From app updates and backups, to lights, sound and even thermostats at your home, automation is everywhere - so why not automate your accounting? 

Accounting automation uses technology to offset highly manual accounting procedures; eliminating drawn out, redundant tasks and replacing them with efficient, streamlined processes. You can gain valuable time and transparency without sacrificing control or security. 

In day to day life, automation allows us to simply request a Bluetooth speaker to play a certain song, or back our car into a tight space without touching the wheel. Accounting automation achieves the same level of convenience and consistency for businesses. With cloud-based apps, recording expenses becomes a simple, straightforward process, making it easier for business owners and employees to do so accurately - whilst also ensuring the necessary authorisation is in place to verify that claims are bona fide.

There are many benefits to using a cloud-based app to manage your bills and company expenses. We've summarised just some of the key features that jump out to us for creating efficiencies and user experience for your employees too.

Cloud-based apps allow you to:

  • Automatically upload bills and receipts into cloud accounting software
  • Automatically publish invoices straight from your email inbox to cloud accounting software
  • Line-item extraction removes the need to manually input relevant data
  • Apply specialist rules to automate approvals or remove need for approvals completely
  • Automatically import any expenses incurred on personal or company cards
  • Create efficiencies by setting a flag for just the expenses that require approval
  • Integrate with leading travel providers creates a seamless experience for employees

Workflow and Authorisation 

As many small businesses do not have an embedded authorisation process, a particularly useful feature of cloud-based apps is the simple form of authorisation process they provide, which can be used to manage staff’s expenditure. If there is a need for something more robust, it would be worthwhile investing in an add-on product such as ApprovalMax


Expenses automation apps tend to be priced “per active user” – this means that unless an expense claim is submitted, there will not be a charge. Consequently, every member of staff could be set up, even if they only put in one claim a year, as there would only be a claim for that particular entry. 

In this guide, we have compared two of the leading expense automation apps as well as Xero’s own inbuilt functionality.

Another option for managing expenses are apps which act as prepaid business cards. These products are priced “per card”. In this guide, we have assessed the two main applications in this area, however some apps have prepaid cards as an add on feature.

As with other systems, the decision will depend on your workflow and the functionality your business needs.