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Forming Habits with Expense Reporting

Whether you work at a startup, a large corporation, or something in between, the end of the month always means one thing: it’s time to get those expense reports in!

People often consider expense reporting to be a pain in the elbow, and that’s why we’ve made it our mission to make expense reports suck less. Using Expensify can help significantly reduce the overall time it takes to finish a report. Even better, pair it with an incremental behavioral change and you might actually look forward to submitting your expense report every month (we can dream right?).

Putting Off Something That Sucks – Hey, It’s Natural!

Sit back and think for a hot second: how do you file your expense reports?

According to Leo Babauta from ZenHabits, we spend much of our lives avoiding or putting off our problems. People hate doing expense reports because it’s always been a long and tedious process that involves finding crumpled pieces of paper, manually entering a load of expenses and then triple-checking everything to make sure it’s all correct. As a result, you think of expense reporting as a problem that you want to put off for as long as you can.

At Expensify, we want to make those monthly, hours-long expense reporting rituals a thing of the past. We want to change the way you think about and do expense reports. How?

Try It Out: A Small Change in Behavior

Instead of throwing your receipt in your bag or pocket, use our mobile app and take a picture of the receipt when you get it. In doing so, you are accomplishing four things:

  1. You reduce the amount of clutter in your bag or pocket. A photo of your receipt = paper receipt in trash.
  2. You also minimize the risk of losing the receipt down to zero.
  3. You decrease the amount of time it takes to file expense reports by handling your expenses at the time of purchase instead of filing a pile of them at the end of the month.
  4. Your uploaded receipt can be sorted with categories and tags, which helps you organize expenses automatically.

Once you take that photo, our SmartScan technology will transcribe the receipt for you so you don’t have to enter the information manually. More importantly, by taking a picture of your receipt as soon as you get it, you’re creating a behavioral change that will fundamentally alter the way you do expense reports. This tiny change might seem inconsequential, but the power of habit is an incredibly powerful, subconscious phenomenon that can change the way you do expense reports forever. Repeat this action often enough, and you’ll be able to cultivate a strong expense reporting habit.

Take a Photo, Thank Yourself Later

With this small habitual change, a cursory glance over your expense report at the end of the month is all you’ll need to do before submitting it to a manager. No more high volume, last-minute scanning, organizing, or detailing. How amazing does that sound?

Don’t take our word for it. See what users have to say about how Expensify is changing the way they do expense reports:

 

Change the way you think about expense reporting! Let us know your story in the comments below or try us today.

Get the most out of your Expensify experience; learn a little bit about slicing and dicing our Expenses and Receipts pages using filters. Not only is this knowledge handy for tracking down your expense data, you can also use it to capture subsets of your expenses for analytics as well as editing multiple expenses and receipts.

To begin, you’ll find filters on the left side of the Expenses and Receipts page. Also, date filters on all pages of Expensify are, by default, set to view the last 90 days. To view any expenses previous to the last 90 days, extend the date filters on the page to include your desired dates.

Expense Page Filters

Breakdown your expenses by four types of expenses:

  • Unreported Expenses have not been added to reports.
  • Unsubmitted Expenses have been added to a report, but the report has not been submitted yet.
  • Reported Expenses have been added to reports that have been submitted.
  • Deleted Expenses have been deleted, but can still be accessed in case you made a mistake. (We know you don’t make mistakes and never have to use this.)

You can also filter your expenses by the card they were imported from and the category/tag they have been marked with.

Receipt Page Filters

Similar to Expense page filters, you can view different receipt types: Unreported, Unsubmitted, Reported, and Deleted. Beyond this distinction, you can view receipts that have been attached to expenses, receipts that have not, or both.

To learn a little more about the Reports page filter, check out our Understanding Report States post from a little while back. If you have any questions about filters or any feature of Expensify, as always, please feel free to contact us at help@expensify.com.

Here at Expensify we put an emphasis on simple, hassle free expense reporting. We also believe that the best way to develop Expensify into an even more amazing experience is by listening to our users. You asked for a more in-depth way to tag expenses and today we’re thrilled to unveil the magic of multi-level tagging! This new Corporate plan feature is perfect for companies that require more than one tag field. Here’s how it works:

Based on the choice made for the first tag, a second subset of tag options will magically appear. Because tag levels can be hierarchical, users don’t have to sift through giant tag lists to find what they’re looking for.

After the second tag is chosen, more tag lists can appear, customizable up to 5 tag levels.

More great news! Every multi-level tag can be coded for export in a customized CSV export file, tuned to the requirements of your accounting package.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! If you have questions or would like to set up multi-level tagging for your company please email us at help@expensify.com.

Here at Expensify we make expense reports that don’t suck, but that doesn’t mean we’re just a one trick pony. Just the other day I was having a chat with one of our ops maestros and keeping track of your tax deductible expenses with Expensify came up. (As you can tell, we engage in some rather highbrow discourse.)

