So now that you’ve installed our Zoho CRM 2 Xero Integration,
…you’re probably stuck on some obscure error message that means almost nothing to you.
Perhaps you’re just trying to understand what’s going on for The Zoho CRM 2 Xero sync a bit better, i.e. The works of it all.
Or maybe it’s neither and you’re just browsing, scouting some prospective solutions your business might need.
Well, whatever your extension-related reason for landing on this page might be, one thing’s for sure, you’re in the right place.
After the roll out of our Zoho CRM 2 Xero sync extension, we’ve had a number of questions ranging from what the extension does exactly to how it works, or more specific questions that give you the answer to why it works the way it does.
This Blog, with reference to our youtube playlist on this very topic, will address the most common of these FAQs and hopefully that will give you the answers you’re looking for.
Or at least just a nudge in the right direction if nothing else.
A friendly heads up : This Blog is a little long so feel free to navigate your way around using the following contents
Let’s get started with a brief preview of what we’ll cover :
What is the Zoho CRM 2 Xero Integration ?
Simply put, the Zoho CRM 2 Xero Integration is a tool for productivity & efficiency. It’s an enabler for well-structured business processes and a solution for anything else.
As is made evident by the name, this sync integrates your Zoho CRM records with your Xero records. It links all of your Customer data from the CRM to your relevant Xero data and vice versa, effectively bridging the two colossal databases into one, giant, well-oiled machine of a database. (Think Mortal Engines but with your business’s workflows as the cities)
So, what does this mean exactly ? As indicative as big words and strong metaphors are, they don’t tell you what it all might look like for you. So, let’s take a look at an example.
In the video, our narrator mentions Invoices, so let’s pick up on those breadcrumbs.
Usually, Invoices are stored in the CRM against various client details ( also in the CRM ). From the accounts payable, to the recipients, everything is stored here. This is great and all until you have to actually get these Invoices paid and recorded into your books.
So, to do this, you get out of your CRM, open up a Xero tab, and proceed to manually populate the data back there. You’ll need to write everything up all over again. From the amounts to the client’s last name to the items being billed, everything will need to be manually put in to make sure everything is maintained right.
Now, with the integration in place, all of that manual labour you put in can be skipped completely. In fact, it’ll literally just take the push of a button. You populate the details in the CRM, hit the instant sync button, and viola, your record’s in Xero, waiting to be processed.
That’s what the Zoho CRM 2 Xero integration is all about really. It’s a solution to the potential throes that come around when you’re working with two massive database structures such as these.
What are the Modules Being Synced ?
The Zoho CRM 2 Xero integration works by bridging specific modules from both applications, These modules then allow the extension program to map the data and send it across to the right place.
Note : The sync is based on the “data relevance” of the modules only, so it links modules with the same type of data, but not necessarily the same name. This explains why it’s syncing Bills to Purchase Orders as opposed to Bills to Bills.
As you can see from the picture, the modules being synced are specific to the app they are in.
From Zoho CRM, we have :
The Accounts & Contacts Module
The Vendors & Contacts Module
The Products Module
The Invoices Module
The Purchase Orders Module
While Xero offers its :
- Products Module
So, in essence, our extension would be able to sync your contacts (both clients & vendors), products, invoices, bills & purchase orders between the apps. Anything beyond these lie outside the scope of our extension and hence can’t be worked with or passed over.
Can you sync multiple Xero ID Files ?
Before we jump into this, let’s first define what’s meant by “Xero ID Files”, as the terminology can be quite confusing.
A Xero ID File here, is the ID of your Business’s Xero account. It’s what identifies it in Xero’s servers, kind of like a name for your particular Xero profile.
Defined by Google as “a unique identifier used to authenticate a user” , these IDs are also referred to as API Keys, and for the case of the Zoho CRM 2 Xero integration, they’re what’s used to facilitate the mapping of the entire sync.
So, pretty important.
Now, aside from the general and sometimes requisite curiosity of clients with bigger business models, the main issue here stems from certain accessibility features in Xero. See, in Xero, you can change between your IDs from the Accounts icon on the top of the screen.
