Private: Time Saving and Benefits of Receipt Bank

Over the past year there has been a lot of changes forced upon many businesses, but if there is something good we can all take from this it is the knowledge that we can cope with change. A business that has been run the same way for 20+ years can change its systems and still utilise technology, without taking anything away from the business.

So with all of the changes that are already taking place maybe this is the best time to start changing the way we work? Instead of working harder let’s try to work smarter and use the technology that is available to us to achieve this!

The first thing I sometimes come across when talking about the automation of a purchase ledger role is ‘Well what will I be doing if I’m not processing invoices manually!’, the answer to that is the thousands of other things that you have been putting off or putting on the back burner because those invoices and receipts need to be processed.

By taking advantage of the OCR technology available from Receipt Bank you will be able to gain the time back to concentrate on the things you want to do in your business, or even to take some time away from the busines and gain that home/work life balance that you have always aimed for.

Some of the main advantages of using Receipt Bank:

  • Save time and improve accuracy by uploading invoices in to your accounts package using the latest OCR Technology.
  • Can potentially save you VAT by automatically analysing your invoices and identifying the right amount of VAT to claim.
  • Save you tax by encouraging you to upload copies of receipts and invoices immediately rather than at the month end, which reduces the risk of paper being mislaid, lost or destroyed.
  • Seamless integration with Xero, Quickbooks and Sage making claiming expenses easy.
  • It runs in the browser on the desktop, laptop, tablet and many smart phones. It also has phone apps for both iOS and Android, and a new app for Apple Watch.
  • Can be given to your workforce, who can then upload their receipts and generate an automatic expense claim.
  • Keeps copies of your receipts and supplier invoices, meaning you can go paperless – saving you more time and money!
  • Maximises the use of cloud storage systems like Dropbox by uploading your receipts and invoices directly into your account, allowing you to use Receipt Bank to download them automatically for analysis.

If you are interested in seeing a demonstration of Receipt Bank, how it works or details of the price please get in touch with our Digital Solutions team at

Desktop or cloud accounting – is switching really worth it?

In short – Yes – being able to access your accounting records from anywhere, is more important now than ever.

Cloud accounting has been around for many years and hundreds of thousand of small businesses are benefiting from the technology of cloud accounting software. Although, there are still some businesses who still rely on manual books or spreadsheets to record their transactions.

The cost of standard Cloud accounting bookkeeping packages range from free up to £30 plus VAT per month. The software can be easily adapted and upgraded by adding compatible applications (at a further cost) which will enhance the bookkeeping package, saving you even more time and providing better insights in to the performance of your business.

Cloud accounting software pulls through your banking transactions directly from your bank, which means you do not have to manually write or type them into books or spreadsheets. You simply allocate the transactions to categories as you go along, meaning you can instantly see how much income you have taken, payments that have gone out and what level of profit or loss you are making – this can be shown daily, weekly, monthly or annually.

Having up to date information allows you to make better decisions for your business and adapt quickly to change. The invoicing function on all the systems that we deal with are brilliant, and they allow you to send invoices via email, there is no longer a need to print invoices or post them. You can also send reminders and statements to chase up monies owed within just a few of clicks of your mouse.

The main products that we deal with at MHA Moore and Smalley are:

1) QuickBooks Online – from £7.00 – £30.00 per month
2) Xero – from £10.00 – £30.00 per month
3) FreeAgent – free to Natwest business banking customers

QuickBooks Online

• QuickBooks is the global leader in cloud accounting software with more than a million subscribers worldwide.
• They have great reporting options such as projects, department and budgeting built in as standard.
• Management report packs are simple and quick to set up and there are lots of insights available to you when you log on.
• Like FreeAgent it links to HMRC, your accountant and your bank.
• A good function for many businesses in the current climate is that you can track employee time through the software for free, which many businesses have found really helpful for furlough claims.
• There are hundreds of third-party apps which you can link to but not as many as Xero.


• Xero is the market leader in the UK having penetrated the market early on after significant growth in Australia and New Zealand.
• It is slightly more expensive than QuickBooks Online and there are additional charges for its Project management and CIS module, which are free and come as standard with QuickBooks Online.
• However, Xero has more third party integrations than QuickBooks Online meaning it provides a better ecosystem for growing businesses looking to expand quickly and wanting an accounting system linking into their other front office systems.


• This is a great tool for contractors and consultants.
• It has the facility to link to your bank account, HMRC and your accountant.
• It has limited integrations to third party apps compared to QuickBooks Online or Xero.
• The more complex accounting functions, such as departmental reporting, budget reporting and advanced management reports, are limited in FreeAgent which is why I would recommend this for micro businesses.


