fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) Frequently Asked Questions

What versions of FileMaker Pro/Pro Advanced does fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) require?

fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) currently works with FileMaker Pro/Pro Advanced v12, v13, v14, 15 and v16. We continue to develop fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) and will ensure it works with future releases of FileMaker Pro.

Is FileMaker Pro Advanced required?

FileMaker Pro Advanced is only required to copy/paste the Custom Functions that fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) uses when you are integrating this into your own FileMaker solution files. Otherwise you can use both FileMaker Pro and Pro Advanced when using the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) functionality.

Does fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) use a plug-in?

Yes – FileMaker Pro currently does not have the required functions to integrate with the Xero API, so a FileMaker plug-in is required.

Is FileMaker Go supported?

FileMaker Pro currently does not have the required functions to integrate with the Xero API, so a FileMaker plug-in is currently required. This means that you cannot natively use FileMaker Go to communicate with the Xero API as FileMaker plug-ins aren’t supported under FileMaker Go, however there is a solution. If the fmAccounting Link file (or your FileMaker database that you integrate it with) is hosted by FileMaker Server you can use the server side features of FileMaker Server to communicate with the Xero API (server side scheduled scripts or Perform Script on Server) as FileMaker Server can use plugins.

We have examples of this in the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file – for example you could use a FileMaker Go client to:

  • enter a Contact and push that Contact to Xero
  • enter a new Invoice and push that Invoice to Xero

all by using Perform Script on Server or a server side script schedule.

The fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) doesn’t include any FileMaker Go specific layouts, but the Contacts Form and Invoices Form layouts do include examples of buttons that can be used to push a Contact and an Invoice from a FileMaker Go client.

Is FileMaker WebDirect supported?

Yes – FileMaker WebDirect runs under FileMaker Server which can use plugins.

We have examples of this in the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file – for example you could use a FileMaker WebDirect client to:

  • enter a Contact and push that Contact to Xero
  • enter a new Invoice and push that Invoice to Xero

all by using Perform Script on Server or a server side script schedule.

The fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) doesn’t include any FileMaker WebDirect specific layouts, but the Contacts Form and Invoices Form layouts do include examples of buttons that can be used to push a Contact and an Invoice from a FileMaker Go client.

Is FileMaker Cloud supported?

There are no issues when using a FileMaker Cloud hosted version of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) when using the FileMaker Pro client application as all communication with the Xero API is handled by FileMaker Pro. We’re currently working on support for using Perform Script on Server – this requires a new Linux version of the plug-in to run under FileMaker Cloud which runs on CentOS Linux.

We’re currently testing this and hope to have an update shortly. Please note that server side schedule scripts are not currently supported on FileMaker Cloud – you will have to use Perform Script on Server for any server side script operations.

Is there any documentation to help us integrate fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) into our own FileMaker solution?

Yes – we have a dedicated Integration page. We also plan to add some additional videos to illustrate particular aspects of the integration.

I don’t see an example for all Xero API endpoints?

We’ve tried to include all the common Xero integration requirements for a typical small business that uses FileMaker (Contacts, Invoices, Bills, Payments, Employees, Timesheets etc). We’re happy to add additional examples to the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) solution file – as long as it is supported by the Xero API we can create an example.

Can I upload a Payment with an Invoice to mark the Invoice as Paid?

The Xero API does not currently support creating a Paid Invoice with a single API call. You will need to upload the Invoice and the Payment separately. They plan to support creating a Paid Invoice in a  single API call in a future update to the API.

What’s the best way to integrate this into my existing FileMaker solution?

How you go about integrating the functionality from the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file is entirely up to you – as the file is completely unlocked you get to go behind the scenes to learn how to handle the authentication, uploading, downloading etc and then recreate that in your existing FileMaker solution. Based on feedback from customers all around the world there have been three main ways they have approached the integration:

Linking – this involves using the fmAccounting Link file as a ‘interface’ or front-end file to your existing FileMaker file. This is a relatively quick way to get up and running – you relink the table occurrences to reference the matching tables in your existing FileMaker file and then update the layouts and add any new fields (such as the ‘Xero ID’ fields and the POST data calculation fields). You also need to update any field references in scripts and create any new value lists.

