Do you use the best mobile app for expenses?
  v11.0 Posted at 8/09/2020 2:09 PM by Nick Viet
​​​​​​​​​​​Tracking expenses can be a painful process of accumulating receipts and entering them into outdated systems… but there is a better way. 

Various apps help solve the above problem. Using a modern Accounting system such as Xero, some connected apps can be used in conjunction with the accounting system and they include:

It may be difficult to determine which app would be best suited for your business so below is a comparison of some of the major features of each app.

There are 2 purposes when evaluating an Expense app:

#1 Reimbursements – when you are at the shop and you pay for something personally and want the app to take a photo and send it to the office and later see the $ come back into your account.

#2 General expenses – when you are at the shop and using the company credit card, you don’t need reimbursement, but you do need to give accounts a photo of the receipt and the purchased item.

Features (based on 5 users)

​Xero Expenses



Receipt Bank

$5 per active user/mo
​$840/annual (minimum)
​Free with Xero ✔
​Submission Procedure

Same as Receipt Bank
​Same as Receipt Bank
​Same as Receipt Bank

See Figure: Hubdoc email for receiving
​Phone App – take a photo and submit it to the Receipt Bank email OR forward an email to the Receipt Bank email. 
​Restriction on Invoice uploads 
​Unlimited​ ✔
​Unlimited​ ✔
​Unlimited ✔
Unlimited - use cloud back up and security. Never deletes
​Unlimited – Never deletes and remains archived
​Unlimited – use cloud back up and security. Never deletes 
​Unlimited – Never deletes and remains archived
Organised on user-submitted, expense type or date order
Can be manually organized into folders or reports ✔
Requires greater security privileges than uploader only. ​Automatically organized into folders (can be updated). 
​No real organization of documents. Either inactive or archived and ordered in date/supplier order
​Expense Rules
Same as Hubdoc
​Same as Receipt Bank – little easier to navigate to the section ✔
​Same as Receipt Bank – however seems to only be on each invoice (can’t create outside of existing invoice – not that important)
​Automate rules (or after the first occurrence) as to where expenses are to be accounted to (account categories) 
​Accounting Codes

Same as Receipt Bank 

​Not available at $840/annual. If the business wants to use this, the subscription plan will be $1800/annual
​Same as Receipt Bank ✔
​Syncs with Xero account categories and automatically chooses those options. Brings bank reconciliations of these invoices to 90% of the way ✔
​Receipt Fetch
Not available​
​​Limited options https://use.expensify.com/all-integrations
​​More options than Receipt Bank and more major suppliers ✔

​Ability to integrate with the most common suppliers (utilities, banks, and some more). Automatically grabs any new invoices and pushes to Receipt Bank
​Phone Compatibility
All Phones ✔
​All Phones ✔
​All Phones ✔
​iPhone, Android, and Web-based 
​Two-factor Authentication
Yes ✔
Yes​ ✔
​How-to Videos
The most videos ✔


Overall, Hubdoc is the winner. Additional to the above, Hubdoc is allowed unlimited users when connected with Xero.

Hot Tips​​ to using Hubdoc

​​1. You can set-up default receiving emails that users can either forward all invoices to that email or just take a photo with the app.​ For most major suppliers, you will be able to enter an email as a default receiver of invoices, which can include Hubdoc​

​Figure: Good Example - Hubdoc default email for receiving

2. We can also do the vice versa, so all invoices going to a hubdoc default email can be forwarded back to a company's internal email for reference.

Figure: Good Example - Hubdoc email can forward to another email (forwarding and receiving can be both ways)

Expense apps are a timesaver, both for the day to day user, as well as the accountant receiving the expenses.

​​As a user, all you have to do is take a photo of the receipt from your mobile app, file or add any comments (all other data is pulled in via OCR “Smart-scan”), then all of these expenses get batched together and sent on a weekly basis to the accountant, who can then manage them in bulk. 
Best of all… for light users… ​it’s free!

Figure: Good Example – Hubdoc is free with Xero​​

​For better results claiming your receipts, please read Do you know how to enter a Hubdoc receipt?​

​Which app to assist with reimbursements?

We have specifically looked at utilising the Xero Expense app or Hubdoc app for reimbursement purposes. 

Xero Expense app:​​​​

The Xero Expense app was originally designed to streamline the reimbursement process for employees however, it does have an added cost of $5 per active user per month. This amount is not massive when only one employee or the business owner is making numerous reimbursements per month. However, when multiple employees can request a reimbursement at any month, the cost will go up. 

Example 1 - 50 employees can all make one single reimbursement in a month and it will cost an additional $250 that month to make it.

Example 2 - an employee can make a once-off claim for a $10 coffee with a client, however, it will cost the business $15 to make the reimbursement and losing value in the cost.

The best feature of Xero Expense reimbursement is that the employee's bank details are automatically assigned when they submit a claim. The approver (Accountant or Business Owner), approves of the expense, it will be generated as a payable invoice in the 'Bills' section of Xero and dealt with like any other bill.

Hubdoc app:

An alternative which is slightly less convenient, however free at all times, is to use Hubdoc. Users will simply have to follow the usual steps of submitting expenses with the app, and save the expense to an 'Expense Reimbursement folder' to be approved.

The Accountant can review this folder weekly to approve the expense, which takes the same amount of time as Xero Expense app. The added inconvenience is that the employee's bank details are not automatically assigned the very first time. The Accountant will have to create the Employee as a separate contact on Xero with the bank details completed. 

Once the Employee is created as a contact on Xero for the first time, it will not be required again. All approved expenses from Hubdoc will come through to the 'Bills' section, the same as the Xero Expense app.

​​So which app? Neither app is inferior to the other app for reimbursement purposes. The value of each app is increased depending on the number of employees, standards and frequency of expenses for the business. We do add that, if you are using Hubdoc app already and your business won't lose any value using Hubdoc for reimbursements, you may want to use it for reimbursements so there are fewer apps to remember and download.​

What are the most popular expenses apps​?

With Xero:

Figure: Google Trends (September 2020) show that Hubdoc and Receipt Bank are the most popular apps. More at Google Trends

Without Xero:

Figure: Google Trends (September 2020) ​show Expensify and Receipt Bank as the most popular. More at Google Trends

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