Your dashboard is the first screen you see when you log into Xero. Like most things with this software, it’s clean and clear to look at, displaying your bank balance, cashflow information, invoices and more all in one place.

But dig a little deeper, or tweak it to suit your needs, and that’s when it starts to become a really powerful tool for monitoring your finances and growing your business.

Overview of the dashboard

Open up your Xero account, and you should see a screen that looks something like this:

For this blog post, we’ve used Xero’s built-in demo company.

If you’re new to the software and want to have a look around the dashboard for yourself, you can access this demo too.

The default panels on this screen are:

  • Business bank account
  • Business savings account
  • Total cash in and out
  • Account watchlist
  • Invoices owed to you
  • Bills you need to pay
  • Expense claims.

Business bank account

In this section, you can see a summary of your bank accounts. You can decide which bank accounts show here if you have multiple ones.

Here you’ll see your running balance as a chart, alongside your statement balance, your balance in Xero and the number of statement lines waiting to be reconciled. From there, it just takes one click to get to the bank reconciliation page and review those transactions.

Total cash in and out

This graph gives you an at-a-glance view of your cashflow. For each month, it shows the total amount of cash that’s come into your account in blue, and the total going out in grey.

To see more detail on a specific period, you can click a bar in the chart to go to the bank summary report.

Account watchlist

Your account watchlist gives you figures on where your money is going this month, and in the year to date, for different categories.

This is a great way to stay on top of how much you’re spending on the different areas of your business.

To add an account to your watchlist, you’ll need to select it from your chart of accounts and tick the ‘Show on Dashboard Watchlist’ checkbox.

(Quick tip: You can get to your chart of accounts by clicking on the title of the account watchlist module.)

Invoices and bills

On the invoices module, you’ll see a summary of invoices owed to you over weekly periods.

Similarly, the bills panel shows your outstanding bills to pay for each period. If any bills or invoices are overdue, these will show up in red.

You can click a bar on either of these graphs to see a summary of the invoices or bills that make up the balance for that period, or you can click the button next to the chart to add a new invoice or bill.

Expense claims

If you’ve got Xero Expenses set up, this panel will show you a summary of expense claims that have been made in your organisation, and their progress.

Click the ‘new claim’ button to submit a new expense claim, or select a status to view all expenses with that status – for instance, to view all the expenses that need reviewing or paying.

Dashboard update: tax and integrations

Xero is currently updating the dashboard, so you should see some changes soon if you haven’t already.

This update will give you two new panels:

  • Stay on top of your taxes: reports and an easy way to file your tax returns. (Perfect for preparing for the next phases of Making Tax Digital.)
  • Explore apps that connect with Xero: an overview of over 800 add-on integrations.

Customising the Xero dashboard

All of these panels give you useful information even if you stick to their default settings, but Xero lets you go a step further by arranging the way the screen looks, as well as adding specific reports on your finances and performance.

Right at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see an ‘edit dashboard’ button. Click on this, and you’ll be able to drag each module around, or choose whether to show or hide it.

You can also add new graphs and reports to the dashboard to drill down into more detail on the data that matters most to you.

If you’re an Evans & Partners client, we offer free training to help you get set up and show you how to use Xero effectively. It allows us to see how you are getting on and collaborate with you on your finances.

Get in touch if you are looking for an expert Xero accountant for your business.