He creates a report to store all of his tax deductible expenses for the year. Whether it’s donating to charity, traveling for work, or incurring any non-reimbursable business expenses, he just snaps a picture of the receipt and adds the expense to his tax deductible report. At the end of the year, he runs a report and it’s all there ready for the IRS, simple as that.

So if you have any use for money in your life this may be a great way to make sure you hold onto more of it. If you have any questions about keeping track of your tax deductible expenses with Expensify or Expensify in general, feel free to email us at help@expensify.com!

In light of our international business travel, we figured it is high time to let you in on Expensify’s best practices for expense reporting abroad. These aren’t hard and fast rules, but suggestions to make reporting expenses the easiest it can be.

Just doing my expenses. Don’t mind me.

Reporting in Multiple Currencies

Whether your big business trip is across the world with several stops or just over the border, we support the currency you’re using. Expensify works with 159 currencies, worldwide. We convert expenses to your reimbursement currency using the international “market close” rate available from Oanda.com. So rest assured that your pad thai, schnitzel, and tacos will be expensable.

Using ‘Offline Mode’ in the mobile app

If you don’t have a strong cellular data signal, enable ‘Offline Mode’ in your app’s settings menu. This will save battery and any roaming fees associated with international travel. Once you have access to WiFi or a strong, affordable, cellular data signal, simply disable ‘Offline Mode’ to upload all of your accumulated expenses.

Important Note: When ‘Offline Mode’ is enabled, your receipts and expenses are only saved on your Expensify mobile app. This means that if you sign out of the mobile app or uninstall the app while you have unsynced information, you will lose it.

Finish your report on the flight

Once you’ve closed the deal and you’re flying high, on your way home take a minute to finish up your report. Add all your expenses to your report, give it a good once over, tap the submit button and you’re done!

Please let us know if you have any international expense reporting tips to add or if you have any questions about our tips by emailing help@expensify.com.

Curious about what’s happening with your report and when it’s happening? Whether you’re a submitter, approver, or exporter you can find detailed history of your reports actions.

This history is especially useful in a myriad of situations , but we’ve found these to be the most common:

  • Checking the status of your reimbursment: ACH Direct Deposit reimbursement takes between 4-5 business days. If you’ve forgotten when your report’s reimbursement was initiated, you’ll find this information in the report history. Then count the days till you get paid!
  • Tracking your report through its approval workflow: Find out where in your company’s approval workflow your report is. Ex: your manager has approved it, but your accountant has not. (Bother your accountant!)
  • Comments on report submission or rejection: If you need to review and act on comments made on a report when it was submitted or in the case of rejection, they are all documented in the report history.
  • Proof of submission, approval, and reimbursement: Numbers don’t lie! This documentation will help you keep track of dates of important report actions.

While this is our best practices list of uses, don’t feel limited! Feel free to use report history any way you see fit. If you have any questions about report history or any of Expensify’s documentation, give us a shout at help@expensify.com.

QuickBooks is by far the most popular small business accounting software out there and is used by quite a few Expensify users. We wanted to take a moment to outline some best practices for the large constituency of QuickBooks accountants using Expensify.

Best practice #1: Export reports after reimbursing

If your company does reimbursement through Expensify, we recommend exporting reports after they have been reimbursed. This way the information that is reflected is most up-to-date and accurate. Otherwise, you will end up with a bunch of payables in QuickBooks that you will need to go in and manually reconcile.

Best practice #2: Remove any remnants of the Intuit App Center

Expensify used to offer the option to integrate with QuickBooks through the Intuit App Center. We recently discontinued this integration, so it is important to remove any remnants of this from your Expensify account. This includes deleting any secondary logins associated with the app center.

Best practice #3: Deleting and re-adding your connection

Whenever having problems with your QuickBooks connection in Expensify, the first thing to try is always to delete and re-add the connection. Sometimes the Intuit auth-token can timeout, causing the connection to break. In this scenario, simply deleting and re-adding the connection will fix the problem.

Additionally, in the case that there is a real problem, this allows us to identify and remedy any possible issues more quickly. When diagnosing issues in the integration, we need to start with a clean slate provided by readding the connection.

Best practice #4: Use customers/jobs for tags with billable expenses

If your company has billable expenses, you will want to use customers/jobs as tags. Expensify won’t be able to export billable expenses to QuickBooks unless there is a customer/job associated with each expense, so we recommend enabling customers/jobs as tags.

That’s it for today! As always, if you have any questions about anything QuickBooks related, please do shoot us an email at help@expensify.com.

As some of you may know, we here at Expensify go on an offshore trip every year. This trip is a very valuable time for us to re-gel as a team and focus on our plans for world domination the coming 12 months. This time around we’ve decided we’re headed to Thailand. For a closer look at our M.O. on offshores and past trips, check out our Offshore Trips page.

What does this mean for our users?