Use the fmAccounting Link file as a Controller File – this involves pushing data to the fmAccounting Link file from your existing FileMaker file and use that to handle the uploading/downloading of data with Xero. This is also a relatively quick way to get up and running – you simply write scripts in your FileMaker solution to push Contacts, Invoices etc across from your file to the fmAccounting Link file and use that to handle all the uploading of FileMaker data to Xero. To prevent duplicate Contacts from being created you would create a ‘Xero Contact ID’ field to store the Xero Contact ID value, otherwise everything else happens in the fmAccounting Link file. You could then do an upload once a day of all Invoices generated that day etc.

Embedding – this is the most complex and time consuming type of integration as it involves recreating the required functionality from the fmAccounting Link file in your existing FileMaker solution. Our integration guide covers the high level steps that you need to take and the order in which to complete them. Most of the code can be copied and pasted, however you will need to manually create some relationships, table occurrences and valuelists. You can typically be up and running with authentication and uploading a Contact/Invoice in around 4 – 8 hours depending on the complexity of your existing FileMaker solution.

If you do decide to use the fmAccounting Link file you will have to create and manage any required FileMaker Accounts and Privilege Sets.

We are already using Xero and have existing Contacts, Invoices etc. Is there a way to prevent duplicate Contacts from being created? 

Yes – the Xero API exposes the Xero Contact ID field which is their unique identifier for a Contact record. We store this in a field in the fmAccounting Link file in the Contacts table (same for Invoices, Payments etc – they all have their own unique Xero ID). You can use the fmAccounting Link file to download all existing Contacts from Xero to get access to the Xero Contact ID values and then create a field in your FileMaker solution to store this, then populate this from the fmAccounting Link file via a relationship based on Company Name etc.

Once this is populated any future uploads to Xero will not create a duplicate Contact in Xero but use this for uploading to an existing Xero Contact.

What is the Contact Code that appears in Xero and how does this get populated? 

The Contact Code field that appears in Xero can only be updated via the Xero API – it appears as a read only field within Xero. The Contact Code field represents the value of the ContactNumber XML element that is pushed to Xero. In the fmAccounting Link Xero file we map this to the ContactNumber field in the Contacts table when downloading from Xero, but when uploading we populate this with the ContactNumber field if it is not empty, otherwise we use thee _kp_ContactID field (Contacts primary key field). This allows you to easily map/identify the same Contact record in Xero and FileMaker.

N.B. when uploading a Contact the Xero API will match on either their Xero Contact ID (e.g. 64eedbc9-1fa0-485a-837f-705f23188162) or the ContactNumber/Contact Code. If you archive a Contact that has a Contact Code value (e.g. CT1523) and then attempt to upload another Contact with the same Contact Code you will get this error:

The contact number CT1523 is already assigned to another contact. The contact number must be unique across all contacts

The Xero CRM Integration guide has more information – remember that for Contacts in Xero the ContactID, ContactNumber and Name elements are unique identifiers, and both ContactNumber and ContactID are uniform resource identifiers.

How does the Xero Invoice Number get populated? 

The Invoices API endpoint has a InvoiceNumber element which is a unique alpha numeric code to identify an Invoice. You have 2 options when uploading Invoices to Xero:

  1. leave this blank and Xero will will auto-generate this from your Organisation Invoice Settings
  2. populate this with a value from a FileMaker field

In the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file we are using the 2nd option to populate this with the value from the _kp_InvoiceID field (the primary key field for the Invoice in FileMaker). If you wish to change this to have Xero auto-generate the number for you simply disable/delete this line from the XeroInvoicePOSTCalc calculation formula:

” & EscapeXML ( _kp_InvoiceID ) & “” & “¶” &

We have a field in the Invoices table named XeroInvoiceNumber which we populate with the Xero Invoice Number value, regardless of the above settings.

I don’t see any Archived Contacts when I download all my Xero Contacts? 

Archived Contacts are excluded by default when you perform a GET request to download a group of Xero Contacts. To include archived contacts in your request simply append the following to your URL:

includeArchived=true

I just tried to upload a Contact that was archived and got an error? 

The Xero API currently does not allow edits to be made to an archived contact. You will get the following validation error:

The specified contact details matched an archived contact. Archived contacts cannot currently be edited via the API

To make edits to this Contact you will need to Restore (unarchive) the Contact within Xero first.

I’m getting the following error when uploading a Contact/Invoice etc:

This is a problem with the Authentication with the Xero API – you can just reauthenticate to fix this. When you authenticate with Xero some tokens are stored which are automatically included with each request to Xero – you usually encounter this error when these tokens have been cleared out, for example by opening another copy of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) and then closing it which will clear out the Xero tokens.