It’s a little Reminiscent of shifting between saved accounts on Gmail.
So the question that comes up here is, how well can our sync can utilize those means. Can this mapping be done well enough to simultaneously sync 2, 3, or maybe even 4 different Xero ID Files ?
Or maybe your business has 2 different branches, each with their own Xero Profile and you want to sync them both. Would you be able to do that ?
Well, we’ll be straightforward here and say no. You wouldn’t.
Our integration is a bridge between Zoho CRM & Xero, two apps with their own database structures and set of business rules. To ensure a secure sync, it needs to cater to the rules of both of these apps.
So even though Xero lets you change your profiles up to a certain extent, the Zoho CRM doesn’t. So, to make sure that your data gets synced effectively and thoroughly, the Zoho CRM 2 Xero integration only supports a one to one connection.
Any more than a one Xero ID syncing to one Zoho CRM would simply overwhelm the system.
Sometimes more is less, right ?
Item-Based vs Service-Based Invoices
Item-Based and Service-Based Invoices ??? Why is there even a difference ? They’re both Invoices right ? You charge the client with them and the bank proceeds to notify you of a payment that has been made soon after. Why do we insist on making things so complicated?
Well, what if we told you’re wrong. That it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Infact, what if we said you already know the answer to it ? Would you say we were crazy ?
Come to think of it, what was the point of this clearly forced and extensive intro ?
Unfortunately, there isn’t an answer to that one ( at least one that justifies the few lines we’ve spent here and the irritation we might have incurred ) but to answer very first question,
See ? The answer was within you all along. ( That is if you’ve read the previous section of our blog ofcourse. )
The key difference is Item Codes. Just as there were two types of products in Xero functionally distinguished by these elusive strings of words and numbers, Xero sets apart Invoices using the same key feature.
An Item based invoice is an invoice that’s used to charge clients for Items.
A Service based invoice is an invoice that charges for Services.
To recap, an Item is a product of your business that has an item code (typically, but not necessarily, inventory ) whereas a Service is a product that doesn’t (Consulting is a good example)
In this Invoice, you’ve got both an Item & a Service.
The Service based section (Courier Charge) charges for a Service as it doesn’t have an Item code, so if it were a separate record, it would be considered a “Service Based Invoice”.
In Contrast, The Item-based part (Golf Balls) does have the Item code, so it’s charging for an Item and would’ve been considered an “Item Based Invoice” as a separate record.
Note : This is neither an Item based nor Service based invoice; it’s called a hybrid invoice as it has both types of products.
Reminiscent to Items v Products, this difference is made only because the Zoho CRM 2 Xero integration is a factor, or more accurately, because you’re data is being synced to the Zoho CRM.
The CRM only has one type of Product, and that’s with a Product Code (Only Items) so it can only “read” Item based Invoices too. Simply put, if the Invoices being synced don’t have an Item Code in Xero, i.e. They’re Service Based Invoices, the sync will fail and the records won’t show in the CRM.
To facilitate a successful sync, all inbound Invoices from Xero need to be Item Based Invoices.
That’s it, if your Codes are set, and your boxes ticked (we’ll get to that in a bit) your records will be synced in a heartbeat (of your Internet bandwidth of course)
The Types of Syncs our Zoho CRM 2 Xero Integration allows
A very simple question. How many different ways you can sync your records when you’re using the Zoho CRM 2 Xero integration of all syncs? What are your syncing options for this integration ?
The answer, is three. A Trifecta.
When you’re using our sync extension to sync your CRM & Xero, you’re given the option to sync your records in three different ways, two of which are done through the extension portal itself.
We refer to these methods as Manual, Automatic and Instant syncs and the next few questions will cover these methods of syncing in more detail.
But for a quick summary, (and because we’re a fan of previews),
The Manual Sync : is done through the extension portal & it’s mainly just specifying which modules you want synced and how far back you want that to happen.
The Automatic Sync : is also done through our Zoho CRM 2 Xero extension portal & it’s a means of setting up a premeditated timetable for the syncs to occur.