First (and only), we will not be hosting our live workshops for this month as the time change would make this outrageously inconvenient. We will still be available anytime by email to help with anything and everything Expensify. Please feel free to contact us at help@expensify.com if you have any clarifying questions about our support.

To atone for our lack of workshops, we’ve put together this post denoting how to learn about and use Expensify.

For Individual Users and Employees

  1. Watch a pre-recorded version of our Using Expensify workshop. This demonstrates the basics of adding your expenses, creating reports, and submitting them for approval/reimbursement.
  2. We’ve also put together an overview of what you need to get started with Expensify. You’ll find it here.
  3. Search our robust, detailed Help site for information any outstanding and immediate queries you have about our features.
  4. Didn’t find the answer to your question? Ask us. Email help@expensify.com and we’ll happily clear anything up for you.

For Company Inquiries and Setup

  1. Consult our Upgrade page to choose the plan that is right for you.
  2. Follow our step-by-step Company Setup guide on creating your company expense policy and inviting your users.
  3. Along with our Company Setup help page you’ll find documentation on all of our company features in our Help section.
  4. Curious about trialling Expensify for your company? Check our our How Do You (Trial) Expensify blog post.
  5. For any further questions or clarification, email us at help@expensify.com.

Being the expense-report-savvy individuals that we are, many of our users ask us about the best ways to use Expensify. In response, we’ve decided to post some of our best practices for certain use cases and facets of Expensify.

For business travelers, the general gist is simple: use our mobile apps to complete the vast majority of your expense report while you travel and, if need be, tie up the loose ends at http://www.expensify.com when you get access to a full browser. To illustrate further, here is a walk through of a basic business trip from an expense report viewpoint:

1. Once you receive your flight confirmation email, forward it to receipts@expensify.com.

  • Our Trips feature will automatically recognize your itinerary and load it to your mobile app, reminding you of your flight and also reminding you to begin tracking your expenses.

2. Create a report to organize your expenses:

  • Create your report on the fly once you add an expense by choosing ‘create a new report’ in the expense details screen.
  • Go to the reports page in the app and tap the ‘new’ button to create a new report.

3. For all the expenses you incur along the way:

  • Snap a photo of the receipt with your mobile app and SmartScan it to have Expensify automatically attach the receipt to an expense imported from your connected credit card or bank account.
  • For any driving you do, use the mileage function. Keep track by manually entering mileage or use GPS tracking to make it even simpler.
  • If your company requires it, track time using the ‘time’ button in the app.

(Optional) If your approver is a stickler for perfection, login to www.expensify.com to resolve any outstanding report violations and ensure your report is up to snuff.

3. Finish up your report and submit it on the go:

  • Once all the expenses have been added and you’re satisfied with your report, tap the submit button in the mobile app and you’ve done your part.

Of course, these are just suggestions from the pros; everyone has their own best practices to fit their own process. Email us at help@expensify.com and we’ll be happy to advise you on best practices that fit your particular travel type, reporting rules, or expensing style.

Now go take care of (expense reporting) business like the best of em!

Expensify user Camp Kesem is a college student run summer camp for kids with a parent who has (or has had) cancer. Their one-week sleep away camps are a chance for kids to have a fun-filled week and just be kids.  The student volunteers at their 37 chapters work year-round to plan and implement every aspect of camp – in addition to raising thousands of dollars and developing leadership skills.

I recently had a chance to talk to Rachel Firestone, Camp Kesem’s National Program Director, about how they use Expensify and the benefits it provides for them.

Expensify allows us highly organized oversight of expenses and streamlines our reimbursement process.  Before Expensify, volunteers at our 37 chapters would send us countless emails with receipts and reimbursement information – often with mathematical errors or missing information.  Now it is easy for them to “fill in the blanks” so to speak, to make sure we get all the info we need, plus the totals are summed automatically.  They can even snap a photo of their receipt with the Expensify smartphone app!  Additionally, when we do spot an error, it is easy to reject the report, include our feedback, and have the volunteers resubmit after making any necessary changes.  On top of all of that, our accountant loves the way it interfaces with QuickBooks, making reconciliation a much less daunting task. ~ Rachel Firestone – Camp Kesem National Program Director

Bringing joy into these kid’s lives! Who could have a problem with that?

With so many locations spread out across the country, and a regularly rotating staff, the intuitive systems Expensify can provide offer a large benefit to an organization such as Camp Kesem.

Camp Kesem Kids. Happy to just be kids!

Training is minimal and people are able to get quickly up to speed and spend their time helping kids rather than scratching their heads looking at a computer. We couldn’t be happier to play whatever small part we can in furthering Camp Kesem’s important mission!

I want to thank Rachel and Camp Kesem for agreeing to be featured here in How Do You Expensify.  If you would like to be featured here, or if you have any questions about how Expensify can help to bring this kind of ease in expense reporting to your organization, please feel free to contact us at help@expensify.com at any time. We are always happy to help. And if you have a free moment please take look at Camp Kesem and the great work they are doing across the country!  I think you will be impressed!