Processing Tab

Processing Tab

It may sound scary, but it’s not. Watch this video on Processing Bills.

The first time a Supplier sends a bill to your Lightyear account, it will appear in the Processing tab.  As will scanned documents and statements.

The Processing tab can seem daunting and confusing but it is actually quite simple.  Just to prove it, you should watch video #2 & #3 to learn how to deal with the various documents you may receive.

These videos are the best way to understand how the Processing tab and the mapping process works. Please note that creating a map is not something you are required to know how to do, as we will create all your maps for you free of charge if you send them to us using the blue Map For Me button.

Screen layout of the Processing Tab

As with most Lightyear screens, the Processing tab has a 3-panel layout.  However, in the Processing tab, panel 1 displays summary information about the emails and attachments that have been sent to your Lightyear account. An example of the Processing tab is shown below:

The Email list in Panel 1 displays summary information about the emails that Lightyear has received on your behalf.

From - the user who emailed in or uploaded the document
Received - the date the email was received by Lightyear

Type - the type of the document attached to the email

Qty - the number of attachments found in the email

Subject - the subject line in the original email

You may notice some icons on the rows in panel 1.  These icons are outlined below. Further detail on the first 3 icons (the map ones) can be found at the bottom of this thread.

      A Map for Me request has been sent
      A Map has been created
      We were unable to create a Map. Click the Notes icon for an explanation as to why
      The document will need to be manually entered

Document Types

Two different types of files can appear in Processing Tab:  

1 - Real PDFs from which Lightyear extracts data/can create maps for.

A “real pdf” is a pdf generated by a system as opposed to via a scanner or imaging software.  These documents contain metadata which Lightyear can read thereby giving very accurate data extraction.  When you are asking your suppliers for PDFs you should always ask for PDFs generated from their sales software.

2 – Images or Scans (jpgs or PDFs) from which you will have to manually enter the data (the above image shows you the small icon which tells you it has to be manually entered).

You may have noticed that we mentioned PDFs here too.  That’s right - there are real PDFs that contain metadata, and those that only contain images. Scans that are saved as PDF's do not have data inside them that we can extract, even though they are a pdf its still only an image and will need manually entering.  Lightyear loves real PDFs, but if needed it can also handle images too.


Lightyear uses what we call a map to extract data from a real pdf bill.  A map essentially tells Lightyear where information is located on a particular bill.

So when we refer to mapping, we are simply talking about the process of either creating the map or applying a map. Again, please refer to the video help highlighted above for more information.

Processing Real PDFs

Real pdf documents that arrive in the Processing tab can be handled 5 ways:

1 - Find Map - choose to use a map to unlock the data.

2 - Smart Extract – use Smart Extract to extract the data.

3 - Map For Me – ask Lightyear to create a map for you.

4 - Manual Entry – enter the data yourself

5 - Trash – bin the bill

Finding & applying a Map

When you send a bill or statement into Lightyear, we'll automatically look for and apply the map that we think is the best fit, if one exists. If this happens, all you need to do is select a Supplier and hit the Send to Approvals button to move the bill to the Approvals tab (or statement to the Statements tab). If one isn't automatically populated, you'll need to manually search for one.

How To Find The Map and Use It;

Step 1 - Click the document  in panel 1

Step 2 - Click the Find Map button

Step 3 - Enter the supplier name

Step 4 - Ensure that the country list at the top of the screen shows the correct country for your supplier.  (Your country list will always default to your country)

Step 5 - From the companies displayed, highlight the correct one if it is there, and click OK.  If it is not there, click Map For Me**

Step 6 - After you have selected the correct supplier Lightyear will automatically try the available maps and display the map that extracts your data correctly 

Step 7 - If you wish to try a different map you can select one from the displayed list by clicking Click to try Map

Step 8 -  If you are unhappy with any or no map exists, click Map for Me** (the blue button beneath the list of maps)

Step 9 - Once you have found a map you want to use, look underneath the extracted details and it will show this supplier box: 

Step 10 - From the drop-down list choose the supplier that sent you the bill.  Then click the left-hand green Use Map button at the bottom.  If this was successful go to Step 14. If the supplier isn't in the list, then you need to create a new supplier

Step 11 - Creating a new supplier:
If the supplier is not in the drop down list, click the green +Supplier to add the New Supplier. You will be presented with something like this.

Step 12 Complete the following in bold

  • Currency - set the default currency that this supplier normally bills you in.

  • Supplier VAT/ABN - in Australia only we will grab the ABN from the map details and check it with the Australian Business Registry (if its not showing you can type it in and click on the Tab button).

  • Registered for VAT/GST - we will tell you if the supplier is registered for VAT/GST and you can tick or untick this box

  • Lightyear Supplier - If the name is not the supplier name as you know it, you should then type over this the correct name (sometimes they are called 'The Trustee...' etc) This is important as this name is what the supplier will be called in Lightyear.

