This week’s Expensifier of the Week is Yes To, a global leader in natural skin and hair care with awesome and affordable products made with fruits, veggies, and a smile!

A sample of Yes To's natural products

A sample of Yes To’s line of natural skin and hair products

Founded in 2006, Yes To, Inc‘s award-winning formulations are over 95% natural, have proven results, and are free of parabens, petroleum, and SLS. They offer seven unique collections, including products for face, body, hair, lips, and even babies to allow people to create their own natural ‘recipe’ that works for them.

The Yes To Team

The Yes To Team!

Look at this beautiful team!

Picture this: a fun-loving, wine-drinking, yoga-doing, active-life-living bunch of folks in San Francisco who a) create affordable natural products that really work, b) give back by providing 50,000 meals to kids around the globe, and c) have a pretty awesome time doing it.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, that’s the Yes To team.

From events and showcases around the country, the team travels often to spread the message about their natural skin and hair care products. While their products are innovative, their expense reporting solution was not.

Expense Reporting From The Past

“We were basically in the stone age when it came to expense reporting,” says Tracy Hart, CFO at Yes To, Inc. “We used to print a copy of the credit card statement and pass it around the office so that everyone could write “meal” or “taxi”, etc. next to their charge. This would then be hand-entered by a dedicated employee into our accounting system.”

She continues: “The process took days, so we then upgraded to downloading credit card activity and creating individual spreadsheets for each card holder with drop down menus for the expense accounts. Each card holder would complete their spreadsheet and go through the painful process of taping all their receipts to blank pages and attaching those to their printed spreadsheet. These would also have to be manually entered by the same dedicated employee. When we switched to Expensify, I think I saw that person shedding little tears of joy,” says Hart.

Vetting, Then Switching to Expensify

The decision to change expense reporting systems wasn’t easy. After all, no matter how time-consuming your current process is, there’s always the fear that the next one will be even worse. Before switching to Expensify, the management team wanted to make sure that the platform would be:

  • More time efficient, including the time it would take to implement the platform and train the team
  • Easy to learn and use
  • Cost effective

“After a quick poll to see if our prospective users would appreciate the implementation of Expensify, an overview the low costs of Expensify and adding up how much time would be saved across the board, switching to Expensify was unanimously approved,” recalls Hart.

Unanimously? We’ll take it!

Favorite Feature? How About Features?

Tracy Hart, CFO at Yes To

Tracy Hart, CFO at Yes To

While speaking with Hart, she mentioned a couple of features that her team found extra beneficial and helped make processing information easy. “Importing and exporting data is very easy to do within the [Expensify] system. The process of downloading and uploading the information into our ERP system is made very simple with Expensify’s customizable download features.

Yes To’s internal documentation also improved with Expensify. “Paper receipts disappear, but not in Expensify. Now that we use the app, we don’t have to worry about receipts turning blank or getting torn off. The app easily stores all expense reports electronically,” she says.

SmartScan also changed the way employees thought about expense reporting. [With Expensify, our employees] are able to ditch their old school receipt envelopes in favor of snapping pictures of their receipts at the dinner table or forwarding them via email,” Hart says. “Team members are now able to create their expense reports in real-time instead of waiting to consolidate the information and complete their reports at the end of the month.”

We love that the Yes To team loves our mobile functionality, and we can’t wait to hear what she says when our new Real Time Expense Reporting features come out!

Customer Service: Not Really a Feature But We Love It!

“When we migrated from using QuickBooks to Oracle, we needed to find a new way to upload our data to our new ERP system. Multiple customer service representatives were very helpful in assisting Juliet, who is responsible for managing expense reporting, with designing a personalized download template that fit our needs,” Hart recalls.

“I would recommend Expensify to anyone who is looking for a process improvement. The program has dramatically improved the expense reporting process for both our company’s users and administrators. Our process is more time efficient, organized, and the quality of historical data and reporting has been enhanced since we implemented Expensify.”

