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Upload invoices and receipts to Xero

Have you ever been asked to find the original copy of an invoice or expense receipt and spent hours trawling though filing cabinets and boxes of paper? Or struggled to find that one invoice that was attached to an email somewhere in your bloated inbox? How about getting approvals, when you need to show the invoice original to someone else in the business, and they are travelling overseas?

Documents like these are a core part of your business and like any financial record they need to be easily accessible. You can now attach electronic copies of all your original AP invoices and expense receipts directly in Xero –  so they’re all in one place, never to be lost again!

Check out this video to see how it works:

Document storage is currently free. We’ll keep an eye on how popular this is over the next few months and see if we need to charge a small amount to cover storage cost. Rest assured we’ll give plenty of notice if we do this.

Here are some other goodies in today’s release:

  • More bank feeds in the UK and US
  • Contact address lookup (initially for New Zealand only) – Xero can search across any postal and physical addresses in New Zealand so you can be sure you’re entering a valid address.
  • Copy and edit published reports
  • Open Excel reports in Google Docs, Numbers and OpenOffice

Read our release notes for all the details.

 

Read more about Business

 

55 comments

Glen Barnes
23 May 2011 #

This will really come in useful when you add TripIt like forwarded emails to the system. Right now as it stands you have to do the following to add AP’s:

- Print invoice to PDF or save attached PDF (say Telecom bill)
- Log into Xero
- Find transaction
- Upload document.

All of that takes a long time. In an ideal situation you would:

- Forward invoice to receipts@xero.com. It automatically assigns it to the right transaction if it knows about that kind of receipt. Otherwise it stores the details.
- For those that are not stored against a receipt you should be able to easily add this as a new transaction, add to existing or delete.

When it comes time to do you GST return all transactions should show whether they have an attachment or not. Only then should you need to manually upload receipts. Only then will you have a paperless office (or closer to it…)

Andrew Haynes
23 May 2011 #

I’ve been waiting for this feature for a while! Very happy.

James Riddell
23 May 2011 #

Nice! I’m guessing the native iPhone app will eventually be able push photos of invoices directly in to this feature.

Andrew Tokeley
23 May 2011 #

@Glen – totally agree, this is the first step. Allowing people to email documents and have them auto-magically end up in Xero is definitely in our sights.

@James – you bet – our resident coding CTO showed me this working last week. Stay tuned over the next few weeks.

Andrew Haynes
23 May 2011 #

Can you extend this to credit notes please?

Michael John Kordek
23 May 2011 #

Thank you guys so much for adding this feature! For my job, this is the Biggest thing since Ben Hur. Could this be expanded to include the ability to attach copies of remittance advices / scans of cheques etc in the ‘make a payment’ section of AP? Also, an area to attach copies of the actual bank statements (not just imports of statement lines) that relate to each bank account would be truly smashing. (Automatic feeds of these bank statements into Xero would be even better still) Could become a total one-stop-shop for my accountant.

Simon
23 May 2011 #

+1 on the iphone application scanning the receipts please – my accounts person will love you for that :)

Rob
23 May 2011 #

Are attachments available via the API? Is this planned to arrive soon? :)

Andrew
23 May 2011 #

I had IRD ring me up and ask about some invoices that were in our GST return, and wanted copies.. I’d alrady sent them to document storage.. What a drama.. This is awesome. and your making my life easier and easier!!! Love it.

Warren/Zylex
23 May 2011 #

Finally! Hoped for this feature for so long!

Mark Wright
23 May 2011 #

Since you’re back looking at receipts … an easy improvement that would save endless frustration (at least on my part). Make the the sort order of receipts sticky.

Right now, if I’m trying to go through an old claim looking for some details, if I choose to order by receipt date, it resets when I return after inspecting a given receipt.

Even better would be to pop-up description and coding on mouseover, then I wouldn’t need to open the receipt at all.

Simon
23 May 2011 #

That is AWESOME! Thanks guys!

Luc
23 May 2011 #

+1000 on the iphone app. That would be a fantastic idea!

