Before You Start

Before you start exporting to Xero UK, please ensure you have an active Xero Payroll subscription for the company, and that you have both the Payroll Administrator and Advisor permissions attached to your account. You may check your permissions by going to Settings in the top left corner, then clicking General Settings, then Users. If you do not have the relevant permissions, you will not be able to see the options to adjust pay. The administrator of the account may add this for you.

1. Setup your employees

You will need to have your employees set up in Xero to begin with, meaning you will need to finalise their setup under the Payroll->Employees section. This involves completing the Details, Employment, and Taxes sections. 

If you have created your employees in Deputy already you will be able to merge them with Xero later, however you will need to go back into Xero and add any missing details. 

Before you can export timesheets employees will also need to be assigned Wages/Salaries items and a Payroll calendar to each employee in XERO. These are not essential right now and we will cover these later in the process.

2. Set Up And Assign Pay Items


After setting up your employees, you'll need to create some pay items. Pay Items are just rules or rates on how an employee should be paid. Once you've created some Pay Items you can assign them under Salary and Wages section on an employee's Pay Template. 

An employee can have multiple Pay Items assigned to them, which allows them to be paid different rates according to different work conditions e.g. working different areas or hours.

To create a Pay Item in Xero, first click "Settings" at the top of the screen, then select "Payroll Settings". After doing so, please select the "Pay Items" tab.

Once you're on the Pay Items page, you can create a new pay item by clicking "Add" on the right. Select the earning type from the list that comes up.


You will then see a popup that lets you give the rate an Earnings name (how Xero will recognise the rate), a Display name (how it will appear to the employee on the payslip), it's Earning category (what type of rate it is) and the Expense Account. If you are exporting to Deputy you can only set the earnings category to Regular Earnings, Overtime Earnings, or an Allowance.

Xero will assign rates based on their name. In it's more basic form, this refers to weekday, Saturday, Sunday, and Public Holiday rates. If you name a rate "Weekday Hours" for example, the system will apply it to that employee's hours worked from Monday to Friday. Saturday can be Sat or Saturday. Sunday may be Sun or Sunday. Public Holiday should be PH. If this naming scheme is not used, the system will apply the employee's Wages & Salary item as the default.

When you create a Pay Item, please note that although you may assign it a value per hour on the creation page, you may also apply it manually to an employee. This means that you may use one Pay Item for multiple employees, even if those employees are paid differently to the rate specified at creation.

If you require more complex rates than the above (like night rates or overtime, for example) you may use our Award Interpretation system shown here. If you have any questions please reach out to one of our friendly support team.

After creating your Pay Items, you'll need to assign them to your employees. To do so, please click "Payroll" at the top of the screen, then select "Employees". You'll see your staff listed below. Next, please select one to open them up for editing.

After opening an employee's profile, please navigate to their Pay Template. The Pay Template is a list of rates an employee can possibly be paid. You should not have more rates applied to an employee than necessary. To add one of your created Pay Items to an employee, please click +Add New Earnings. You will then be able to select one of your created rates.

When selecting the Earnings line, you will have the option to assign it a number of hours per week and a value per hour. We recommend setting the number of hours as 0, however regardless of the number set it will be overwritten on export, as we'll show later. After adding the rate please click "Save" at the bottom of your screen.

When you later export the employees' hours to Xero, Xero will by default pay the Pay Item set as the employee's Salary and Wages Item. This is found under the Employment tab when editing that employee. You may adjust this by clicking "Set New Salary and Wages" as shown. Please ensure that in this section you set the Hours as 0. On this page you may also set the employee's Payroll Calendar (which must be done for you to export).

Now that your employee has all of their pay rates assigned to them, you'll need to pull their information into Deputy.

3. Link Deputy with XERO

You will also need to connect your Deputy account to your Xero account. To do so, please go to your Locations tab in Deputy. Next, please click "Settings" on the right.

After doing so, please click "Payroll" on the left side. You will see there a list of payroll systems. Please click "Connect to Xero" next to Xero. Doing so will create a popup for you, so please ensure that your browser has pop-ups enabled.

In the popup, please select the Xero account you'd like to connect to. After selecting it, please click "Allow access". 