See? Expense reporting can be just as easy for you if you let it be (not to mention, Yes To transitioned accounting packages without a hitch on their own)! We love that we’re helping Yes To focus on spreading their product’s message to people all over the world by leaving the expense reporting to us.

Like what you hear? Switching from Quickbooks to Oracle and need a clean, easy-to-use expense reporting software? Try us out for free today or email sales@expensify.com to learn more about how we can simply your expense reporting process!

“Best offshore I’ve been on since the last offshore,” — a software engineer or sales team veteran.

expensify group photo in lagos

The team beachside.

Regardless of who actually said that, they’re not far from the truth: Offshore 2014 was packed with long 12-hour working days mixed with weekends filled with sightseeing and sunbathing. We got elbows deep in Portugal’s cod and port wine culture, participated in a Portuguese version of the running of the bulls, bunkered up at a restored monastery for a week, enjoyed a live fado performance, and much, much more.

On the trip, we also welcomed our newest engineer from France — Pierre-Antoine Papinel — and got to know one another in many contexts (like, which one of us is totally okay with eating gyros all day, every day). While it’s impossible to recap an entire month abroad in the beautiful Portugal, we can highlight some of our best and brightest moments. So what’s it like to go on the offshore? Check it out!

Why Yes, We Do Work On The Offshore

Hard at work or hardly working?

Hard at work or hardly working? It helps that we were in a beautiful Portuguese monastery!

Contrary to what you might think, we actually do work. What????? Are you surprised? How can someone, much less an entire company, focus on work when they’re in a beautiful, foreign country that’s just waiting to be explored?

This being our sixth company offshore, we’ve tried a number of things, and here’s how we stay productive:

  1. Set project goals
    • Each team identifies a project to tackle for the duration of the trip (in addition to their every day work) and produces a final product after the offshore.
    • Check in on progress every day during the morning 10 AM.
  2. Set work parameters
    • Decide how many hours a week the team will work, and do it. To keep everyone accountable, each team member logs their hours into a group spreadsheet.
  3. Get shit done.

Some of our largest projects, including our website redesign last year and Trips, were the products of the offshore. In Portugal, our team worked late into the night to release Submit to Concur, defied time zones to attend Intuit’s Virtual Conference, and still had time to make calls to the West Coast (which was 8 hours behind, FYI). And these weren’t even our team projects!

So yes, we do work on the offshore. Sometimes we’re more productive because of it.

…But All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy

Some of us took a scooter from Lisbon to Amares and back to Lisbon

Scootering is the best(?) form of transportation!

What’s the point of taking the team abroad if we don’t get to experience the life and culture while we’re there? The offshore is a core cultural value at Expensify, and it’s a phenomenal way to celebrate all of our hard work and successes. Best of all, we get to experience the challenges of navigating a brand new country along the way (hint: learning some key phrases goes a long way)!

Check out some of the fun things we did during our month abroad; you’ll feel like you were practically there with us!

Getting ready for the bullfight in Lisbon!

Getting ready for the bullfight in Lisbon!

Exploring the beautiful Aveiro

Exploring the beautiful Aveiro on foot

Enjoying a night out in Lisbon

Enjoying a night out in Aveiro

Wine tasting in Duoro Valley

Wine tasting in Duoro Valley

The majestic monastery in Amares

The majestic monastery in Amares aka our home for the week!

Pulling a Britney at a local bar

Pulling a Britney at a local bar

Preparing for a barbecue

Preparing for a barbecue

Just a normal day at the beach

Just a normal day at the beach with the Expensify crew

It might seem like a daunting task to take your entire company abroad every year — this year we had about 40! — but traveling together has a profound effect on our company culture. Matt once wrote that we’re like family, and it’s in no small part thanks to the one month we spend abroad together.

You know what they say: the family that travels together, stays together.

Beautiful View across the Water in Porto

Beautiful view across the water in Porto


Bitly logoYou’ve seen them all over the web — Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, your email, and more — but you might have not noticed. That’s how simple Bitly works.