• This is an amazing product which takes your paper invoices and posts them into your software via OCR technology. No more manually posting individual invoices.
• The software can even get invoices from some of your suppliers through a “fetch” function, which means you don’t need to even scan in the invoice! Having supplier invoices in your accounting system on a timely basis allows you to be able to focus on available cash, which leads to better business decisions.

Contact Us
To find out more about cloud accounting software and ReceiptBank please contact the Digital Solutions team.

Save time by using Excel with Sage 50cloud reporting

Do you use Excel for your management reporting, manually exporting and inputting data from your Sage to update these reports?

Let’s be honest, people like Excel and you may already be doing this or are thinking about putting your reports or Sage transactions in Excel, which you can then use for your own bespoke management reporting.

Did you know that you can integrate your Sage data with Excel using the Sage 50 Accounts ODBC driver?  This will save you a significant amount of time compared to manually exporting and inputting data from Sage into Excel each month.

Using the ODBC driver

To help you transfer data quickly, easily, and accurately, you can use the Sage 50 Accounts ODBC driver to read your accounts data directly into Excel.

An ODBC driver translates the data files from one application, for example Sage 50 Accounts, so that they can be read by a Windows application that supports ODBC, such as Excel.

Once the connection has been made, you just need to refresh your Excel report and any new transactions added to Sage will be automatically pulled through.  The ODBC driver is read only, so you cannot write back to your software data files.

There are other ways

All of the reports explained below will need to be run and exported on a regular basis to keep your Excel reports up to date. 


Run your report and preview on screen, click Export, choose the file type, name and location where to save.

If you selected Excel, open and format to remove merged cells and put the information into columns.

Report to Excel

Run your report and preview on screen, click Export.

This will use report formatting and may need tidying to remove merged cells and get information into columns.

Data to Excel

Run your report and preview on screen, click Data to Excel.

Report data will appear in Excel as a table, columns will be all neatly aligned.

Using the ODBC will allow you to automatically bring through your Sage transactions giving you meaningful up to date reports, saving you time from manually downloading and updating.

Contact Us

For more information on what management information you should be preparing, how you can prepare it and the costs involved please contact Nick Wetherall, Software Support Manager or contact the Digital Solutions team.

Times are changing for my accounting records

June 1986, 9am a fresh-faced young man starts his first day in the accountancy profession.  After settling in he is handed a large carrier bag contacting crumpled up invoices, receipts and bank statements, “could you get all these summarised by the end of the day”. What to do?  Luckily, he is given a calculator, pens and a pad.  Crisis averted.

Over the course of the next twelve months this young trainee would spend the majority of his time adding up 80-page, 32 column Guildhall cashbooks all by hand with the help of his trusted add lister.

The next 30 years would see some considerable changes in the accountancy and bookkeeping world.  Computers would start to appear in offices and businesses.  People would move away from traditional manual bookkeeping and use software designed to replace the old cashbook and ledgers.  Not only could you analyse the transactions far easier and quicker, but you could also reconcile the bank and check your trading statements at any point, not just at the year end.

The original software was desktop based, tying you to the office in order to keep information up to date or to get any information out.  With the advent of cloud technology, storing your data offsite, this gave you the best of both worlds.  Most of the work can be done in the office, but with cloud technology this same information can be accessed to provide quick information whilst out on the road.

Accountancy software, in particular cloud based, isn’t just confined to the general accounts it can also help with automating the day to day tasks such as;

  • Scanning purchase invoices, reducing the need to manually enter each one
  • Emailing sales invoices letting you track when they were sent and when they have been viewed
  • Taking a photograph of receipts from mobile telephone or tablet and uploading directly into the software
  • Attaching copies of invoices and receipts to transactions, reducing the amount of paperwork needed to be filed
  • Cleared bank transactions being directly fed into the software, allowing them to be automatically matched or added

This new technology has changed how a business owner can use the basic financial information at their disposal.  With more up to date and accurate information they can try and spot trends or weaknesses in the business.

No two businesses are the same, even ones in the same industry, meaning people may want different information;

  • How much am I making?
  • Who is my top customer?
  • Did I make a profit on that job?

These sorts of questions can now be answered in an instant.

Technology can help speed up the process of putting together your accounting records, allowing you to concentrate on the main reason you started in business in the first place – we are yet to find anyone who thinks great I get to do my bookkeeping at the end of the week.

For more information on this subject please contact Nick Wetherall