After the first release you could even make it a million times better by building in some text recognition and let the user select the fields, i.e. ‘Total’ and ‘Contact Name’.

Din
23 May 2011 #

Agree with Glen & James, for this great new addition to be a REAL benefit needs 1) iphone & email uploads, 2) recognition of expense capability and workflow thereafter as per Glen (wd be brilliant and make xero a killer app)

Bill
23 May 2011 #

I put a system like this into place within a large corporate ERP about 10 years ago – it was transformational. We scanned to .tif files and were able to save the average A4 document as a 30kb file.
TradeMe manages to shrink uploaded photos on the fly. Can you do something similar with scanned images? Otherwise your storage will get blown away quickly with lots of 2mb files from people who don’t know any better.

Simon Foster
23 May 2011 #

@Glen You can get that functionality using Shoeboxed together with Xero. We can also take the entire scanning task away from you.

@Simon We can help you with that, too :)

It’s also worth mentioning that the it is currently doubtful whether *self-scanned* documents are acceptable to tax authorities in lieu of the paper original. The wording of the US IRS (97-13) and Australian ATO (2005/9) rulings suggests not. Basically, you need to be able to demonstrate that the electronic document could not have been modified *or* have an audit trail of any modifications.

Anyway – our objective is to get to the point that end-users just send off a Shoeboxed envelope with their receipts & payables inside, and it appears as draft payables inside Xero without intervention a few days later. We’re almost there (right now there is an export & import process required), and there will be some additional announcements about this over the next few months.

- Simon

MD, Shoeboxed Australia

DavidW
23 May 2011 #

Please add the same feature to your WinPhone7 app, too. (You DO have a WP7 app coming, I hope?)

Sebastian
23 May 2011 #

Brilliant, we’ve been waiting for this feature for a while. Can you also open this feature for “Spend Money” transactions? We hardly use the Expenses function as we’re a Hong Kong based company with most expenses being in a different currency, so expenses doesn’t do the trick for us.

Jason M. Blumer, CPA
23 May 2011 #

+1 for

- emailing receipts, and
- including this in the native iPhone app

Hot dang!!

Andrew Tokeley
23 May 2011 #

Attaching documents to other types of transactions (credit notes, spend money…) is on the cards – we wanted to get the most useful ones out there as quickly as possible and will monitor demand over the follow months.

@Rob – attaching files via the API is on the roadmap but no ETA yet

@Mark – nice ideas, I’ll see what I can do

@DavidW – are current strategy is to build our mbile touch app with HTML/CSS/Javascript technology only and using PhoneGap to bridge the gap between this and the device. Currently the CSS tricks we use like swipe animations, innertia scrolling… aren’t full supported outside of webkit browsers. Once WP7 supports them we’ll have that covered and I beleiev PhoneGap is working on WP7 stuff too.

ChrisR
23 May 2011 #

Showing the doc which made the transaction – nice…
Maintaining the doc in an ATO compliant fashion – mmmm…
Performing workflow and document conversion on multiple input streams (email, scan, office) – ooh yes !
Outsourcing your data-keying – yeah baby !
Being able to get all your docs back if needed – priceless !!!!
That’s when you need a Webrecs RUB …

Brett
23 May 2011 #

I’ll raise my hand for an android app too please.
Evernote integration would work also.

Shawn Yeager
23 May 2011 #

As a customer of both Xero and Shoeboxed, I’m puzzled why the parties haven’t yet made a demonstrable commitment to integration. It seems to be perpetually “coming soon.” While I appreciate the work done above in enabling image uploads, I take it as sign that Xero is moving away from embracing Shoeboxed.

Comments?

Damien
23 May 2011 #

+1 for adding to the Spend Money transaction as this is ideal for the Credit Card Transactions as we too also do not use the expense function.

Andrew Haynes
23 May 2011 #

Also would be useful for accounts receivable where you have a recipient created tax invoices and the like.

Eg. Insurance recovery, commisions earned, advance payments to authors etc.

Dylan Reeve
23 May 2011 #

I agree with Sebastian, I’d love to see this one “Spend Money” transactions. I’m a sole trader so I find the Expenses thing to be double handling for my purposes.