Bitly’s mission is to empower marketers to make better decisions by providing insight into the connected world. Since 2008, the company has been committed to unleashing the power of the link. Based in NYC, Bitly shortens more than half a billion links per month as an integral part of social, SMS, and email efforts from brands, marketers, publishers, government organizations, non-profits and individual users.

Processing more than eight billion clicks on those links per month, Bitly continues to work unveiling new products while generating one of the most valuable proprietary datasets in the world today.

Puzzles are Fun, But Not Like This

Some of the Bitly team having fun (but not with their expense reports!)

Some of the Bitly team having fun (but not with their expense reports!)

Before Bitly started using Expensify, their expense reporting system was this.

  1. Use post-it notes and paper clips to gather receipts
  2. Submit to bookkeeper
  3. Bookkeeper would then manually key in the details at a summary level detail
  4. File the reports into obscurity

Really though, this expense reporting method was more of a problem than a solution. They needed an upgrade.

Let Me Upgrade U

A wise woman once said,

“Partner let me upgrade you
Flip a new page
Introduce you to some new things
And upgrade you”

Bitly wanted an upgrade, badly. So after hearing good things about Expensify, they decided to test us out.

“Expensify [quickly became] an easy, simple solution for a process that we had struggled to optimize,” says Brian Saplicki, Finance and Operations Manager. “The iPhone app was a nice surprise — it helped our team get reports in faster and minimize the paper trail normally created.”

In addition to an easy-to-use mobile application, Saplicki found that keeping expenses in one place helped create a catalogue of historical records that added transparency to the expense reporting process. Other features the team loved include consolidated reports and approval workflows to help better manage the expense reporting process.

“Expensify solves a simple problem that somehow manages to be a headache,” Saplicki says. “[The app] help us consolidate the chaos, and I would and already have recommended the app to other users facing similar issues.”

Want to get rid of Post It note-covered expense reports? Give us a try with a free trial today!

Hey there! My name is Conor, one of the Success Coaches at Expensify. Ours is a new team, dedicated to ensuring expense reporting happiness for our customers. This week, we’re proud to bring users of our QuickBooks Online integration a great new feature: export to credit card sub-accounts!

Those familiar with QuickBooks Online and Expensify will be aware that early this year we switched over to Intuit’s new API. With the new integration, we significantly reduced the amount of time customers spent exporting from Expensify to QuickBooks Online, improved the stability of the integration, and added support for vendor bills and billable expenses. Overall, our customers loved this new connection and took full advantage of it.

We received many requests for support for exporting from corporate cards to multiple credit card accounts. Now, however, we’re really excited to share the news that we’ve added support for linking corporate credit cards in Expensify with credit card accounts in QuickBooks Online.

The process of linking cards in Expensify with accounts in QuickBooks Online is very easy, and the export works pretty much exactly as it does at the moment.

Want to get started now? Check out our Help page on the topic and you’ll be up and running in minutes.

We’re working on a number of other improvements for our QuickBooks Online integration but in the meantime, do you have an idea about other ways we can improve the connection? Leave a comment below, or email help@expensify.com and let us know.

Connecting_Expensify_s_Company_Cards_to_QuickBooks_Online_Credit_Card_Accounts_-_Expensify

If you’ve ever done an expense report on Microsoft Excel, then you probably know how much it sucks. Like bottom-of-the-barrel, I-need-a-drink-to-get-through-this type of suck.

Why? Why do you do this to yourself over and over, time and time again?

  • Is it because you’re a contractor who only does expense reports once every few months?
  • Is it because you’re a startup of 10 and don’t want to pay to ease your pain?
  • Is it because you’re a company of 30 that is not quite ready to scale, so you’ll hold out until you do?
  • Is it because you’re actually masochistic and kind of enjoy a monthly dose of pain?

Kidding on the last point, but really ask yourself why you are still on Excel for your expense reports. If any of these apply to you, it’s probably time to make an important change in your life (and for those of you who’ve never done an expense report, lucky you! Come back to me when you are no longer the bright-eyed youngster you currently are).

Need a reason to upgrade? Well we’ve got five. Let’s talk through the pain.

