When an avalanche of e-mails and attachments overwhelms you, automation may be your helping hand. A simple workflow created with Alphamoon, Zapier, and Gmail will save you time and deliver financial data wherever you want it to be. This is your short guide to extracting invoices from Gmail to Google Sheets.
Unpaid invoices are a common issue for business owners, whether you like it or not. When you’re not paid, your business suffers from plummeting cash liquidity.
But there’s also the reverse problem of forgetting to pay invoices on time because they got lost.
In fact, there’s a reason why most invoices have a long payment due date – 54% of SMBs claim their invoices are not paid on time. Planning any larger investments with such fluctuations is just a management nightmare.
And on top of that, collecting this kind of debt is a rather daunting task.
However, there’s a remedy for these mysteriously disappearing invoices that pop out of nowhere after months of hiding among your e-mail content.
Eventually, someone will find it, but wouldn’t it be nicer to deal with them properly?
Where to begin with Gmail automation?
Let’s start with the basics.
This guide is designed for the users of Google Workspace who use Google Docs, Google Drive, Gmail, etc. As one of the world’s most commonly used e-mail services, Gmail’s characteristic is simplicity and the ability to connect seamlessly with other tools.
If that’s your case, most of your invoices will probably be delivered to you via mail.
These documents might be scans, have inconsistent naming conventions, and so on – you know how it goes. Everything’s delivered to one e-mail address, and suddenly, your inbox is jammed.
And scanning through your e-mail messages in order to find the missing attachment is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Benefits of introducing Automatic Invoice Export
Before we show you the step-by-step guide, with screenshots depicting each step, you might wonder what problems will be solved by introducing this workflow.
Gaining precious time
An automated workflow connecting Gmail with Alphamoon will remove the task of opening each attachment and validating whether this is an invoice. If your suppliers or other third-party collaborators send a variety of documents to you, such a simple task becomes time-consuming. So, your most important benefit is removing an unnecessary step in the process, resulting in less time spent on it.
You keep an overview of all the invoices coming to your business; you can also obtain information from them automatically. The final outcome is a cleaner process that removes repetitive tasks from the equation.
Let’s take a look at the setup process.
Step-by-step Instructions on How to Automate Invoice Download From Gmail
This section will guide you through the process of creating the automated workflow. As a result of this implementation, invoices from your Gmail folder will automatically pop up in a destined process in Alphamoon and deliver a set of data points taken directly from your invoices.
And remember – this workflow does not aim at reading data found in your e-mail content.
Sounds cool? Then, let’s get on with it – here are all the automation steps to complete the process.
Step 0. Create an Alphamoon account with a process for invoices
If you are using Alphamoon already, the first step isn’t for you. However, to cover this process completely, let’s start here. Create your account.
Our tip is to start by choosing the Pay As You Go tier, which gives you 20 documents for free – this will come in handy when testing the connection.
Once you create your account, you will end up in the Dashboard screen. You can click the “New Process” button on your right-hand side.
Since this short guide explains how to get invoices automatically from Gmail and use this automation further to get data points from these docs, we recommend creating a process using the Invoices template.
This predefined model includes over 30 data points you can edit later (if you have trouble, here’s a handy guide on how to do it).
Click on the tile and then “Proceed”.
Your newly created process will be empty – like in the screenshot below. The reason for this is that we haven’t uploaded any files. While you could upload documents using drag and drop, an automated workflow using Zapier will do it for you.
In our example, the process is called “Invoices” – we will need this name later on to check if the process works properly.
Now, we have to populate the process with invoices, right?
Step 1. Use Zapier to create your Gmail Trigger
This might be a Captain-Obvious-type of a statement, but you also need an account to set up the process in Zapier. If you’re entirely new to this multi-connector platform, you can visit Zapier’s website and create your account.
Let’s go back to the matter at hand. You start by defining the Action and the Trigger.
In the case of this automated workflow with invoices from Gmail, your Trigger is Gmail, so choose it from the list.
When editing your Trigger, you want to set your event to “New Attachment” because we aim to get e-mail attachments – documents from your Gmail.
Choose the Gmail account you want to use in the workflow and the folder where your e-mails containing invoices appear. Leave the “Search String” field empty.
After choosing the folder, test the trigger to see if it properly scans the selected folder. Make sure that there is at least one e-mail that contains an invoice as an attachment. Otherwise, the trigger test will not work correctly.
Our test resulted in 3 e-mails that contained various PDFs. Since the trigger worked correctly and one invoice was found – we called “Invoice.pdf” – we will now move to the second part – ensuring this invoice is automatically processed in Alphamoon.
Step 2. Create Action with Alphamoon in Zapier
We have created the Trigger; now let’s create the Action.
Choose Alphamoon as your Action.
The event you’re looking for is “Create New File Processing.” This defines your next step – sending the document to the automation platform. You must also choose the account you created in Step 0 (or earlier).
When configuring this part of the process, select the invoice that was found in the previous step in the “Filename” field. To remind you, in the example, we’re using the file called “Invoice.pdf.”
In the “File” field, choose the option “exists but not shown.” If you are curious why, we explain it at the bottom of the article in the FAQ section.
Then, choose the Process – the workflow you created in your Alphamoon account. In the case of the example we created, it’s going to be “Invoices.”
That’s where your invoices will automatically appear whenever a new document is found in your inbox.
Just like we did previously, it’s time to test the workflow. Look for a green check icon that appears next to the Test field in Zapier (take a look at the screenshot below).
Step 3. Validation of the workflow and entering Supervision in Alphamoon
The final step is the validation of the workflow in Alphamoon. After we had tested the Action, the invoice – “Invoice.pdf” – appeared in the list of documents in the process called “Invoices.”
You will enter the Supervision screen once you click on the file after it is processed. This is your control center – from there, you can check all the information that was extracted from the invoice, edit it, and accept it.
If you want to see a step-by-step video of the process, just press play button:
By following these steps, you have successfully created an automated single process that scans incoming e-mails for invoices. Now, every new invoice that will pop up in your Inbox will automatically land in Alphamoon and have a structured overview of all information included in it – all of that while you focus on your business development.
Pretty cool, huh?
Whenever you log into your account, you will have access to those files and the option to download the exported data. We also recommend adding another automation (and reading another guide), which will help you send this extracted data from invoices to a destined Google Sheets file. Also, automatically.
In case you missed the step of creating the Alphamoon account, click below and create one today. We offer you 20 documents for free to test.
Do I need both Alphamoon and Zapier accounts to create this workflow?
Yes, you will need them both to establish the automation process properly. Based on feedback from our clients, this automation saves them several hours on a weekly basis that’s typically dedicated to dealing with invoice-related tasks.
Can I choose a different option under the “File” field than “exists but not shown”?
The reason for this specific setup is to create the right logic for the automation workflow. By defining the file name in “File”, you make sure to get the right file. However, you could also add the e-mail title there, and the workflow would work, too.
Can I pull other documents from Gmail to Alphamoon?
Of course. The idea behind this integration when it comes to documents other than invoices is the same. You just need to choose another attachment when connecting Gmail and Alphamoon in Zapier.