Can I Use Xero for Multiple Companies: Managing Finances Across Businesses

Can I Use Xero for Multiple Companies: Managing Finances Across Businesses

Sebastien Prost, CPA

Using Xero for accounting purposes offers flexibility for individuals and businesses managing multiple companies. With Xero, the need for multiple accounts for each separate entity is eliminated, as a subscriber can operate several organisations within a single account. This setup is particularly useful for businesses with different branches, franchises, or distinct business units. Each entity operates independently within the same user account, ensuring that the financials are discrete and secure.

The usability of Xero for multiple companies does, however, require understanding the nuances of its multi-company functionality. Users must consider the implications of subscription pricing, as each organisation added to the account may incur its own subscription cost. Additionally, managing user access, permissions, and ensuring compliance across various companies need careful attention. The platform simplifies this complexity by offering tools such as consolidated reporting and tracking, which facilitate oversight and detailed reporting for separate business units.

Key Takeaways

  • Xero accommodates the management of multiple businesses within one account.
  • Each added organisation typically requires its own subscription.
  • The platform includes features to manage compliance, reporting, and user permissions across companies.

Understanding Xero’s Multi-Company Functionality

When managing finances for multiple companies, Xero provides a seamless solution with its multi-company functionality. Users can create multiple entities within the Xero platform, each treated as a separate organization with its own distinct subscription plan. This ensures that the accounting for each company is isolated and private, but all are easily accessible under a single login.

Setting Up Multiple Companies:

  • Users add companies by using their existing Xero email account.
  • Each added company results in a separate charge, following Xero’s subscription-based model.

Strengths of Multi-Company Management in Xero:

  • Organization: Each company has its own set of financials, which simplifies tax filing and audits.
  • Control: Assigning different user permissions per company enhances security and operational efficiency.
  • Consolidation: Although separate, the companies can be reviewed collectively by the account holder for a holistic view.

Usage Limitations:
While Xero facilitates multiple companies under one user account, it is not designed to run several businesses within a single subscription. The structure is tailored to safeguard the integrity and independent reporting for each entity.

Tracking for Multiple Businesses:
Tracking categories can be set up to compare performance metrics across different branches or locations of the companies. This feature allows stakeholders to gauge the financial health of distinct areas within their business portfolio.

One must note that while the account holder can oversee various companies, each organization’s subscription entails individual pricing plans, reflecting Xero’s commitment to providing dedicated resources and security for every business managed on its platform.

Setting Up Multiple Companies in Xero

Xero allows users to manage more than one company within the platform by creating separate organizations for each entity. Each organization requires an individual subscription but can be accessed with a single login.

Creating Additional Organizations

To add a new organization in Xero, a user must select ‘Add an Organization’ from the dropdown menu after clicking their current organization’s name. During this process, users will:

  1. Choose the new organization’s name and the country it operates in.
  2. Provide details about the organization’s tax filing frequency and currency.

This creates a separate dashboard for the new entity, which entails a separate subscription fee.

Managing Multiple Dashboards

Once multiple organizations are created, Xero provides a unified view for the user to manage them. Users can:

  • Navigate to the ‘My Xero’ tab to see a list of all the organizations they have access to.
  • Switch between different organizations using the same login credentials to manage separate company dashboards effectively.

Each dashboard retains its unique set of financial data, ensuring clarity and separation between the different companies’ accounts.

When using Xero for accounting purposes, a user may operate multiple companies under a single Xero account. Each entity is set up as an individual organisation within Xero, allowing for separate financial records and reporting.

To switch between companies, a user can navigate through the My Xero tab. This hub provides a centralized location where all accessible organisations are listed. Here are the simple steps to move between your companies:

  1. Click on the My Xero button found typically at the top of the Xero interface.
  2. A list of all companies the user has access to will be displayed.
  3. Select the desired organisation by clicking on its name to transition to that specific company’s dashboard.

It’s important to note that each company within Xero functions independently, with its own subscription plan and set of financial data. Users benefit from the ability to maintain multiple companies in one place while attaining clear separation of financials.

For real-time clarity and oversight, Tracking Categories can be used. These are especially useful for distinguishing various business activities or divisions if they fall under the same organizational entity.

Xero’s straightforward structure ensures that managing multiple companies is as streamlined and efficient as possible, thereby simplifying complex accounting tasks at the user’s fingertips.

Subscription and Billing for Multiple Companies

Managing finances for multiple companies is streamlined on Xero, offering dedicated subscriptions while centralizing user access.

Subscription Options

Individual subscriptions are necessary for each company managed through Xero. This enables users to maintain separate financial records and reporting for each entity, ensuring a clear distinction between companies. In practice, the user will access a ‘My Xero’ dashboard where they will find a list of all the organizations they are subscribed to or have been granted access to.

Billing for Multiple Entities

For multiple organizations, the billing is handled individually per subscription. Each entity will incur separate subscription fees, allowing users to plan their budget for each company accordingly. Additionally, users have the flexibility to provide existing users with access to each entity without incurring extra user costs, leading to a straightforward allocation of expenses across different organizations.

Consolidated Reporting Across Companies

When managing multiple companies, financial professionals frequently require the ability to generate consolidated reports. Xero, a comprehensive accounting solution, addresses this need through third-party integrations like Joiin. Joiin enables users to connect their Xero organizations and efficiently create customized reports. The reports can encompass multiple, multi-currency businesses giving a unified view of financial health across entities.

