Written by Seamus Kelleher.
Managing finances is unavoidable in business. To understand the state of your enterprise, it’s essential to keep an accurate record of money coming in versus money going out, and most companies track this through expense reports. Despite the emergence of several software ‘solutions’ seeking to simplify the process, these reports are still a tedious task. ExpenseBot in Cleveland, Ohio, is shaking up the financial technology sector with their predictive, automated expense reporting platform.
“I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s built into my DNA. Being raised in that environment, one thing I learned early on was that operating a business was as much about bookkeeping as it was about everything else,” said Ed Buchholz, founder & CEO of ExpenseBot. “You might not have a background in finance, but when you run a small business, you have to know enough to make it work.”
Most software solutions built to simplify expense reporting offer users the ability to sync credit card statements with their reports—saving some time, but still requiring multiple additional steps by the user. ExpenseBot simplifies the process by using predictive analytics. The company’s software syncs with credit cards, calendars, emails and mobile devices to learn users’ habits and automatically track, categorize and add expenses to reports. Users simply snap a picture of a receipt, upload to ExpenseBot’s cloud-based web or mobile platforms and the software intuitively matches it to its corresponding expense. It then creates an automatic report that’s shareable for a manager’s approval. ExpenseBot estimates their software will save individuals up to 80% of the time they’d traditionally spend on expense reporting.
Buchholz and co-founder John Siladie are not new to financial technology software. The two have worked together building solutions to common financial inefficiencies for the past eight years, first as co-founders of 60mo in Wooster, Ohio. The partners sold the financial modeling company to Scotland-based FreeAgent in 2012 and, since 2013, have focused full-time on ExpenseBot. They’ve taken every opportunity available to ensure their innovative software becomes a success.
ExpenseBot initially got its start as a member of LaunchHouse in 2013, an accelerator in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights. They then took part in Boulder, Colorado’s six-month Techstars accelerator. Since then, ExpenseBot has received support and mentorship from JumpStart, a northeast Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier, where they frequently tap into the extensive network of entrepreneurs for guidance.
“I think that’s honestly the most important thing for founders. Getting advice and feedback from a network of people with similar experiences is invaluable,” said Buchholz. “Everybody in JumpStart’s network has climbed this mountain in some form. Having others to commiserate with is so huge for us because they can offer insights you just can’t gain without firsthand experience.”
With a strong support system behind them, ExpenseBot is optimistic for the future. They’re focusing on rolling out additional features and fine-tuning their predictive analytics.
“We’re really focused on growth moving forward. We have strong intellectual property for our transactional data, and receipt management features that we’ve developed over the last three years,” said Buchholz. “We have a really loyal base of satisfied, original customers. Now it’s about figuring out how to scale our product to more users so they can realize the immense benefits of an automated expense reporting software.”