How to convert from QuickBooks to Xero

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Converting from QuickBooks to Xero
Cloud Accounting
Partner & Consultant
February 10, 2020
minute read

A guide on how Liston Newton Advisory can help you convert your accounting software from QuickBooks to Xero

While QuickBooks has been a mainstay of the accounting world for the past 20 years, Xero has secured the lead with its powerful cloud computing capabilities and ease of use.

Xero allows online access to your financials wherever you are. This is particularly useful for business owners who are always on the go.

With the ability to log in and review ones’ finances from anywhere, on any device with an internet connection, Xero has cemented itself as the software of choice for many business owners.

This is one of the many reasons we recommend converting from QuickBooks to Xero.

Liston Newton Advisory are a Xero Gold Partner, so we can see the full benefit and value that Xero delivers to small businesses. Contact your Liston Newton adviser today to discuss making the switch to this platform, and how we can support you in doing this.

Converting from QuickBooks to Xero

While Xero itself is intuitive and easy-to-use, the process of converting from QuickBooks to Xero is a complex affair. Therefore, we recommend you get support from an experienced Xero specialist.

There is a long list of items that needs to be reviewed in your old system prior to beginning the conversion process. Your Xero-specialised accountant will review this information, and determine the types of data that can be switched across without any disruptions or loss of information.

When looking to begin the process, you must:

  • Review your current software and ensure your financials are up-to-date and fully reconciled
  • Check there are no previous year issues
  • Nominate a date for your conversion to ‘go live’. We recommend choosing a time when your business is likely to be quiet

Then, simply contact your Liston Newton Xero specialist to book in your conversion. This process will include:

  • A free 90-minute Discovery Meeting to review your old software, identify what you need transferred, and generate a timeline for conversion
  • Conversion of your QuickBooks data to Xero. This includes your current financial year’s data, and complete data from the previous year for reference
  • Customisation of your Xero account to match your software needs and specifications
  • Phone and email support throughout the conversion process

Preparing and uploading your files

preparing files for Xero

It’s crucial that your data is correct and up-to-date prior to converting from QuickBooks to Xero.

Some common errors we see are:

  • Incorrect balances, which can lead to under or overstating your income and expenses
  • Missing staff payroll details, which lead to payroll processing delays
  • Bank account reconciliation issues

Assuming that all your information is accurate, the type of data we typically need for a Xero conversion are:

  • Chart of accounts
  • Invoices and bills
  • Contacts
  • Fixed assets

These files can be efficiently exported from QuickBooks to a CSV file. You can import this data from a CSV file directly into the supplied Xero templates, and then continue with the conversion process.

However, there is some information that doesn’t need to be converted to Xero.

  • Historical data past the four-year amendment period (although we do advise keeping this data on your old system as a back-up)
  • Tax codes, as these are already built-in to Xero
  • Reports, Xero generates its own customisable reports

Converting your data from QuickBooks to Xero

For a small business with 10 or fewer employees, this process will typically take two-to-three weeks to complete. The conversion time will be shorter for a business with less complicated affairs, and longer for larger business' with more complicated affairs.

Given this timeframe, we strongly recommend you schedule your conversion for a quieter time in your business. This allows for proper training to be provided, enabling your teams to use this new system to its full potential.

Your Liston Newton Xero specialist will assist you throughout the entire conversion process, ensuring efficient transfer between the two platforms. You’ll be kept up to date on the progress, and provided with a selection of training sessions to bring yourself up to speed on how the new system works.

Once the process is complete, your specialist will be available to address any questions or issues that may arise.

Get comprehensive Xero training

Xero training

Xero is built to be intuitive and user-friendly, so training your staff in this powerful platform is easy. The level of training required really depends on your staff’s knowledge of financial platforms and functions.

One key area we see business owners require training in is processing payroll. If you’re still entering your staff payroll information manually each pay cycle, then you need to convert to Xero immediately. Xero is a system designed for users of all levels to operate—and this includes streamlining your payroll processing.

Xero also has an online Xero adviser certification function, where staff can upskill at their own pace. They simply sign up to the program and complete training modules in various areas of Xero.

A comprehensive list of training modules can be found here.

Frequently asked questions

How long will a conversion to Xero take?

Typically two-to-three weeks.

What sort of price range should I budget for a conversion?

Small businesses with a turnover of $100K to $1 million should budget between $2,000-$3,000.

Medium-sized businesses with a turnover of $1 million to $10 million should budget for $3,000 to $8,000, dependant on complexity.

Larger businesses with revenue in excess of $10 million will need to contact a xero expert from Liston Newton Advisory. We will undertake an in depth examination of your internal systems before providing a quote.

Is there a time of year that’s best for conversion?

It’s usually best to convert at the end of the financial year, so that your data is fresh for the new financial year going forward. If this is unachievable then the end of a quarter or month is advised, to ensure cleanliness of your files.

What are the common mistakes people make if they do it themselves?

A common mistake found with conversions undertakes by non-Xero experts is that they over- or understate items within their accounts. From a tax perspective this can cause huge ramifications if the figures within your software don’t correspond exactly to what you have earned or spent.

This tends to happen a lot for people who undertake the conversion themselves.

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