The Instant Sync : is the only one that our plugin allows you to do directly through your CRM. With a click of a button, you can sync individual records straight to Xero, with the only downside being that the sync is unidirectional only.
How far back can you sync ?
How far back can you sync your records from ? What’s the last date our sync can track your records back to ? To get to that question, we first need to delve a bit more into the type of sync that facilitates this whole pull back.
The Manual Sync:
Running a manual sync is as simple as opening up the extension portal and navigating to the Run Sync menu. ( You’ll be given two options but the Manual Sync is default )
…and you’re ready to begin.
Now, the first thing you see once you’re in is the Modules & Sync Mode Selections.
Over here, you can check off the modules you want synced and the “Sync Mode” which is, in less technical terms, the direction your sync will take.
Now, once your done setting up what you want synced, we’re finally brought to the main question,
How far back can you sync ?
So, How far back is that exactly ?
“Our Zoho CRM 2 Xero extension gives you the option to pull your data either from upto 30 days or from the last sync date”
These options are directly accessible through the “Sync Options” menu, from where you can tick and specify which one you’d prefer.
So, If you want to say, sync all your records from today to 12 days ago, just click the blue “select” bar next to “Before…” and choose “12 from the drop down menu that opens up.
Or, if you don’t remember the last time you had a sync, just choose the “After last Synchronisation” option and our sync extension will automatically find the date for you and pull the data back accordingly.
So that’s about all there is to a manual sync. Follow these steps and you’ll be driving your records to and from Xero on that stick shift in no time.
Can you schedule an Auto-Sync ?
Of course you can !
Infact, the Zoho CRM 2 Xero extension allows you to do this directly through the plugin portal, just like the manual sync.
To actually run an Auto Sync, all you need to do is open up the Extension Portal, head over to the Run Sync Tab and Select Auto Sync Scheduler from the extended menu on the left. That will open you up to the pool of options you see below.
Auto Sync Scheduler
Once your in, it will open you up to the pool of options you see in the screenshot below.
And it’s summer down here, so we’d love to go for a swim.
To start off, you need to turn the scheduler on, so shift that slider to the right.
The next step is configuring the timetable to your specific needs and to do that, the extension menu allows you to :
Specify the modules of the records being synced and the direction those specific modules will take, using the options presented under the
Modules & Sync Mode Selections Menu
Set up how many times a day the syncs will run :
“Auto Scheduler will run…” section on the top right,
for more demanding data flows, this can be set up to 10x a day.
Set up a timetable for these syncs :
For reference, on the screenshot, it’s set at “At 0:00, 8:00, 12:00 & 16:00”
Choose how you want to start off the syncs : You can either pull back from last sync date or just start from the first auto sync scheduled.
Set up email notifications for every time a sync happens :
Notifications > That’s it.
From there, once you’re done setting up the specs of the sync, all you need to do is wait and let the Zoho CRM 2 Xero extension do it’s thing.
Can you do an Instant Sync ?
Is it possible to send a record instantly between the apps ? That is what Instant Sync means right ? Well, if we’re on the same page (Pun Intended), then yes it is.
On installment, the Zoho CRM 2 Xero sets up a “Sync to Xero” button on the records of the corresponding modules and that sends your records directly to Xero.
Auto Sync Scheduler
Let’s look at an example,
Here we’ve got a record in the Accounts Module of the sync, and as highlighted, you can see the Sync to Xero button on the top right.
To sync this record successfully however, you would need to fill out the Xero2Zoho Application details where it’d ask you for your Xero ID & Contact URL, though this section should be filled out automatically on from the set up.
Either way, it’s still a good practice to make sure it’s all filled out
Can you check for Sync Errors ?
Your syncs are all set up. You’ve gotten that data from all 5 modules syncing, the directions specified and now, you’re just waiting for the records to pop up.
But they don’t.
Nothing seems to have changed. Did you just get that subscription for no reason ? What’s even going on ? What’s the hold up?
Where might you be able to check for sync errors ? Can you even do that ? The question here though, isn’t whether or not you can check for these errors, that’s something we took care of for you. It’s how you do it.
