Actionstep offers an integration with Xero that will allow you to do your billing, trust accounting and general matter management in Actionstep and have all your accounting information automatically updated in Xero

The integration works slightly differently for an Actionstep system set to our Enterprise plan than it does for those on an Express or Practice Pro plan. In this article, we will explain why it works differently and how you can configure and control that integration.

An overview of how Xero integrates with Actionstep Enterprise

When you are using Actionstep on an Enterprise plan, you will have a built-in General Ledger in your Actionstep already. You can use this for all your accounting needs but some users prefer to use Xero - being what they are used to, what their accountant support or for other reasons.

When you integrate your Enterprise system with Xero, the transactions you enter will still be posted to Actionstep's general ledger but the integration will create duplicates of those transactions to appear in your Xero account.

Important information you need to know about the Integration with Actionstep and Xero on Practice Pro + Accounting

Before you integrate, please make sure you read and understand the following on how the integration works.

1. The integration is one way only, from Actionstep to Xero. When you create an invoice in Actionstep it will create an invoice in Xero. When you create a payment in Actionstep for that invoice, it will create a payment in Xero against that invoice. If you create an invoice in Xero, it does NOT create an invoice in Actionstep. If you pay an invoice in Xero, even an invoice that was originally created in Actionstep, it does NOT create a payment in Actionstep.

NOTE The Actionstep Integration with Xero is built to allow you to do your Billing and Trust Accounting in Actionstep and have the Accounting information updated in Xero.

2. Not all Accounting transactions you are used to entering into Actionstep will be pushed through to Xero.

NOTE

The following accounting transactions are pushed through to Xero:

  1. Sales and Purchase information such as the bills you send to clients, Vendor invoices and Credit notes.

  2. Payments to those Sales and Purchase transactions such as payments to your client bills or vendor invoices.

  3. Bank to bank transfers

  4. All Trust transactions.

The following are accounting transactions that are not pushed through to Xero:

  1. Bank deposit or withdrawals. There are not payments to invoices but on off deposit or withdrawals.

  2. General Journal entries.

3. General Retainers are not currently supported with Xero. If you have General Retainers configured, you will have to unconfigure them. To be able to do this, you will need to remove any retainer balances from your maters.

4. Once you are linked with Xero, Actionstep will mark each transaction as 'locked'. We do this so that an Actionstep user does not make changes to the transactions in Actionstep and not have Xero not reflect that change. There is a process where you can unlock transactions to be able to edit them though. See Xero Integration - Correcting errors for more details on how to do that.

5. Transactions will only flow through to Xero after you integrate the systems. Only new transactions will be pushed through. Any existing invoices, account balances or payments you have made in Actionstep, will not be created in Xero. Only new transactions you create. Once you integrate, you may want to consider moving any open invoices back into draft and saving them again. By saving them again, you will push them through to Xero. Any partially paid invoices will either have to have the payments removed, moved back into draft, reposted and re-paid or you will have to ensure that you deal with those payments in Xero separately from Actionstep.

6. While Actionstep support having multiple divisions for its built-in accounting, it's integration with Xero does not support more than one division. You cannot link a different division to a different Xero Account.

Integrating Actionstep Enterprise with Xero

There are two stages to integrating Actionstep Enterprise with Xero. The first is where you authorize Actionstep as allowed to integrate with your Xero, the second is mapping items between the two systems.

The mapping process takes a bit longer but is important. As both Actionstep and Xero have their own general ledger, currencies, and sales taxes, it is important to map the two together. By doing this, you ensure that a transaction in Actionstep coded to a certain general ledger account with a certain amount of tax is processed in Xero with the correct general ledger account and tax code.

Authorizing Actionstep with Xero

Authorizing is the process where you agree within Xero to allow Actionstep to post transactions to it. This is started from within Actionstep.

NOTE

You will need Admin access for both Actionstep and Xero to do this.

You will need Actionstep Admin access to get to the screen where the integration is triggered.

