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Introducing receipts for iOS

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For many of Xero’s customers, today is a red letter day… Yesterday morning we released a hotly anticipated update to our expense claims functionality (currently for iOS, Android still in development). This is a complete overhaul of the UI, and features several clever tweaks. Read on below the video for a guided tour!

Default to one line item

Gone are the days where you had to explicitly add a line item before you could fill in the details. A little research showed over 95% of all expense claims only contained a single line item, so for those cases the new flow is vastly simplified. Of course you can still split your claim into separate line items if you need to!


Submit single-receipt claims in one tap

Something missing from day one has been the ability to submit a single receipt as a stand-alone claim. Up until now, you’ve had to save receipts which you later assemble into a claim on the web. No longer! Submit for approval, or submit and approve in one step yourself if permitted.


Record business expenditure as well as expense claims

One of the most common complaints is from those wishing to record money spent from a business account (on the web, this is referred to as ‘Spend Money’). These receipts don’t need to be reimbursed, but it’s good to record the paper trail on the spot, and of course it means you get a beautiful green ‘match’ when the bank statement line comes through. How do you do it? Couldn’t be easier. Simply select the bank account you spent the money from, instead of choosing to be reimbursed.


Frequently used descriptions

Rather than making you type out the same common expense descriptions every single time, you now start off with a convenient pre-populated list based on the most common expense descriptions used by Xero customers.


View claim status and all past receipts

Instead of only showing your drafts, the newly renamed ‘Receipts’ tab now shows drafts, submitted, approved and paid claims as well as any ‘Spend Money’ transactions you’ve created.


These are just a few of the changes and tweaks we’ve made with this release! I hope those of you already familiar with our mobile offering like what we’ve done with the place. We’re looking forward to your feedback, and we’ll keep you posted about the progress of Receipts for Android.


January 14, 2015 at 11.16 am

This is so exciting! We’ll just have to wait a little longer for the android release 🙂
Thanks Luke for getting back to my comment on another post.

Luke Gumbley in reply to Cate
January 14, 2015 at 1.44 pm

And of course @Cate, @Joe and @Kirsten, you’re very welcome! It’s an exciting day for the mobile team here as well.

Walter in reply to Luke Gumbley
June 15, 2017 at 12.05 am

What is exiting? The app can not read automatically all the information, and you have to type every single information. IT IS EXCITING? I don’t thing so, it is frustrating and very old fashion. Sorry but Im really disappointed.

Joe Tiddy
January 14, 2015 at 11.27 am

Excellent stuff. Will be interesting to how this affects Receipt Bank.

Joe Tiddy
January 14, 2015 at 11.28 am

*see how this affect Receipt Bank

January 14, 2015 at 11.46 am

I can’t see how I can add a receipt to an item which is already showing in my bank transactions. I want to be able to take a photo of each receipt and save it against the bank transaction – for two reasons, 1) to ensure that I have a copy of the receipt stored somewhere safe, and 2) to enable me to check that I have a receipt for each transaction. It seems that I might be able to add a new receipt against an expenditure account as long as the matching bank transaction hasn’t been reconciled? (but this isn’t clear).
I see how the solution is useful for expenses, but for day to day business transactions for a sole trader/small business, I’d like to be able to use this to keep track of my paperwork as well, by saving copies of all receipts against each transaction (and eventually get rid of the shoe box of receipts).

Luke Gumbley in reply to Brence
January 14, 2015 at 1.41 pm

Hi @Brence, good point. For the time being we have disabled the ability to edit expenditure that has already been reconciled (adding a receipt counts as an edit). We’d already added quite a bit to this release and didn’t want to include that in case it caused issues. Once we’re happy it’s solid we’ll permit adding receipt images after the fact.

For now though, your best bet is just as you’ve guessed – to use the new receipts functionality to log your expenditure and capture the receipt at the point of purchase, instead of waiting for the bank transactions to appear. That’s not only possible, it’s Manufacturer RecommendedTM. Then you can throw the receipt away immediately. Shoeboxes are for shoes 🙂

Chris in reply to Luke Gumbley
April 19, 2016 at 10.08 pm

Hi Xero,
I too would like very much to use my mobile to add a receipt immediately to an existing transaction. I actually thought that was the whole point of the app. It feels really strange and slow to me to have to manually enter even a few lines of details, in order to save the receipt photo. And then where does it go? I logged in on my pc, 20 mins later and I don’t see it anywhere.

