Poor receipt management not only costs SMEs time but money. Robert Fillmore, VP and GM of EMEA, at Sensibill explains that 71% of SMEs employ tedious, manual methods to track receipts, taking up to six to eight hours a month. Beyond that, 80% of them spend an additional three hours per month reconciling receipts to bank statements. Sensibill has now entered the UK market, working with partners such as RBS/NatWest and Scotiabank, to tackle these issues.
You can meet Sensibill as part of the FinTech Stories stream at FinTECHTalents Generation 2019 this November.
What is Sensibill – what problem are you solving?
Sensibill is a receipt solution that makes it easy for SMEs and the self-employed to capture, store, and organize receipts. We partner with financial institutions around the world to offer receipt storage and organization through their mobile banking app. We know that the self-employed have less time and resources than others. They’re often high growth, revenue-generating businesses, but they spend huge amounts of time doing administrative work––such as managing receipts. Receipt management was cited as the most pressing issue for SMEs and sole traders, and the majority still employ manual methods to manage basic accounting.
Sensibill and our partners are addressing this problem. Our solution allows users to capture photos of paper receipts using their smartphone’s camera or send e-receipts directly. Receipts are uploaded and stored to the customer’s mobile banking app and can be accessed at any time. They’re fully searchable, can be categorized by type of expense, and can be exported into prefilled expense reports or accounting software.
- Capture paper receipts effortlessly. Sensibill uses machine learning to lift line-item details including receipt date, totals, and store information.
- Set up Receipts email and forward electronic receipts to the service.
- Enable reminders for return and warranty expiry dates.
- Match transactions to receipts for painless reconciliation.
- Organize receipts under business or personal profiles and categorize them by expense type.
- Assign hashtags, notes, and folders to receipts to enhance searchability. Receipt text can also be searched.
- Export receipts into PDF documents with summaries in Excel or CSV formats to make expense reporting and tax prep painless.
- Accessibility. Your receipts go where you go. You can access them anytime, anywhere by simply logging into your mobile banking app.
- Visibility. Add context to mystery transactions and see where your money is going for improved budgeting.
- Value. It pays to save your receipts. Get your money back on a big-ticket item that broke in warranty, see where you’ve earned loyalty points, or get reimbursed for a business expense.
- Safety. Housing your receipts with your secure mobile banking app ensures that your files are kept safe for as long as you need them.
Can you name some of your current users?
Partnerships that we can disclose right now include Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Scotiabank, and TD Bank.
How many manual hours does this service save the average small business owner?
From our research, we’ve found that 71% of SMEs still employ tedious, manual methods to track receipts. This can take up six to eight hours a month. Beyond that, 80% of them spend an additional three hours per month reconciling receipts to bank statements.
What are some of the major pain points for small business owners and freelancers?
Not knowing what can be deducted as a business expense. They are eligible to take advantage of hundreds of income tax deductions including those specific to home-based businesses, and charitable contributions. However, many are not aware of the breadth of opportunities.
Not maximizing tax claims due to poor receipt management. Just one in five (22%) micro-business owners said that they claimed back all of the expenses they incurred for their business.
Administrative inefficiencies with monitoring cash flow. Many self-employed professionals rely on credit card statements to manage business expenses and monitor account balances. The administrative effort to manually reconcile receipts to card transactions costs them valuable time. One company estimates that transaction matching features in software saves his billing team +40 hours/month. Furthermore, in this method, cash purchases are entirely undocumented in budgets and deductible expense accounts.
Productivity hits from not separating business from personal expenses. This group spends up to two hours per week separating business expenses from personal expenses. According to Intuit, 75% entangle their business & personal finances, because they use personal banking accounts for work-related activities.
Not having a good system for expense tracking. This segment doesn’t always have the luxury of an accounting department reviewing expense reports and managing the books. 46% use manual methods and enter data into spreadsheets. This time away from their projects adds up.
You are a Canadian company that has expanded into the UK – how is the SME market different in the UK? What challenges did you face?
The SME market in the UK varies from the North American market in a couple of major ways. The UK has a larger proportion of sole traders compared to the US. Also, SMEs in the UK are more likely to seek external funding and/or financial aid. This mean there’s a greater need for business loans—whether that’s bank or government funded. We’ve also seen that the SME market has a higher turnover in the UK, which highlights the importance of better programs, products, and services to help people manage and grow their businesses. From an industry point of view, regulatory changes and the influx of challenger banks means that UK SMEs have more options in terms of providers, so they’re a bigger churn risk for banks. The U.S. isn’t dealing with this kind of competition. At least not yet.
As for Sensibill, our expansion hasn’t just been into the UK, but into most of the EU as well. Understanding each country’s regulatory, security, and risk mitigation standards is incredibly complex. There are also challenges associated with localising our product for new markets. Even when we expanded into the UK, where the language is the same, we still had to take into account regional variances, different currencies, and ensure that our use cases translate.
As a ‘FinTech’ growth company – what advice would you give new startups in this space?
Personally, I’d say that success is all about focus. It’s easy to get distracted by the number of opportunities that you can pursue, so it’s key to focus on the ones where your proposition has the best fit to the customer’s need, both feature-wise and commercially.
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