Expenses … necessary but can be a major time sink

Streamlining the expense claim process is something we are often asked about. It’s a key process for tracking spend and making sure customer billing is accurate, but it’s also can be a time sinking headache if the right technology is not in place.

Picking the right app for your organisation depends heavily on 3 key things:

  1. Your expenses policy: do you have policies on spend amounts and types of spend that you ideally want to have integrated into an app?
  2. Your approval process: do you need several people to approve submissions? Perhaps a Project Manager then Finance department?
  3. Your accounting system: are you on Xero, Quickbooks, Sage or something else? Being able to integrate your accounting system will save a huge amount of processing time.


Which are the key expenses apps available?

There are lots of apps on available each with slightly different ways of handling expenses. They differ mainly on the level of automation, the ability to build approval workflows and which accounting software they integrate with.


Expensify is a great app that offers a solid expense processing. There are 3 pricing plans (Team £4, Corporate £7 & Enterprise £custom). The Team plan offers basic expense approval while the Corporate plan allows expenses policies, approval workflows plus it integrates with Xero, Quickbooks and Sage. It can also handle mileage tracking as well as expeneses.  Its SmartScan feature automates the receipt submission process by reading the merchant, date and amount on the receipt. It can also handle spend policies, approval workflows, corporate cards and provides good financial reporting. All in all a great choice for teams of any size.

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Xero Expenses

If you are already a Xero user it’s worth looking at the new Xero expenses app launched in summer 2018. Xero has always had a free app available but the new app (£2.50 per user) has significant improvements. Similar to Expensify it automates the submission of expenses by using OCR, Optical Character Recognition, to read the key data from the receipts. Expenses can be allocated to customers or projects (the Xero projects module needs to be enabled). It can’t enforce expense policies nor have multi tiered approval workflows but if you are a small team, already using Xero and looking for a cost effective way to manage expenses it makes sense to consider Xero.  Reporting is included, it isn’t comprehensive but it’s enough to get by. So far Xero has opted for push notifications rather than email notifications for approvers which will prove troublesome for some. Also to note that it won’t handle mileage tracking and claims.

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We haven’t yet used Veryfi, but it’s on our radar. It’s a little more costly at $15 per month (approx £11.50) per user (on the Prime tariff), but richer in functionality. It also does OCR on receipts but has machine learning included so rules can be taught to the app for future receipts. It handles mileage tracking, corporate card spends (and reconciliation of those spends). It’s integration looks very promising, allowing users to connect to GoogleDrive, OneDrive, Dropbox and Evernote for document storage and Sage, Xero and Quickbooks (online) for accounting. There are also other nifty features such as in app messaging. If you upgrade to the Prime Plus package ($30 per month) there’s a full timesheeting system which would suit field based project teams.

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If you’d like some advice on streamlining expenses for your team, drop us a line.

Image courtesy of www.xero.com

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