It’s over a year after these posts, but I just installed the latest app today, and it still doesn’t seem to function this way, is that correct? Or am I missing it? Hope it gets added soon (please!)


June 15, 2017 at 12.09 am

Why no one replay Chris?

January 14, 2015 at 12.02 pm

This is a great step in the right direction. It is missing the ability to add a reimbursement for mileage incurred with a personal vehicle. I’m also curious how expenses that are re-imbursable by a client would flow through to an invoice.

Luke Gumbley in reply to Rob
January 14, 2015 at 1.22 pm

Hey @Rob, thanks for your feedback! We don’t have a specific flow for adding mileage, but this suggestion from the help centre (under ‘mileage’) will work on Mobile as well. You just need to select ‘Split into line items (and quantities)’ from the ‘Optional Details’ section at the bottom. If you’d like us to make mileage easier to enter, please add your vote to this community item.

Kirsten Barrie
January 14, 2015 at 12.03 pm

This is a hot topic with all my clients! Thank you for these updates!

January 14, 2015 at 1.10 pm

On my iphone 6+, the ‘how did you pay’ option isn’t showing, meaning I can’t actually submit expenses through the app. Have tried restarting my phone, but not reinstalling the app.

Luke Gumbley in reply to Simon
January 14, 2015 at 1.25 pm

Hi @Simon, that’s actually a bug; your user role must not have permission to view bank accounts, so that field is hidden. Unfortunately ‘reimburse’ isn’t selected as the default option, so you are unable to proceed. We fixed the issue yesterday evening and an updated app is with Apple right now. We’ve been granted an expedited review, so hopefully the fix will be released soon! Sorry we missed it.

Amanda in reply to Luke Gumbley
February 10, 2020 at 5.22 pm

We have the Expenses app however there is no ‘How did you pay” section. how do I add this option?

Luke Gumbley in reply to Simon
January 15, 2015 at 3.07 pm

@Simon, just to let you know that the 2.5.1 release has now been approved by Apple, so within the next few hours you should see another update on your phone that will resolve the issue.

@Allan, that’s the reaction we’re after!

January 14, 2015 at 2.24 pm

Great update guys! How about splitting for Entertainment per a bank rule 50/50 when out for lunch with the team or client? Can we apply?

Luke Gumbley in reply to Justin
January 15, 2015 at 8.34 am

Hey @Justin, thanks! That’s a pretty complicated use case though; if I understand you correctly, when you log the expense you’d like to split it, but in such a way that it still reconciles when the single transaction comes through? I’m not sure how we could support that kind of match, although it may just need some creative thinking. Best thing would be if you could explain in more detail what you’d like to happen in a feature request on our Community site!

January 15, 2015 at 1.12 am

Sounds great! But why when coding the receipt is it only giving me the drawing accounts? Need access to more COA codes…

Luke Gumbley in reply to Libby
January 15, 2015 at 8.46 am

Hi @Libby, glad you like it! Your COA issue could be down to the fact that you need to enable individual accounts for use in expense claims. Take a look at this topic in the help centre and let me know if that solved your problem.

Allan Fefergrad
January 15, 2015 at 2.24 pm

This is great news and will make many of our clients really happy :):):)

Shawn Newton
January 15, 2015 at 4.49 pm

Excellent work. I was following a client transaction from start to finish and finally figured out his iphone could actually do more. Look forward to the android update. Any time frame?

Luke Gumbley in reply to Shawn Newton
January 16, 2015 at 8.50 am

Hi @Shawn, work will probably start in Feb, but it should drop pretty quickly. You can subscribe to this thread on Community for updates.

David Heron
January 16, 2015 at 12.02 am

We put our expenses into Workflow Max before integrating with Xero. Do you plan a mobile version for WorkFlowMax? I’m not sure where the boundary is between the two companies nowadays.

