Expense claims

Using cloud accounting to simplify expense claims

Dealing with expense claims is a task despised by managers and employees alike. With the advent of cloud accounting and the plethora of online expense claim tools available to tackle this specific problem, you don’t have to spend hours dealing with expenses. Less time on expense claims = happier staff. We’ve made it our mission to research every option to improve this process so that we can help you alleviate the hassle as much as possible.

Going through and evaluating all of these tools can be a painstaking task in itself. Not to worry, we’ve got your back. At Cumulative, we make it our mission to review notable cloud-based tools in detail. Here we’ve selected the best expense claim tools and provided an overview of each.



Expensify offers one of the most comprehensive expense claim management solutions.

Using the Expensify mobile app and its SmartScan feature, users simply snap a picture of a receipt, from which relevant data (date, total amount, sales tax) is extracted to create a record of the expense. SmartScan is quick, but it comes at a cost – we’ve found that data isn’t always extracted accurately, so the user may need to review and correct the information before submitting it. You can also add in expenses manually, which is required for mileage reimbursements. To make things even easier, Expensify lets you connect to your personal bank/credit card and import the relevant business-related transactions that you need to be reimbursed for. We loved this feature – just a few clicks and virtually no typing! If you’ve already scanned in the corresponding receipt, they will automatically be matched to the imported transaction and merged into one expense.

Expensify Screenshots

You can also set up some advanced rules such as requiring receipt images only for expenses over a certain amount (unless you enjoy reviewing receipts from Tim Hortons for $1.85). You can also limit the maximum expense amount that can be submitted, or set the maximum expense age to avoid receipts from say 2006. These rules help ensure users are always complying with your company’s expense policies (try enforcing that in Excel).

Expensify’s focus is only on expense claims, and it shows. They keep pushing the boundaries in terms of innovation and new features in the expense claim space. Their mobile apps are designed to have all the features that the website has (including some handy ones like GPS based mileage tracking), so it is entirely possible for employees to create and submit expense claims without ever having to use a browser. This functionality is unique to the this platform.

Expensify addresses key pain points associated with expenses claims. Chasing after employees to submit their claims can be very frustrating, and Expensify has solved this problem quite well. It has an ‘auto-submit’ feature that automatically combines all of their receipts entered so far, and submits the claim on their behalf on a periodic basis.

Expensify also offers a couple of different approval workflows: claims can be approved by managers within Expensify (and then synced to your cloud accounting platform as a payable) or the claim can be forwarded directly to QuickBooks Online or Xero for approval.

All in all, Expensify is a solid choice; hard to go wrong here.



Xpenditure has recently undergone a complete overhaul, and we’re really digging this new version. It’s a remarkably full-featured expense claim management solution, including all the must-haves: mobile apps, lightning-fast receipt OCR, mileage claims, credit card transaction import and integration with all your favourite cloud accounting platforms like QuickBooks Online and Xero.

Xpenditure Screenshot

You can upload receipts from your computer, snap a picture using your webcam or smartphone app, or forward receipts via email. The OCR works very well, and we’ve found the processing generally takes no more than a few minutes. However, it’s not very good at guessing the expense category (i.e. expense account) or separating the sales tax amount, so some review work is required (hey, we never said it was perfect).

Xpenditure also lets you log your mileage from business trips for reimbursement. It can automatically calculate the distance between addresses (using Google Maps), or you can log distance in the mobile app using GPS tracking. Additionally, Xpenditure allows you to connect to your bank so you can easily import credit card transactions.

Once employees scan all their receipts, they will have to group all their expenses together to create a claim. You have the option to enable the approvals module, so managers can login and approve expenses directly within Xpenditure. Alternatively, you can just forward the claims to Xero or QBO and then review and approve directly within in your accounting software. It really depends on your preference; some of our clients don’t like having to deal with multiple systems, so having this option is great. Another plus, Xpenditure also generates beautiful PDF reports of your expense claims, these include a listing of all claimed expenditures, along with images of all your receipts arranged on one page.


