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How many of Apron’s best new features have you tried?

21st Dec 2023
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Apron was started by a group of people who’d spent years building products for a number of global...
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It’s been an exciting year for the Apron team, as we’ve travelled the length and breadth of the UK meeting with accountants and bookkeepers and hearing their stories. 

You told us time and again that the accounts payable is broken. For those who want to start offering payments as a service, and those looking to expand, current tech offerings just aren’t up to scratch.

The features we’ve released over the past few months are a direct response to your needs and wants. In this post, we’re recapping some of the highlights.

Advanced approvals for better workflows

Advanced approvals

Specifically, we’re talking about our already-popular ‘Any of’ feature. This handy tool speeds up payments without compromising on security.

Picture the scene: You’ve got a payment awaiting approval, which normally requires input from three busy company directors. You know that you can probably send it with approval from just one or two of them, but there’s no formal system in place.

Instead, you need to waste time chasing all three by email and phone. With ‘Any of’ you can simply set up a workflow in which a payment is authorised by any of your chosen contacts (any of these three directors, in this case).

The old way

Director #1 — Approves a payment after some tedious email chasing.

Director #2 — Is on holiday until the end of the month.

Director #3 — Isn’t answering your emails.

The result: major delays, since you can’t proceed without knowing for sure whether the others are in agreement.

With ‘Any of’

All three directors agree that input from any of them is enough to progress a payment. You set it up in Apron, and all three receive an approval prompt via email. 

Director #1 is really on the ball, and submits their approval, meaning directors #2 and #3 can get on with their work —and so can you!

Custom roles for finer control

Custom roles

Speaking to accountants and bookkeepers, we learnt that payment workflows are often complex, and that not every team member or stakeholder needs (or indeed, should have) full approval and payment permissions.

We introduced Custom Roles in order to solve this issue. With Custom Roles, assigning permissions to team members and clients happens in just a few clicks. 

As an Admin, you can choose whether someone is able to: View, Create, Edit, Approve, or Pay. You can even set permissions for Assigned Payments Only.

This kind of person-by-person permissions control gives you and your clients ultimate flexibility and peace of mind. Everyone knows what’s expected of them, and there’s no chance of the wrong person approving a payment. 

Audit Trail has your back

Audit log

When you need to see every minute detail of a payment, either for your own recollection, or at the request of a client, Audit Trail has you covered.

Apron automatically compiles a downloadable log for each payment, containing details of amounts, edits, approvals, and payment dates. So when you’re asked why a payment left when it did, in the amount that it did, you have the records right at hand.

Auto-detection tools keeping you safe

Auto detection

Invoice fraud is a big problem, and one of the main reasons why accountants and bookkeepers steer clear of offering payments as service. After all, sending money to the wrong place, or having someone steal money from your client, is obviously a disaster.

Earlier this year we introduced a feature that alerts you when an existing supplier sends an invoice containing new bank details. 

If there’s a mismatch in the account number or sort code, we’ll tell you right away, so that you don’t inadvertently send client money to the wrong place. 

That’s a snapshot of what we’ve released to the accounting and bookkeeping community this year. So what’s coming up in 2024?

Affordable and collaborative invoice capture

Invoice capture

Whether you’re offering payments as a service or not, extracting details from invoices is a pain for several reasons:

  • You spend too much time chasing clients for missing documents
  • The current tools you have are too expensive or complicated
  • Clients send documents without proper context
  • Having to ask clients to fill in missing information on documents

Accountants and bookkeepers have told us that the solutions they’ve tried for invoice capture only solve part of the problem. What’s more, they’re often tricky to use —for both them and their clients— and expensive. 

We’re working on a powerful new feature that will not only accurately and quickly extract essential payment information from any document, but also publish that information to your accounting or bookkeeping software —saving you time, and helping to prevent data errors. 

This new feature will complement our powerful payment features, but you’ll also be able to use it on its own, too.

Keep an eye on the Apron blog, and join us on Linkedin for updates on this, and what else is coming up next year (including some exciting additions to our payment scheduling capabilities).

Until then, happy bean counting from everyone at Apron.