And the answer is Sync Logs
The Zoho CRM 2 Xero extension maintains a detailed sync log for every sync that it facilitates. It gives you a comprehensive recount of any sync you undertake, reflects any errors or hiccups that might come along the way and also gives you the water to wash them down.
To access this Sync Log :
Reports Menu ( located on the sync extension’s side menu )
Then get your bait boxes out, cause we’re about to go fishing.
Now once you’re in the sync log, you can get all types of intel on your sync ; the directions, the account names, the type of sync taking place, the date & time.
But as cool as those “deets” might be, that’s not what you need. You need to know why your syncs are not working. What you need lies in the comments section.
The comments give you a detailed description of what happened during the sync. If it works, it tells you that, if it fails, it tells you why it did. Any errors your sync may be having will be reflected in this section and any further details needed can be accessed through the Details button next to them.
So that’s it. If you’re running into any issues with your syncs, just head over to the Sync log and chuck in that bait and fish out the the problem from the Comments & Details sections.
How can you deal with Sync Failures ?
Has your Zoho CRM 2 Xero integration stopped working all of a sudden, leaving you scrambling for a solution and ultimately leading you to this section of this blog?
Have you been trying to figure out why your Bills & Purchase Orders aren’t syncing from your Zoho CRM to your Xero? (Or any other module for that matter )
Well, we’re here to help you out by listing a few of the most common reasons your sync might be subject to failure, along with corresponding simple fixes that will help you get your records syncing between Zoho CRM and Xero in no time.
So, let’s look at some common issues you might face and, more importantly, how YOU can deal with them.
As you might’ve caught onto by now, we love summaries and previews, so let’s begin with a quick overview of the errors we’ll be discussing here.
The Primary Contact – Why your Contacts Module sync might be failing.
The Item Code – Why your Products / Invoice Module sync might not be up to the mark.
The Reconciliation Block – Manual Sync not going through ? This might be why.
The Instant Sync Specifics – This might be what’s holding up your Instant Syncs.
API Key Changes – Did your entire sync just stop ? It might be a change in your API Keys.
Total Tax vs Item Tax – Another technicality for Invoices and this time, it’s to do with taxes !
The Primary Contact (Contacts Module)
The Contacts Module sync allows you to bridge your Contacts between your CRM & Xero, saving you the time you would’ve needed to otherwise manually go and look for the relevant contact details.
This sync however, doesn’t come without it’s fair share of caveats and although there is just one main specific you’ll need to keep in mind, failing to comply with it might lead you back to square one and have you scurry through your entire database for something as simple as a client’s number.
So what is it ? In one word, it’s the Primary Contact.
A Primary Contact is a contact that you need to specify in both Zoho CRM and Xero whenever you’re syncing records in the contacts module. It’s a must and it can aptly be be described as the Pivot of the Contacts Module sync and what that means is that you need to make sure it’s specified so it can facilitate the entire transfer of data between the apps.
But how does this even happen and more on a more relevant note, what does it even mean ?
Heads up, we’re about to get a bit technical.
So when our extension sets up a sync for you, it starts off by mapping the data in both apps, i.e. specifying where the data will be taken from and where it will land.
It does this by generating IDs & Module URLs for the specific records in your Xero & Zoho CRM and to make sure this happens effectively, it needs The Primary Contact.
Then the primary contact enables the mentioned IDs & Module URLs to be generated in the app the contacts are in originally.
Then, pivoting on the primary contact, The Zoho CRM 2 Xero integration maps the data and generates the IDs in the Recipient App, ultimately mapping up the whole sync, before it even takes place.
Now, in the off-chance that you might’ve forgotten to specify this contact, your sync logs will reflect an error for the Contact Module and your sync won’t work and they wouldn’t have a map for the data sync.
So, it’s always a good idea to check whether or not the Primary Contact details filled in and the rest of the boxes ticked, just to make sure the sync works the way it should.
The Item Codes Specification ( Products/Invoices Module)
Item Codes have already been discussed in the Items vs Products part of this blog, but for a recap :
When syncing the products module, it’s crucial that both the Zoho CRM & Xero’s business rules are being followed, as the integration is obviously occurring between these two apps. The problem here arises when we take Zoho CRM’s rules as they put a cap on the type of product that can be brought in from Xero.