I”m creating a new Tax Rate but do not see any drop down lists for the Tax Type and the Report Tax Type? 

The Tax Type values are different for each Xero Organisation region, and include some values that can be updated and other (system values) that cannot be updated. You can get the full list of Tax Types here:

https://developer.xero.com/documentation/api/types#TaxTypes

Report Tax Types are also region specific and include a mix of values which can be used when creating and updating Tax Rates and others which are used for system tax rates and only returned on GET requests. You can get the full list of Region Tax Types here:

https://developer.xero.com/documentation/api/types#ReportTaxTypes

You can use these values to create your own custom drop down lists specific to your Xero organisation’s region.

Can I upload a Credit Note and allocate it in a single request? 

The Xero API does not currently support creating and allocating a credit note in a single call – the create and allocation must be done in two separate calls. The fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file shows how to perform these in a single FileMaker script so you can have one button that creates and allocates at the same time.

How do Overpayments work with the Xero API? 

The process of creating and allocating Overpayments works a bit differently to other Xero API endpoints. To create an Overpayment you use the BankTransactions endpoint and to allocate outstanding invoices to an Overpayment you use the Overpayments endpoint. It’s also worth noting that Overpayments can only have a single line item. The line item will be automatically coded to either the Accounts Receivable (receive) or Accounts Payable (spend) control account when uploading to Xero. Overpayments also do not have any taxable component to the line item – this is always set to no tax.

The Xero API does not currently support creating and allocating a Overpayments in a single call – the create and allocation must be done in two separate calls. The fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) file shows how to perform these in a single FileMaker script so you can have one button that creates and allocates at the same time.

The Xero API does not currently support updates to an existing Overpayment – once you have pushed the Overpayment from FileMaker to Xero you cannot make any changes to the Overpayment, but you can upload allocations against the Overpayment.

There is also a bug with the Xero Overpayments endpoint that incorrectly shows the TaxType as ‘NONE’ in the API but displays as ‘BASEXCLUDED’ in the Xero website/UI. This is scheduled to be fixed in a future update to the Xero API.

Can I upload the Bill Reference? 

The Reference field is only available for Accounts Receivable invoices. For Accounts Payable invoices – Bills in the fmAccounting Link file – the Xero InvoiceNumber value is displayed as the Reference in the Xero interface. The _kp_BillID field from the Bills table is populating the InvoiceNumber in Xero which then appears as the Bill Reference (e.g. BL1305).

What kind of attachments can be uploaded to an Invoice?

You can upload up to 10 attachments (each up to 3mb in size) per invoice, once the invoice has been created in Xero. We’ve successfully uploaded the following file types:

  • PDF files
  • JPEG images
  • PNG images
  • Word documents
  • Excel spreadsheets
  • Text file

A full list of file types that you can upload is available on the Xero website. You cannot currently delete an attachment in Xero from FileMaker – you will need to login to Xero to delete any attachments that have been uploaded to an Invoice.

Are Xero Tracking Categories supported?

Yes – you can use the fmAccounting Link file to download Tracking Categories from Xero, as well as create new Tracking Categories and Tracking Category Options. The fmAccounting Link file also has examples for deleting a Tracking Category or Tracking Category Option. You can also add up to 2 Tracking Categories to the following items in the fmAccounting Link file:

  • Invoices
  • Bills
  • Purchase Orders
  • Overpayments
  • Prepayments
  • Receipts
  • Timesheets

As Tracking Categories are optional in Xero and not used by all Xero users we haven’t added them to the standard form view layouts, but you can find the Tracking Category examples on these layouts:

  • Invoices Form Tracking
  • Bills Form Tracking
  • Overpayments Form Tracking
  • PurchaseOrders Form Tracking
  • Prepayments Form
  • Receipts Form Tracking
  • Timesheets Form Tracking

I’m not familiar with the technique that you’re using to create records when downloading data from Xero – can you explain how this works?

When downloading data from Xero if we need to create records in another table (e.g. Contacts, Invoices etc) rather than constantly changing layouts to create new records in the correct table we’re using a technique that allows you to create related records via a relationship that has the “Allow creation of records in this table via this relationship” enabled for the relationship.

This technique is also known as the “Magic Key” technique and is also used when implementing support for database transactions in FileMaker. You can read more about this technique at these websites:

Is there a list of changes in each version of fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition)?

Yes – to see what’s new with each update check out the fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition)  version history log

If you have any questions about fmAccounting Link (Xero Edition) please contact us and we’ll get back to shortly.