What should be a simple task of claiming back expenses can quickly turn into a paperwork nightmare. Many clients we see have piles of receipts from fuel to meals, and everything in between, which they manually input into a spreadsheet each month (or worse, yearly!). Well, there is now an app-based solution that integrates with Xero and automates this process. This can save you and your employees 83% of your time compared with inputting the transactions manually.

Last summer Xero released a new add-on for their award-winning online accounting software, Xero Expenses. This module takes the hassle out of completing your expense claims using the latest technology and innovations. Employees can snap a photo of their receipt on their mobile and the app will extract the key data from the receipt using Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The app is available to both Android and iOS users.

Here at Corrigan, we have been trialling the app internally with resounding success and take up from employees. Feedback has been that it is simple to use and time saving. No longer are people digging through their draws trying to locate a receipt from three months ago. The cost of this application is £2.50 per user who submits a claim per month; therefore, if no claim is submitted there is no additional charge.

User permissions can be set so that only certain employees have the authority to approve and pay expense claims. The feature rich software also has a built-in reporting and analytics tool to help you better understand the spending patterns of your employees and the business. This allows you to keep control of your employees’ expenses and the company’s spending.

The team behind the app are also working to deliver even more features to help you recover more of your time. One of the most requested features is the inclusion of an automated mileage calculator which Xero are currently in the process of developing. In addition, features such as Payroll and Projects intergradations should be available in the near future.

As Xero is an open platform, third party developers also offer similar applications to improve efficiencies including Expensify and Veryfi. Each solution offers a similar but unique workflow, with some apps also able to handle more complex features such as internal spending policies. Other apps attempt to corner niche areas of the expense market such as Tripcatcher or MileIQ where the app has been solely developed to help accurately capture and calculate mileage claims.

There have also been an influx of prepaid business cards entering the expense marketplace. These smart cards are paired with an app to prompt employees to upload receipts associated with the expenses incurred. Pleo, a smart card provider, recently secured $56 million in funding for their app, the biggest series B in Denmark’s history. Other providers offering similar solutions include Soldo and Expend.

If you would like some advice on streamlining your expense process or selecting an application, please get in touch with Ben Simmons.