The Zoho CRM doesn’t allow any products that don’t have an Item Code. It simply can’t process them.
To add fuel to the fire, the item code is also what’s primarily used to facilitate the Products/Invoice Module sync, i.e. Item codes are effectively also the pivot of the Products/Invoice Module syncs.
This means that, in Xero’s terms, only Items (NOT Services) can be synced across the the Zoho CRM, so it’s integral to make sure that all products being synced from Xero have an Item Code assigned to them, not only for the CRM, but also to enable the sync itself.
Note : This is referred to as Product code in the CRM
The Reconciliation Block :
The reconciliation block is a technicality that’s relevant to all types of manual syncs undertaken through our Zoho CRM 2 Xero sync extension.
What’s happening here is that, after a transaction is confirmed or a reconciliation takes place, Xero locks in the data for that specific transaction so that any external changes won’t affect the data in Xero at all.
This is particularly problematic for the sync if you’re syncing your data in from Zoho CRM after a reconciliation as the data won’t be updated in Xero, hence the sync won’t exactly work.
So, if you want to change the data in Xero after a reconciliation, you’ll need to change the data in Xero directly, then you can sync it to Zoho CRM afterwards if needed.
As an example, say you receive an invoice of $1000 which you already updated in both apps. Now the client requires a refund but the $1000 has already been locked in, in Xero. In this situation, if the amount refunded is put into the CRM, there will be no effective change to the account in Xero but if it’s done through Xero, the relevant CRM data will automatically be updated.
The main idea here is that after a reconciliation, Xero becomes king and it blocks any further data from coming through, so it consequently prevents the sync from taking place.
Instant Sync Specifics
Now when it comes to the Instant sync, you’re syncing the records individually & directly from Zoho CRM as opposed to it being facilitated through the extension portal.
In this case, the data still needs to be mapped to the other side, so there are a few Application details that need to be filled out.
The prompts under “Xero2Zoho Application” is what will help facilitate the rest of the sync, so if by any chance, these details are left out, the sync won’t go through.
So, whenever an Instant sync is being carried out filling out these details are a MUST. If your sync needs to go through that is.
API Key changes :
For some background, the API Key is what defines each individual ID File. It differentiates two different Xero Accounts or Zoho CRM Accounts and specifies the database in each.
Note : If API Keys sound vaguely familiar it’s because they were discussed as ID Files in the “Multiple Xero ID Files” part of the blog. : https://www.oscillosoft.com.au/zoho-crm-2-xero-faqs-a-blog/#xeroid
Now, as we mentioned earlier (check out the link above), API Keys enable an effective mapping of the entire sync, so that the data makes its way to the right place when it’s synced over.
So, if the API key is changed by any chance, you may experience a total sync failure, i.e. none of your syncs will work. That’s what happens when the data has the wrong map.
Now, how do you deal with this,if your API Key is changed, what do you do ?
Just update your new API key into the extension portal and restart the system! This should allow an effective reboot of the system and your syncs should get back on track in no time!
Pretty easy right ?
Item tax vs Total Tax
Another error you’re likely to come across when syncing invoices, is the Item Tax vs Total Tax Settings Conflict.
Basically, when you’re using Zoho CRM and Xero, your invoices have the option to either include total tax or item tax.
Our extension however has its own reservations when it comes to tax. As we mentioned, the Zoho CRM can work with both Item Tax and Total Tax, but it only has the capacity to work with one at a time.
So for the sync to work, the records need to be using either Item Tax or Total Tax, based on whatever is specified during the CRM set up.
Let us know if you have any more questions !
So with those errors and fixes, this FAQs blog comes to an end.
We hope we were able to address at least a couple of your inquiries about our custom accounting integration (The Zoho CRM 2 Xero extension) but in case we missed your particular question by a mile or left you even more confused now than ever, contact us through our support email, telephone, website or any of the icons you see below and our support team will be glad to get your sorted, extensions working & CRM records syncing to Xero in no time !
(We might even make another Blog out of it !)