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New: Attach expense receipts as PDFs to your invoices

by Melina Stathopoulos  |  May 23/2012  | 

Have you tried the rockin’ new way of filing expenses in FreshBooks?

Some say you can’t have it all, yet we disagree. Starting today you can now upload your expense receipts in all file formats: jpegs, gifs, pngs and now PDFs too! Simply upload receipts from your desktop straight into FreshBooks Expenses and in a few clicks, attach them to your invoices. Shazam!

When we rolled out the ability to attach expenses to FreshBooks invoices, we learned that you had inboxes filled with online receipts for purchases, getting lost in the sea of e-mail and PDFs of scanned receipts taking up space on your hard drive. We are beaming with gladness today because you can now upload PDF receipts to your FreshBooks expenses!

When might this come in handy? For starters, whenever you get that email confirming payment for your purchase (for that flight, car rental, conference ticket, restaurant meal etc). Just log in to FreshBooks and attach this PDF directly to an expense. You can also upload those scanned receipts you’ve already printed out or have in that dusty shoebox, knowing they’ll be safe and organized in your account and re-bill your clients in a jiff! We support all PDF versions (except for password protected PDFs) and you can attach an individual file up to 2MB in size. There is no cumulative file size limit for expense receipts.

Time to get expensin’!

Follow these instructions to get your expenses on:

Step 1 – Visit your Expenses tab. Here you can create a New Expense or edit an existing one. You’ll see a new option called “Attach Image of Receipt” – check that box and choose the file you’d like to upload.

Attaching an Receipt to an Expense

Step 2 – Generate an Invoice. When you generate an invoice from your Projects, you’ll automatically pull in expenses.  Uncheck the box if you don’t wish clients to pay up for those included items.

Attaching a Receipt Image to a FreshBooks Invoice

Step 3 – Await Payment. When your client views the invoices, they can click a link below the invoice to see the receipt or see the receipt printed out if they receive it via Snail Mail. When online, a thumbnail of your receipt will appear when you mouse over the image links:

Attached Receipt - FreshBooks Invoice

We’re betting that a client will be mighty impressed to receive their expense receipts as neatly organized digital files – and that those clients will be inclined to hit “pay now” even sooner. Give it a try and tell us how it goes!


  • Seth

    When I saw the video, I thought the snapped images were going to be automatically parsed and added to Freshbooks as expenses, like how NeatReceipts works. THAT would be a huge time saver. I have months of expenses that I still haven’t entered, simply because the FreshBooks web interface doesn’t exactly lend itself to rapid data entry.

    I wish they would put as much time and development effort into giving us a way to customize the appearance of our invoices (PLEASE!!!) or coming up with an actual system to handle pre-billing and retainers. Harvest has it, but their app lacks in many other ways. Freshbooks, a lot of us work on retainers where clients pre-pay for billable hours. We really need a way to manage this elegantly without having to delete pre-paid invoices in order to convert them to a “credit!” and Credits don’t even show up on P&L reports, which is a huge accounting issue. Ugh.

    Cute idea though, attaching an image of a paper receipt to an invoice.

  • Karen

    When I am in Kashoo and want to sync with Freshbooks, will my PDF receipts also upload?

  • Paul Horne

    Oh great — now what am I supposed to complain about???

    LOL — thanks guys, much needed and appreciated feature.

  • Phillip

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for the PDF ability! You guys ROCK!!

  • Matt

    YES! This is awesome. And that was a quick turn around from the previous blog post about receipts where everyone was asking for the PDF attachment in the comments. Nice work guys!!!

  • Sid Burgess

    Great job guys. As always. Keep it up!

  • Eamonn

    A big step in the right direction but like a lot of the comments, the final piece is a mobile app where I can take a photo of the receipt and create an expense all in one go.
    *I’m not even suggesting you process the image to extract the text and values.

  • Mike Fleming

    Well done! It’s gettin’ better all the time!

  • http://startanisp joann

    what an great ideal, thanks!

  • James Ehrke

    This is great, BUT I would like to see it assigned to a project instead of the Client.
    As it is now, when I go to invoice it will bring in all expenses for that client but I invoice on a per project basis. So I do not want an invoice for one project with expenses mixed in from other projects.

  • Russell Adams

    I use PDF expense reports from another system that are consistently larger than 2MB but less than 10MB, so I still can’t use this feature. I also second the need to attach an expense to a project, not a client. Both is fine.

  • Casey McKinnon

    Cinda – there is no cap for number of receipts you store with FreshBooks, or the space they occupy.

