I've seen Xero's Contact Links feature before but I didn't pay much attention to it as it appears, at first glance, to be rather limited without the ability to define custom "key" fields for contacts.

You can access this feature by going to General Settings » Organisation Settings and you'll see Contact Links at the bottom.

However, I've discovered that it's actually quite powerful as it is.

For example, while you can't easily link to a client's specific record in other systems, you can easily link to search results which means generally two clicks to the client's record.

For example, in WorkflowMax (the timetracking and billing system we use, you can link to the search like this:

https://my.workflowmax.com/common/search.aspx?search_field={!CONTACTNAME}

To show search results in Basecamp that contain the client's name, you can do this (however it's not as reliable due to the fields Basecamp indexes for search results):

https://luciddesignnz.clientsection.com/search?global=true&scope=all&terms={!CONTACTNAME}

And something else that is very cool is that you can do a Whitepages™ lookup very easily like this:

http://yellow.co.nz/whitepages/search/new+zealand/{!CONTACTNAME}-1.html

The Whitepages™ one is particularly handy as it gives you a 1-click Whitepages™ lookup for a contact in Xero which I find useful since we don't always store all a client's details.

Anyway, I've just touched the surface of what's useful here.

If Xero were to add "custom fields" to their contacts interface, it would make this very powerful as you could, for example, put the client_id for a Basecamp record into a custom field so you could link directly to that client in Basecamp. Now that would be great.

If you have any tips to share, please do so in the comments below.X