Table of Contents
Auto Bills is an add-on module to Clear Books accounting that makes it easy to collect digital copies of all your receipts and invoices while you are on the go and turns these into bills within Clear Books without the need for manual data entry.
With Auto Bills you can:
- Take photos of paper receipts or invoices with the Clear Books mobile app
- Forward emails with invoices attached, to your personal Clear Books bills email address
- Drag and drop documents directly into the bills inbox
- Review and save them to your bills list at a time that is convenient for you
2. Enabling Auto Bills
If you are new to Clear Books and are trialling Accounting you will automatically have a simultaneous 30 day free trial of Auto bills. You will have access to the bills inbox immediately.
To subscribe for Auto Bills, just head to Home > Subscriptions and hit the Manage subscription button for the plan.
2.1 Existing accounting subscriber
Customers who have an existing accounting subscription can choose to start a 30 day free trial of the Auto bills add-on. However, this will convert automatically to a monthly paid subscription at the end of the 30 day period, unless cancelled.
3. Bills inbox
You can access the bills inbox from the Purchases > Bills inbox menu.
The top of the page can be used to upload files and also provides information on how to also forward invoices via email and send photos via the Clear mobile app.
Below this initially will be a description of how to get started.
4. Capturing invoices and receipts
Auto bills will extract data from PDF, JPG, GIF and PNG files.
There are three methods of sending supplier invoices or receipts to the bills inbox.
4.1 Upload files
You can click in the ‘Upload files’ area, which will launch the file browser and you can then select any number of PDFs or image files.
You can also multi-select and drag and drop files into the ‘Upload files’ area.
If you try to upload files that are not supported by Auto bills, they will be ignored while all supported file types will continue to be processed.
You can forward emails from suppliers that contain invoices using the email address displayed at the top of the bills inbox. It can be copied using the copy icon at the end.
Any PDF or image files attached to emails sent to this address, will appear in the bills inbox.
If an email signature contains an image, or if the supplier emails contains a delivery note PDF or a statement PDF for example, these will also appear in the bills inbox. Any unwanted files can be deleted from the bills inbox.
4.3 Mobile app
The Clear Books mobile app has a new option under the ‘+’ button when on the main dashboard or purchases area called ‘Send photos to bills inbox’.
When you select this option it will open the camera and they can start taking photos of receipts or paper invoices.
Select the ‘x’ in the top left corner to go back to the main app.
Pressing the capture button will show a preview of the photo.
You can rotate the photo using the icon in the bottom right corner.
The ‘x’ option will revert back to taking a photo and will not send that image.
The blue tick button will send the photo to the bills inbox and let you know that you can take the next photo.
You can repeat the process until you have taken and sent photos of all your receipts and paper invoices.
When you click ‘x’ to return to the main app, a banner will appear informing you of how many images were sent to the bills inbox.
5. Analysing area
Thumbnails of each file will show in the ‘Analysing’ area while the OCR service extracts data from each document.
Clicking on a document here will display the PDF or image.
The OCR process for each file typically takes a few seconds and the ‘Analysing’ area auto-refreshes every 10 seconds to move any completed documents to the ‘Ready for review’ area.
When the OCR service completes the analysis process on a document, it will move into the ‘Ready for review’ area. When all files that were uploaded have been analysed, the ‘Analysing’ area will no longer show and the you will see all files in the 'Ready for review' area.
6. Ready for review area
Each page within the 'Ready for review' area will show up to 8 files. You can use the back and forward buttons to step through the different pages when there are more than 8 files in total in the 'Ready for review' area.
Each file that shows in the 'Ready for review' area will have a tag in the top right corner that identifies the method (‘Upload’, ‘Email’ or ‘Mobile’) by which it was sent to the bills inbox.
The top left corner allows any unwanted documents to be deleted.
Below the thumbnail of the PDF or image, will be the supplier name, invoice/receipt date and total amount.
