Xero – How to Import a Chart of Accounts

by | May 15, 2018

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Making bulk changes to your general ledger accounts in Xero is a great way of saving time and effort. This can be done by exporting your chart of accounts to a CSV file, editing the accounts, then importing the edited file back into Xero.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to import the chart of accounts back to Xero’s demo company after you have made your changes. To follow this guide properly, please first export the chart of accounts into a CSV file by following the instructions in my guide on how to export a chart of accounts from Xero.

Chart of Accounts Section in Xero

To get to the right area of Xero, go to Accounting → Chart of accounts from the main menu.

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How to Import a Chart of Accounts

Once you have downloaded the CSV file you can make some changes. Although you can make lots of changes, I will keep this demonstration simple by making a small number of changes to the names of a few accounts.

Let’s take a look at the accounts in the general ledger before any changes are made. If you go to the main Chart of Accounts screen you should see the following accounts:

  • 300 – Purchases
  • 310 – Cost of Goods Sold
  • 400 – Advertising

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Now go to the CSV file that downloaded when you exported your chart of accounts. You should be able to open the file in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. Go to the lines containing the three general ledger accounts listed above and change their names to:

  • 300 – Stock Purchases
  • 310 – COGS
  • 400 – Online Advertising

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Save and Close the file to get it ready for importing into Xero.

Back in the Chart of Accounts screen of Xero’s demo company, click on the Import button:

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On the next screen, you will be presented with a few options. For this exercise, you can leave the settings as they are and click on the Browse button. Find the CSV file to import and click on Import when ready:

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Your file will now be checked for errors by Xero. A confirmation screen will show you the results of the checks. As we only made changes to the names of a few accounts, we shouldn’t have any problems to worry about so will ignore the warnings on the confirmation screen and click on Confirm to finish our import:

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Note: If you are importing a chart of accounts for a real business using Xero, please check the messages on the confirmation screen thoroughly and fix any errors before finishing your import.

You should now be back at the main Chart of Accounts screen. Here, you should see that the names of the three general ledger accounts have been changed:

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That’s it for this lesson. There are many more changes you can make in bulk to charts of accounts in Xero so be sure to save yourself lots of time and effort by exporting and importing in future when making bulk edits.

Mark Cunningham

Mark Cunningham

Xero Specialist | Udemy Instructor | Small Business Owner

I have been a company accountant for more than 20 years. I am now dedicated to empowering small business owners through my highly-rated and popular Udemy courses on Xero, bookkeeping and accounting.

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