We present a study of l nu b (b) over bar and l(+)l(-)b (b) over bar production at hadron colliders. Our results, accurate to the next-to-leading order in QCD, are based on automatic matrix-element calculations performed by MadLoop and MadFKS, and are given at both the parton level, and after the matching with the HERWIG event generator, achieved with aMC@NLO. We retain the complete dependence on the bottom-quark mass, and include exactly all spin correlations of final-state leptons. We discuss the cases of several observables at the LHC which highlight the importance of accurate simulations.