    Anthony – good catch. I’ll tell Wayne (new guy here at FreshBooks!) not to text and pump gas. Yipes!

    Nicholas, Seth, Eammon, James – thanks for the feedback, I’ve shared it with the team.

    SHU, Justin, Paul, Phillip, Sid, Mike, joann – glad you like it!

    Karen – any integrations we have with third parties will need to have their integrations updated for anything to transfer between the apps. We are working now to update our API documentation, as well as working with those partners to make sure they understand the changes and what they can do to take advantage of it.

    Lastly, just wanted to thank everyone again for posting their kind words of support. It isn’t every week that we get this kind of positive and direct customer feedback… the Dev team here is especially happy today. In particular, Colin, who pulled off some crazy dance moves to make this feature happen in a timely way. Send a high-five if you liked this feature ;) .

  • Raúl Colón

    This sounds like an awesome function. Who could we talk too with the opportunity of synching our iPhone and Android App that captures receipts and send them directly into Freshbooks!

  • Lily Dart

    I’ve just had a play with this feature – it’s a great idea, but I’m finding it really frustrating that I can’t upload straight from my phone or email direct to Freshbooks. I visited the site in my android browser in the hope there was a mobile version that would at least mean I could enter expenses from my phone. There obviously isn’t a mobile site/template, and the input fields are kind of buggy on the android browser (particularly the autocomplete options).

    So, good start – this was a feature I didn’t know I was missing – but needs some work before it’s very usable. The video kind of misrepresents the functionality – making it look like you can upload directly from your phone, which has left me a little disappointed!

  • Tom Ostlund

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    This is a big improvement!

  • LS

    Ok. I have a consulting company and use multiple subcontractors on projects. Our subs can use this feature to invoice us (though unfortunately only by client and not by project), but ultimately I need to be able to produce a single expense receipts ‘report’ file for each contractor that I would then attach to the invoice my company sends to the client. Happy to speak with someone in support to explain better what I need. And please please please deliver us a smart phone app.

  • Lee Peterson

    Oh thank heavens!!! Saving my PDFs as PNG files first was getting annoying. :)

  • Chad

    Please add this feature to the iPhone App so I can import the photo and log the expense on the spot and not have to wait until I get home and/or sync to my computer.

  • James

    Either they read my comment and added the assign to project or they did it on their own. Not sure, but when I used it today, the capability was there.

    Thanks Freshbooks!

  • Casey McKinnon

    Raul – you’re talking to the right person.

    Chad – gotcha!

    James – always a pleasure!

    Tom, Lee – Glad you like it.

    LS – Give us a call on our support line to explain, sounds good.

    Lily – thank you for the feedback, it has been shared with the team.

  • Jon Elkin

    Thank you! You read my mind!

  • Dale

    Thanks for adding this feature. I used it to attach supporting documents to my receipt… not expenses. It would be nice to be able to do this for non-expense documents. I had to add a note explaining why the “dummy” expense was created, as a container for the documents.

  • Dale

    Correction: I used this feature to attach supporting documents to my *invoice*.

  • Tina

    Really nice and smart step on the part of Freshbook. Now get rid of the huge cliff of expense receipts.

  • Casey McKinnon

    Jon, Sieuthionline, Bodrum, Mobile App guy, happy to help, glad you like it.

    Dale – We hear you on the need to attach other kinds of files, I’ll pass it on to the team.


  • Jamie Davey

    QUESTION – Any update or details on uploading expense attachments via the API?

    Great functionality – Thanks!

  • Pascal Coenen

    Great feature indeed.
    It is great to be able to send these attachments to my customer.

    Question: the expenses have been done trough my management company and I am now able to easily attach them to an invoice. But how can I reprint the whole batch (that was sent trough multiple invoices) for my own bookkeeping as at the end of the day I also need to justify them? Right?

    As an example I wish I could tell the system this expense has been paid cash, this one via my debit card, this one via my credit card, this one via my PayPal account,etc,…

    So that at the end of the month I print a report per customer with each invoice along with its own expenses attachment AND for my own bookkeeping I print a master report which groups all expense per month per category per way of payment (visa,PayPal,cash,…) and a print of each expenses attachment associated to that.
    I give that to my bookkeeping company and voila!

  • Ralph Miller

    I may be overlooking this, but is there a way to view more than the small thumbnail image of the receipt? Small text on the receipt is not legible at this thumbnail size.

  • Melina Stathopoulos

    @Ralph Miller: Yes, all you need to do is click on the receipt link itself. The thumbnail is only a preview image that is generated when you hover over the receipt link. Hope this helps.

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