Custom expense management solutions via an API

Custom expense management solutions via an API

Expense management software is booming. According to Grand View Research, the market for such software has been growing steadily for years, and will continue to grow by at least 12.4% each year.  There are a lot of competitors on this market, which you’ll certainly notice when you try to find land on a sea full of expense management software.

Such software companies mostly offer general, SaaS solutions for managing expenses for your business. Although they might be very direct and easy to use, they rarely fulfil all your needs. It would be rather a waste to invest in such a tool, as you won’t make the most out of it and streamline your expense management process to its fullest potential. That’s why it’s very important to choose a system that is just right for you.

In order to guide you in this process, we will start by explaining the concept of expenses and expense management. Next, we’ll discuss the different options you have in managing expenses and when it’s best to choose for which option. Last but not least, we will offer you the holy grail of expense management: a fully customized expense management solution that serves all your needs!

Did we grab your attention? Great, let’s answer the first question.

Jump to:

What is Expense Management?
What are your options when looking for an expenses solution?
What can an Expense Management API do?
Why choose an expense API?
How to implement custom expense management solutions
Examples of companies using custom expense management solutions
Are you interested in Klippa?

What is Expense Management?

An Expense Management solution is software that you can use to manage and process all your business expenses. 

This software facilitates the reporting of expenses, the automatic processing and authorizing of expenses, and the subsequent bookkeeping involved in the process.

In general, this solution eases the pressure on employees and managers alike, as it is easy-to-use, relinquishes them of certain tedious tasks, saves time and provides a comprehensive workflow. 

Expenses in the form of receipts, invoices and other types of documents are automatically scanned and transferred to cloud service. The scan incorporates OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to automatically extract all the data you need from receipts, invoices, and any other document. 

With deep learning techniques, the data on scanned receipts and invoices is contextualized and categorized, so that your expense input is organized. The expenses can then be automatically sent to the correct person in the company to authorise the expense.

It is thus a solution that speeds up authorisation- and other workflows in your day-to-day expense management.

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What are your options when looking for an expenses solution?

An expense management solution can come in multiple forms. This ensures the ability to tailor the software to your business needs. Let’s look ahead and explore four of the options:

Off-the-shelf SaaS solution

When you need a general solution and you need it to work quickly, you can opt for the full service solution, such as Klippa’s SpendControl. You create an account, add users to the account and start directly.

The prime benefit you will get out of this option is that you can start immediately. It is a prefab solution which is ready-to-use and generally experienced by other customers as a good service.

A major disadvantage is mostly that it is not flexible, so you can’t easily adjust the system to what would be perfect for your specific business case.

White Label solution

If you wish to present the expense management system in your own visual style, a White Label solution is the one for you. A complete service rebranded as your own app.

This solution is in essence the same as the SaaS solution, which means that it is not easily adaptable. It is more flexible though, as it can be adjusted to your specific visual demands. No one will ever see that it is not your own solution, because it is branded according to your demands.

Build from scratch

Another option is to build the entire service from the ground up. Regardless of your inhouse team of developers, building an app yourself demands time for research and testing, funds for your crew and office space, and most of all, a change of focus from what your company normally does to this solution.

So it is rather expensive and complicated to opt for this solution. Why do it yourself when you have proven solutions available for direct implementation?

Expense API

Last, but certainly not least, there is the choice of implementing a fully customized expense management solution. An interesting option here is to make use of an Expense API. This means that the expense management backend, all the internal functionality of the service, is embedded into your own visual styling and as part of your own frontend.

This service is very flexible, as it leaves the presentation and implementation over to you. Whether you build your own frontend for the service or implement the backend into your existing frontend is up to you.

With this solution, you can fully benefit from the quality and adaptability of the API without giving away control over your own app to an external party.

What can an Expense Management API do?

The Expense Management API is the backend functionality of a full service expense management solution. As each modern solution consists of both a frontend and a backend, you do not need to construct the backend functionality yourself. So if you are looking for a solution that can be quickly implemented into your self-built frontend, this is the right choice for you.

So now, the question is what backend capabilities the API possesses. The following are its most important features:

  • User management & roles
    Appoint roles to your employees so that you can easily manage personal expenses and specify authorisation flows.
  • Add, manage and automatically process documents
    With the aid of OCR and machine learning, you can extract and manage data fields on all receipts, invoices and other types of documents.
  • Many types of data fields
    There are numerous types of data fields you can extract and manage, from product names to VAT-percentages and from merchant to time of purchase.
  • Authorization flows
    The API allows you to speed up your authorization flows, as expense requests are automatically sent to the correct authorizing party at your company.
  • Export possibilities
    When you need your expense reports or overviews exported into a specific format to fit into existing workflows, into your database, or into a simple spreadsheet, the API will have it exported in a mouse click.
  • Integration options
    The Klippa API can be integrated into any bookkeeping system that you may be using. We already have integrations with software such as Sage, Quickbooks, SAP and many more.

