Archives For Best Practices

In previous Expensify blog posts you may have heard us refer to WOW Fridays. Every Friday at Expensify we allow our engineers the freedom to work on projects of their choosing, that aren’t necessarily part of our immediate product roadmap. We do this in order to allow them to exercise their creative freedom with the benefit that we end up with some really cool additions to the product. Well, the latest product of WOW Fridays is here: Report Comments! Major props to our engineer Florent for whipping this up.

Comment directly on expense reports

When you scroll to the bottom of an expense report in Expensify, you will now notice that the “Report History” section has been re-branded as “Report History & Comments”. In this section, anyone that can view the expense report can comment on it, without having to leave Expensify.

Report History and Comments

 

Email notifications

Whenever someone comments on a report, the people that are shared on the report will get an email notification along with the comment. This makes it easy and efficient for employees, approvers, and admins to communicate about expenses.

Report Comments Email

Hopefully, this helps make your expense reporting process suck even less. As always, let us know what you think!

ToDoList

You don’t need a functional tattoo to stay organized

With so many tools and apps that claim to increase organization or productivity, how do we find out which tools will actually help and not hinder our workflow? At Expensify, our approach is to keep it simple; forget the apps and stick to what’s tried and true. Here are a few core principles that help us stay productive; try them out and let us know what you think!

1) Avoid Complicated Tools.  

Nothing wastes time like “saving time” by adopting complex project management tools. Tools aren’t the problem: people are. Just create a shared to-do list that you re-prioritize continuously, and focus everybody on starting at the top and working their way down. Nobody will ever get to the bottom, but that’s just life.

What you need: Google Docs, whiteboard, IdeaPaint, something that can help you visualize, flexibly.

2) Prioritize, Don’t Schedule.  

Schedules assume stable priorities and accurate estimates, neither of which are ever true. Accordingly, the only way to reliably meet hard commitments is to wildly pad the schedule, which is wasteful and frustrating for everyone. Instead, just accept things will get done when they get done.

Helpful to your success: A company culture that minimizes commitments and focuses on raw productivity on ever-shifting priorities.

3) Trust You’ll Remember the Important Things

all you need to stay organized is a pen and paper

Say hi to your new best friend

Continuing from the last point, nothing is more stress inducing that an enormous list of incomplete tasks that will likely never be finished. Rather, start every day with a blank sheet of paper and write down the most important things you need to get done — only look back at previous days if you run out of ideas (which rarely happens).

What you need: pen and paper, or a marker if you’re feeling fancy.

4) The Productivity Myth

Companies everywhere have somehow bought into the idea that more hours means higher productivity when studies actually show the opposite. Instead, build time in your day, week, life to rest and relax. Decide how much of your life you want to devote to work, work that much, and then stop. Nothing makes your time off more enjoyable than confidence that you’ve done right by your entrepreneurial ambitions and truly earned the rest. This is also a fantastic way to set work/life expectations with your spouse, but even better for resisting the urge to work yourself to death.

What to do: Record how many hours you work a day in a spreadsheet, then add it up on a weekly basis to make sure you’re basically hitting your target.

Tried these out, or have productivity tips of your own? We’d love to hear from you!

I know I’m not alone when I say taxes can be confusing. So confusing that the annual changes to the laws and rates has given birth to a 7.7 BILLION dollar tax preparation industry. Whether you have someone do your taxes, or you do them yourself, here’s a couple tips for using Expensify in 2014.

1. The IRS mileage rate is lower this year.

The IRS lowered the mileage rate to 56 cents/mile. That’s .5 cents lower than 2013. (Last year it was 56.5 per mile) If you are using Expensify to track your mileage, make sure you log in to the Expensify website and change the rate. All new Expensify accounts created after the mileage rate change takes effect will already be updated with the new rate. More details at IRS.gov.

NOTE: We don’t automatically change the rate for existing users because many companies use a custom rate.

2. If you don’t like that rate, you can track your actual vehicle expenses and deduct that

You don’t HAVE to use the IRS mileage rate. If you think it actually costs you more to maintain your vehicle than 56 cents/mile then you can track your actual expenses and use that as your deduction. (This is where Expensify comes in handy) Be sure to record all gas, oil, repairs, tires, insurance, registration fees, licenses, and depreciation (or lease payments) attributable to the portion of the total miles driven that are business miles.