January 16, 2015 at 12.30 am

This is a great and much needed update but all the accounts under category don’t show up in the app

Luke Gumbley in reply to Tim
January 16, 2015 at 8.55 am

Hi @Tim, is it possible you have the same issue as Libby, above? Take a look at the missing accounts in your Chart of Accounts settings on the web and ensure the ‘Show in expense claims’ box is ticked. Check the help centre for more info, if that doesn’t sort your problem then please raise a ticket and we’ll take a look.

David Harris
January 16, 2015 at 9.11 am

@Rob – there’s a logbook app currently undergoing beta testing that will hopefully be on the market in the next 12 months. It integrates with Xero. Let me know if you’re interested to be part of the beta testing or want more ifno.

John Manktelow
January 16, 2015 at 9.17 am

@David – Hi, John here from WorkflowMax. Yes, we’ve just started development on a mobile app for WFM (and Xero Practice Manager). We’re focusing on time recording and accessing your client and job information to start with.

Kirsten Barrie
January 16, 2015 at 2.09 pm

I’d like to add a request that email content forwarded to our inbox be turned into a receipt item – many times I get emailed receipts and would love to just forward them to Xero and attach. I didn’t see a community page suggestion for this, will add!

Timmy Brown
January 16, 2015 at 3.20 pm

@rob I believe the app we have launching very very soon will totally satisfy your mileage dreams!! However if you could take a look on our website we would love to hear any feature suggestions. And could probably take you on as a BETA user in Feb.

George Mathew
January 21, 2015 at 3.02 am

Good update to the expense claims app & process. Kudos Xero team.

A question that comes to mind is what happens for expense claims accidentally deleted by either the submitter or approver. Is there anyway to retrieve them? This is a needed feature, the scenario of having discarding original receipts and the photo copy in Xero deleted is quite a disaster.

Bill Hardie
January 22, 2015 at 1.17 pm

This looks promising. Now to make it really fly I would like to see a user permission option that restricts a user to his/her own purchase activity only. Common scenario is a sales rep with a company credit card – don’t want them to see all company purchase activity (when logging on to desktop Xero) but want them to be able to enter an expense against their own company credit card or against an expense claim.

Manu Media
January 23, 2015 at 7.59 am

Xero this is amazing tool to have. Who keeps receipts its so hard when you are a busy business owner.

Prue Fellowes
January 29, 2015 at 7.49 pm

Great feature. I am just wanting to know what user level staff will need to have. I want to use it for spend on company mastercards but they need to be able to select the payment option of the mastercard account when inputting the receipt. I don’t want them to have access to anything else. Very interested when Android gets this feature also as I can’t test on phone Android Phone and have to guess what my staff will see on their iPhones

Luke Gumbley
January 30, 2015 at 10.31 am

@Kirsten, thanks, I saw that come through! I see it’s been merged with another files request, but hopefully that email service solves your problem.

@George, deletions are a bit tricky. Some items are fully deleted, others are merely hidden from view. There’s no way to ‘undelete’ items yourself, but if you do lose something catastrophic the best thing to do is raise a ticket and we’ll see if there’s anything we can do to help you out.

@Bill and @Prue, you raise an interesting question. First of all, in the Receipts screen users only ever see receipts they created themselves, we made sure of that. Right now, the only people that can log spend money transactions are those with access to bank accounts (e.g. Standard users). I’ll definitely look into this further!

The interesting part is that before this release, invoice-only or draft-only users could create expense claims, but they had no way to create spend money transactions. This seems like a great use case, which I’ll discuss internally. There’s a straightforward option we could do quite quickly, so if everyone agrees it should only be a few weeks away.

Ali Oliver-Krueger
February 8, 2015 at 5.10 am

Sorry if I missed it…do you have a timeline for the Android app?

Ali Oliver-Krueger
February 8, 2015 at 5.46 am

Just saw some of the other posts about user permissions. Let me add my voice to the chorus that for this to be really useable for my company, I need a user position along the lines of Bill’s comment. I have employees who aren’t part of the finance team who have company cards, and they need a way to submit their receipts from the road against the company card. However, since they’re not part of finance team, they have no real business mucking about with the company’s financial information–Standard just isn’t an appropriate level for them, and opening that level up for ALL employees with company cards creates an auditing and compliance nightmare.

