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Practice purchase invoices - how do you handle these?

Practice purchase invoices - how do you handle...

Just wondering how others handle practice purchase invoices. Since we now receive electronic or hard copy invoices from different suppliers.

  • Do you scan hard copies and destroy hard copesor
  • Do you print electronic copies and delete or delete the electronic file
  • You keep 2 systems - electronic and hard copies


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09th Mar 2011 11:37

Does it matter?

First Tab - much as I love your questions, and your desire to get your practice performing as efficiently as possible is clear enough, but this has got to be the best yet!

Does it make any difference what others do? You choose the system that suits YOU best, and there are only 3 possibilities:

1 All electronic (annual folders to coincide with accounting year end?)

2 All manual (start a new folder each accounting year?)

3 both of the above!

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By SteveOH
09th Mar 2011 12:10

I agree with ShirleyM

The method you choose is really up to you.

But, just so you don't think that the whole world is agin you, all my purchase and expense invoices are stored electronically. Hard copies are shredded.

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09th Mar 2011 13:28



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09th Mar 2011 13:30


Always ask no matter how stupid the question looks to others. Even 1/2 hour saved month would be good enough for me.

Never, never stop looking for better ways of doing this is the way I work. This is worse to come from me!

Okay I may not get a response, I tried.

Thats is just the way I am. So move on or get used to it.




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09th Mar 2011 13:49

Always ask?

So move on or get used to it.

It may have appeared I was being critical, if so, I apologise.

I just wondered why you could not make a decision based on your own experience, without receiving confirmation that everyone else was doing the same thing.

I doubt that the information you requested is going to help you, or your staff, save anytime at all, overall.

EDIT:  I'll move on now .......... byeeeeee

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09th Mar 2011 15:09

Not confirmation - ideas

I can make my own decisions. I am looking for new ideas apart from my own. AW as you know has people with such a varied background. They just might be somone who has come with a really efficient way to manege this.


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09th Mar 2011 15:56

Similar boat to you

I have recently set up on my own, my current system is to print everything out and file it in a folder with 'Expenses' printed on the side.

Maybe in future I'll look at going paperless but at the moment there isn't a huge volume of purchase invocies (and I hope to keep it that way) so I am doing things the old fashioned way for now.

In respect of your questions please keep posting, I bet I am not the only lurker out there reading the responses!!


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09th Mar 2011 17:32


I use VTT+ for my record keeping  ... so I print out all invoices and file them in the order they are entered in the system  - and write the system generated serial number (PIN Number) on the invoice so i can find them easily if needed.


I have a client - an IT Chap - that uses Evernote (a cloud based application) to store all of his invoices/receipts electronically - He has one folder for "pending" and another for "entered" (pending being receipts that have not been entered on to the accounting system)

- He uses the tagging function to add information such as "petrol" etc...

- He even uses his iPhone camera to capture invoices - straight into evernote when he is out on the road.

- He says it has the best search facility

It works for him! I dont think I could cope with a system like that - although i do use evernote for various other things.


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By thacca
09th Mar 2011 20:28

Me too

bigbadwolf - you've 'stolen' my system.



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09th Mar 2011 20:38


Pottedbeef thanks for your comments, very encouraging.

Thanks all for a varied response.

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By Flash Gordon
09th Mar 2011 21:33

Totally electronic!

I'm totally electronic. Most business purchases I make online anyway so get an emailed invoice of some kind (either pdf or email which I then print to pdf). Any hard copy invoices I scan to pdf. Then save in the relevant folder (one file per year). I wouldn't have thought most practices (except the multi-partner, multi-employee big firms) would have that many purchase invoices anyway? I don't even spend 1/2 hour a month saving invoices to file let alone have the opportunity to save that sort of time!!

I agree with Shirley. What works for someone else won't necessarily work for you. Go with what feels best for you where it's this simple and save the brainpower for the things that can save you time and where you know you're already spending a lot of time on them.

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By chatman
10th Mar 2011 00:34

Scan and shred


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10th Mar 2011 06:16

Chatman how do you save? One massive file?

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By chatman
10th Mar 2011 17:08

Yes, one massive folder...

Files (invoices) within the folder named as follows: 

"SupplierName yy-mm-dd FreeTextDescribingPurchaseIfNecessary"

If you sort that folder in name order you get all your invoices in supplier-name order, then date order and you also get a little description of what you bought if you think it is necessary. 

You could print your emailed purchase invoices to a pdf in this folder using the same naming convention, but I do not usually bother. If I can't find them in my invoice folder I just search my email.

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11th Mar 2011 16:50

IT Business

Running a small IT business, I currently print electronic (pdf) purchase invoices and file them with the paper ones I receive. I email all sales invoices and can always re-print from the accounts system. (Diamond Discovery)

Prior to reading these postings, I would have recomended that, unless your accounting system has a method of storing the electronic invoices and attaching them to the relevant accounts record (very few do), they be kept in paper format.

Having read some of the responses, maybe it's time I reconsidered how I do it and actually used some of the technology that's available to me :-)



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16th Mar 2011 15:18

Receipt Bank

I never like to jump into a forum and look like I'm advertising my company but many businesses and firms are using Receipt Bank to sort and store their invoices.

You can email in the digital ones you receive, and you can either send in or scan and email in the pyhsical ones. Receipt Bank scans them, extracts the key data and you have all your data in one place and easily accessible digital copies of every invoice.

I hope this is useful...


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16th Mar 2011 15:32

Michael Wood

Thanks.Receipt Banks sounds interesting. Please let me know how pdf are saved. Let say I send you a quartely bundle of my receipts, how would you save these as pdfs? How do we cover for risk of lost papers in post?

Accountants plans are mucg higher priced compared to sole trader unlimited receipts? What about a early stage accountant still £30pm for 100 receipts? Can I send in non receipts to be scanned as pdf as long as I come to 100 documents?




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