What are Expenses?

A typical expense is incurred when money goes out of your pocket. Whether its a product you buy from your vendor to run your business, or food that you eat while on business trips, it’s important to track the money you spend.

Creating an Expense

Create Expense

To create an expense in Zoho Books,

Recording a Mileage Expense

Zoho Books allows you to record a mileage expense when your employees use their personal vehicles for official purposes. Let’s take an example where you or one of your employees had to go on a business trip. If you would like to record the expense towards that trip for your accounting purposes, you can do it by recording a mileage expense.

The default expense account used for recording a mileage expense is Fuel/Mileage Expenses.

The first step in recording your mileage expense is setting up your mileage preferences. You can access mileage preferences from More Settings -> Preferences -> Expenses.

Mileage Expense Settings

Setting up your Vehicle profile

If you wish to assign different mileage rates for vehicles in your organization, you can make use of the Vehicle tab under Expense Preferences.

You can create a profile for your vehicle and add a mileage rate for that. This can be applicable even if the vehicles belong to the same vehicle type.

Let’s take an example where your company uses two cars, and you wish to set a different mileage rate for each car due to various reasons.You can also choose the vehicle while recording a mileage expense.

To set up a profile for your vehicle, follow the instructions below:


Now, click on the Preferences tab under Expenses and click on + Add Mileage Rate.

Note: The provision to choose Vehicle in mileage expense will appear only if you enter mileage rate for that particular vehicle.

Note: Unlike the other editions of Zoho Books, the mileage rates for different vehicle types as stipulated by the HMRC, have been saved for your convenience in the UK edition.

To record a mileage expense:

Record Mileage Drop-Down

Record Mileage Form

In the Record Mileage page,


  • The cost of fuel per mile will be calculated automatically based on the Advisory Fuel Rates approved by the HMRC. Please note that you can reclaim VAT only on the fuel purchased and not on the total amount of the mileage expense.
  • The mileage rate changes once you’ve crossed the threshold of 10,000 miles in a year. Eg: For cars and vans, the mileage rate changes from 45p to 25p once you’ve travelled more than 10,000 miles.

Adding Expenses in Bulk

Consider a scenario wherein either you or one of your employees had gone on a business trip. A lot of expenses in the form of Airfare, Hotel Accommodation, Food, Transport etc. were incurred. Instead of manually entering each expense separately, you can add multiple expenses at once and record it.

To add expenses in bulk:

Bulk Add Expenses

Bulk Add Expenses

Recurring Expenses

A recurring expense is one that is incurred on a periodic basis, and recording it can be automated in Zoho Books. Examples of such an expense would be the rent you pay for your office space or your monthly internet bill.

To create and automate a recurring expense,

You can make an existing expense recurring by clicking on the expense and selecting More - Make recurring. Enter the required information and hit Save.

Recurring Expense

Mandatory Fields

There are a few details that you mandatorily need to enter while creating an expense,

  1. Profile name (for recurring expenses) - Enter a name to identify the profile of the recurring expense. The expense will be tracked throughout under this profile name.
  2. Repeat Every - The frequency at which the expense is incurred, and needs to be created automatically in Zoho Books.
  3. Expense Account - The account where you want to track this expense.
  4. Paid Through - This refers to the account from which the expense was paid.
  5. Amount - The Expense amount.

Reimbursable Expense

In most cases, the work doesn’t stop with simply tracking where you money is spent. Expenses that are incurred while on an assignment for your client can be reclaimed from them. For example, if you’re an online seller who supports home delivery, you can add the delivery charges onto the sale amount and get it reimbursed from your buyer.

To make an expense reimbursable in Zoho Books,

Invoicing a Reimbursable Expense

To invoice a reimbursable expense to the concerned customer,

Convert to invoice

Alternatively, you can apply the expense as an extra charge while invoicing the customer for the whole assignment. To do this,

Include expense

Other Actions

Other options

Custom Views

Custom Views are specific filters to list your expenses, based on your criteria.

For example, out of all your expenses in Zoho Books, you might want to view those expenses that are greater than $2000.

With Custom Views, you can simply create this filter. All you have to do is set criteria and later use it to classify data.

You can find an example GIF image to understand how custom views work.

Custom view of invoices

To create a Custom View:

Your new custom field will now be listed under Created By Me, in the dropdown.

Note: Custom views can be created for both Expenses and Recurring Expenses.

Want a feature?
Switch to smart accounting software. Switch to Zoho Books.   Start my free 14-day trial