1. You’re Wasting Someone’s Time (If Not Your Own)

Don't waste your controller's time with expense reports that suck

Do you really want to waste your controller’s time tracking emails, getting signatures, chasing employees for paper receipts? Or do you want them to have more time to do other controller-y things? Thought so.

“For the backend bookkeeper, I’d say Expensify is saving them 5-20 minutes per entry. In total, we’re saving 20-30 minutes per expense report across the company. The approval workflow specifically is saving us a ton of time as well; no more chasing emails and gathering signatures!” — an Excel ditcher.

2. Excel is #Basic With a Capital B

B is for Batman and he does not approve

Batman hates Basic — have you seen his Batmobile?!

Things Excel Can Do

  • Reimbursement through Paypal or ACH? Nope.
  • Import bank feeds? Nope.
  • Integrate with your accounting software? Nope (and dear god, please don’t tell us you use Excel for accounting…).
  • Take a photo of your receipt and SmartScan it? Nope
  • Track distance or time? Nope.

I could go on, but you get the idea. Excel is Basic with a capital B.

3. Automation is Fabulous

Automation is fabulous expense reports

Sure, you can type in each expense line-by-line, but why not automate that process? Take a picture of your receipt, have it automatically transcribed for you, send in your expense  report, and get approved and reimbursed all in the same system (and possibly the same day, depending on how fast your company works).

Face it, Excel barely delivers what you need but your expense reporting system could do so much more! Whether you’re a 5-person company or a 200-person company — focus on your company, not on your expense reports. Controllers, it’s time to upgrade to 2014 already.

4. You’re Hurting the Environment (and Wasting Money)

before you ink, think

Kind of preacher-y, but you get the message

There’s lots of chit chat going around about the state of the environment right now (see here, here, and here), and the world doesn’t need more ways to accelerate global warming. Paperless is the new black and if you don’t care about the environment, then consider how much money you’re saving by not printing every single expense report. Printer ink is more expensive than it should be and paper is a tree killer, so at least do it for the environment. If you can’t bring yourself to believe in global warming, then at least do it for the kids.

5. Don’t You and Your Team Deserve Better?

Pictures-Of-Agnes-From-Despicable-Me-Agnes-My-Fav-Character-Happieness

The fact is, there is only a finite amount of time you and your team have to get shit done. Do you want your entire team to spend one day each month (that’s approximately 96 hours if your expense reports were as horrid as mine)? What about the 29 or so days leading up to that day dreading them?

No! Focus on the important things, and leave expense reports to the people who hate them the most (cough cough). We promise you’re in good hands.

Have an expense report/Excel horror story? Want more reasons why expense reporting in Excel sucks? Leave us a comment, we love hearing from you!

CEO Robert Guarino of 5 Napkin Burger

“I am lucky. When I travel for work, my job is to eat, drink, teach and learn…. not sort receipts. I am happy to let Expensify handle the mundane while I do what I do what I love.” — CEO Robert Guarino of 5 Napkin Burger

The burger experience is no longer One Size Fits All. The art of grabbing a burger has found its top shelf. Those with discerning appetites, surrounded by less-than-satisfying options, demand more — quality, diversity, and a custom cocktail all in an engaging atmosphere. If this sounds like you, then 5 Napkin Burger has you covered.

Each 5 Napkin burger consists of 10 ounces of fresh ground beef, topped with Gruyère cheese, caramelized onions, and rosemary aioli. These and all other ingredients are made in house from scratch.

Reality check: Are you drooling yet?

A drool-worthy sampling of 5 Napkin burgers

A drool-worthy sampling of 5 Napkin Burger’s, well, burgers! (Credit: 5NapkinBurger.com)

Match Made in Heaven? Probably.

Expensify loves burgers, 5 Napkin Burger makes delicious burgers.

5 Napkin Burger hates expense reports, Expensify makes them not suck.

See where I’m going with this?

