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Senior Explorer *

Attaching receipts in QuickBooks

I purchase a lot of stuff online and get receipts in PDF form.  I use a different program for invoicing so I also have all my paid invoices in PDF form.

Currently I enter the receipts into QuickBooks and then move the receipt PDF into a directory on my computer.  I also enter my paid off invoices into QuickBooks as "Sales Receipts", and then put the invoice PDF into a directory on my computer.

I see that these transaction windows have a way to "Attach" a file to them.  This seems like it would be a MUCH easier way to do it.  Every time I enter a receipt I could just save it to QuickBooks as an attachment and then delete the PDF, is that correct?

Is there any downside to this?  This seems to good to be true, and it will take many hours to go back and enter all of these receipts so I just want to know ahead of time.

I use QuickBooks for Mac 2013.

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Best answer 12-10-2018

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Established Community Backer ***

Every time I enter a receipt I could just save it to Quic...

Every time I enter a receipt I could just save it to QuickBooks as an attachment and then delete the PDF, is that correct?

Yes, you use the attachment icon for the .pdf file or scan directly.

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Highlighted
Established Community Backer ***

Every time I enter a receipt I could just save it to Quic...

Every time I enter a receipt I could just save it to QuickBooks as an attachment and then delete the PDF, is that correct?

Yes, you use the attachment icon for the .pdf file or scan directly.

View solution in original post

Senior Explorer *

Sounds good, I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't...

Sounds good, I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't any downfall or disadvantage to doing it this way before I spend all the time going back and adding the attachments for all previous entries.
Established Community Backer ***

In QuickBooks you set up an attachments directory by goin...

In QuickBooks you set up an attachments directory by going into QuickBooks->Preferences and then selecting the attachments icon.  You'll see a pop up where you can set the attachments directory.

The attachments directory is just a folder in the Finder.  QuickBooks stores all the attachments you make in the program there.  It actually makes a copy of the attachment and marks it as read only in the OS.  It will OCR scan them as well if you have that option on (it is on by default).

In the backup preferences you can specify to include the attachments with your QuickBooks backup (it gets stored as a Finder folder in the disk images made for backup).   I always have this on.

In QuickBooks Mac 2015 there are many more "attachment points" - places where you can add an attachment to specific forms.  However there are quite a few in 2013 as well. This allows you to associate the attachments with a particular Sales receipt say, or vendor.
Not applicable

I have found that every time I attach a document such as...

I have found that every time I attach a document such as a bill or receipt to a payment or invoice it creates a folder within my QB attachment directory and it names the folder with a letter/number series which makes it hard to locate each document. In addition when I attach a document in more than one location its creating more than one folder which will end up taking up extra hard drive space. If you delete the pdf after attaching it will no longer be attached to your QB location. Please HELP!!!
Established Community Backer ***

Those folder names are how QuickBooks knows which documen...

Those folder names are how QuickBooks knows which document goes to what connection point within QuickBooks.  You aren't really supposed to dig around inside of the attachments directory - all the files in there are locked. You can find any of the attached documents in the Company->Attachment Center - they are all listed there and you can search them (including the OCR).  

If you select one in there (or in one of the attachment points like Invoice) you can export the attachment from QuickBooks to wherever you want, making a copy.

There really isn't a concept of having a single document attached to multiple places - we assumed you'd attach a document to one place (like a contract for a vendor for instance).  You can of course attach the same document to multiple places but it will make a duplicate for each one.
Senior Explorer *

What about what she said about deleting the PDF after att...

What about what she said about deleting the PDF after attaching it?  It scares me to think that it might no longer be attached like she said, that would be hell when the IRS is knocking.
Not applicable

If you have the attached document/PDF located someplace o...

If you have the attached document/PDF located someplace on your computer than its added to the QB attachment directory when you attach it in QB you can delete the original PDF but you CAN'T delete it from the attachment directory. If you attempt to delete anything from the QB attachment directory you will receive this message" Item “........... ” is locked. Do you want to move it to the Trash anyway?" If you don't want the document deleted than select STOP.
Not applicable

I'm a personal assistant and have a few different types o...

I'm a personal assistant and have a few different types of clients.  I can think of a situation for the decorator I work for where I will attach documents in more than one place.  I would attach a vendors bill to the payment made to vendor and also attach the vendors bill to the customers invoice for which the vendor purchase was made.

As for my own book keeping, I make purchases that for my customers that I'm reimbursed the exact amount of the purchase. I scan in my receipts and attach a copy to the credit card transaction along with attaching to my customer invoice.  I would also love it if I could than forward the copy of the attached receipts/documents along with the invoice when emailing to my customer. Is there an easy way to do that an I'm just not aware of it?
Established Community Backer ***

Not from within QB as of yet, we still have to attach fro...

Not from within QB as of yet, we still have to attach from our mail app. Currently this is an option in the Windows version so we may see it in Mac shortly. I would also use quickbooks>quickbooks feedback and submit this as a feature request.
Established Community Backer ***

Right - submit a request for a feature addition via the f...