If the extracted supplier name does not have an exact match within the list of supplier contacts, it will be identified with a ‘New’ tag.
If any of this data was not extracted by the OCR service, it will not show here.
7. Bill review and entry
Clicking on one of the files in the 'Ready for review' area will display the standard data entry fields for a new bill alongside the image or PDF.
The size of the data entry panel and the original document panel can be changed by dragging the splitter between them. The data entry panel will change to a tablet/mobile view as it becomes too narrow to show line items in a table.
The position of the panels will be remembered so the next time you return to this page, the panels are displayed with the same splitter position.
You can move through the documents ready for review using the forward and back buttons.
If you want to return to the bills inbox you can use the ‘Inbox’ button. This button will also show the number of documents remaining in the inbox awaiting review.
7.2 OCR extracted data
Fields that contain data extracted from the document will have a blue border.
If you change the data in these fields, the blue border will no longer show on those fields.
The supplier field will show the ‘New’ tag if the extracted supplier name has not been seen before and does not have an exact match in the supplier or customer contacts lists.
When the bill is created it will create a new supplier in the contacts area using the name shown.
To alter the name, the user can click ‘Edit’ to change this name, or add any defaults or other data about the supplier.
Clicking 'Save' here will create the supplier and it will therefore no longer be displayed with the ‘New’ tag on the entry page.
Auto bills remembers the supplier chosen or created so the next time a receipt or invoice from the same supplier is encountered, it will pre-select the supplier and pre-populate any defaults associated with it, including account code, VAT treatment and due date.
Alternatively an existing supplier can be chosen from the drop down control.
7.4 Manual changes
You can change any of the values in any field and add new line items if necessary to split the bill total between different account codes.
If you do not want to save the bill, but do want to retain changes made so far, you can choose to ‘Save draft’ from the ‘Save’ drop down button.
Providing all mandatory fields are completed, this will store the draft bill and move the page onto the next document. When you return to the document that was saved as a draft, you can pick up editing from where you left off.
If you make further changes but are still not ready to save the bill, you can ‘Update draft’ from the ‘Save’ drop down button.
7.5 Creating the bill
Once you are happy that the extracted data, and the supplier’s default account code are correct, you can hit the ‘Save button’ immediately, without making any edits at all.
If you have made manual changes, you can hit the ‘Save’ button when they are done.
The save process will perform the standard validation checks for mandatory field completion and create a Bill on the Purchase > Bills > Unpaid menu with the original document attached to the bill.
When the bill is saved, the page will then show the next bill in the 'Ready for review' area.
When the last bill in the 'Ready for review' area is saved, you will be returned to the bills inbox where you will see a confirmation message that all bills have been reviewed.
8. Done area
Documents that have been reviewed and saved as bills will be stored in the ‘Done’ area of the bills inbox.
This area will be collapsed by default and can be expanded to see the previous documents.
The forward and back buttons can be used to navigate through the completed documents.
Each document will continue to show their capture method and the supplier, date and total amounts.
In addition, they will display a link to the bill that was created when they were reviewed as saved as a bill.
Clicking on a document in the ‘Done’ area will open the side by side review page in a read only mode so you can review the data entered against the original document.
The bill number is shown in the top left corner and can be clicked to navigate to the existing bill page.
The original document can be viewed using the existing ‘View attachment’ button.
Further attachments can be added here if required. The original document will be displayed in its own browser tab when clicking on the attachment thumbnail.
Clicking on the bill number link from the ‘Done’ area, will open the same bill page but in a new browser tab.
9. Purchases list
All ‘Auto bills’ can be seen on the Purchases > Bills > Unpaid menu alongside any other manually created bills and operate in the same way entirely as a manually created bill.
10. Dashboard purchases widget
When subscribed to Auto bills, the purchases widget primary button will be ‘Upload bills’ which will take you to Purchases > Bills inbox.
If the bills inbox has any documents being analysed or in the 'Ready for review' area, the total number of documents will be shown in the Purchases dashboard widget as a notification.