Xero 🎦

This article is for Administrators. Learn more about permissions. If you’re a Member, check out our Member resources.

When you connect Harvest to Xero, you can copy your Harvest invoices and payments directly into Xero. This article covers how to enable and use the integration. You can refer to Xero and QuickBooks Online FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions. 

To integrate with Xero, you must have Administrator permissions in Harvest and your account must have the Invoices module enabled. In addition, time and expense entries can’t be directly synced from Harvest to Xero, and are only copied as line items in invoices.

Connecting to Xero

Note that Xero requires your Harvest account to have two-factor authentication (an additional security measure) enabled before it will let you connect. You will enable this in step 3 of the instructions below. You can find more information in our article on two-factor authentication.

  1. In Harvest, go to your Settings.
  2. Click Integrations in the left sidebar.
  3. In the Xero section, click Connect.
  4. On the Sign in security page you’re taken to, check the box for Require two-factor authentication, then click Save settings.
    • You’ll then be taken to the Security section of your Harvest ID. Before moving on to the next step, set up two-factor authentication for your individual profile here. Everyone else in your company’s account will also need to set this up for themselves the next time they access the account.
    • Once you’ve signed back in to your account, you’ll be brought back to Settings in Harvest.
  5. In Settings, click Integrations in the left sidebar.
  6. In the Xero section, click Connect once more. You’ll be taken to Xero.
  7. Once signed in to Xero, select which organization Harvest should copy invoices to and click Allow access. You’ll be redirected back to Harvest.
  8. In Harvest, select your default revenue and payment accounts for Xero (if you opt in to copy invoice payments from Harvest to Xero), as well as your tracking category setting.
  9. Click Save.

Copying invoices from Harvest to Xero

Sending invoices to your clients via Harvest will automatically copy them to your Xero account. Recurring invoices will also automatically be sent to Xero if you have them set to automatically send to your clients. However, if you need to manually copy invoices to Xero:

  1. Go to Invoices > Overview and select the invoice you want to copy to Xero.
  2. In the Actions dropdown, click Copy to Xero.

Once an invoice has been copied to Xero, a View on Xero button will be added next to its title. Click this button to be taken to Xero’s site and view or edit the invoice there.

The integration will continue trying to copy the invoice if it’s not successful on the first try. Please note that the View on Xero button may therefore only appear after a few minutes and you may need to refresh the page to see it. We’ll send an email if we’re ultimately unable to copy the invoice.

How invoice line items are copied

Harvest invoice line items are copied to Xero revenue accounts. The logic is as follows:

  • If the Harvest invoice line item’s item type matches a Xero item code that has a default revenue account configured in Xero, we’ll copy the line item to that Xero revenue account. This mapping is managed in Xero under Business > Products and services.
    • For example, if the default Revenue Account for your Services Item Code in Xero is 400 – Sales, then any invoice line items in Harvest with an Item Type of Services will copy over to the 400 – Sales account.
  • Otherwise, if the Harvest invoice client matches a Xero contact that has a default revenue account configured in Xero, we’ll copy the invoice to that Xero revenue account. This mapping is managed in Xero under Contacts > All contacts.
  • If there isn’t a default revenue account for the client or item types on the invoice, we’ll use the revenue account configured in Harvest’s Xero settings page as the fallback revenue account.

For more information on how to update Xero’s default revenue account settings, check out Xero’s help docs for Item codes or Contacts.

Xero Revenue Accounts

How Harvest and Xero invoice statuses are mapped

  • Draft: If an invoice is saved as a draft in Harvest, then it will be saved as a draft in Xero.

  • Sent: If an invoice has a status of sent in Harvest, then it will be marked as Awaiting payment/Approved/Authorized in Xero.

  • Payment received: If a payment has been recorded in Harvest, then the invoice will be marked as paid in Xero if you have copying payments turned on in your settings. If only a partial payment has been applied in Harvest, then the invoice will remain marked as Awaiting payment/Approved/Authorized in Xero.

Important considerations

  • Tax rates: Once you set up the integration, we’ll pull over your tax rates from Xero so you can use them when creating an invoice. If your Xero account is linked, you won’t be able to customize your tax rates in Harvest, and you’ll only be able to apply one tax rate per invoice. If you plan to copy old Harvest invoices to Xero, those invoices must be updated to use your tax rates from Xero. You can set a default tax rate in Invoices > Configure > Default values, and on individual invoices, you can click the Edit link for Xero tax to select a different tax rate.
  • Discounts: A discount on an invoice in Harvest will be applied to each line item in Xero. Invoices copied from Harvest to Xero prior to June 6, 2014, display the discount as a negative line item in Xero.
  • Line item descriptions: Each invoice line item in Harvest must have a description in order for the invoice to be copied to Xero.
  • Currency: The currency of your Harvest invoice must also be a supported currency in Xero. Check your Xero settings to see if you can add/change currencies.
  • Retainers: Retainer invoices (invoices that add funds to a retainer) can’t be copied to Xero. This is to prevent double-counting those funds when they’re used to apply payment to a future invoice.
  • Tracking categories: If you have Populate tracking categories in Xero based on client selected in your Harvest for Xero settings, then the tracking categories will populate on your invoice line items when you copy your Harvest invoices to Xero.
  • Deleted invoices: If you delete an invoice in Harvest, the copied invoice in Xero will remain intact. However, the View in Harvest link will be broken. This applies if you delete the invoice in Xero instead: the Harvest invoice remains intact but the link to view in Xero will no longer work.
  • Item types:  Xero limits item codes to 30 characters. If your Harvest item type is longer than 30 characters it will be cut off in Xero.
  • Client info: Harvest only copies over the client name to Xero. No other client details are copied over. 

Copying payments

To copy payments from Harvest to Xero, you’ll need to first opt in to this feature. Click Settings (upper right corner), scroll to Integrations, and click Edit settings in the Xero section. Then you’ll need to indicate which Payment account payments should be applied to in Xero.

Here are a few important notes:

  • This is a one-way copy. Payments recorded in Xero will not be copied to Harvest.
  • Payments can’t be applied to Drafts in Xero. An invoice must be marked as sent in order for the Harvest payment to copy to Xero.
  • Once an invoice is marked as paid in Xero, it’s locked down for editing. If you try to edit an invoice in Harvest that has been marked as paid in Xero, you’ll get a warning that these edits won’t copy over.
  • Online payments received in Harvest via Stripe or PayPal will automatically be copied to Xero.
  • Deleted payments in Harvest aren’t automatically deleted in Xero. If you delete a payment in Harvest, you must manually delete it in Xero.
  • Write-offs aren’t copied over to Xero. If you write off an invoice in Harvest, you must manually make the corresponding change in Xero.
  • Overpayments aren’t copied over to Xero. You’ll see a Payment amount exceeds the amount outstanding on this document error. The overpayment will still be recorded in Harvest. Note that this rule also prevents duplicate payments from being applied to invoices in Xero.

Disconnecting from Xero

  1. In Harvest, go to your Settings (upper right corner).
    • Only Administrators can view and change account settings.
  2. Click Integrations in the left sidebar.
  3. Click Edit settings next to your connected Xero account.
  4. Click Unlink Xero, then click OK to confirm.

Note that this will not disable two-factor authentication for the account.


Refer to Xero and QuickBooks Online FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions. 

Did you find this article helpful?

Still have questions? We’re happy to help!

Contact us