How to Use Tracking Categories for Reporting in Xero

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Xero Categories: JacRox Explains

Introduction: Overview of Tracking Categories in Xero

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In today’s business environment, tracking and reporting are more critical than ever. Xero, a leading cloud-based accounting software, offers a robust feature called “Tracking Categories” to help you monitor various aspects of your business performance. This article will provide an overview of how to use tracking categories for detailed reporting within Xero.

Why Use Tracking Categories in Xero?

The ability to track different departments, projects, or cost centres within your organisation is crucial for any company. Tracking categories in Xero allow you to assign specific categories to transactions, thereby enabling you to run more detailed reports. For instance, you might want to track sales by department or expenses by project. Whatever your need, tracking categories in Xero offer a versatile solution.

Setting Up Tracking Categories in Xero

Before you can run any reports, you need to set up tracking categories. Here is a summary of the steps:

  1. Log in to Xero Central: Navigate to the settings option.
  2. Click on ‘Tracking Categories’: You will see a list of existing categories if any.
  3. Create a New Category: Click on ‘Add’ to create a new category option.
  4. Assign to Transactions: Once the category is created, you can assign it to various transactions like invoices, purchase orders, and payroll.

Example: Using Tracking Categories for Departments

Let’s say your company has multiple departments like Marketing, Sales, and Development. You can create a tracking category named ‘Department’ and add category options like ‘Marketing’, ‘Sales’, and ‘Development’. This way, whenever you have a transaction related to one of these departments, you can assign the appropriate tracking category.

Running Reports with Tracking Categories

After setting up your tracking categories, the next step is to run reports to see the data you want to track. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to Reports: Go to the reports section in Xero Central.
  2. Select the Report: Choose the report you need, for example, Profit and Loss.
  3. Apply Filters: Use the filter option to select the tracking categories you want to include.
  4. Run the Report: Click ‘Run’ to view the summary of the data based on the tracking categories.

Note on Multiple Tracking Categories

Xero also allows the use of multiple tracking categories within a single transaction. This is particularly useful for companies that want to track activities across different cost centres or projects.

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Advanced Tracking Options in Xero

While the standard tracking categories offer substantial functionality, Xero also provides advanced tracking options that can be incredibly useful for businesses with complex reporting needs. For example, you might have a project that spans across different departments within your organisation, and you want to track both the department and the project in a single transaction. Xero allows for this level of detail.

How to Use Advanced Tracking:

  1. Navigate to the Transaction: Open the invoice, quote, or purchase order you want to track.
  2. Assign Multiple Categories: Under the tracking option, you can assign more than one tracking category. This way, the transaction can be filtered based on multiple criteria.

Viewing Reports with Date Range and Filters

Xero offers the ability to view reports within a specific date range. This is beneficial if you want to track the performance of a department or project over a particular period.

Steps to Filter Reports:

  1. Select the Report: Navigate to the report page.
  2. Choose Date Range: Use the date range option to specify the period you want to view.
  3. Apply Tracking Categories: Use the tracking categories as filters to narrow down the data.

Incorporating Tracking Categories in Financial Statements

Beyond the standard Profit and Loss or Balance Sheet reports, you can also include tracking categories in other financial statements. For instance, you can use them in payroll reports to see how much each department is costing in wages, or in asset reports to track the depreciation of assets across various cost centres.

Troubleshooting: Common Issues and Solutions

If you are having difficulty with tracking categories, Xero Central has a helpful page dedicated to troubleshooting. Here are some common issues you might encounter:

  • Inconsistent Tracking: Make sure you are consistent when assigning tracking categories to transactions. Inconsistency can lead to skewed reports.
  • Incorrect Date Range: Ensure that the date range is set correctly when running the report.

Summary and What’s Next

Tracking categories are a robust feature in Xero that can significantly enhance your reporting capabilities. From setting up basic categories to running complex reports with advanced tracking options, Xero offers a comprehensive solution for your business.

Ready to elevate your financial management with expert Xero accounting solutions? Fill out the contact form below and a JacRox team member will be in touch to guide you through our cloud accounting services.

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Tracking categories in Xero are a feature that allows you to assign specific categories to transactions. This enables detailed reporting across various aspects like departments or projects within your organisation.

To set up tracking categories, log in to Xero Central and navigate to settings. Click on ‘Tracking Categories’ and then ‘Add’ to create a new category. You can then assign these categories to transactions like invoices, purchase orders, and payroll.

Yes, Xero allows the assignment of multiple tracking categories to a single transaction. This is particularly useful for businesses that need to track activities across different departments or projects.

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Take advantage of harnessing the full potential of Xero for your business. Whether you're a start-up, a thriving SME, or a larger enterprise, our Xero-certified accountants are ready to guide you through every step. Please fill out the form below, and let's begin your financial transformation.

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