Expend Team - Mar 30, 2018

The Expend Difference - Our Xero Integration

We're focusing on some of the stand out features that makes Expend different and loved by our customers!

Update: We've released enhanced tracking: For greater insight by tracking expense by cost centres and clients (and even rebill them)
In this this blog we're delving into the details of our Xero integration with the team who built it, so you can learn how we’re helping to make your expenses as effortless as possible, and give you even more reasons to Expend it!

Here we take a sneak peek behind the scenes at the work of our superhero development team, who have created an integration with Xero, that our business customers and accountant partners agree, is much better and more robust than the basic integration offered by many others in the marketplace.

Watch the full interview, or read on.

When we asked Alex Burbidge, our Lead Developer (Integrations) and ‘Xero Superhero’ (if only to continue the theme!), to sum up Expend’s Xero integration, he had this to say:

“Our Xero integration is probably best explained as being an extension of Expend. We feed all the relevant data from our expenses system directly into Xero. So the instant transaction data arrives from our smarter Expend Mastercard, it appears in Xero in a flash. But just as importantly, whenever something changes for us it changes for Xero too. This means that both you and your accountant always sees the same data.”

To achieve this, our syncing has to work in tandem, so whenever a transaction occurs, a receipt is captured, or an expense is updated, it’s updated within Xero in seconds.

Expend updates expenses in Xero with lightening speed as our system updates, and it's a crucial part of solving the management of expenses compared to a corporate company card.

Unsurprisingly this is one of the features that our customers have told us time and again that they love. The alternative would have been to put in a button in to manually control the syncing and let the admin decide when they’re happy to sync your data.

This we feel would not have worked and would have created more issues and extra work for businesses and accountants than it solved, especially when there’s more than one admin. Thankfully we’ve avoided the problems that this could cause with our seamless and automatic integration.

When we asked Alex why we didn’t go down the 'press button to sync' with Xero route, his answer was simple.

“If we just did that, in one way our lives would have been easier, but we would have simply moved the problem somewhere else, and not given our customers the real-time view they expected. But in addition, if some of our customers want to “hold back the torrent of s***“, as one accountant eloquently described it to me, they can look at it within our Expense Reviewal feature” 


To further explain how beneficial and important our fully integrated Xero offering is, let’s take a look at some practical examples:

Firstly, let’s examine how this works with our Expenses Reviewal feature.

Our Expense Reviewal feature allows admins to Approve, Reject, or Request Changes or more information from the user. If it’s something that’s quickly solved, like when the VAT rate has been incorrectly chosen, the admin or accountant can make an alteration and approve it. An admin, however, might also want to ask the user to update the expense themselves, add a missing receipt or to justify some spend they’ve undertaken.

For example, if the company expenses policy states that a maximum of £30 per day can be spent on subsistence when staying away for work, and anything above that must be paid out of their own pocket, for an employee who spends £36.80, the admin can reject the expense and claim back the £6.80 from the employee. To do this they can reject the expense, add a note and let the payroll team handle the rest from within Xero.

We even move it into its own place in the chart of accounts to save having to play “find the expense” in Xero, all updated in real-time at any time.

In a second example, if a user uploads a receipt and information two weeks after they made the transaction, a basic integration or one that requires a ‘button press’ to sync, would mean that this data is now out of step with the data in Xero and someone would have to manually check and make the necessary updates. If the syncing relies on a button being pressed, do you wait until every last one is fully present and correct to press the button?

The Expend Difference

 Johnny Vowles, CEO (left) and Alex Burbidge, Lead Developer (Integrations) (right)

At Expend, we believe that picking between perfect expense reports and a real-time view on company spending shouldn’t be a choice you have to make, so we’ve built ours to be automatic and require no extra unnecessary steps for people to carry out ever.

“If you have to go and find each transaction, receipts and categorise them, the integration is not really working for you, you’re working for it. The user is having to fight to make it work, rather than it just doing its job.”

This approach Expend takes to full Xero automation, doesn’t come without its challenges though. It requires a robust system and process of development that can adapt to deal with customer’s requirements in real-time. Alex and the team, are now working on handling a few more of the edge cases, and continue to refine as we get feedback and learn from our customer’s more unique pain points, for example syncing expenses to Xero in multiple foreign currencies.

Many of Expend’s users are business travellers and benefit from our Pro package, so not only do they enjoy no foreign exchange fees and 0% markup, they also benefit from the data being automatically correct and don’t need to take into account any extra fees when calculating their expenses, the like of which are charged by traditional corporate credit cards.

We even allow these transactions to be expensed in their original currency - we handle the messy business of turning it back into pounds.

We believe this is a major part of The Expend Difference, and one which we’d love to show you. Please get in touch if you’d like a demo and want to know more.


The Expend Difference recap: 

1. Our Xero Integration is an extension of Expend 🚀

2. Expenses done in seconds after the transaction ⚡

3. Xero is updated when Expend is updated 🔄

4. Granular controls for those who want it 🚦

5. There's no big red scary button to press to make it work 🚨

6. Alex really is our Xero Superhero 💪


Written by Expend Team