Before Expensify, the good people of 5 Napkin Burger were manually entering expense reports in Microsoft Excel and attaching photocopied receipts. As their operation expanded from one location in New York City to three, then along the east coast to Boston and Miami, it became immediately apparent that they needed a simpler, faster system.

“We were looking for a functional, user-friendly system that lived in the cloud and could log digital versions of our receipts,” says Robert Guarino, CEO. “We decided to go with Expensify because their app fulfilled these requirements, and it’s been easy to learn and use.”

Easy to learn? Check.

Easy to use? Check. Small businesses, take notice!

Last Words From The CEO

“I file expense reports monthly for over ten different companies. What I love most about Expensify is the auto-importing my credit card expenses, which makes it very easy to send expenses to the right place,” Guarino explains. “As our company grows, I Iook forward to taking advantage of even more of the available features in the future.”

Join 5 Napkin Burger and growing companies all over the world by switching to Expensify today! Looking for a great burger? Find your nearest 5 Napkin Burger in New York, Boston, and Miami.

The story goes something like this:

Girl gets a phone call. Girl is invited to go out. It’s raining. Girl doesn’t want to melt in the rain. Mom kicks Girl out of the house. Mom orders Girl to go out and have fun. Girl goes out, meets a group from a San Francisco company called Expensify. Apparently, the entire company is working and backpacking for a whole month in Croatia. Girl laughs with fascination and some disbelief but Girl doesn’t dwell on that because Girl is absolutely fascinated with the energy, drive, and passion each person exudes when talking about the company, coworkers, the CEO, and basically just how much they love what they do.

Throwback! The team and I on our first night out

Throwback! The team and I on our first night out. Don’t mind the bright eyes.

Fast forward to a year later, where the story continues in San Francisco. Girl has just returned from Portugal. What was Girl doing in Portugal? In the past year, she graduated university, moved to San Francisco, and started working at Expensify. Didn’t see that one coming, did you?!

And yes, that’s been my story so far. Kind of crazy, right? Unlike any other employee, I had the opportunity to experience the offshore from two very different perspectives. The first year, I was unofficially part of the offshore in Croatia as a local showing the Expensify team around the city. A year later, I joined the rest of the team in Portugal for the 2014 offshore. With the two very different experiences of the offshore, my perception of it inevitably changed, and this is exactly how:

On Working Full Time on the Offshore

Before Joining Expensify: “So you are saying that you actually work full hours during the offshore? Right, and I have a talking pet unicorn that makes my bed every morning. Now, let’s have another shot of rakija!”

After Joining Expensify: Laugh and roll your eyes all you want, but on the offshore, people work just as much as they would back in San Francisco, and sometimes even more. How is that possible? Imagine being constantly surrounded with brilliant, extremely motivated, and hard-working people. Their drive and passion rubs off on you and makes you work even more passionately and easily to accomplish your work goals. The value of the offshore is that, although it might mess up your sleeping schedule and test your resilience to the whims of various Wi-Fi networks, traveling together provides more opportunities to work even closer together and practically forces you to collaborate more, to exchange ideas, and deliver results.

Ok, Mondays might be a somewhat easier to survive since we don’t to actually have to go to an office but other than that, it’s work, work, and work pretty much as usual. People wake up, show up for a 10AM meeting every morning and stay up late, sometimes very late, to get all the work done. The time difference also doesn’t really help with going to bed early. Partying and mischief are (mostly) reserved for the weekend, which is no different from what we do in San Francisco.

Hard at work or hardly working?

Hard at work or hardly working? It helps that we were in a beautiful Portuguese monastery!

To anyone outside the team, it might seem unlikely that a completely new environment absolutely bursting with exotic places to visit, out of the ordinary things to see and do wouldn’t make you ditch you work responsibilities. But it doesn’t. Everywhere we go, we make that place our office, regardless if it’s a kitchen table at our apartment in Lisbon, the monumental stone-walled hallway of an 13th century monastery in the mountains, or a beach on the cliff-adorn coastline of Lagos. Feel free to be jealous, it’s an amazing office!

With that said, I feel obliged to confess that I never had a pet unicorn.

