How to create a trial balance with comparatives in Xero

This post is for bookkeepers and accountants that require a trial balance in Xero, that has comparatives. 

Need some better workpapers?


So as some of you may know, the trial balance in Xero does not have comparisons. 

It is also an "old report" as opposed to the "new reports" that we have enjoyed since 2015.

Most of my clients say it's not the greatest of reports to use.

Xero are building a new one but who knows when that will be ready.................

Question for you

So, what if I told you that you can build a trial balance in report templates?

Would you use it?

If it is a report template, that means it is under the advisor tab list instead of the reports list, are you okay with that?

Are you also okay with the fact that this custom built trial balance does NOT split the columns into credits and debits but instead just displays all accounts in one column?

If you can live with those two, then read on.

If you can't, goodbye.

What is a trial balance actually for?

Why use a trial balance?

I mean, essentially it is the same as a profit and loss statement and balance sheet combined, right?

It just presents every single account in the chart of accounts so that you can do some type of health check before you are satisfied.

This almost makes it a "workpaper" and not a "report". 

Is it just something that you want as part of your internal insurance policy?

So does the layout really matter? 

Does it have to look exactly like the trial balance of old?

Build your own

The video below explains how to build your own.

Here is a quick intro for newbies:

  1. You will build an entire practice-wide report
  2. It is based on Xero's report codes, if you don't know what they are, think of them as a better language to replace account code ranges
  3. Your client's can't run this, only you can

For the experienced:

  1. You will create a schedule in a blank report
  2. You will add in every single report code (in your region) for revenue, expense, asset, liability and equity
  3. You can have what ever columns you want

Have a go mate

As they say in Australia, "I'll have a crack". 

That means, I will do this, my way.

So the video below walks you through each step and then shows you how to run it at client level.

Maybe a question you can ask yourself is, what other workpapers do we use and can we build something in Xero?

We have an "Income Tax Estimator" workpaper as well, see below.

We tried building a "Cash Liability Estimator" report last year, care to try that too? Then see below.

Sum Up.....lol

So I hope that was helpful?

Let me know if you have any ideas, I may be able to build you something else.


Donnie Buchanan


Other Workpapers

Below are some of our other workpapers.

Check them out and don't forget to reach out if you have any ideas.


Income Tax Estimator Workpaper

Cash Liability Workpaper


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