Several features within Xero and its integrated applications facilitate consolidation of financial data:

  • Multi-entity Reporting: Custom reports from various Xero company accounts can be consolidated into one parent company report. This is particularly useful for startups and expanding businesses.
  • Multi-currency Support: Businesses that operate in different countries can benefit from consolidation tools that account for multiple currencies, simplifying international group accounting.
  • Real-time Data: Up-to-date financial reporting is achievable as these tools allow for data synchronization across accounts.

Users aiming for thorough group budgeting and account management may encounter limitations within Xero itself. For instance, despite the option for basic Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) reports, tracking may not extend to categories such as cost centres or tracking categories without the help of add-ons.

In conclusion, while Xero offers strong individual business management capabilities, the consolidation of reporting across multiple companies might require external integration. This integration empowers businesses to achieve a holistic approach to their finances.

User Access and Permissions for Multiple Companies

Managing user access and permissions in Xero allows for efficient control over multiple companies. Each company’s data is kept secure and accessible only to authorized personnel.

Inviting Users to Multiple Organizations

Users can be invited to access multiple organizations within Xero. When an invitation is sent, the invitee receives an email with a link to join the specified company.

  1. Navigate to the My Xero tab in the user dashboard.
  2. Here, users can see all organizations they have access to and can add new ones.
  3. Invite users by inputting their email address and selecting the appropriate organization to give them access to.

Setting Permissions for Each Company

Set specific permissions for each user to control the level of access they have in each company.

  • Standard Users: May have access to a set of basic features suitable for day-to-day transactions.
  • Advisor Users: Typically granted more extensive access, such as reporting and payroll (if permitted in the company settings).

Permissions are configurable:

  • At the time of inviting users, select the role you wish to assign.
  • Afterward, permissions can be adjusted in the organization settings as needed.

Transferring Data Between Companies

When managing multiple companies in Xero, users may need to transfer data between entities for various reasons such as consolidation or restructuring.

Exporting and Importing Financial Data

Exporting Data: Users can export contact details from one Xero organization and import them into another. Financial data like invoices, bills, and account transactions can also be exported. However, certain data may require manual processing to ensure compatibility between organizations.

  • Importing Data: Upon exporting the necessary files, users should follow Xero’s import guidelines to upload the data to the destination organization. This typically involves using CSV files formatted according to Xero’s specifications.

Intercompany Transactions

Recording Transactions: It is important to record transactions between companies accurately to maintain clear financial records. Users must manually enter these transactions in each relevant company’s Xero account.

  • Reconciling Accounts: After intercompany transactions are recorded, reconciliation is vital to ensure that the accounts in both companies reflect the correct financial position. Users should reconcile accounts regularly to avoid discrepancies.

Best Practices for Managing Multiple Companies in Xero

Managing multiple companies within Xero requires a systematic approach to ensure accuracy and efficiency. Users should consider the following best practices:

  • Separate Subscriptions: Each company should have its own subscription plan. This ensures independent financial records and reports can be maintained, avoiding confusion.
  • Consistent User Access: Users must be added to each organisation individually. It is essential to assign appropriate user roles to maintain security and control over access to financial data.
  • Centralized Dashboard: Utilize the My Xero dashboard to view and manage all organisations the user has access to. Keeping track of multiple entities becomes more manageable from a single access point.
  • Regular Reconciliations: For each Xero account, regular financial reconciliations are crucial. They should be carried out frequently to ensure the data’s accuracy across all companies.
  • Clear Chart of Accounts: Maintain a tailored but clear chart of accounts for each company. This helps in producing comparable financial statements and simplifies management reporting.
  • Training and Support: Ensure all users handling multiple companies are well-trained on Xero’s features. Leverage Xero Central for resources or engage with community forums for additional support.

By implementing these practices, entities can effectively manage multiple companies within Xero while maintaining clarity and control over their financial health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Xero provides a versatile platform for businesses to manage their accounting needs. This section answers common inquiries regarding the use of Xero for multiple companies.

How does Xero handle multi-company consolidation?

Xero does not natively support multi-company consolidation within a single account. For consolidation purposes, external tools or manual processes are usually required to aggregate the financials across different companies.

Is it possible to manage more than one business using a single Xero account?

Users can manage multiple businesses with one Xero login by setting up separate organizations for each company. Each will need its own subscription.

What is the process for switching between different company accounts in Xero?

Once multiple businesses are set up under a single login, users can easily switch between them within Xero. The process typically involves selecting the desired organization from a dropdown menu within the user’s account.

How does Xero’s functionality for handling multiple companies compare to QuickBooks?

Xero allows users to manage multiple companies each with separate subscriptions, similar to QuickBooks. However, specific features and the user experience may vary between the two platforms, and one may be preferred over the other based on specific accounting needs.

Can I use Xero HQ to oversee multiple companies, and what are the benefits?

Xero HQ is designed for accountants and bookkeepers to oversee multiple clients, which can include companies. The benefits include a centralized dashboard for client accounts, streamlined data analysis, and tools to manage work and explore opportunities across all client engagements.

Sebastien Prost, CPA

Written by Sebastien Prost, CPA

Seb Prost, a CPA with over 10 years of experience in taxation and accounting, offers a unique blend of insights from his time at the CRA and his experience in public practice. Originally from QC and now based in Nelson, BC, he specializes in guiding Canadian startups, SaaS companies and other online businesses for all of their accounting and taxation needs.

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