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How to Automate Xero Backup on a Custom Schedule

According to Xero’s Terms of Use: 

You also may have occasional access issues and may experience data loss, so backing up your data is important“. 

Having a copy of your financial data will protect you from the risk of data loss caused by any malfunction or human error. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the options available to back up your Xero data.

Can I back up Xero?

We can answer this question in two ways:

No – there is no built-in backup in Xero

There is no built-in backup feature in Xero. You can neither create a local or a cloud copy of your Xero company data, nor rollback it. Moreover, the Xero team has no plans for adding backup functionality in the short-term, although this was highly requested by Xero users.

Yes – you can export Xero data to a back up copy

You can back up your Xero data yourself by exporting it. There are two options:

  • Manually export data from Xero 
  • Export Xero data automatically on a schedule

We won’t describe the manual option, since we’ve already blogged about it in our Xero to Google Sheets article. The automatic data export as a Xero backup is what we’re going to explain here.

Xero backup solution

The Xero automatic backup solution that we suggest rests on Coupler.io, which is a product for exporting data from different sources to cloud destinations including Google Sheets, Excel, and BigQuery on a schedule. 

With Coupler.io, you can backup the following Xero data:

  • Accounts
  • Bank Transactions (reconciled data only)
  • Bank Transfers
  • Branding Themes
  • Contact Groups
  • Contacts
  • Credit Notes
  • Currencies
  • Employees
  • Expense Claims
  • Invoices
  • Items
  • Journals
  • Manual Journals
  • Organisation
  • Overpayments
  • Payments
  • Prepayments
  • Purchase Orders
  • Receipts
  • Repeating Invoices
  • Reports
  • Tax Rates
  • Tracking Categories
  • Users

Now, let’s see how it works.

How to back up Xero

Sign up to Coupler.io and click “Add new importer“. After that, you will need to set up the source and destination for your Xero backup:

Set up Xero as a source

  • Select Xero as a source application. Click “Continue“.
  • Click “Connect” to connect to your Xero account, then click “Continue“.
  • Select a Data entity to back up, as well as a Report type – Simple or Detailed.

If you click “Continue“, you’ll be able to configure the filters for your data backup.

Xero has strict limits for the number of requests per minute and for some entities. For example, for Invoices, you can only fetch 15 records per request. With this limitation, we strongly recommend adding the filter “Changed after date” or the “Where” parameter to backup changes in your data. 

Click “Jump to destination settings“.

Set up destination for your Xero backup

The destination settings will differ depending on which application you selected as a destination.

  • Let’s select Google Sheets as an example. You’ll need to connect to your Google account, and select the spreadsheet and sheet from your Google Drive to export Xero data to.
  • Click “Save and Run” to create a backup copy right away, or “Continue” to configure additional settings:
    • Enter the first cell address where to import your data
    • Select the import mode: Replace or Append
    • Enable the “Last updated column” parameter

As Google Sheets tracks all the changes, you will be able to back up your data at any time in the Replace mode. Or you can use the Append mode to see new or changed rows appended below the previous ones. In order to understand the whole history of changes, please enable the “Last updated column” parameter.

Here is what a successful backup copy will look like:

Now, let’s discover how you can also automate backup of your Xero data on a schedule. For this, you’ll need to toggle on the Automatic data refresh and set up the schedule.

Xero daily backup

For example, let’s create a daily backup of accounts from Xero to Google Sheets. Toggle on the Automatic data refresh and configure the schedule:

  • Interval – Every Day.
  • Days of week – select the days you want to create a backup copy.
  • At – select the time when the backup copy needs to be created.
  • Schedule time zone – select your desired time zone.

After that, click “Save and Run” to enable the automatic backup.

Back up Xero file to OneDrive

We mentioned that Coupler.io lets you export data to Google Sheets, Excel, and BigQuery. So, you can easily choose your Excel Online file stored on OneDrive as the destination for your Xero to MS Excel backup. 

  • For this, select Excel as a destination app. Click “Continue“.
  • Connect to your Microsoft account then click “Continue“.
  • Select a workbook (Excel file) on your OneDrive. After that, you’ll need to select a sheet from the selected workbook or create a new one.

The rest of the flow is the same as described above, and your backup will be available in Excel Online. 

Back up Xero to BigQuery

With Xero to BigQuery as a destination for your backup, you’ll have to connect a BigQuery account. Check out the Coupler.io knowledge base for the instructions.

After that, you’ll need to enter the names of the dataset and table which will store your Xero data.

The rest of the flow you already know. But the most interesting part here is that you can query records from your Xero backup copy in BigQuery. 

Query records from Xero backup in BigQuery

Since your Xero backup copy is now stored in BigQuery, you’ll need to set up BigQuery as a source application, and Excel or Google Sheets as the destination.

To export data from BigQuery, you’ll need to specify SQL queries. It’s not rocket science, and we’ve already blogged about this in BigQuery to Google Sheets

Here is an example of a query which allows you to pull data before a specific date (April 12, 2021) based on the “Last updated column” parameter, which we used when backing up data from Xero.

SELECT *
FROM  `project-for-coupler.Xero-data.Xero-invoices`
WHERE
last_updated <= '2021-04-12T00:00:00.000'

For more complex queries, you can check out our BigQuery SQL Tutorial

Xero full backup

The solution described above lets you back up specific Xero data to a spreadsheet app or a data warehouse. Unfortunately, this won’t let you make a full backup. If this is what you need, you can consider other third-party apps available on the Xero App Marketplace, or just set up several Coupler.io importers to back up each of your entities separately. 

To wrap up – Why Xero is not going to have a native backup solution

The thread on the Xero community with a request for Xero backup contains more than 300 replies. Users have expressed the need for this functionality but the Xero team has their reasons why they do not plan to add a rollback function within Xero.

  • Reason #1: Your Xero data is well-secured and you won’t have to recover it from a significant loss caused by any failure.
  • Reason #2: Xero’s existing bulk editing functionality, such as deleting imported draft invoices or editing underlying transactions are enough to restore corrupt or invalid data.
  • Reason #3: The export functionality can be a good replacement for backups, for the purpose of data migration from one system to another. 

You can agree or disagree with these arguments, but the truth is that Xero lacks any backup feature and the chances for it to appear are quite low. So, feel free to use Coupler.io for automated creation of backup copies of your Xero data. Good luck!

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