Receipt Bank

Although Receipt Bank has additional functionality beyond expense claims, it can be adapted to handle employee expense claims pretty well. Make sure you sign up for the multi-user plan, so that all your employees can submit expense claims.

Just like all the others, Receipt Bank offers a smartphone app, including a nifty ‘multiple mode’, so you can line up & take pictures of all your receipts without missing a beat. It has top notch OCR (possibly the best we’ve seen) that does a phenomenal job of extracting all the relevant data from your receipts, so a lot of the data entry work can be avoided. It takes a few hours to process the receipt, and you also have a chance to review/change information before submitting. All of your scanned receipts are stored until you’re ready to create an expense claim and submit it.

Receipt Bank screenshot

There’s no approval workflow in Receipt Bank – the claim gets forwarded to your accounting system (QBO or Xero) as a bill pending approval, along with a summary of the expense claim.

As we mentioned, since Receipt Bank wasn’t designed specifically for expense claims, unfortunately there is no way for employees to import transactions from their personal credit cards. However, if your company policy requires a receipt for each claimed expense, you will be scanning each individually regardless so this won’t be an issue. Receipt Bank integrates very well with both Xero and QuickBooks Online, and works very well as a ‘hands-off’ system. However, it’s very important to have it configured properly.

The one shortfall of Receipt Bank is that the mobile app doesn’t allow you to track mileage. For businesses where employees claim a lot of travel and mileage expenses, this may not be a great fit.



That’s right – if you’re already using Xero for your bookkeeping needs, you can use it to handle your expense claims without signing up (and paying) for any additional software. Xero comes with some basic built-in expense claim functionality, so your users might end up having to do a lot of manual data entry.

To get started, invite all your employees as users into Xero (remember, there’s no limit to the number of users you can have in Xero). Make sure you set the user type to ‘Invoice Only – Sales Only’, so that they cannot access any data other than their own expense claims; you don’t want to accidentally give them access to all your accounting data.

Since Xero doesn’t offer any receipt OCR, in terms of work required by users, Xero would be very similar to submitting Excel claims. They will need to enter expense details manually (date, vendor, amount, tax, description) and then snap a picture of their receipt using the Xero mobile app.

The benefits, however, include paperless expense claims and excellent integration with your day-to-day bookkeeping process. You can also look up all of your past expense claims and receipts without digging through a ton of paper receipts. Once users submit an expense claim, you can approve it right within Xero, and it will show up as a bill payable to that employee, similar to all your other bills.

If you’re on a budget or your employees submit expense claims very rarely, Xero is a bare-bones yet cost-effective expense claim system.



We also tested some other tools that we considered, however they were missing some key features.  For example, Tallie doesn’t handle sales tax at all, while others we reviewed just weren’t quite there yet.

It’s great to have options to choose from, however, cloud accounting brings a specific set of challenges that require a different expertise. Too much choice is not always a good thing. There are new tools being introduced every few weeks that can help you with expense claims. What might be the best option today may not be true a few months from now. In the spirit of cloud accounting, the existing expense management tools undergo such rapid changes and are continually introducing new features, so keeping track can be daunting.  Isn’t that what you were trying to avoid in the first place?

As part of Cumulative’s ongoing systems research, we make it our mission to stay on task with the ever evolving nature of the cloud accounting landscape  As such we review existing and newly introduced tools and services continuously.  If you require a specific workflow or a custom solution (i.e. integration with Google Drive or Dropbox, automatic scanner-to-claim workflow), get in touch with us. We’ll sit down and discuss how your company uses expense claims, and figure out the best solution for you.

If you’re interested in cloud accounting beyond expense claims, and would like to learn more about how it can help your business, contact us for a free consultation.

One thought on “Using cloud accounting to simplify expense claims

  1. Hey, how’s it going?

    I want to pass along some very important news that everyone needs to hear!

