About the Payment Clearing Account Setting
Within Bnbtally, when adding a Xero account, you'll be required to set the Payment Clearing Account.
We recommend to have Bnbtally create the Payment Clearing Account in Xero for you. If you select for us to create it for you, we will create it as a Current Asset Account.
Automatic Payments to Invoices
In Bnbtally, you have the option of setting automatic payments to invoices. If you disable this option, then in Xero you will need to match your invoices to your Airbnb bank transactions manually. This is fine if you like to have this sort of checkpoint. However, we usually recommend that you enable "Apply Payment using Payment Clearing Account" to your invoices...
When this is enabled, Bnbtally uses the Payment Clearing Account to make automatic payments to invoices and ultimately free you from reconciliation.
Here's a diagram of what happens when you use a payment clearing account to automatically apply payments to invoices and set a bank rule to automatically reconcile Airbnb transactions to the same payment clearing account. With this setup, reconciliation is completely automatic.
If I enable Automatic Payments, is there anything else I need to set up in Xero?
Yes. First, if you enable automatic payments for your invoices, we also recommend to create a bank rule within Xero to automatically transfer all Airbnb bank statement lines to the same Payment Clearing Account. Otherwise, if you didn't do this, you'd need to manually reconcile the bank statement to transfer Airbnb income to the Payment Clearing Account.
Where to Create a Bank Rule in Xero
To create a bank rule in Xero, go to the following...
Go to the "Accounting" menu and select "Bank Accounts".
Towards the top of the page, click the button labeled "Bank Rules".
Select "Create rule" and click "Receive Money Rule"
Bank Rule Settings
Conditions: The conditions you set in your bank rule will depend on how your banking institution records your Airbnb bank line items, it will also depend on which payment processor Airbnb uses for your country/jurisdiction - these factors may vary. For most bank statements, the Airbnb line item "Reference" or "Description" contains the word "AIRBNB". Note, you can confirm by checking your bank statements and checking what an Airbnb line item looks like in Xero.
Set the Contact: Set the contact to "Airbnb Payout Clearing" (or whichever contact you prefer to clear Airbnb payouts).
Fixed Value Line Items: We don't recommend setting any fixed value line items.
Ratio Line Items: Allocate 100% of the amount to your payment clearing account. Assuming that you've used Bnbtally's recommended payment clearing account, select account code "Airbnb Payment Clearing Account". Feel free to set a description but that's optional. We don't recommend setting any tracking categories or tax rates greater than 0%.
Set the reference: Select "from the Reference" Note, this depends on your banking institution statements and preference. For example, you may want to set it from description. Double check by looking at your banks statement.
Target a bank account: In the drop down selector, choose the bank account where you are receiving your Airbnb payouts.
Give the rule a title: "Airbnb Payouts" will work, but this is to your preference.
Disclaimer: Just like any other recommendations we provide, please check with your accountant to make sure the correct bank rules and Xero settings apply to your specific business. The above Bank Rule settings are what we find to be the most common.
Why should I use a Payment Clearing Account to make automatic payments to invoices?
The reason we offer the option to apply payments automatically to a Payment Clearing Account is to make reconciliation entirely automatic and remove the extra step of matching each invoice to bank statement lines. Most users prefer this.
However, in Bnbtally you shouldn't use a Payment Clearing Account if you're not receiving the money directly from Airbnb. If you're receiving money from someone else other than Airbnb, you'll need to collect from them directly and reconcile your invoices with your deposits from them.
What if I DON'T want to automatically apply payments to invoices? What if I prefer to match invoices to Airbnb bank line statements manually in Xero?
That's totally fine, this is completely optional. If you decide not to have payments applied automatically to invoices, you would instead have to match your invoices to your banks statement lines manually on your own within Xero. Once you feel comfortable with your setup, you can always make reconciliation automatic at a later time.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you decide NOT to have payments applied automatically to invoices, there are two major disadvantages. First, you'll need to manually reconcile your invoices in Xero. Second, Bnbtally is not able to rollback invoices that have been manually reconciled in Xero. In order to rollback manually reconciled invoices, you would first need to undo the reconciliation within Xero, which is another manual step that would need to take place.
Here's a diagram of what happens when you do not automatically apply payments to invoices. You'll need to manually reconcile Airbnb transactions to invoices.
What is a Payment Clearing Account?
A Payment Clearing Account is a general accounting practice and is defined as "an account you use to move money from one account to another account when you cannot move the money directly. This account normally has a balance of $0.00 because you always take out the same amount that you put in. It may also be called a Clearing Account, Barter Account or Wash Account" (source)
Specifically for Airbnb, the Payment Clearing Account is used to apply payments to Airbnb invoices upon the day the Airbnb reservation payout is posted. Payouts can take 2-6 days (or longer) to arrive in the bank account after posted from Airbnb. Monies owed are held in this clearing account until the payouts are received in the bank. This account also helps to automate the reconciliation process.
There are scenarios where a payment clearing account can be misused. Make sure you're not making these mistakes...
Applying payments to invoices automatically with Bnbtally but forgetting to transfer bank statement lines from Airbnb transactions to the payment clearing account in Xero. See section above for more about this: If I enable Automatic Payments, is there anything else I need to set up in Xero?
Opposite to item 1, transferring bank statement lines from Airbnb transactions to a Payment Clearing Account yet later deselecting automatic payments to invoices in Bnbtally. In this case you may have decided that you want to manually match invoices with bank statement lines but may have forgotten to remove any bank rules in QuickBooks for automatic transfer to payment clearing account.
Changing the payment clearing account used in Bnbtally but using the previous payment clearing account in QuickBooks.