It is important that you have Admin access to Xero for this process. When you log into Xero (covered below) the permissions of the account you use will be the permissions that Actionstep has within Xero. If you log in with an account that can only post bills but not payments, then Actionstep will have a similar restriction.

To authorize the integration, log into your Actionstep account and go to the Admin screen by clicking on the button in the top right of Actionstep. From the Admin screen, choose Accounting. On the right-hand side of the screen choose Connect to Xero.

Admin > Accounting > Connect to Xero.

Xero_Enterprise_-_Connect.gif

You will be redirected to the Xero log in page where you should enter your login details. You will be asked to authorize Actionstep, please do so. Actionstep may take a moment to update with details from Xero, then you will be redirected back to the Xero mapping screen in Actionstep.

Mapping Actionstep and Xero

During the mapping process, you will take accounts that are in Actionstep and map them to the equivalent account in Xero.

Before you get to mapping, let's have a look at what is on the screen. Its made up of four parts. To the left are sections for how the Synchronization will work, The GL account Map and Sales Tax Map.

To the right of the screen, is all the General Ledger (GL) accounts from your Xero Account. As you map these accounts they will be crossed on this list so that you can see what has been mapped and what is left to be mapped.

Now, we can explore the three sections.

Synchronization

In this section, you set what types of transactions you will want to post through to Xero and mapping the Xero account that should be used for offsetting bank-to-bank transfers.

screenshot-eu-west-1.actionstep.com-2019.10.07-16-47-26.png

Sales Invoices

By switching this on, you are allowing the sales invoices (the bills you produce for your clients) to be pushed through to Xero.

As well as the invoices, any payments made to those invoices or credit notes for those invoices will be pushed through.


TIP

It is common for this to be on for all user who integrated with Xero.

Supplier invoices

By switching this on, you are allowing supplier or vendor invoices (bills sent to your company to pay to someone else) to be pushed through to Xero.

As well as the invoices, any payments made to those invoices or credit notes for those invoices will be pushed through.


TIP

Not all users will enable this with their Xero integration, instead preferring to enter in their expenses directly into Xero.

However, if you are wanting to enter supplier invoices into Actionstep to bill the expense onto a customer, you will want to switch this on.

Trust transactions

By switching this on, any trust transactions that you create in Actionstep will push through to Xero.

While you can allow your trust transactions to be pushed through to Xero, it is important to note that you should not feel the need to complete trust reconciliations or any other transactions within Xero. It is expected that your trust compliance will be completed in Actionstep.


TIP

It is uncommon for this to be on for all user who integrated with Xero.

Bank transfers account

This is used when transferring funds from one bank account to another, including transfers between a trust and business bank account.

As Actionstep and Xero handle the transfer of funds slightly differently, it is worthwhile to use this account.


GL account Map

In this section, you will map the accounts in your General Ledger (GL) in Actionstep to equivalent accounts in Xero.

To do this you will use the Add row button to create a new row and within that row, select an account in Actionstep in the left-hand drop-down and the equivalent account in Xero in the right-hand column.

GL_mapping.gif

As you map these items you will find that some are required and some are not. You can save yourself some time by not mapping every account but the important ones.

For example, if you are not going to be syncing trust transactions, you do not need to map your trust bank accounts. If you are going to be mapping your expenses, you do not have to map every expense account, just the ones that you are likely to use.

As a rule of thumb, map your

  • Bank accounts

  • Income accounts

  • Accounts receivables

NOTE

You can see a full list of recommended accounts and why you might want to consider mapping them here: Detailed Explaination of QuickBooks / Xero Mapping for Practice Pro + Accounting.

The Mapping screen is clever. If you try to save the mapping without a crucial account mapped, it will warn you of that, like in the screenshot below.

screenshot-eu-west-1.actionstep.com-2019.10.07-17-29-00.png

Sales Tax map

Similar to the section above, you use the Add row button to create a new row and within that row, select a tax code in Actionstep in the left-hand drop-down and the equivalent tax code in Xero in the right-hand column.

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