Right - submit a request for a feature addition via the feedback menu.  You can attach something in multiple places - it will just result in two copies being made within the attachments directory.  Generally hard drives are so large now that I don't think this redundancy will have a large impact on your storage (and backups are compressed so multiple copies won't increase the backup size at all).  With regard to deletion - Quickbooks doesn't delete the attachments. If you go in to the attachments directory in the finder and throw them away... well...  don't do that.  As was noted the attachments are locked by QuickBooks (which is just a setting in Get Info in the finder) to further discourage you from doing this.
Senior Explorer *

Oh, OK.  When Charisse said "If you delete the pdf after...

Oh, OK.  When Charisse said "If you delete the pdf after attaching it will no longer be attached to your QB location."  I thought she meant if you delete it from whatever folder you had it in originally.  I got worried that it was a bug, and that I could possibly lose my receipts which would be a catastrophe if I ever got audited.

I won't mess around with the QB directories so all should be well.

Thanks for the help guys.
Senior Explorer *

SO it's working well, but one thing is that after I attac...

SO it's working well, but one thing is that after I attach a receipt to a transaction, there doesn't seem to be a way to know it's there unless I click on Attach again.

Is there any way to make it show that a transaction has something attached to it?  In the register or in the transaction window?  Some type of icon or flag or something?
Established Community Backer ***

The attachment icon changes when something is attached. W...

The attachment icon changes when something is attached. When nothing is attached it looks like a paperclip. When something is attached it looks like a paperclip on a piece of paper (well, sort of, its kind of small). But its definitely different.
Senior Explorer *

I see it now.   One more question.  I have it set so tha...

I see it now.  

One more question.  I have it set so that the Quickbooks backup will also backup the attachments.  But I'm worried that once I have a lot of PDF files attached to all the transactions, it will become a very big folder and that will be duplicated over and over and over every time QuickBooks backs itself up.  Won't that take up a LOT of space?

Let's say I attach 200 MB's of PDFs to QuickBooks transactions.  In 2 weeks after QuickBooks backs itself up 15 or so times, that will be 3 Gigs.  In 2 months it will be huge.

Or am I overlooking something?  :-)
Established Community Backer ***

Here's my thoughts on it - hopefully I haven't made a mis...

Here's my thoughts on it - hopefully I haven't made a mistake in calculation which will make me look stupid!

The backups are compressed - how much depends on what kind of attachments you use (and of course how many). I think 200MB compressed is likely a very large number of attachments or the attachments themselves are very large (its completely up to the user so its hard to say).  On a ten employee company I'm familiar with attachments have been used extensively since they came out and the entire backup dmg file is 88MB currently.

A 3TB USB drive costs $100 and will hold 3 million MB - enough space for 15,000 copies of a 200MB file.  It would hold 288 years of once a day backups of that file (this is where I'm wondering if I miscalculated...)

But there is no reason really  to keep all the backups - you can throw some (or even most) of them away after a year - maybe just keep the first one of every month that is older than a year - if storage is a concern.  (Or you could zip all of them together - because they are largely the same the zip file will compress down to almost the size of one of them).
Senior Explorer *

I see. I only attached 40 or so files yesterday, just th...

I see.

I only attached 40 or so files yesterday, just the ones from this year, I didn't go back and do all of last year or the year before. And my QB backups went from an average of 3MB to 16MB.  

It's not the storage space that I am worried about as much as the time it will take for offsite backups.  

I wonder...  Since I use Time Machine for backing up my Mac, and I can revert files back to any time in the Time Machine, is it even necessary to use QuickBooks backup?
Established Community Backer ***

Time for offsite backup depends on your connection speed...

Time for offsite backup depends on your connection speed and its a one time transfer for each backup.  Give it a while and see how it goes I guess.  TimeMachine is great but does have the problems of being a single source and not remote.  I've had TimeMachine restores fail - not of QB data but of other data - and it is best not to have all your eggs in that one basket.  Your QB data is critical IMO - best to have it offsite (via DropBox or whatever works) and the backup function works very well for that.  The disk images are checksummed to verify that they are correct - its a good system.
Senior Explorer *

Thanks. While we are talking about backups and storage s...

Thanks.

While we are talking about backups and storage space, I am curious about something.  Is there any reason to keep all the backups from previous years?  The tax returns are done, those years are over.  I doubt I will need to revert back to May 23rd of 2013 or June 5th of 2014.

Keep them?
Established Community Backer ***

To me the main purpose of a backup is to have a recover p...

To me the main purpose of a backup is to have a recover point in event there is a data loss. Ordinarily all the data of a year ago is still in your current company file.  The backup is more in case there is a loss of the current file, or it gets corrupted (unlikely), or something is compromised (accidental deletion or reclassification of data, import of a bad iif file, an employee cooking the books, etc).  In event anything like this happens you'll usually just want your most recent "good" backup.  

Older backups are useful if something gets lost and time goes by before you detect it.  Otherwise there isn't a deep need for them. More frequent recent backups are generally more useful.  But given the storage requirements are small compared to drive size I just keep everything.
Not applicable

Re: SO it's working well, but one thing is that after I attac...

You can go into the bank register and click on the Settings icon.  Check the box for Attachments, then the register will have another column showing the number of attachments for each line.  If there is no attachment it will say "null".

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