You will the be taken back to the list of payroll options. You will notice that Xero will now show up as "connected". This means that you can share data between Xero and Deputy (and vice versa).

4. Toggle on Auto sync employees and Xero Pay templates

You will also notice you will have an additional toggle you can turn on labeled "Auto sync". Toggling auto sync on will sync your Xero and deputy employees. This means that any employees or employee's information in Xero will be added in Deputy and vice versa. Please note leave balances will now also sync between Deputy and Xero.

Your employees are matched between Xero and Deputy based on their full name and email address. If an employee does not have an email address, please set their Timesheet Export Code as their full name. If there is an inconsistency in data between Xero and Deputy, Deputy will be the source of truth and will overwrite Xero. 

An additional toggle "Xero pay templates" will appear under auto sync once it's been toggled on. This will allow you to set Xero to the source of truth for pay templates and pay rates. We recommend turning this on and setting up pay rates within Xero. 

Don't forget to click save after toggling these on!

5. Check that pay rates have synced

Employee information will automatically be synced every 15 minutes if you have toggled on "Auto Sync Employees".  However, after the initial sync between Deputy and Xero pay rates can only be synced by manually triggering a "Sync with Xero". 

You can  trigger a sync by clicking "Sync with Xero" under the bulk actions list in the People tab. This will sync both the employee data and pay rates, by default Deputy will be the source of truth (if you have "Xero Pay Templates" turned on Xero will be the source of truth for pay rates).


To check whether an employee's pay rates have been synced into Deputy, first go to the People tab, click on "Also Show" and then "Pay Rates". If the rates have been brought across, you will see "Xero Payroll" as the Pay Pate. 

If you don't see "Xero payroll", make sure Auto Sync Employees and Xero Pay Templates are toggled on in the Payroll tab. Then, trigger an update by clicking "Sync with Xero" under the bulk actions list in the People tab. For more troubleshooting options, checkout the Troubleshooting Common Xero Errors.

After your employees have been synced, please approve your timesheets as shown here.

6. Export a timesheet to Xero

After approving your timesheets you will then be ready to export from Deputy into XERO. To do this, please navigate to the Timesheet Export screen. Prior to export, verify that the Pay Period dates set in Deputy matches with the Payroll Calendar dates in Xero. Please select the employees of whom you would like to export and then select ‘Export Selected Items’.

Select "Xero Payroll"  and then "Timesheets" from the drop-downs that appear in the dialogue.

You can also opt in to "Set timesheet status in Xero to “Approved”". This means that your timesheets will automatically be approved when they show up in Xero. If you don't check this option timesheets will have to be approved again in Xero.

Successful Exports

A message similar to the below will be displayed by Deputy to verify that the export was successful.

Unsuccessful Exports

If you are having trouble exporting your timesheets check out our Troubleshooting Common Xero Export Errors page.

Exporting and Updating Timesheets

If you need to update an exported timesheet you will need to set the previously exported timesheet to "draft" in Xero and then export again.

Exporting Leave

Leave can be exported as timesheets, however, we need to ensure the following:

  • Leave types match in Xero exactly as they appear in Deputy. Please ensure that the "Leave Name" is exactly the same in both Xero and Deputy.
  • Leave types need to be assigned to your employees in Xero. To do this, navigate to the 'Payroll' tab in Xero, then click 'Employees'. Select the employee you are assigning leave to, and in the 'Time-off' tab, assign the appropriate leave types.
  • Leave timesheets cannot be used to update or delete existing "Time Off Request" in Xero. These need to be done manually. 

Area Tracking

Xero Tracking works by matching areas in Deputy to Xero Category options. These should match between the two systems. To add a category option in Xero, navigate to 'Settings' > 'General Settings' > 'Region' > 'Category Options', then add the relevant area.

For more information on Xero Tracking, check out our help article.

Custom Awards Library

Xero UK supports exporting from our Custom Awards Library. To submit an award or custom pay condition, please fill in the form here. To use custom awards you will need to set Deputy as the source of truth for Pay Rates by toggling off "Xero Pay Templates" option in the Locations/Payroll tab.

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