Maree Maxfield
23 May 2011 #

Having worked as an Accountant, within businesses for the last 20 years, I understand just how huge this advancement is. People within the Creditors/Accounts Payable side of businesses are going to love it.

alan
23 May 2011 #

I use a great iPhone app, XpenseTracker, which lets me enter expenses really quickly and optionally add a photo of the paper receipt. It exports to CSV with one column including the file name and path of the relevant receipt image.

if a Xero iPhone app did this, or if Xero was able to import to expenses a CSV of items and, say, a zip file of receipt images… what a wonderful world it would be. :-)

alan
23 May 2011 #

@Simon I’ve just started trialling Shoeboxed via your recent offer on BizzBuzz. If you integrate smoothly with Xero you’ve got me as a customer. If that export/import process is tedious, maybe not. Let’s see….

Matthew
23 May 2011 #

Just wondering if the expenses will be able to cater for multiple currencies in the future.

Rod Drury
23 May 2011 #

@Shawn we’re very keen to support Shoeboxed. We just needed to get the app done and make the api extensions available to them. We’ve got a lot of stuff on, it just takes time.

I got to test the iPhone app today with photo upload. It’s looking good. Sorry it’s taken a bit longer than we’d like.

Great feedback, we’re taking it all in.

Rod

John
23 May 2011 #

Excellent stuff – adding AP invoices as PDF is a GREAT feature for us so that our scattered users can see the originating docs!

Looking forward to this evolving almost as much as you getting UK RBS business bank feeds working :-) :-) :-)

Nigel
23 May 2011 #

This sounds great, but I’m not sure it is going to be in practice partly because it does not start at the heart of Xero, the bank rec screen.

I don’t use Accounts Payable, as using the brilliant bank coding rules to code imported transactions automatically saves so much time.

So I can either go back to the Sage/Quickbooks approach of entering accounts payable invoices and then additionally scan and upload invoices, or stick with the brilliant bank coding feature, and keep a paper file. If automatic bank coding could create paid accounts payable invoices rather than just spend money transactions that would help.

My dream implementation would be:

- the facility to upload easy-to-scan multipage PDF’s containing multiple accounts payable invoices and expenses receipts; and to email in invoices received by email. The iPhone functionality sounds great.

- for thumbnails of those pages to appear whenever I wish in a pane to the right of the main workspace with some kind of Apple Quick Look equivalent. (Loads of space off to the right in your UI – do most people have widescreen monitors now?)

- to be able to drag as many individual thumbnails as required on to transactions to associate them, ideally with some clever logic that helps the process.

Nigel
23 May 2011 #

One more thought!

There seems to be a question mark over the validity of scanned images of documents as far as tax authorities are concerned.

Is Xero in a position to acquire and publish a definitive position on scanned tax invoices from HMRC and their international equivalents in your key markets, so that customers can have confidence we are compliant with VAT regulations etc.?

Warren/zylex
24 May 2011 #

An answer to Nigels comment above would be great even in regards to

Warren/zylex
24 May 2011 #

An answer to Nigels comment above would be great even in regards to NZ IRD?

Earl Rudolfo
24 May 2011 #

Wow, I’m really thrilled with this feature – uploading invoices and receipts into Xero. Definitely a step in the right direction. Agree with Glen Barnes suggestions above. Lots of good ideas from others as well.

Andrew Tokeley
24 May 2011 #

@alan – we’re thinking that a tighter integration with the iPhone to allow you to attach images stored on the device or taken with the camera is going to be a great addition to this story. We’re very close to releasing this functionality. We are also talking with other providers to making uploading attachments easier – for example, imagine scanning or photocopying a document and having it automatically sent to Xero. How cool would that be?

@Matthew – not at the moment. Instead people tend to us AP invoices or Spend money documents for this purpose – sorry.

@Nigel – great ideas! We’re thinking about an Inbox within Xero where you can fire documents to and generate documents (invoices, receipts…) from. Still early stages but definitely potential to expand.