Other car expenses for parking fees and tolls attributable to business use are separately deductible, whether you use the standard mileage rate or actual expenses.

3. Record your receipts at the time of purchase, don’t wait until the end of the month to scan them all.

Hoarding a pile of receipts until the end of the month is so 2013. To get the full benefit of Expensify, take a picture of your receipts right when you get it and liberate yourself from the pocket full of receipts. You’re more likely to lose receipts if you have a bunch floating about your person all month. Just get a picture of it ASAP and be done with it. (Luckily you have a great App to do that.)

4. Linking your card to Expensify can save you if you lose a receipt

Let’s say you ignore #2 and decide to store your receipts in your coat pocket and end up losing one. No problem, as long as you’ve linked your card to Expensify, you’re still ok. Expensify creates IRS compliant eReceipts for all purchases under $75. You read that right – if your card or bank is linked to Expensify, we will import your transactions into Expensify and on top of that, automatically create a receipt for you! This is a lifesaver for those of you who habitually lose receipts.

EXP_GPlus

We’re extremely excited for 2014. Our revamped new site just went live last week and there’s plenty of new and exciting things planned for the future. We look forward to making your life easier in 2014 and in the years to come!

Last week David announced some changes to our pricing. This week we would like to introduce an option that many of you have been requesting for a long time that will actually help offset that change to our price. We are happy to announce that you can now Prepay for Expensify!

Prepay for Expensify and get TWO MONTHS for free!

This has typically only been requested by enterprise companies, but we wanted businesses of any size to be able to get the same benefit our largest customers receive. If you prepay for 10 months, we will match you for 2 additional months! It works out to a 17% savings! Essentially, we’re applying a very large credit to your account that you are able to purchase at a steep discount.

Here’s the math:

  • Last month your company had 102 submitters on the Corporate Plan. This works out to $1,100 paid last month. (Remember, because we love our users, your company gets 2 free submitters per month)
  • You are an incredible employee and an all around go-getter. You decide your company should save money and prepay.
  • $1,100 x 10 = $11,000. You pay $11,000 to prepay for 10 months.
  • $1,100 x 2 =  $2,200.  We add  a $2,200 credit to your account on top of the $11,000 you prepaid.  You just purchased a $13,200 credit for $11,000!

End Result: You just saved your company $2,200 or 17% on what you would have spent for the year! Alternatively put, instead of paying $11/month per submitter, you are paying $9.20/month per submitter! 

Bonus Result: You get a promotion for being a great employee. (Hooray! You deserve it!)

To get started, head on over to expensify.com/prepay and play with the Savings Slider Bar to see how much money your company will save.  Question: what are you going to do with all that money you budgeted for, but no longer need to pay?

Don’t forget, we launched Invoices and Bill Processing last month so check it out here. And as always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us at help@expensify.com. Happy Expensing!

Expensify has a lot of users, a lot of different users.  We know that our users come have varying use cases when when it comes to credit cards. We’ve got you covered no matter your situation or credit card.

Safety First:

We use bank-level security to keep your sensitive financial data safe. We’re tested regularly to ensure our security measures are up to date, and even subscribe to daily probing by McAfee to make sure that we can defend against the latest hacker tactics.

We take your security seriously and comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. This comprehensive analysis that spans many aspects of how systems interact is the gold standard of security measures for anyone taking credit card information online. The same rigorous standard is used by PayPal, Visa and YOUR bank. For more information on its requirements, check out the PCI-DSS website.

The Basics:

Import your card(s) automatically by logging into Expensify > going to Settings > Credit Cards > Import Card/Bank. You will then just need to find your bank and input your online banking username and password.

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You will then want to select what accounts you do want to pull into Expensify and whether or not these accounts should default as being marked as reimbursable expenses or non-reimbursable expenses.

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Having issues?

