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Introducing auto time tracking for Xero Projects mobile

Posted 1 year ago in Product by Monique Smith
Posted by Monique Smith

Time tracking is painful for small businesses and something that staff members often forget to do. This is particularly true for trade and construction businesses who often move around between jobs and don’t get a lot of desk time .

Time is the bread and butter of small service businesses. Whether you charge a fixed price or by the hour for your services, you need to know how much time is spent on a job in order to gauge profitability, and to quote more accurately next time. Time is equally as important for hourly-rate employees who get paid for the time they record on their timesheets.

Location, location, location!

Now, a new feature in the Xero Projects iOS app suggests time entries against a project based on the time spent at a particular location. This means no more manual tracking of how long you (or your employees) have spent on the job.

Rather than track every move, the app uses geo-fencing to register when you arrive at a site and then automatically stops the clock when you leave. Geo-fencing means your device recognises it has entered a set location and that triggers an action – in this case to start timing how long you spend there.

Xero only stores your location data on your mobile device. It’s not saved anywhere else and the details aren’t shared, so your privacy is maintained and you operate in an environment of trust. (You can check out our privacy terms for more about how we collect and store your data.)

Because the locations that you add to a project aren’t shared, each team member needs to set up the locations for the jobs they’re working on in order to get automatic time suggestions.

How it works

Using the location-based time entry feature has minimal impact on your device battery and doesn’t use any mobile data. Here’s how it works:

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of the Xero Projects iOS app.
  2. Select a project and tap the + icon to add one or more locations for a job.
  3. Tap Always when prompted to allow location access.
  4. In the time entries tab, view suggestions based on how much time you spent at each location.
  5. Review, and save or discard the suggestions.

Read more in the support article on enabling suggested time entries by location at Xero Central.

Why it’s important to keep track

Keeping tabs on the time and materials that go into a project is the only way to know if your price is right and the job is profitable. By tracking time across your project, you’re able to:

  • understand what project tasks take the most time and cost you the most money
  • quote more accurately on future projects
  • experiment and allocate staff to work on high-value tasks first or where they’re needed most
  • bill accurately if you’re charging by the hour, or rein in the job if needed to ensure the fixed fee covers all your time and expenses.

What’s next?

Location-based time entry is being built for the Xero Projects Android app. Soon your whole team – whether they’re Android or iPhone users – will be able to get time entry suggestions based on their project locations. We’re also working on a useful new feature to help you estimate and track time on fixed price tasks.

Not using Xero Projects for mobile? Get it on iOS or Android now!

We love getting feedback, so please leave us a comment and let know what you think.


March 6, 2020 at 11.29 am

Love this feature, it is extremely useful! Any update on the Android version? A number of our team members have Android phones and are keen to have this location-aware ability too.

Monique Smith
March 12, 2020 at 11.04 am

Hi Andrew, great to hear! We’re not far off with this feature for the Projects Android app and will hopefully have an update available before the end of the month.

Maree Eales in reply to Monique Smith
April 18, 2020 at 11.33 am

Hi Monique, just wondering if there is any update on this feature for Android yet?


Joshua Cerecke
March 28, 2020 at 2.43 pm

Epic! I’m really looking forward to the Android version of this. To make it even better, it would be great if it could determine travel to and from a site and suggest adding mileage charges. Take it one step further and read the time (if available) & date on expenses and suggest what project they may relate to.

Beeny Atherton in reply to Joshua Cerecke Xero
March 30, 2020 at 1.40 pm

Hi Joshua, glad to hear you enjoyed the article. Thanks so much for your suggestions, I will pass them to our Product Team. Cheers, ^BA

Harrison Jewell
March 31, 2020 at 3.05 am

This is an amazing feature but each project location needs to be added to each device/user individually. It would be great if I could put the location in and have it roll out to all our contractors/staff…

Beeny Atherton in reply to Harrison Jewell Xero
March 31, 2020 at 9.42 am

Hi Harrison, thanks for your comment and for your feedback. I will pass this on to my team. Cheers, ^BA

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