I’m fairly new to automation, but I have a particular manual process that I would love to automate, and would save me hours of tedious work each week!
I’m a consultant who works on the road, and so I have various expenses including travel, hotels, meals, etc. Each week I have to track those expenses in a standard Excel sheet provided by my company, each entry requires a date, description, and the correct amount entered in an appropriate category column. I usually end up doing it all at the end of the week, tracking down emails and sorting bunches of paper receipts, organizing them and then tediously entering them all into the expenses sheet.
I regularly book the same hotel and travel tickets, and get email confirmations/receipts, whilst for meals, it’s usually a case of getting paper receipts from restaurants.
Ideally, I’d like to be able to automatically have something where the hotel/travel emails are automatically added to my expenses spreadsheet when they arrive in my inbox (and are then forwarded to Evernote for archiving/later reference if needed). Unfortunately, the rates/prices of the room and travel tickets can vary week to week, so I’d need to ideally be able to grab these values directly from the email/PDF attachments.
I currently use Airmail 3 on my MacBook Pro, and also have Hazel, IFTTT and Dropbox accounts. I’m a programmer by trade, so don’t mind getting my hands dirty (although, I’m pretty new to AppleScript, but could pick it up).
I realise this is an ambitious first automation project, so I’m happy to break it down into smaller steps:
- Identify potential expenses email receipts (easily done through Airmail 3 rules given they’ll always come from known address and/or contain specific subject lines).
- Do something with those emails to extract the required data.
- Add entries to a spreadsheet - the problem here may be entering the data in the right format into my specific company spreadsheet, but I’m happy to just get the data into a temporary spreadsheet and then manually copy/paste into my company spreadsheet if necessary.
This would be a great first step for me, and I can deal with paper receipt entry at a later date!
I appreciate any pointers in the right direction of how I might go about steps 2 & 3 above.