
May 3, 2018 at 1.57 pm

Similar to Sara White above, the user permissions excluding bank accounts ONLY is the main item my clients desperately want.

In stock based businesses it is absurd that general sales people cannot view and search inventory lists, add adjustments and create and delete items – unless we give them FULL bank account access. There is a huge leap in responsibility between ‘inventory management’ and full bank account view.

Simone Pennie
May 4, 2018 at 9.55 pm

I am confused. The accounting user types are no clearer. New users from 23 April need Invoice ( purchases) to be able to submit expenses but existing users seem still to be ok on Invoices Draft. Do I need tochange all the existing permissions?
I just need a submitter access for expenses but these also need to assign expenses incurred to a customer. This functionality is available on the App but not on the pc.
I have a number of Xero accounts and one of them has the new expense functionality – which I discovered by mistake. This new set up doesnt seem to be able to assign expenses to a customer. Presumably this is now part of the project functionality. This is a nightmare as I dont consider all ofour customers as projects and dont want to have to set them up as such.
Why cant Xero proactively communbicate with its customers and advise us properly of changes rather than hope we find them and get guidance of using them from other customers.
Is there any forum for Xero to properly find out what its customers need – where is the user Xero conference in the UK – why just hide down under.

Heather Smith
May 15, 2018 at 8.03 pm

This update has added about 15 – 45 minutes extra work to my day.
Why are email addresses hidden – we need to quickly access them.
When we get a this email can’t get through/bounced notification – we have to check every single profile.
Why has last login times and dates gone. We need to see this. Xero was built on dashboard technology – but you’ve hidden the speed gauge.
This section now takes a longer to fill out – and I find the design confusing. 🙁
It would useful to have something identifying who they are i.e. Linked Company e.g Practice Name, Bank Name &/or Title e.g. Accountant, Broker
This would be especially helpful to track the multiple people accessing from the one practice.
Even better would be to link these users back to somewhere in Xero HQ so you could see from a user level which common files they have access to.
Please consult end users during the design process.
I shall re-iterate this has added 15-45 minutes easily to my work day.

PS. Hi Brittany! Hopefully I will see you at Xerocon?

Brittany Hoare in reply to Heather Smith
May 16, 2018 at 8.53 am

Heya Heather, I’m sorry this is adding time to your day! I can assure you we did consult with users about this change, but perhaps not everything was picked up. I’ll pass on all your feedback to the right eyes, but do take a little time to get used to the new design – our team worked hard to make the design new and fresh but I appreciate it is a change. To address some of your questions:

– If you click into someone’s name the email address is there.
– Similarly, you’ll be able to see the last login date and time if you click into an individual’s name. The Login History tab at the tab also displays this as you’re used to.

PS: Would love to visit XeroCon again – but not this year 😉

Joy Daly
May 28, 2018 at 2.17 pm

Please go back to your previous options. Your changes are a big step backwards.
In particular not all business and accounting users must have the same access and you have lumped them all together now. Especially terrible that everybody is able to manage users – as the owner of the business I can be locked out of my own accounts. Also the previous ability to restrict a user to only be able to create draft invoices and POs was a reason I moved one of our companies across from Quickbooks.
I will move away from Xero if I can find these features elsewhere. They are that important.

Samantha Gore
June 15, 2018 at 10.52 pm

why have you taken the time last logged in off the user screen? I want to check when my accountants have logged in and now have to go through every user individually, I have better things to do with my time.

Eloisa Aranjuez
June 20, 2018 at 9.40 am

I wanted to see the email address of the users to know if they work for the company that owns the file or they are from another firm who was contracted to do the work. How can you now tell just at a glance who the users are if you are unable to view their email addresses and how do you assist the users with which email they used to login if the user page does not list the email address anymore.

June 24, 2018 at 10.28 pm

Is a new video going to be added that we can send to clients to show them how to add us in as advisors to their Xero account? I’m currently having to create our own walkthrough because I can’t seem to find one within Xero – only the old version.

July 7, 2018 at 6.23 pm

Hi Brittany,

I could excited at first when I read this… but only at fist.

Finally i was hoping users can printout quotations themselves and I can assign users the rights to approve and printout invoices and bills without having to give them access to ALL the bills and invoices in the organisation.
Unfortunately this did not change.

So I have to keep approving and printing out every quotation, invoice and bill created by each user whom I dont want to see all the outgoing and incoming payments = everyone apart from me and the finance department.

That is damn stupid after all these months we have been waiting for that.

So I do not see any improvements in the new user roles at all.


August 2, 2018 at 2.37 pm

Hi Brittany, I just posted in the Community, but thought I’d see if there were any updates here. This is rather frustrating, as I have no use for Projects or Expenses, I simply want basic functionality to have my staff see everything required to do their job correctly. My invoicing person can’t see the approved quotes in the file library or distinguish the pdfs in the Xero Inbox to find which Work Order to attach to the relevant invoice – why can’t these show like the draft Bills (which seems to be working alright – so thanks)? I really don’t want to have to give access levels to staff just so they can print or rename – they don’t need to see the bank accounts!
Like Marcel, I have to approve everything and staff are wasting time every day. I also find it frustrating that I can’t create a new User with a different name, but with an email address already used (as we use generic emails for office staff).

August 3, 2018 at 10.58 pm

Is anyone else experiencing the utter carnage that we are with our expenses process since the “New Improved” Expenses App? We have been using the classic expenses for a ling time and have built our internal processes around it. It worked well, we could group expenses and submit in one lump, very straight forward. The requirement to “upgrade” has subsequently been withdrawn (great news!) but the mess in permission remains.

Shocking release…

Daryl Boggs
August 27, 2018 at 12.42 pm

Well I have been locked out of being able to approve superannuation now. Thanks. Tried to change it in settings, but there doesn’t appear to be the facility. Oh, and what about being able to leave a note on a single employees pay slip – surely not too hard?

iptv box
October 5, 2018 at 7.27 am

Hello,nice share.

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