From XU Magazine, 
Issue 39

XU Magazine sits down with Apron Founder & CEO Bogdan Uzbekov

This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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XU: Tell us about Apron’s journey. What problem are you out to solve?

BU: Apron was born out of a simple yet significant realisation: small business owners don't set up shop to spend hours drowning in invoices and admin. Unfortunately, that’s the reality for many. Our mission at Apron is to change that narrative entirely.

We've built a product to address the pain points of SMBs and their accountants, consolidating hours of tedious work into minutes. We view payments not just as transactions but as part of a connected network involving businesses, accountants, and suppliers. This holistic perspective allows us to reimagine the entire invoice workflow for a seamless and satisfying experience for all involved.

XU: What sets Apron apart from other solutions out there?

BU: What sets us apart is our commitment to building right alongside the communities we serve, so accountants, bookkeepers and business owners. Drawing from my experience at Revolut, we've built a robust technical architecture backed by a user-centric design. In other words, we listen to our users and make sure it’s built properly!

This combination has enabled us to acquire customers solely through word of mouth, a testament to the need for some real change. We talk a lot about offering an all-in-one accounts payable solution, and that’s exactly what we’ve built.

XU: How has Apron evolved since its launch?

BU: Apron started a simple ‘bills only’ solution but steadily evolved into all things money out. Our goal right from the start was to create an end-to-end solution for finance professionals and their clients.

Over the past two years that’s come to mean everything from invoice capture, to supplier payments, payroll payments, and reconciliation. The problem we saw was that accountants and bookkeepers were having to juggle too many apps and spend too much time handling client money. So it was important for us to keep things lean, to give them everything they needed in one place.

XU: The launch of the new invoice capture feature seems like a significant milestone for Apron. What was the inspiration behind this feature, and how do you see it benefiting your customers?

BU: Capture is indeed a significant milestone for Apron. The inspiration behind this feature comes from recognising the struggles faced by entrepreneurs in capturing and managing invoices efficiently. Traditionally, invoice capture tools have been tailored for finance professionals, overlooking the needs of multitasking entrepreneurs who are at the forefront of the payments process.

We understand that business owners like plumbers, caterers, and makeup artists are constantly on the move, juggling various tasks and responsibilities. Asking them to spend hours scanning receipts or grappling with outdated software is simply unrealistic and counterproductive. This disconnect results in a strained relationship between accountants and their clients, usually leading to document chasing and unnecessary delays.

Apron Capture is our solution to this problem. Designed with a business-first mindset, it streamlines the entire invoice capture process, making it friction-free for both accountants and their busy clients. By eliminating unnecessary complexities, we empower business owners to focus on what truly matters: running their businesses effectively.

With Capture, there's no more chasing after clients for missing documents or playing endless games of email tag. We've simplified the process to the point where even the busiest entrepreneurs will find it effortless to use. Also, Capture seamlessly integrates with our broader platform, completing the first part of that all-in-one solution I mentioned.

Ultimately, our goal with Capture is to not only alleviate the frustrations of invoice management but also to enable finance pros and business owners to think bigger and focus on driving growth and success.

XU: How does Apron prioritise customer feedback and incorporate it into the development process, particularly with regard to new features like invoice capture?

BU: Community has always been our North Star, and always will be. The mistake we see other apps and solutions making, is that they build without truly involving the people they’re building for. We’re constantly talking to the people who use our product, asking them what they need, and what frustrates them about the apps they have now.

We run regular webinars where we encourage people to ask questions and suggest features. And we recently set up a Customer Advisory Board, to help get customer feedback into our priority workflows at board level faster. We’re also out on the road a lot, too, at events and conferences, giving demonstrations and getting in-person feedback from potential users.

One other priceless aspect of gathering feedback is our collaboration with design partners. These are real accountants, bookkeepers and business owners who use Apron day-to-day. We work extra closely with them to really pick out the specific problem areas that we need to solve for. I think that closeness sets us apart from other platforms.

XU: How do you prioritise work when you’ve got so much feedback coming in?

BU: That’s always a tough one, but generally we ask ourselves two questions: What are we building? And what are we not building? When answering the question of what we’re not building, we have to sometimes show some tough love on certain points of feedback. We have a clearly-defined central idea, or thread, if you like, of what we want to build. If a piece of feedback or a feature suggestion doesn’t fit with that goal, we have the confidence as a team to set it aside.

Prioritising, though, really comes down to leadership and communication. As a team, we’re constantly questioning our own ideas, and discussing what to do next. Our Product Managers are responsible for prioritising within their own areas. It’s then up to me to bite the bullet and make a decision about what gets done, and what can wait, in terms of Apron as a whole.

XU: You mentioned Apron becoming the first ‘all-in-one AP’ solution for accounting and bookkeeping firms. What does this mean?

BU: We recently ran a blog post on this, where we asked two of our users what they thought it meant. Again, this links to our ethos of working alongside our community, giving them what they need. For me, the answer is simple: All-in-one means end-to-end. It means that you can upload an invoice or a bill, pull the information from it, set up an approval workflow, get it paid and reconcile it in the books, all in one place.

One user in particular who echoes this sentiment is Lara Manton, Founder of LJM Bookkeeping Ltd. Lara is now on our Customer Advisory Board, but even before then, she had a clear idea.

“To me, an all-in-one solution entails having all aspects of the process consolidated in a single platform, facilitating easy tracking, complete visibility, and straightforward management. Ideally, the workflow should progress seamlessly from Apron Capture for document intake to recording bills in Xero, processing payments through Apron, and ultimately reconciling transactions back in Xero.” — Lara Manton, MICB

XU: Looking ahead, what future developments can we expect from Apron?

BU: There’s definitely a lot more to come, although pretty much all of it is under wraps at the minute. I know that’s a very secretive way to end this interview, so I’ll say instead that if you’re looking for a truly all-in-one payments solution, please do consider Apron. Our website is

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