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Now in Xero Projects: Even better time reporting

Posted 3 weeks ago in Advisors by Natalie Wilsdon
Posted by Natalie Wilsdon

So, you’re already using Xero Projects to log your time, in order to track costs and invoice your projects more accurately. But how can you use those time entries to get insights into what your team has been working on, and where their time is going?

We’ve been hard at work to improve the ways in which you can visualise and analyse the time spent on your projects. And we’re pleased to announce the release of two new features to drive deeper visibility into your projects.

Staff time overview

You may have noticed there’s a new item in the Projects menu – the staff time overview. This new feature shows how your team’s time is spent on all projects, in a few simple clicks.

Customise the date range to see the total time entered across all projects your business has engaged with in a given period. Details like the total time entered, the amount and proportion chargeable are easily reviewed on the dashboard. Time totals are further broken down by staff member, and then by project. Taking a quick glance at this new dashboard periodically could help you identify areas of inefficiency and ensure all your staff are working on the right things.

Detailed time report

This new report takes those insights a step deeper. Located within the Xero Reports tab, the detailed time report lists all time entries for the date range selected. There are several ways you can configure this report, depending on what information you want to see.

As you would expect with Xero reports, the detailed time report is highly configurable. You can switch this layout to group by staff, contact, project name, date, task or item code. You’ll automatically see the subtotal of time tracked for your chosen grouping. This gives you the insights you need right on the screen.

A further multitude of options help you get the information that matters to you most, whether that’s the actual or total time spent, the charge out rates, the descriptions, associated invoicing information or a range of other options.

Finally, you can add filters to view entries for a particular staff member or project to really narrow down the results.

More, more, and more

We hope these new time reporting tools help you get the visibility you need to track your project performance. We’re constantly working to improve your experience with Xero Projects, and have a lot of exciting changes on the way. We love hearing your feedback so please leave a comment below!


Al Yorke
July 27, 2018 at 4.39 pm

Great work guys. we’re enjoying the visibility Projects gives, we’re currently transferring from a physical project management system to Projects in Xero. One really big opportunity we see is for Integration between Quotes and Projects. As it stands today, we have data entry duplication from creating a quote then re-creating all the quote line items individually into the allocation tasks and times in Projects. From Projects to Invoicing works perfectly – however the duplication of project details could easily be avoided with a click of a button – turning a quote into the task & time framework for a Project to then be tracked. Integration from quotes to Projects has to happen!

Joanne Tait in reply to Al Yorke Xero
July 30, 2018 at 2.00 pm

Hi Al. Great to hear you’re enjoying Projects. We agree – integrating Xero Quotes with Projects is a great idea and we’re hoping to have that available later in the year.

Tom Beckenham in reply to Joanne Tait
July 31, 2018 at 2.41 am

Awesome. Integration of Quotes into Projects will be a big benefit. Are you planning to have the project created first then the quote, or the quote first then the project? Personally, we’d like to see the Project created first then the quote so that we can reference the project from the Quote.

Joanne Tait in reply to Tom Beckenham Xero
July 31, 2018 at 4.56 pm

Good to know, thanks Tom. We’re yet to work out the details of the integration, but we’ll do our best to remove any manual duplication across Quotes and Projects.

Roger Wong
July 28, 2018 at 1.36 am

That’s awesome! Thanks for improving this feature. I have a request and I know a lot of others are needing this too before we can switch over from other tools: We really need a timer a la Harvest or Toggl. I work on multiple projects per day. And instead of remembering how much I worked, I do it in real time. Once this feature is in Xero Projects, I can say goodbye to my other tool and use this. Until then, I cannot.

Joanne Tait in reply to Roger Wong Xero
July 30, 2018 at 2.00 pm

Hi Roger. Good news! We recently released a start-stop timer on the Projects app, so you can use your smart phone to track your time, in real time, and without needing to login every time. Hope this helps!