Why choose an expense API?

If you hesitate between an expense API solution and building your own solution from scratch, then it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of each solution. The major benefits of an expense API solution are:

  • Fast time to market
    A readymade solution, that last bit of the puzzle, will ensure a speedy step onto the market square. There’s no need to invest more time in solving it yourself.
  • Expert knowledge
    The Klippa solution comes with years of experience solving problems and improving the service. By using the API, you will prevent the need to solve any issues yourself. Klippa is also the experienced partner that is there to help you with your specialist needs.
  • Easy upsell
    You easily improve your customer service by offering that extra bit of useful technology.
  • Customer retention and growth
    If you offer an existing service with a missing piece of automation, adding an expense API building block will improve your customers’ engagement with your service. Cross-selling will entice them to stay on as a customer and will be more likely to recommend it to their peers.
  • Additional service
    Not only will you offer your customers an extra piece of service, there is no need for you to keep that extra piece updated and improved yourself.
  • Your own frontend
    User experience is still in your own hands, so you can be sure to offer what you deem best for your customers. By using your own frontend, you still know that the product you are offering is yours.
  • Predictable and limited costs
    When you build something from scratch, it can be difficult to predict what the total cost of development and service will be. With implementation of an expense API building block, you pay a set price that is tailored to the size of the solution.

How to implement custom expense management solutions

Whether you build an app from scratch and implement the backend building blocks or simply integrate these blocks into your existing system, both benefit from the expense management API solution.

The Klippa Expense Management API employs the latest technology to simplify and speed up the implementation and make the service as a whole more reliable. One way it does so is by using GraphQL.

GraphQL is a query language that allows for tons of data to be loaded at once, because of its layered approach. These can be layers such as company, department, users, receipts, and so on. Normally, such data layers and items would have to be loaded individually.

It is made in a developer-friendly way, so that you can easily integrate components into existing software. It is well documented, so that your developers will have all the information they need to successfully implement the API.

Examples of companies using custom expense management solutions

So how do expense management API solutions work for separate use cases? Let’s look at a couple of practical examples:


Large companies, especially those with multiple subsidiaries, often have multiple accounting systems in place. Why not simply one? Well, this can have various reasons but a common one is legacy systems as a result of mergers and acquisitions.

A corporate can opt for implementation of a single, harmonized process by deploying one app for reporting and authorizing expenses. This app can also deploy the AI functionalities to automatically link receipts and transactions to corporate cards.

The authorization flow is improved by implementing part of the expense management service into an already present system. The functionality works with any number of ERP- or bookkeeping software in place.


Quickly and efficiently matching credit card transactions with receipt data can be quite complex, as they are often part of a different system, and therefore a different format entirely. 

This is a challenge for either corporate cards, which are distributed by a bank to large scale companies, or private cards, handed out as a personal wallet by merchants to customers.

The expense management API has an inbuilt function that contextualizes receipt data and can automatically match the recognized data to a specific transaction. 

For corporate cards, this means that receipt and card-owner are quickly matched so that the request for restitution can be quickly sent to the manager in charge of authorization.

By storing receipts and transactions centrally, you can make sure that purchases with a private card can be used for loyalty and cashback purposes and for warranty on the purchase.

Software- and fintech companies

If you’re offering a software solution, but would like to offer added services to your product, the expense management building blocks provide an easy fix.

You can implement the scanning and recognition block of the expense management API next to your existing software via a white label solution. You’ll have fully digital workflows and pairing with bookkeeping software such as Xero or Sage. 

The building block can be part of your futuristic end-to-end expenses app, with which you can offer your customers an even better solution.

Accountancy & Bookkeeping offices

As an accountant or bookkeeper, you already have bookkeeping software at your disposal. Regardless, the manual labor you and your clients need to invest into processing expenses and invoices remains a hindrance.

Investing in developing a smart bookkeeping system to automate such tasks is pricey, so an integration of a proven service is the way to go. If you have customers with complex authorisation flows or cumbersome expense processing, a custom building blocks solution can solve such issues.

Automation of expense and invoice can, for instance, be solved with our OCR API solution. Data on receipts and invoices can be scanned, read and contextualized automatically, and sent to the correct person to authorize without breaking a sweat.

This is by no means an exhaustive list use cases. Think for instance of banks offering a solution for SMEs or freelancers who need a solution for personal finances. So it is clear that the Klippa Expense API is allround solution to wide range of customers.

Are you interested in Klippa?

Are you interested in what custom solution Klippa can provide for your business? Feel free to contact us by shooting a mail to [email protected] or scheduling a product demo with one of our product specialists. We would be more than happy to show you what solution is best for you.

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