Without that user permission, it’s basically the same app as before as far as our non-finance employees are concerned. Bummer. I got really excited about this, too. Please let us know when you’ve got that worked out!

Nikki Griffiths
February 17, 2015 at 4.44 pm

I totally agree with Ali – we need a user permission that’s allow employees to enter expenses and nothing else. From the forum posts I think there’s a lot of support for that. You could do it as an adjunct to the MyPayroll portal – to me that would be a logical place for it.
Could you let us know what plans there are for this.


Luke Gumbley
February 18, 2015 at 8.50 am

@Ali and @Nikki (and others who’ve commented about this), we’ve been discussing this amongst the team. Our solution is going to be to give access to enter business expenditure to users with Invoice Only / Purchases Only permission. It’s a new one for us because on the web you can only do this with bank account access. Happily, the mobile UI does not require that! I’ll post back here when we’ve completed that work.

To be clear, anyone can enter expense claims, the change we’ll be making is to the ability to enter expenses that are not for reimbursement (e.g. on a company credit card).

@Libby and @Tim (digging back a bit), the other thing we noticed was that the Chart of Accounts expense claim settings should not apply to business expenditure as well. When logging receipts in that way, you shouldn’t have to tick the box! This fix will come out along with the permissions changes above.

Finally, @Ali and others, on the subject of the Android version – the pre-work begins this week. We’ll be staging the feature across several releases, keep an eye on the blog to know when each one drops.

February 18, 2015 at 12.00 pm

This is yet another case that could be solved with more granular User Roles control, which for some reason Xero is so opposed to implementing. In fact, Xero is so against the idea that they destroyed the enormous discussion in the Feature Request area by incorrectly marking is a Completed, even though they’ve done nothing whatsoever to fix the issue.

This problem is now the number one obstacle to getting businesses on Xero. Essentially they need to give employees access to bank accounts or nothing at all, with almost no middle ground.

March 6, 2015 at 3.00 pm

Great improvements. Can I make one small suggestion though? Make ‘add files’ part of the natural flow of the expense input, so it’s carried out early enough in the process to have uploaded the image by the time you’ve completed the rest of the details. As it stands with the add files option appearing tiny in the bottom right the natural thing is to add the image AFTER you input all the detail, but then you have to hang around for an image to upload (if you’ve taken a photo of a receipt, for instance) before you can submit/save the expense.

Luke Gumbley in reply to Carlton
March 9, 2015 at 10.42 am

Thanks @Carlton, that’s a great suggestion. I’ve often thought that myself when giving demos! I’ll run it past our designer. A few potential improvements have popped up since we released the major changes, I’m planning to see if we can bundle them all together.

Josh Hopkins
March 10, 2015 at 10.54 pm

When will we be able to add bills from Xero Touch? I’m surprised this hasn’t been added yet.

Geoff Benjamin
April 19, 2015 at 7.40 pm

OK, so it’s been two months since you said you would report back. I would love to roll out Xero Touch to my employees and give them a user role that limits them to submitting expenses for approval. Has this been completed?

Luke Gumbley
April 20, 2015 at 7.56 am

Hi @Geoff, can you clarify? What we’re waiting on is the ability to submit spend moneys, and (when the permissions are sorted) they don’t require approval. This is because there’s no reimbursement, just a transaction record which standard users can modify or delete if incorrect. All users can currently submit expense claims for approval, so if that’s what you’re waiting for then wait no longer!

@Josh, I’m afraid Bills aren’t on the short-term roadmap for the mobile app. Next up after these changes is a Contacts revamp, which has been in the queue for a long while.

