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Receipt Bank reveals plans to automate manual tasks with £55m funding

After achieving a $73m (£55m) investment, Receipt Bank tells AccountingWEB about its upcoming plans to reduce the time its users spend on administration.

23rd Jan 2020
Staff Writer AccountingWEB
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Receipt Bank stand
Receipt Bank

As a momentous beginning to 2020, Receipt Bank achieved a £55m investment in equity and debt via a series-C funding round. The cloud bookkeeping platform already has big plans for automating manual tasks in its endeavours to reduce the time its users spend on administration.

Receipt Bank’s chief product officer John Connolly told AccountingWEB that the funding will be used to get "rid of admin from both sides of the bookkeeping equation”. The investment will allow the platform a greater capacity to develop features that will remove manual administration processes, and expand further into Europe, Australia, South Africa and North America.

Connolly explained the first stage would be “ensuring we can take all paperwork, all the time”, including document sources like bank statements and procurement systems in addition to traditional paper receipts.  

Automation: Extraction, reconciliation

Autumn last year, Receipt Bank launched sales invoices extraction for users across both accounts receivable and accounts payable workflows. Connolly described this as “one step further on the road to being able to take in all types of paperwork”.

Automatic line item extraction and Bank Match – where inbox items are matched with unreconciled bank payments – were additional autumn releases that further automated extraction and reconciliation processes. 

In addition to removing all the manual elements of paperwork, Receipt Bank aims to “read what is not on the paper”. Connolly explained that “a receipt will never tell you why you bought something. It doesn’t tell you whether a printer was bought as inventory for resale or as a tool for use in the office”.

Receipt Bank has been working on capturing receipt context, launching auto-categorisation just before Christmas, which automatically categorises receipts based on client-specific behaviour. “We’ll be rolling that out further in 2020,” he added. 

Chasing clients is like telling your kids to put their socks in the laundry

Connolly emphasised that “freeing up more time for professional advisers like bookkeepers and accountants” was a priority for the platform. “Chasing clients for paperwork is a bit like telling your kids to put their socks in the laundry rather than on the floor. You’re spending more time nagging than on more productive tasks.”

The aim is for features like auto-reconciliation and auto-extraction to give bookkeepers more free time for “the interesting, rewarding parts, like financial advice”. 

In the coming months, the platform also intends to assist these areas by adding communication features on individual entries and reminders for when invoices should be paid.

Responding to the market

In response to QuickBooks, Xero and Sage beefing up their expense capture functionality, Receipt Bank intends to “capture all parts of the cost cycle for small businesses, rather than just expense capture”, said Connolly. Its aim is to provide accountants and bookkeepers with “real-time visibility” over the finances of their small business clients. 

“Our Series C raise of $73m is a real vote of confidence in that strategy,” added Connolly.

Receipt Bank also has plans to refresh its web and mobile applications and make its platform easier to use during 2020.

The MTD issue

In addition to automation and expansion, Receipt Bank has plans to provide real-time updates on compliance for business owners, allowing better visibility of finances. “The research genuinely shows that people do not sleep and businesses go bust because of poor financial management. Given that most people work for or own a small business, this is a problem that affects a large proportion of society.” 

Making Tax Digital pushes the digitisation of data forward, however, “compliance is the stick that makes people do things, but it is also the lowest bar to aspire to”, according to Connolly.

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By meadowsaw227
23rd Jan 2020 10:50

Lets see if the resulting cost savings are passed on to the customers !

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