    In December of 2017, Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Why is this big news? Because by this the Jewish people of Israel are now able to press forward in bringing about the Third Temple prophesied in the Bible.

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    More importantly, the power that runs the world wants to put a RFID microchip in our body making us total slaves to them. This chip matches perfectly with the Mark of the Beast in the Bible, more specifically in Revelation 13:16-18:

    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last days, this could only be speaking of a cashless society, which we have yet to see, but are heading towards. Otherwise, we could still buy or sell without the mark amongst others if physical money was still currency. This Mark couldn’t be spiritual because the word references two different physical locations. If it was spiritual it would just say in the forehead. RFID microchip implant technology will be the future of a one world cashless society containing digital currency. It will be implanted in the right-hand or the forehead, and we cannot buy or sell without it. Revelation 13:11-18 tells us that a false prophet will arise on the world scene doing miracles before men, deceiving them to receive this Mark. Do not be deceived! We must grow strong in Jesus. AT ALL COSTS, DO NOT TAKE IT!

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

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    We all know God exists. Why? Because without Him, we couldn’t prove anything at all. Do we live our lives as if we cannot know anything? No. So why is God necessary? In order to know anything for certain, you would have to know everything, or have revelation from somebody who does. Who is capable of knowing everything? God. So to know anything, you would have to be God, or know God.

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    It has been calculated by Roger Penrose that the odds of the initial conditions for the big bang to produce the universe that we see to be a number so big, that we could put a zero on every particle in the universe, and even that would not be enough to use every zero. What are the odds that God created the universe? Odds are no such thing. Who of you would gamble your life on one coin flip?

    Is there evidence that the Bible is the truth? Yes. Did you know that the creation accounts listed in the book of Genesis are not only all correct, but are also in the correct chronological order? That the Bible doesn’t say the Earth was formed in six 24-hour days but rather six long but finite periods of time? That the Bible makes 10 times more creation claims than all major “holy” books combined with no contradictions, while these other books have errors in them? The Bible stood alone by concurring with the big bang saying, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1); and says our universe is expanding, thousands of years before scientists discovered these things. Watch a potential life-changing video on the front page of http://WWW.BIBLEFREEDOM.COM with Astronomer(PhD) Hugh Ross explaining all these facts based on published scientific data. He has authored many books, backed even by atheist scientists.

    Jesus fulfilled more than 300 Messianic prophecies concerning His birth place, details of His life, His mission, His nature, His death, and His resurrection. He came to pay a debt that we could not, to be our legal justifier to reconcile us back to a Holy God; only if we are willing to receive Him: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

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    Jesus came to free us from the bondage of sin. The everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels due to disobedience to God’s law. If we do the same, what makes us any different than the devil? Jesus says unless we repent, we shall perish. We must walk in the Spirit, producing fruits of love and forgiveness, so we may not fulfill the lusts of the flesh being hatred, fornication, drunkenness and the like. Whoever practices such things will not inherit the kingdom (Galatians 5:16-26). If we sin, we may come before Jesus to ask for forgiveness (1 John 2:1-2). Evil thoughts are not sins, but rather temptations. It is not until these thoughts conceive and give birth by our hearts desire that they become sin (James 1:12-15). When we sin, we become in the likeness of the devil’s image, for he who sins is of the devil (1 John 3:8); but if we obey Jesus, in the image of God. For without holiness, we shall not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

    The oldest religion in the world is holiness (James 1:27). What religion did Adam and Eve follow before the fall? Jesus, Who became the last Adam, what religion does He follow? Is He not holy? He never told us to follow any religion or denomination but to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23). There are many false doctrines being taught leading people astray. This is why we need the Holy Spirit for discernment. Unlike religion, holiness cannot be created. It is given to us from above by the baptism of the Spirit. Jesus is more than a religion; He is about having a personal relationship with the Father. Start by reading the Gospel of Matthew, to hear the words of God, to know His character and commandments. Follow and obey Jesus, for He is the way, the truth, and the life!

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