Sean Bryce
June 4, 2015 at 5.26 pm

Hi guys, the problem I have with my HTC smart phone is when I take a photo of the receipt to put into Xero when it comes to choosing a code from the Chart of Accounts only the standard codes are showing and not ones I have had added for my business. How do I get my other codes to show? Any suggestions? Cheers

Luke Gumbley in reply to Sean Bryce
June 4, 2015 at 5.31 pm

Hi @Sean, this was an oversight in the original feature design. Since we merged Spend Moneys and Expense Claims, we ended up only showing the accounts you’ve ticked as ‘Show in Expense Claims’ in your COA setup. See this help centre page for more info. Hope that helps! We’ll be addressing this in an upcoming release.

Jeremy Moore
June 19, 2015 at 2.50 pm

Hi @Luke, have the above changes regarding staff with company credit cards entering expenditure been made as yet? If so what is the user level the set these staff up as so they are unable to see any other info that isn’t created by them such as bank accounts/invoices etc?

Luke Gumbley in reply to Jeremy Moore
June 22, 2015 at 9.30 am

Hi @Jeremy, the user level will be “Invoice Only / Purchase Only” once it’s sorted, but we’re not there yet I’m afraid. I’ll post here once I can confirm a release date. Sorry for the delay, I know how important this is!

July 3, 2015 at 4.35 am


I have a client that is only able to add a receipt, in other words, she does not get the options to submit for approval or submit and approve. She is using an iPhone 6 and we have reinstalled and updated the app. Any advice?

Luke Gumbley in reply to Meg
July 3, 2015 at 11.45 am

Hi @Meg – if she can’t submit or submit and approve, it’s her user role that will most probably be at fault. Is she down as a Standard user? Take a look at this page in Help for the differences. Let me know if you’re still stumped after that and I’ll reach out to you directly.

Mandy Taylor
July 22, 2015 at 1.14 pm

QUESTION – (Xero App) I have technicians who have a company credit card, and i need them to be able to enter them on the xero app whilst out on site otherwise they forget. Is there a way to create a User with access for them to choose (the way they paid eg. Credit Card) the only option they are given is for them to add it as a Expense Claim – Which isnt correct because they dont need to be reimbursed for the goods they purchase…. I am stumped! Please help!

I don’t want them to be able to see Bank Account amounts – but be able to have the option to choose Credit Card account for Credit card receipts….

Luke Gumbley in reply to Mandy Taylor
July 23, 2015 at 1.15 pm

Hi @Mandy, there’ve been a few people asking for this (see other comments on this blog). The team is working on it at the moment. The role is going to be Invoice Only / Purchases Only. When finished, your technicians will see a list of bank account names to choose from, but no balances and no other information.

Shelby Tanner
August 6, 2015 at 2.43 am

Hi @Luke Gumbley, please could you add myself to the list of users waiting for your update for the Company Credit Cards solutions! Currently running them as Expense claims and to be honest.. it’s very long winded! Thanks in advance!

Luke Gumbley in reply to Shelby Tanner
August 6, 2015 at 7.32 am

Sure thing @Shelby! Shouldn’t be too long now.

Prue Fellowes
October 2, 2015 at 4.12 pm

Hi Luke, Any update on the progress of this. This has been outstanding for some time now. Would be really nice feature. Waiting patiently!!!

Luke Gumbley in reply to Prue Fellowes
October 6, 2015 at 9.43 am

Hey @Prue… Best laid plans and all that. Sorry it’s taken longer than I thought it would, the permissions have ended up being trickier than we thought. Getting there!

Sarah Gaskell
December 3, 2015 at 1.27 pm

Hi, Could I also be added to the list of people interested in the updates for company credit cards? Thanks in advance!

Debbie Wenman
February 17, 2016 at 10.32 pm

Hi, please can I be added to the list awaiting patiently for this update and any further news on approximate timescale. Many thanks

March 29, 2016 at 8.28 pm

Hi Guys, This is a great feature and I have just used it to enter about 22 receipts – but in xero they now come in as a single expense claim / report each (i noticed when i enter them in the desktop they go on to one report)

So to pay them back now does that mean i need to transfer the 22 different amounts so that they match in my bank now ? or is there not a away i can group them together and pay the amount all at once?

Jeremy Moore
March 31, 2016 at 12.45 pm

@luke – any update on the progress of the above?