We work hard so that our users have as few issues as possible when it comes to importing your credit cards, but every now and again you may find that your card is not updating automatically. If you do find yourself in this situation here are some helpful tips:

  1. Manually update your card:  You can do this by going to Settings > Credit Cards and selecting the ‘Update’ button to update your card. If you see a ‘Fix’ indicator, go to tip #2
  2. ‘Fix’ your card: We would first recommend that you can log into your online banking portal using the same  username and password you’re using to import your card into Expensify. When you have confirmed this, please select the ‘Fix’ button and input your username and password. If this does not work, go to tip #3
  3. Write help@expensify.com: As noted earlier, Expensify and the banks we import from have a very high level of security. As a result, sometimes we do need to change/update our connections which could disable the connection for a bit. User’s usually do not notice the changes but if your cards will not fix, do write help@expensify.com so we can be sure to let you know what might be going on.

Commercial Cards/Centrally Administered Cards:

If your company does have a commercial card or wants to centrally administer your corporate cards, we still have you covered. If you are interested learning more please do check out this page.

As always, if you have any questions please write us at help@expensify.com and we will be happy to assist.

Each year, the IRS updates the reimbursable mileage rate for business travel to reflect the costs for operating a vehicle. With (still) prices going up, you are now able to claim $0.565 per mile travelled in 2013. Check out the full details on the rate change at IRS.gov.

All new Expensify accounts created after the mileage rate change takes effect will already be updated with the new rate.

For personal users, change your rate by going to Settings > Preferences and clicking the ‘change’ button to the right your miles unit.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 3.44.11 PM

For policy managers, please go to Settings > Policies > (choose your policy) > Basics and change the ‘Mileage Rate’ of your policies if you are using the IRS rate.

Screen Shot 2013-01-09 at 3.42.41 PM

Disclaimer: We do not update everyone’s mileage rate because a vast many of our users utilize company rates as opposed to the IRS rate.

So you’ve made the decision to ease the expense reporting burden of your colleagues and began using Expensify! Our hats are off to you. You won’t regret it. Now let’s get your employees up to speed.

We maintain various tools to assist with onboading of your employees. We recommend you share a combination of these to enhance learning and get your company more acquainted with Expensify. If you’d like to work with us to put your onboarding plan together, contact us at help@expensify.com and we’ll get help sort it out.

1. Communicate Company Expense Policy
Provide your team with guidelines and rules for the expense reporting process. These details can be shared via internal email, and we also recommend summarizing these on invite (through our customizable welcome message). Details include but are not limited to:

  • Expense categorization directions
  • Company expense rules (max expense age, max expense amount, receipt required amount, etc.)
  • Personal and company credit card policies
  • Report naming policies
  • Reimbursement processes and timing
  • Approval workflows

Best for: Ensuring a smooth roll-out.


2. The Getting Started Page
This is a broad overview of using Expensify for employees, in a step-by-step guide.

Getting Started

Best for: Users that prefer step-by-step written directions. The initial view is very simple, with links to detailed feature and terminology definitions.


3. Expensify Workshops (Live and Pre-Recorded)
We host live and pre-recorded workshops to train employees on the basic functions of Expensify. These functions include:

  1. Creating/importing expenses
  2. Creating reports and adding expenses
  3. Submitting reports for approval
  4. Adding an ACH reimbursement account

Best for: Users who prefer to learn with audio direction and visual demonstration. The learning is very straightforward. We recommend that all Workshop attendees also use our Getting Started page and Help site as research companions.


4. ExpensifyHelp
Your employees can find detailed descriptions of every facet and feature in Expensify on our Help Site. It serves as a great tool in learning about Expensify, becoming familiar with terminology, and setting up features for your company or employee accounts.

expensifyhelp

Best for: Referencing specific features or processes in Expensify. This is by far the most in-depth of all tools. Feel free to skim, but we find that ExpensifyHelp is most efficient by searching for specific information.


5. Contact our Support Team
You put that IKEA table together without any help, Expensify should be a walk in the park… Just kidding.

If your employees still can’t find the answers they’re looking for, our support team will be more than happy to answer any questions and provide advice.

Help@Expensify.com

Best for: Getting answers to company specific questions, once you’ve exhausted all of our other documentation.


6. The Expensify Blog
Obviously, you’re familiar with our blog since you are here. This serves as a reminder to share the blog with any interested employees. We post pro-tips, best practices, and advice for specific use cases on our here every week.

expensifyblog

Best for: Keeping up with new features, use cases and expense report best practices.