How to capture a receipt using Smart Capture

This article explains how to use the Smart Capture functionality on the FreeAgent mobile app to capture and store images of receipts or bills in the Files area of your FreeAgent account.

Please note that:

  • Smart Capture is available in the FreeAgent mobile app on iOS devices that run on the iOS 16 operating system or newer and Android devices running the Android 9 (Pie) operating system or newer.

  • Any changes you make using the FreeAgent mobile app will be reflected in the desktop version of FreeAgent.

How to capture and save image files to FreeAgent

Tap the three-lined 'hamburger' icon at the top-left of the FreeAgent mobile app and select ‘Files’.


Select the ‘Smart Capture’ tab.


Tap the ‘+’ at the top-right of the screen and select 'Camera' from the menu.


The camera on your device will open automatically within the FreeAgent mobile app. If you haven’t used FreeAgent to access the camera before, select 'Take a photo'.


Next, take a photo of the receipt or bill that you want to capture. Find out how to take a good photo.

Review the image and select ‘Done’.


Next, you will then be prompted to add a file name. You should choose something that will make the file easy to identify. If you choose not to name the file, FreeAgent will automatically populate the name of the file on your device, which may make it hard to identify at a later date.


If you're a level 7 or 8 user, you'll see the option to mark a file as private by selecting the ‘Make private’ toggle. This means that only you, or you and your accountant if you work with one, will be able to see or edit that image in your Files area. Once you’ve added a file name, select ‘Save to Files’ to complete the process.


The image will then be saved to the ‘Smart Capture’ tab in the Files area in FreeAgent.

Once you've captured an image file, you can edit the name or privacy settings of the file. You can also attach it to an out-of-pocket expense, bill or bank transaction.


FreeAgent’s Smart Capture functionality will attempt to automatically extract the date and amount. It will then attach the file to a ‘Money Out’ bank transaction, if one exists that is marked ‘For approval’ and has a matching date and value.

Please note that Guess will need to be enabled on the relevant bank account before the bank transaction is imported, in order for the bank transaction to have the status ‘For Approval’.

If no such transaction exists, FreeAgent will keep checking every 24 hours for seven days. The bank transaction must be dated between the receipt date and two days later in order for the receipt to be matched to it. Find out more about how FreeAgent automatically matches receipts to bank transactions.

Alternatively, if there isn’t a matching bank transaction, you can convert the file into an out-of-pocket expense and Smart Capture will automatically extract the date and amount and suggest a cost category.

How to take a good photo

To successfully capture an image file, consider the following when taking a photo of a receipt or bill:

  • To avoid fading, take the photo as soon as the document is available.
  • Flatten and smooth out the document to remove creases.
  • Check the image is in focus on your device before taking the photo.
  • To avoid glare, turn the flash on your device off.
  • Take the photo with the document against a dark background.
  • Align the edges of the document with the screen and angle your phone to take the photo straight on.
  • Take photos of longer or two-sided receipts or bills in sections by selecting the ‘Long receipt’ option in the bottom-right of the camera screen.

Did you find this article useful?