Luke Gumbley in reply to Jeremy Moore
April 1, 2016 at 8.32 am

Hey Jeremy (and Mandy, Shelby, Prue, Sarah and Debbie) – if you’re talking about IO/PO users being able to create spend moneys, Android work has completed (just needs a bit more testing) and should release in the next few weeks. iOS is targeting mid-May, they’ve had quite a few other items jump the queue but it won’t be long now.

Jill, that one’s a bit trickier. When you submit a claim from the mobile app, you can’t currently submit more than one receipt. For most people, that’s not a problem (as they don’t submit a lot of receipts). However some (like you) either need to make a lot of claims, or save receipts up and do them all at once. In that case the right thing to do is save all the receipts as draft, and then in Xero web select all the drafts and submit them as one claim.

With the receipts you’ve already done, unfortunately there’s no way to back that out and make it a single claim. On the plus side, you can pay them all at once! When you come to reconcile the total payment, you just need to select all the authorised claims under ‘find and match’. They’ll show up under your name.

April 30, 2016 at 1.26 pm

Hi I just cant find this app on the Apple store?

Luke Gumbley in reply to peta
May 2, 2016 at 9.27 am

Hi Peta – this is a function within the Xero app, not a separate app in itself.

Debbie Wenman
July 12, 2016 at 12.26 am

Hi Luke, any news on this update for Credit Card expenses. Still waiting patiently.

July 20, 2016 at 4.18 pm

When I add a receipt on the app where does it appear on the desktop edition?

July 21, 2016 at 2.17 pm

This being a receipt for business expenditure not personal claim

October 22, 2016 at 12.57 pm

On the app, when adding the date of receipt, a calendar pops up to select a day. I’m finding it frustrating as I am adding receipts from over a year ago and I have to click month by month to get there. Can I input date any other way?

Luke Gumbley in reply to Ben
October 25, 2016 at 7.57 am

Hey Ben, given that specific situation I’d recommend uploading the receipt images using the files feature of the app, and then entering them on the web site. Sorry there isn’t an easier way! The app is more set up for everyday activities, not so much bulk entry of old data.

Phil A
December 3, 2016 at 2.46 am

Hello Luke

My employees have credit cards, access to petty cash and utilise manager debit cards – We need the ability for them to chose how the money was spend on the IO/PO combination. I can see the discussion on this point going back 18 months??

Is this still not enabled? I’m stuck we how to proceed without this functionality.

Justin Beadle
January 13, 2017 at 7.16 am

I have a bunch of receipts that were added through the web app that I would like to assign to a company account rather than a personal one. Is there any way to do this? I thought I was really clever and could open them up in the mobile app and make this change, but the company accounts are grayed out for all receipts entered through the web app.

Scott Kinnear in reply to Justin Beadle
January 16, 2017 at 8.51 am

Hey Justin,

If I’m understanding you correctly – you’ve added receipts against your personal account and now want to change those to record against a business account?

In Xero Mobile, adding a receipt and selecting “I want to be repaid” creates an ‘Expense’, where as selecting a business account creates what we call a ‘Spend money’ (a transaction against that account).

Unfortunately you can’t turn an expense into a spend money (and vice versa), because they are different document types in Xero. You’d need to re-create these as spend monies.

If the money you spent was against a bank account you have linked to Xero, it is best to record this expenditure as spend monies. This will ensure your Xero account and bank accounts match up correctly.

April 27, 2018 at 1.01 am

Why no scanner? There are apps on the market that can scan and file your receipts for you, so why can’t Xero? I should just be able to click on take photo, it reads the information and attaches the receipt to the transaction in the xero file, as I have it all come in automatically from bank sync.

Otherwise i’m doing it with 3rd party apps and email which is clunky, or just putting them all in a shoebox still.

January 10, 2020 at 7.10 am

Hi. Does anyone know how to add receipts in the App in more than one currency. I am in the UK and it only allows me to adde receipts on GBP. I work overseas and need to input receipts in multiple currencies.

February 28, 2020 at 3.45 am

Thanks for finally writing about >Introducing receipts for iOS – Xero Blog <Liked it!

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