  • Accounting Supplier - set the supplier card so that we can link it to your accountancy software.  If the card is not there, click the green + and add one

  • Inventory Supplier - if you are using a POS system, set the POS supplier details here

  • Department - if you are using Departments, assign the supplier to a department (if you wish)

  • Default GL Code - assign a default GL code (if you wish)

  • Default Category - if you are using Categories (or other tracking defaults in your accounting software) assign a default one (if you wish)

  • Number of Days Credit - optional, but if populated we will add this number of days to the invoice date to create a due by date. If there is a due by date on the bill the number of days you select here will override that due date on the invoice

Click Create Supplier

Step 13 - click Use Map

Step 14 - You will be told that your bill has been moved to the Approval Tab.  If there are other bills in the Unknown tab that were sent from the same email address that sent the bill you have just mapped, you will be asked if you would like Lightyear to apply the same map to those invoices now?  If you think its useful, click Yes.

Step 15 - You will now be asked if you would like the map you have just used to be the 'Best Map', which means it will be first map that Lightyear will try if another bill comes in from that same email address in future.  Other maps previously saved with that email address will be tried, but this will become the favourite. So if you want this to be the case, click Best Map

The Map for Me process

Finding a map, trying a map and using a map is one thing... but what if there isn't a map there for the supplier?  Or what if the maps that are there for the supplier don't do the job that you want them to do?

Well, its as simple as finding the blue Map For Me button and clicking on it. This will send a message to the Lightyear team, asking them to create the map for you. You can also write a note to tell us what you need.

You can find the Map for Me button at the end of Step 5

or, at the end of Step 8 as outlined above.  

When you click Map for Me you will be presented with a dialogue box.  

Please be sure to put any special instructions for the mapping team into the Note window. Then click Send

You may wish to ask for a specific style map. You have a choice of 3 main styles of maps:

1.Line Item map; this is used for inventory & price check functions as it gives amounts and unit prices, as well as default GL codes assigned against the product code. But to be able to create this the invoice needs to have a product code, description, quantity and line amount.

2.Service Map; this will extract the lines and give you a description and line amount (not quantities or unit prices)

3.Summary Map; this will give you the totals only and 1 or 2 lines that will read; 'goods and/or services taxed' and/or 'goods and/or services untaxed' (depending on whether all or some or the total is taxed)

For a more detailed explanation of these map styles click here.

When you have sent a Map for Me request, you will notice that a map icon appears on the row of the bill in panel 1 of the Processing Tab.  Keep an eye out for these icons because they will tell you the status of the request. The turnaround time for map requests is 24 hours at the most, but typically it's less than 12 hours.

If you see either Map request declined or Map created icons, please refer to the notes in panel 2 for further instructions as to how to proceed.  In summary however, if a map is created for you Lightyear will tell you the map ID which to use. Simply go to Step 3 above but instead of entering the name of the supplier, key in the map ID into the Mapping Reference field, then click Search before proceeding to Step 4.

Please note that if you ever want to retract a Map for Me request, simply go to the left hand icon above, click on it, and then click OK to cancel the request.

If you see the Manual Entry icon you will need to manually enter the bill.  You will rarely see this icon but from time to time we may not be able to create a map for you.  If you see this icon you will have a note telling you why a map could not be created for you. Some of those possible reasons are listed below

  • Bill number missing (this is a mandatory field for Lightyear)

  • Date missing or incomplete  (this is also a mandatory field)

  • The layout of the bill does not follow the traditional header, footer, body layout

  • The PDF bill was created using a very old-school legacy system (a very VERY rare occurrence)

Once you have completed one of steps 1 – 4, your bill will appear in the Approval Tab.

If you trash a bill, you can always retrieve the bill from the Trash tab for up to 30 days.  Any items in the Trash tab for more than 30 days will be deleted permanently.

Only Lightyear Administrators (Admins) and Users with Map status can view the Processing Tab tab and it is important they check the Processing tab regularly in order to manage emails arriving there.

Scans and Images

Any bills that Lightyear cannot extract data from can be entered manually.  Entering a bill manually moves the bill to your Approval Tab for the approvals process just in the same way as any other bill.

Scanned bills might arrive from suppliers, or alternatively you may scan your rogue paper bills and email them into your Lightyear account in order to process them.

Either way, when a scanned file arrives into the Processing tab, Lightyear will initially assume that each file is one bill with multiple pages.

Splitting the Pages of a bill

If you find a Supplier has sent you multiple bills in one document, you can split that document in a variety of ways to create 2 or more bills. 

Using Smart Extract (Beta)

If we can't extract the data from your bills, for example if they're handwritten, or wonky scans, or you simply don't want to wait the turnaround time for a map, you can use Smart Extract to extract data.

For full information on what Smart Extract is and how/when to use it, click here!


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