Sweep (opens in new tab) is an app for iOS or Android that aims to simplify the whole process of keeping track of travel and expense outgoings. Sweep comes with the added benefit of being powered by Open Banking, which means that you can use the app to connect to your bank accounts and, theoretically at least, make light work of tracking both outgoings and money coming in too.
- Want to try Sweep? Check out the website here (opens in new tab)
On face value, the makers of Sweep have aimed to streamline the travel and expenses process by amalgamating everything into one package. However, you can currently choose between using two variants: Sweep Expenses and Sweep Travel, which is a little confusing for those looking at the app for the first time. The automated expense tracking system is aimed at everything from freelancers and start-ups through to small and medium enterprises.
Sweep also comes with a collection of reporting tools, for better account management. The Travel edition offers up more features including being able to book accommodation and other business trip necessities. Other options worth looking at include FreshBooks, Invoice Expert Lite, Paypal Invoicing and NCH Express Invoice.
As we mentioned above, there are actually two different products to choose from: Sweep Expenses and Sweep Travel. Sweep Expenses (opens in new tab) is currently priced at £5/month/user, with the first 5 expenses of the month free of charge. This makes it a tool that’s suitable for small teams with minimal expenses to file.
The other product, Sweep Travel (opens in new tab) is priced at £10/month/user (+2.5% booking) and includes access to Sweep Expenses. According to a spokesperson for the company, this was formerly named Sweep Premium. If you’ve got the need to process more expenses and generally want a more feature-loaded package then Sweep Travel is the package to go for.
To put it simply: Sweep Travel lets you use all the features of Sweep Expenses.
There are several key features that make Sweep a worthy option if you’re looking to tackle both travel and expense chores. There’s a self-service booking platform for travel-related issues plus an in-app trip and expense approval design. Tackling expenses can be done using Sweep’s smart payment categorization tools while there’s real-time transaction tracking too.
The app seems to be a bit of a work in process with more features appearing all the time. Logging expenses can be done in the time-honored tradition of taking a photo on your smartphone or capturing them as a PDF to log online transactions. Sweep is handy in that it auto-populates a lot of the fields when you add new expenses, so feature-wise it does everything you’d expect from software of this type.
Once you’ve got a selection of expenses, say from a month or an event, you’ll be able to produce a detailed report, which can then be distributed as a CSV file, PDF or sent by email. This details all of your expenses, which can then be approved by the relevant department. Easy.
Overall, Sweep seems to be pretty good at holding your hand when it comes to keeping track of expenses and works well via the app. A feature such as the dynamic manner in which it can notify you of expenses is a little thing, but it’s hugely practical. The interface is light and airy, so there are no real clunky irritations as you find your way around.
Ease of use
After downloading the app, for either iOS or Android, the first thing you’ll want to do is link to your bank accounts. The software interface is nicely laid out, so going through this process for more than one account is very straightforward. A simple screen tap allows you to add additional accounts as and when you need to. This is really the key to how Sweep works, because transactions are dynamically updated on-the-fly.
That means you’re always going to be getting up to date information on your finances and any new transactions. The app lets you create projects areas within the software that allow you to manage your various travel and expense responsibilities. It’s therefore easy to quickly create a dedicated folder for month-by-month tracking or, for example, a dedicated project folder for a specific event or business trip.
While there doesn't seem to be all that much to get confused about once you’re in the Sweep app the supporting website isn't quite as intuitive as we’d have hoped for. There’s the capacity for messaging the Sweep team using a browser window chat tool, plus an area that covers FAQs does the job of answering many of your questions.
Sweep’s website is so minimal though you do feel as though you’re on your own a bit, which in the case of the new features that look set to be added on a rolling basis, feels like a bit of a shortcoming.
Sweep (opens in new tab) seems well targeted with its core focus being on SMEs, which don't have time and large budgets available in order to stay on tome of processing travel and expenses. Both variants of the app (Expenses and Travel) are based around secure Open Banking technology, which means that much of the legwork is fully automated.
There are plenty of solid features too, with lots of one-click functionality for getting normally long-winded expense claims processes completed, along with instant currency conversions for all transactions. Add the powerful reporting options that are available and Sweep becomes a very appealing not to mention affordable expense tracking solution.
While this is an app that’s very clearly still evolving, it’s pretty useful as is.
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