Xero and custom development, what’s the Xero API?

Craig Harman
Craig Harman MANAGING DIRECTOR

Xero is an incredible platform. Combine this with the array of plugins available from the Xero Software Marketplace and you have a solid foundation for not only your accounting but all of your business processes. But what happens when you or your client uses a product that doesn’t have a plugin on the market place, or a requirement for a unique business system with a solid accounting base?
Apart from the better known examples above Xero also has an Application Program Interface (commonly referred to as API) that allows certified developers to access the features of its publicly available platform programmatically. Let’s look at this in terms of a simple example.
I have a client who wishes to send statements to their clients when they have amounts owing more than 30 days. Currently in Xero this is a manual process which involves:

  1. Logging into Xero
  2. Going to Accounts -> Sales -> Statements
  3. Manually selecting each company whom you wish to send a statement to (in our case we would need to check each company manually as we do not know from the statement list who is over by 30 days)
  4. Send the statement(s).

In order to send statements the day a company is 30 days overdue would need to be repeated everyday with step 3 taking anywhere from seconds to hours depending on the number of clients with overdue amounts.

Xero Developer

By using the Xero API, a certified Xero developer can write a custom application that requests all the overdue invoices from Xero, combines them with the customers payment history and produces a statement based on our 30 day overdue requirement. This application would run in the background constantly sending statements to companies as soon as they are 30 days over. Leaving the statement sending process looking more like this:

The result of using a Xero developer

Of course the Xero API allows more custom and complex solutions that can save you and your client from time zapping manual data entry. In our next newsletter we will look at what’s possible using some more of the advanced features in the Xero API and custom development.

Harmonic New Media is a Certified Xero Developer based in Perth, Australia who has been working with Xero and the Xero API for over 5 years. If you have any custom development requirements please contact us.