On Living With The People You Work With

Before Joining Expensify: “There’s no way I could live with the people I work with and not kill someone in their sleep!” or “Living with the people you work with? No thanks!”

After Joining Expensify: Let’s put it this way: the offshore is probably the most intense but also the most effective form of team building I’ve ever seen and been a part of. Forget paintball! We’re talking about an in-sickness-and-in-health degree of bonding here: showing real world teamwork skills like trying to figure out how the laundry machine works, searching for Wi-Fi during a downpour, or offering you shoulder instead of a pillow during a 7 hour train ride. In my opinion, that is the the most incredible thing about the environment and the atmosphere of the offshore.

Just a normal day at the beach

Just a normal day at the beach with the Expensify crew

Exposed to an unfamiliar environment, we learn new ways of working together and create new ties. A big part of it also comes from the fact that you get to spend time with the people you might not interact with regularly due to professionally divergent roles. On the offshore, you might end up working laptop-to-laptop in the same small cafe with terribly slow waiters on Tuesday and go grocery shopping for basic house supplies on Thursday, all while living in the same house for that particular week.

To be fair, I think my previous aversion towards spending more than the necessary hours with coworkers comes from a very different work experience I had before joining Expensify. As soon as I started at Expensify, it became obvious that the way we recruit and pick people to grow the team makes is surprisingly natural and easy to transition from spending most of your time together like we usually do to spending all of your time together.

So, yes, living together with your coworkers is very doable, at least if you happen to work at Expensify.

On Packing for the Offshore

Before Joining Expensify: ”One backpack for an entire month??”

After Joining Expensify: ”One backpack for an entire month.”

Even this was too much stuff for a month...

Even this was too much stuff for a month…

Before travelling to Portugal for the offshore, I was notoriously bad at packing. Not that I couldn’t pack, I just packed a ton of stuff. Whether I was going on a weekend trip or a three-week holiday, I would always, without exception, bring more stuff than I could possibly need or have the time to wear (unless my superstar alter ego took over and I started changing outfits as many time a night as a major popstar on tour).

I seriously don’t know what came over me the night I was packing for Portugal. The experience was very much like a black out (no alcohol was involved). The last thing I remember was throwing clothes from my closet onto the bed. The empty backpack I borrowed from my roommate was sitting across the room in blissful oblivion to what awaits. Next thing I know, I was all packed in that one backpack and on my way to the airport. The ridiculous thing is that, after a week, I’d already concluded that I could have packed less stuff. Figures!

The issue of packing might seem very frivolous, because, “it’s just clothing” but if you think about it, it actually teaches you how to:

  • keep it simple and practical
  • prioritize, don’t stress
  • be resourceful and devote more energy to more important stuff.

In my opinion, packing for offshore reflects a good way to go about organizing stuff, space, work and even life. My rule of thumb now is to pack light and focus on the essentials.

And Now, Drum Roll Please…

I’m guessing a conclusion of some sort would be in place. Alright, with the risk of sounding pretentious, I’d say that the offshore is a catalyst that makes the Expensify team grow closer faster and more efficiently than any other team building tool or technique ever could. It enhances our sense of unity and cohesion, because, well, that’s what happens when you find yourself in a new strange, new environment, don’t speak the language (or at least most of you don’t), and face constant challenges that make getting shit done even more challenging (like terrible wi-fi or even the complete lack of it) — all that while trying to deliver a great product.

As someone whose graduate thesis involved researching the principles of team organizations, it was almost uncanny seeing a textbook example of a truly amazing team with such strong cohesion in real life and actually being a part of it.

Of course, I’m not saying it’s all rainbows and butterflies every day, especially if you happen to end up sleeping next door to a very determined snorer or when you get frustrated with bad internet connections that die halfway through important calls. Even with that in mind, the offshore is as close as it gets to a perfect way of strengthening team trust and igniting the creative sparks within it.

Finally, how right or wrong was I about the mystery known as the offshore? I’m very happy to conclude that I was wrong in the best way possible.

Want to work somewhere you love? We’re hiring!