Sensibill Builds Solution on IBM Cloud to Lift Receipt Burden for Small Businesses
By: Ed Bottini
Sensibill and IBM Cloud are ready to tackle the receipt burden
Paper receipts are a universal pain point. In a digital era, we continue to accept scraps of paper with half-legible printing as vital elements in our expense reimbursement systems and even our tax accounting. Though some receipts have gone digital, they still leave a huge organizational burden for individuals or their accountant.
Early adoption in banking
Enter Sensibill: a Toronto-based company founded in 2013 that is leveraging AI-technology to digitize receipts and help financial institutions improve their relationship with self-employed professionals and small business owners. Built on IBM Cloud, banks have flocked to the company’s offering—a fully white-labeled service that is the market leader in extracting data from receipts.
Sensibill’s solution is mobile-first, meaning that banks integrate the receipt management capability into their mobile banking app. This is critical for banks, who must continually innovate their digital offerings to engage the growing self-employed segment and retain their relationships. “These are services that ultimately help small businesses better manage their finances; effectively converting their receipts into cash come tax time,” said Jamie Alexander, Sensibill’s CTO.
What is the solution?
Alexander said the company sprang from a simple observation: no one likes dealing with receipts. “Our initial thought was to deliver a general purpose receipt management solution and then eventually add more streamlined ways of handling receipts,” he said. The boom in banking apps presented an opportunity to join a growing market. “The end user can just take a picture and we process the data,” said Alexander. Using machine learning techniques, Sensibill identifies all the key information on paper and digital receipts, including the purchase date, total amount spent, location, and any discounts provided.
Sensibill’s solution offers banks a way to enhance customer profiles, reduce statement inquiries and disputes, lower attrition, and double customer engagement with their mobile banking app. To stay efficient, the company focuses on direct sales to select Tier 1 banks and working with channel partners to reach other financial institutions.
As a SaaS solution running on the IBM Cloud, Sensibill’s solution is transferable to different geographies and has the ability to scale quickly and easily. Having launched in Canada, the company had to deliver dual language capabilities right from the start, with support for French and English. Expansion proceeded quickly to the US and the UK. Sensibill recently opened an office in London to support their work with Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, and Ulster Bank in the UK. Now, the focus is on growing into new geographies, including Europe and Australia.
Partnering with IBM Cloud
Jamie Alexander said selecting IBM was crucial at the beginning of Sensibill’s journey. With ample and widely distributed data centers, IBM Cloud offered sufficient coverage to meet data residency requirements, disaster recovery (DR), and responsive service. “The great thing about IBM is that if there are ever issues, you can get hold of someone and get it resolved; whereas, with self-service oriented providers, it is harder to reach someone that knows what’s going on,” said Alexander.