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Receipt Bot targets accounting data revolution

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Robotic data entry assistant Receipt Bot is expanding its services in 2024, aiming to transform how accountants pull in accounting data, process it and detect discrepancies.

24th Jan 2024
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Receipt Bot was originally developed as an internal tool based on the needs of accounts outsourcing company Excelsious, and eventually pivoted to be the founders’ main business. The firm’s customers (and ultimately those customers’ clients) provided accounting data in a plethora of different ways, including photos, PDFs, email and shared drives such as Dropbox.

“This huge variety of inputs meant we struggled to find a consistent approach to managing and processing such a diverse range of data,” co-founder Irfan Sharif told AccountingWEB. “Much of our time was spent on manual data entry, which slowed us down, particularly around tax deadlines where the pressure inevitably increases.”

And the idea of Receipt Bot was born.

What does Receipt Bot do?

The cloud tool is built to cut down on manual data entry work by automatically extracting accounting data from bank or card statements, invoices and receipts.

Users can input documents through web or mobile apps via drag and drop or photo tools, set up email inboxes or connect to Dropbox via an integration.

Similar to tools such as Dext, Autoentry by Sage and Hubdoc, data is then extracted using optical character recognition (OCR) software, auto-categorised based on vendor type and transaction history, and “validated” to pick up anomalies such as duplicate documents or missing information.

Users can then export data to cloud accounting software via two-way integrations with QuickBooks Online, Sage and Xero. Receipt Bot pulls supplier, expense category, payment method and VAT rate data from QBO, Sage and Xero to record transactions against correct suppliers, predict payment methods and accounting categories with a greater degree of accuracy.

The tool can also convert pictures, scans or PDF statements to Excel, CSV, OFX, QFX and other accounting software formats. It automatically links statement pages to bank and card accounts, flags duplicate and missing pages and uses reference recognition technology to identify date, cheque references, line text and, most importantly, money in and money out values. 

Receipt Bot also offers a multi-user expense tracker app where multiple users can record spending and claim reimbursements, and a practice overview dashboard where firms can review the bookkeeping status of all clients on one screen and prioritise their tasks.

Those without dedicated tax filing software can also use Receipt Bot to submit VAT returns. The returns are auto-generated based on uploaded purchase and sales invoices and submitted via an integration with HMRC’s VAT MTD system.

2024 development focus

Receipt Bot is now looking to expand its feature set in 2024, with a stated goal of “revolutionising how accountants detect and address discrepancies”. The team hopes to achieve this by using a Generative AI-powered error detection and correction tool featuring a natural language interface.

The developers are also targeting the extraction of line items from bills and receipts, and looking at flat-rate and cash accounting, allowing users to cut down the time it takes to prepare VAT returns using bank statement data – something they told AccountingWEB is much in demand from accounting clients.

The team is also looking to develop integrations with other major cloud accounting vendors, along with software such as OneDrive, Google Drive and Zapier.

Receipt Bot’s pricing starts at £7 a month, which buys the user 45 “document credits” – one document credit is charged per invoice and three document credits are charged per bank statement page.

A single pricing plan buys the user unlimited businesses, clients, users and staff members. Unused credits on paid plans are carried forward to the next month, up to six months.

Replies (5)

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By FactChecker
24th Jan 2024 18:19

It all sounds 'technologically exciting' (like some people feel when approaching a new shoot-em-up game), but I can't help wondering:

* "Users can input documents through web or mobile apps via drag and drop or photo tools, set up email inboxes or connect to Dropbox via an integration"
vs.
* Users can type a number (say, into a spreadsheet).
Which would the average or typical (if they exist) sole trader/omb/etc prefer to do?

I'm sure the effort of implementing/reviewing/maintaining such solutions is warranted where large volumes of data are the order of the day (e.g. on-line traders), but where's the CBA for the average Jo?

Thanks (3)
Replying to FactChecker:
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By ReceiptBotTeam
24th Jan 2024 20:33

Dear Fact Checker, thank you for asking this question. You raised some excellent points.

Regarding your point about the effort to implement and use, Receipt Bot is a simple and easy-to-use application. Most users can set up and start using it in under 5 minutes. It requires no technical knowledge or complex setup.

Regarding the effort needed to upload documents vs. input into Excel, say you are an accountant or a bookkeeper; a potential client comes close to the filing deadline with a large stash of poorly organized paperwork. What will you do?

a) Do not accept the client as you do not have time.

b) Take the client and spend most of the following week sorting, sifting, organizing, and entering data in the spreadsheet or accounting software.

c) Put the entire pack of papers on an auto-feed scanner and upload it to Receipt Bot. You can scan all documents into a single PDF or multiple files. In an hour or so, all your documents get organized into the correct document type, data is extracted accurately, transactions are categorized, and the correct VAT is recorded. You are ready to review, find and fix gaps and anomalies in data and complete accounts. It costs you a fraction of what it would have cost to get it done at minimum wage.

First, you impress the client with an outstanding service. Then, you help them stay on top of business finances by automating the paperwork collection and data entry. We offer many different upload methods, including email, website upload, dropbox, and mobile app, so your clients can use what they find the most convenient.

Sounds too good to be true? Proof of the pudding is in eating it! We offer a free, no-obligation trial. Give it a try and tell us what you think.

Thanks (1)
Replying to ReceiptBotTeam:
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By FactChecker
24th Jan 2024 23:34

(a) ... but because I'm not interested in any "potential client (who) comes close to the filing deadline with a large stash of poorly organized paperwork".

BTW how deep does your "It requires no technical knowledge or complex setup" actually run in practice? For instance, to take just VAT for example, do you support all the various schemes (from Flat Rate to sector specific ones) when transactions are auto-tagged? What about Reverse Charge? Disbursements vs Expenses?

Thanks (3)
Replying to FactChecker:
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By ReceiptBotTeam
25th Jan 2024 10:11

Let’s look at it from a busy entrepreneur’s perspective: how can one stay on top of business finances and taxes? Potentially three options here as well;

a) Keep the documents in a box or folder, find an accountant close to the filing date to make accounts, and run the day-to-day business on ‘back of an envelope estimates’.

b) Periodically find time to collate documents and emails and hire someone to do bookkeeping. Alternatively, type in data oneself, and we can safely assume not many would look forward to it.

c) Automate the process with Receipt Bot in a few minutes: 1) Set auto-forward on all billing emails, 2) take pictures of business receipts as you check out, 3) occasionally scan to upload large documents, and stay on top of your business finances.

So far, our focus has been to develop document recognition and data extraction with high accuracy. We have covered most of the scenarios and user requirements. Receipt Bot accurately recognizes the document and extracts data for any accounting document type, format, and locale. VAT MTD integration is a new functionality that works only for accrual basis returns at the moment. As indicated in the article above, our 2024 roadmap includes solutions for more scenarios.

You can integrate Receipt Bot with Xero, QBO or Sage for additional scenarios or complex accounting requirements. After data extraction, Receipt Bot records the transactions in your accounting software for the subsequent accounting and compliance tasks.

Thanks (1)
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By TB93
25th Jan 2024 09:33

I've used Receipt Bot many times, it's great.

Thanks (2)