Automating grabbing payslips for use with Paperless

Published: Feb 4, 2019
Reading time: 2 min
Tags: Formats Guides Linux Servers Software 

My workplace has recently started sending out Payslips as email attachments instead of the usual physical sheet which I’m a big fan of, Paperless is always on hand to sort and process any paperwork I have which keeps things organised and under control.

To tie all these processes together, we’re going to use getmail, mpack and qpdf.

Please note that this will download your entire inbox every time so it helps if you don’t run the script too often, and keep your inbox size to manageable levels.

Firstly, we’ll need to specify a number of variables for use later in the script:

temp_directory="$(mktemp -d)"

We’ll change to the temporary directory and make the directories that getmail expects to be there:

cd "$temp_directory" || exit
mkdir {cur,new,tmp}

As I don’t really want to keep an copy of my whole inbox around for no good reason, I dump my email to a temporary directory and write my getmail config file into this directory with a heredoc. Here I’m using IMAP with SSL but getmail supports a number of different methods of grabbing mail:

cat << EOF > getmailrc
type = SimpleIMAPSSLRetriever
server = your.imap.server
username = $email_username
port = 993
password = $email_password

type = Maildir
path = $temp_directory/

Then run getmail using the temporary directory as your working directory:

getmail --getmaildir "$temp_directory"

Change directory to our newly saved items, then extract all attachments that match our search pattern in the variable above. Lastly, move these attachments to the Paperless import directory.

cd new || exit
grep "$email_sender" ./* | cut -f1 -d: | uniq | xargs munpack -f
mv "$payslip_pattern"*"$payslip_filetype" "$import_directory"

Now Paperless won’t work on these files unless they’re decrypted, which we can do as follows:

cd "$import_directory" || exit
for i in $payslip_pattern*$payslip_filetype; do
	qpdf "$i" --check || fileProtected=1
	if [ $fileProtected == 1 ]; then
		qpdf --password="$payslip_password" --decrypt "$i" "decrypt-$i" && rm "$i"

Now we have a directory full of unencrypted files to let Paperless work with. Last but not least, we’ll need to delete the old temporary directory we used:

rm -r "$temp_directory"

Lastly all you need to do is set up the above script as a cron job to run after pay day! The cron line I’m using is as follows:

0 0 2 * * $HOME/path/to/script/ &