How to add an out-of-pocket expense

This article explains how to record your out-of-pocket expenses in FreeAgent.

You should record a business cost as an out-of-pocket expense if the cost was paid for using personal funds on behalf of the business. If the business then reimburses you for the cost, you will need to explain the expense repayment.

However, if the cost was paid for using business funds, you should explain the bank transaction instead once it’s been imported into FreeAgent via a bank feed or bank statement upload. Alternatively, you can add a bill if the cost has been incurred but hasn’t yet been paid for. Find out more about the difference between an expense, a bill and a bank payment.

How to add an out-of-pocket expense

Navigate to the 'My Money' tab at the top of the screen and select 'Expenses' from the drop-down menu.

Screenshot showing the 'My Money' menu with 'Expenses' highlighted

Select the relevant user from the drop-down menu.

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Select ‘Add New’ and choose ‘Expense’ from the drop-down menu.

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You'll then need to enter the following details of the out-of-pocket expense.


If you have any paperwork that relates to the expense (e.g. a receipt), you can attach a scanned copy by choosing ‘Select a file’ from the 'Attachment' area and following the instructions.

If you used the FreeAgent mobile app to capture an image file and save it to the Files area of your account, select 'Choose from saved files' instead and follow the instructions. Attaching an image file to an expense will remove it from the Files area of your FreeAgent account.

Please note that you’ll need to have level 4 access or above to your FreeAgent account to use Smart Capture, and level 7 and above to mark a receipt that you have captured as private.

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Expense details

Choose whether this was a payment or a refund from the ‘Type’ drop-down menu. It'll usually be a payment but sometimes you might need to record a refund, for example if the employee was paid back using personal funds for something they previously claimed on expenses, such as a train ticket which was not used because there were engineering works in progress.

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Select the relevant expense category from the ‘Category’ drop-down menu. You can add a new category if you need to, for example, clothing or petrol.

If your business is registered for VAT, make sure the expense is being added to the right category for VAT. For example, for the purchase of stamps at the post office using personal funds, make sure that you categorise this as ‘Postage’ so that no VAT is claimed on it. If you’re unsure which category to select, please ask your accountant.

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Enter the date of the expense. Please note that the earliest an expense should be dated is your FreeAgent start date. If you enter an expense dated before your FreeAgent start date, this will add a negative brought forward balance in the 'Expenses' area. Find out how to enter an expense dated before your FreeAgent start date.

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Select the currency that you used to pay for the expense from the ‘Currency’ drop-down menu. If the currency used is different from your base currency, find out how to add a foreign currency expense.

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Amount and VAT

Enter the expense amount from the receipt, inclusive of any VAT, in the ‘Total Value’ field and select the relevant rate of VAT from the ‘VAT’ drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can enter a specific amount manually by choosing ‘Amount’ and entering the amount of VAT into the new box that appears.

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Select the appropriate VAT option by ticking the relevant checkbox. Please note that you’ll need to enable non-standard UK VAT rates in your ‘VAT Registration’ settings if you need these.

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Enter a description of the expense.

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Link to project

To link this expense to a project, select the relevant project from the ‘Link to Project’ drop-down menu.

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You can then choose to re-bill it to that project's customer, at cost, with a mark-up, or at a specific price, if you wish.

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Setting up a recurring claim

If this expense is going to happen again in the future, for the same user and the same amount, for example a mobile phone voucher, select the relevant frequency using the ‘This Expense recurs’ drop-down menu.

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Once you've entered the relevant details for the expense, select 'Create New Expense' to complete the process or 'Create and Add Another' to add this expense and start adding another one.

The expense will then be added to the list of costs incurred by the selected user.

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Managing the out-of-pocket expense

Once you’ve added an out-of-pocket expense, you can edit or delete it and FreeAgent will automatically defer these changes if necessary to the next open VAT return.

If the business then reimburses the expense, find out how to explain an expense repayment.

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