@Nigel/Warren – we typically don’t give out legal advice of this nature. However, in NZ, this reference, http://www.ird.govt.nz/technical-tax/standard-practice/general/sps-gnl-430-retentionofbusinessrecordsbyelectronicmeans.html indicates that electronic copies may be used as long as they are an accurate representation of the original. Keen to hear of other peoples’ interpretations.

Martin Gatehouse
24 May 2011 #

Great, You need to limit the file size otherwise you wlll get huge colour scans…..?

Nigel
25 May 2011 #

Thanks Andrew. It’s not legal advice from you that is needed: just you are in a much better position to get a clear answer from HMRC – and to publish it – than any single customer is.

Amanda
25 May 2011 #

Would be great to see Dropbox integration, so the receipts can be synced across more than one system. Would also be wonderful to have an email inbox feature where invoices can be sent to an address, then automatically loaded into Xero for processing with the rules feature for recurring invoices..

Heather Smith
25 May 2011 #

From an Australian perspective my intepretation of the scanning of documents is it is legal. However, ATO Ruling TR 2005/9 stipulates that if you are maintaining your financial records electronically, the documents must be a true and clear reproduction of the original paper records, stored for five years, and retrievable at all times.
The ATO link :

http://law.ato.gov.au/atolaw/view.htm?locid='TXR/TR20059/NAT/ATO'&PiT=99991231235958

Scott barrington
28 May 2011 #

Evernote syncing &/or iPhone app would be amazing!

Dan Trimble
29 May 2011 #

This feature is AWESOME. It would be great to also be able to choose between attaching an image, or specifying a URL to a file of the image stored in a folder on Dropbox or Evernote.

Dan Trimble
29 May 2011 #

Echoing some earlier comments, would also be awesome if I could attach an image of a payment check when recording a payment from a customer.

James R
31 May 2011 #

Any plans to integrate with Google Apps email? I’m loving the Capsule-Google integration and think there could be some great link ups with Xero. I have visions of mini statements in email widgets.
Actually – forget it. That’s starting to get ridiculous. You’re busy enough as it is. I mean where do you draw the line. You’ve no sooner finished the iPhone receipt scanning app and I ask for this? Sorry. A Quote system is probably more important.

Heckie Cormack
19 July 2011 #

+1 for Spend Money receipt uploads.

Ted T.
5 December 2011 #

+1 for Spend Money receipt attachments also. Very much need this feature!

Damon
13 December 2011 #

Thanks for the attachments support. One thing is bugging me though. I often (usually?) want to attach more than one file against an expense claim. I do this by adding multiple lines to the receipt.

I’d like to be able to attach multiple files as well, just one attachment is too restrictive.

Robert
30 April 2012 #

I’m with Glen,

Something like tripIt would be awesome where you can email your receipts to your xero account and it can read it for you. Would be perfect!

ZS
2 September 2012 #

@Andrew Tokeley: WP7 will not support webkit animations because they are outside HTML5 framework.

Please make your apps HTML5-friendly or create a WP7 app.

jim
30 September 2012 #

I love the fwding idea – maybe have it land in an inbox in xero – where you have option to search for all invoices matching vendor name (manually type this in) which don’t have attached invoices yet. Then apply the viewed invoice via checkbox.
If nothing shows up – create new invoice with actual invoice sitting in a sidewindow always viewable while you perform the data entry.

Carl Howarth
6 December 2012 #

+1 for the emailing functionality

Jamie
13 September 2013 #

Has attachments for credit notes been implemented yet? From the comments this was “on the cards” 2 years ago and the docs suggest no. This is probably the only reason we haven’t moved to Xero from Wave as it still can’t solve the problems we have with Wave. There (Wave) we were able to go back to fist principles and enter credit notes as negative invoices and attach the credit note to the bill. Since credit notes are first class citizens in Xero it seems strange that you cannot attach files to them just as you can for an invoice. Is there an ETA for attachments to credit notes?

Andrew Tokeley
13 September 2013 #

@Jamie – good news! Yes, you will be able to add attachments to Credit Notes, and a whole lot more places, in a few weeks time. We’re in the final stages of testing what we’re calling “Files” which will solve this for you.

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