Before we built arbitrue, we interviewed hundreds of accountants and bookkeepers to identify the biggest headaches slowing down their work. We learned that solid data entry apps are the most likely to alleviate their pain points. Here’s how these apps work.

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Data entry apps for QuickBooks — what are they and how do they work?

Data entry apps use OCR to read invoices and receipts and then send data to synced accounting systems. In this case, to QuickBooks Online.

To understand how these tools work, read this article that explains what OCR is, how does it work, and what increases its accuracy.

The workflow for data entry apps (see below) is pretty simple: instead of manually re-writing data or copying and pasting from PDFs and emails, data entry apps do all the heavy lifting automatically. Of course, some manual verification and double-checking are necessary, but in the most optimistic scenario, a quick glance is sufficient to make sure everything is spot-on.

Typically these apps can work with or without integrating with accounting systems. Without integration, you can use these programs as a library of expense-related documents which you can export as .csv files for easy uploading to your accounting records. Or, you can use them for storage and easy access when you need these files.

The full potential comes with integration. Data extraction apps seamlessly connect with accounting systems, such as QuickBooks, and send expense files directly to a synced account.

Typical workflow

Both accountants and business owners can use data extraction apps. Depending on their needs and usual tasks, the workflow for entering expense receipts and invoices may be different. In QuickBooks, these workflows would be something along these lines:

Business owners:

  • Upload scanned or emailed invoice files through the browser, email, or mobile scanner app to the data extraction app
  • Let your accountant take care of the rest

If you’re among the 72% of UK self-employed who handle taxes on their own, the accountant’s workflow also applies to you.


  • Receive invoices and receipts from your client, either by email or a mobile app
  • or

  • Scan paper documents received on paper
  • Check extracted data and make sure it’s correct including the supplier, date, total amount and tax amount
  • Choose the category and the Bank/Credit Account associated with the cost
  • Press post to send the data along with the file to synced accounting records

How fast can you extract data from documents?

Depending on how the invoice and receipt processing is done, data extraction can take between a few seconds or, hours, and even days.

Many data entry apps rely primarily on manual extraction and verification which results in up to several hours of wait time for the documents to be read. Others rely on self-learning algorithms that can automatically extract as much as possible based on the quality of the input file.

For example, in the case of arbitrue, there is no manual verification involved meaning that the service is super fast. It only takes up to 10-20 seconds per file to be read and extracted. Of course, the quicker the reading, the more straightforward and seamless the process is for both accountants and business owners.

Give data extraction a try

If you’ve never used any of these services, perhaps now is a good time to try. You can use arbitrue at no cost and process as many documents as you need. Visit >> to integrate now.

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