Dennis Seyersdahl
July 29, 2018 at 6.48 am

I wish this had 2 things that would make this even better. I think this would enhance this option better for tracking.
1 – An app that would allow employees to sign-in and select a time that they started on their phone. Maybe a button that says start time and one that says out to lunch, back from lunch and end time.
2 – More defined time to choose from where I can see when work is being done instead of just hours completed for the day.

Joanne Tait in reply to Dennis Seyersdahl Xero
July 30, 2018 at 2.01 pm

Thanks for the feedback Dennis. We’ll definitely be looking at ways to make time tracking easier for teams who clock in and out on jobs.

July 30, 2018 at 8.52 am

Great addition to projects. Having a timer in the desktop version would be a good feature, as well as the ability to switch between timers for different projects and tasks on the app.

Joanne Tait in reply to Jeremy Xero
July 30, 2018 at 3.04 pm

Hi Jeremy, thanks for your feedback. We don’t have a desktop timer planned for the immediate future, but we have something else up our sleeves that might make time tracking easier across projects. Watch this space!

Lee Shaw
July 31, 2018 at 10.47 pm

Hi, I tested Projects a couple of months ago but when it came to invoicing my clients I was unable to produce a timesheet indicating the projects I had been working on so had to abandon Projects and revert to Harvest. Without me having to retest can you confirm it is now possible to produce a report in Projects filtered by month and client listing the time spent on individual projects? Can you also advise if such a report can be outputted to PDF or Excel? Thanks in advance

Joanne Tait in reply to Lee Shaw Xero
August 1, 2018 at 1.24 pm

Thanks for checking back in Lee. Our new Detailed Time report for Projects lists the individual time entries for a selected date range and can be grouped by client (contact), as well as by staff member, project, date or task. Like all our reports, this report can also be exported to PDF or Excel. Hope this helps!

Antony Harrison
August 3, 2018 at 10.10 pm

I’m on the verge of abandoning Xero and going back to Quickbooks 🙁 The expense billing on projects is just not there yet.

The “Billable Expenses – Outstanding” report doesn’t show expenses assigned to projects and the API doesn’t allow services like AutoEntry to code expenses to projects just customers.

There is no way to report on rechargeable cost of sales expenses that have NOT been Assigned to a Project so the risk of leakage and loss is huge.

When creating an invoice for billing on expenses the Sales Income account must be keyed for every expense. It should be possible to specify for each Cost of Sales Expense account a corresponding Sales Income account for recharged income.

There seems to be a basic flaw in new features of Xero in that reporting lags behind, particularly exception reporting i.e. it should be possible to filter on every field for “some, All or None”. And when any new feature or field is introduced to Xero it should be reportable on a general, customisable transaction report – at the moment you can’t even work around the deficiencies.

Monique Smith in reply to Antony Harrison Xero
August 9, 2018 at 4.11 pm

Hi Anthony,
Sorry to hear and appreciate your frustration with this.
You’re right – the ‘Billable Expenses – Outstanding’ report only shows expenses that have been assigned to a contact. We’ve got an account transaction report planned which should show you all your ledger transactions by project, as well as those that are not assigned to a project.
To get your sales income account to pre-populate on your invoices, you can set-up and use Inventory under the Accounts menu in Xero, then select the inventory code when adding a task or expense in Projects. You can find out more about inventory items for Projects here.
Hope this helps!

August 9, 2018 at 9.22 pm

This is fantastic news. Will save me a lot of time reporting, thank you so much Xero!!

August 14, 2018 at 2.51 pm

We have been using the ‘Detailed Time’ report which has been working well – until today!. We added Time Entries to Tasks within Projects as usual, however when we run the ‘Detailed Time’ report, we get a ‘No data for this period’ report. Any suggestions please?

Natalie Wilsdon in reply to Jan Xero
August 14, 2018 at 5.04 pm

Hi Jan,

Sorry to hear the report has stopped working for you! I have double checked, and the report seems to be working fine in my account, and others. You might need to double check the date range you’ve set for the report.
If you’re still having a problem, please send an email to Xero Support at, and they will help you resolve your problem.

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