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New in Xero HQ: Ask templates, file attachments and contacts

Posted 5 years ago in Advisors by Neill Fraser
Posted by Neill Fraser

We’re hugely excited to announce a round of great enhancements to the Xero HQ platform.

We’ve made some great changes to our client query feature, Ask, to help you get the client information you need, faster. From today, you can use contacts to send personalised communications to your clients via Ask, and create templates from scratch. You can also use an existing query to make setup faster, and attach files so your clients can see exactly what you expect in response.

We’ve also implemented a new relationships and contacts feature for clients. This means you can associate client records and create a contact, whether or not they are a client of your practice.

Send Ask queries direct to your client contacts

You can now utilise client contact records to send Ask queries directly to the person you need. You won’t need to enter the contact details manually when composing a query, anymore. Instead, choose the client contact you wish to use, or enter a new one for future use. Simple!

Build query templates

Accountants and bookkeepers often need the same information from different clients. Creating bespoke queries can become very time consuming. To solve this, we’ve introduced templates. Create your own templates with a set of commonly asked questions for use across all of your clients, so you don’t have to start from scratch each time you want to send a query. You can also convert an existing query into a template. When you create a new query you can select a pre-built template to save valuable time setting up your queries. This allows you to get back to client work faster.

Attach files to queries

We heard from you that sometimes clients need to see what you’re asking for to be able to provide the right response the first time. So, we’ve added file attachment to queries, allowing you to provide an example of the response you’re looking for. Whether it’s a bank statement, contract or some other document, you can attach it to the query for your client to preview, to help them ensure they’re providing the right response for you. It’s easier for your client and saves you time chasing the wrong documents.

Client contacts

With contacts in Xero HQ, it’s now possible to list multiple contact records against a single client. This way you avoid duplication, as each can be drawn from existing client records (such as instances in which your practice is the advisor for a business and one or more of its shareholders) or they can be created without a client record. This is great for directors, staff, and those who have a relationship with your client but not directly with your practice.

Each contact record can be populated with their name, phone, email and position, all within the client. You can utilise this information across Xero HQ, for example, via third party connections and communications using Ask. We’ve also made it possible to set a primary contact. This way you’ll always know who the key contact for your client is, no matter how many relationships they hold.

You’ll find this new functionality within each client record under the “relationships” tab. In an upcoming release, contact records will be able to be tagged with a “relationship” against your client, allowing for smarter segmentation across your entire database. This will include all the common relationship types you’d expect to see for a client – such as shareholder, director, trustee etc.

Continued innovation

We’re committed to making Xero HQ the single, best place to connect with and serve your clients. So we have a massive amount of new features coming for you this year. We’d love to hear your feedback on this update, and we can’t wait to show you more in the coming months.


Elizabeth Salter
April 4, 2018 at 4.24 pm

Hooray! Excited about being able to attach files to send in the queries. 🙂

April 4, 2018 at 8.49 pm

It would be really useful to be able to send a client a query directly from the transaction you are querying. Until that happens, I cannot really see myself using Xero Ask.

Neill Fraser in reply to Tom
April 5, 2018 at 1.56 pm

Hi Tom, good news – we do have this on our roadmap; we know this would save a lot of time and avoid potential errors. To help us prioritise this, please add it as a feature request here so other partners can ‘vote’ on it.

April 27, 2018 at 3.55 am

I agree with Tom! We would love to use Xero ask, but cannot find it useful until we can ask about specific transactions.

April 6, 2018 at 11.07 am

Is this new features applicable to user in Singapore?

Neill Fraser in reply to Jeannie
April 9, 2018 at 8.30 am

Hi Jeannie, this feature is available for all practice users globally including Singapore.

April 6, 2018 at 11.26 am

This looks good.
I would be interested to hear from Xero and other partners around how this would work with Workpapers, and will this eventually replace this product?
Or can it integrate with for year end?
Will any partners be using this instead of Workpapers?
Cheers, Justin

Neill Fraser in reply to Justin
April 10, 2018 at 2.29 pm

Hi Justin, currently Ask and Workpapers are standalone. They can be used in tandem and in particular the query functionality of Ask offers a great amount of flexibility while Workpapers of course offers the great compliance and documentation features. We are looking at ways we can bring the features closer together but this is a longer term aspiration.

Emily Ridley
August 1, 2018 at 1.24 pm

Hi, is there a size limit on the attachments you can send in Ask? I’m currently using this as a secure portal to send and receive client documents, and I need to send a 6MB client file to the client’s auditor. It keeps erroring and asking me to refresh the page, is the error due to the size of of the PDF I’m trying to send?

Neill Fraser in reply to Emily Ridley
August 9, 2018 at 3.04 pm

Hi Emily, thanks for your message. We’ve taken a look and there was an issue causing the size restriction which has now been resolved.

Helen Dyer
February 20, 2019 at 3.59 pm

Could Ask be used as a client portal, to send out financial statements and other documents in a secure way?
If you can add attachments to client questions why not adapt it to send out year-end documents? Can anyone see any issues in doing this?

Neill Fraser in reply to Helen Dyer
February 20, 2019 at 4.04 pm

Hi Helen, you can absolutely use Ask for purpose! The really great new is we’ve been thinking this exact problem and we are soon going to launch a new feature – documents packs – which will be available very soon! Learn more here.

Helen Dyer in reply to Neill Fraser
February 20, 2019 at 6.45 pm

Thanks Neill, we’ll give it a go!! Yes, really looking forward to the document packs feature, I saw it at the recent roadshow and it looks great.!

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