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Expensify Partners with Uber to Bring SmartRides to Business Travelers Worldwide

Traveling Can Suck. SmartRides Don’t.

Traveling can be brutal. Delayed flights, trying to find a cab, fumbling through your phone for your hotel address — it’s all a huge headache. Those headaches are now a thing of the past because Expensify has teamed up with Uber to trade your boarding pass for hotel key with a single tap.

 

So What is It?

Expensify already provides live flight updates for any reservation forwarded to receipts@expensify.com, and creates your expense report along the way. We call this feature “Trips”, and we’re taking it one step further: starting today the Expensify app will detect when you land and have an Uber driver waiting outside baggage claim to escort you straight to your hotel — all prearranged from your itinerary without you even needing to look up the address.  We call it “SmartRides”; the VIP travel experience for everyone, brought to you by Uber and Expensify. 

 

Expensify Uber

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Think This is Magical? We’re Just Getting Started.

As great as SmartRides is, it’s just the beginning of our partnership with Uber. Next up is an expansion of SmartRides to take you to the airport at the start of the trip, and back home after. After that, we’re launching our integration with Uber for Business, which allows companies to centrally pay for their employees’ Uber trips and automatically sync up the receipts. After that we’ll take Realtime Expense Reports out of beta such that expense reports are a thing of the past once and for all, and then… well, you’ll need to just wait and see.

We didn’t just set out to make “expense reports that don’t suck”; we’re aiming for a total reinvention of the expense management space. Call it ambient computing, call it crazy, call it whatever you want.  But we’re doing it, sooner than you might expect, and it’s going to be awesome.

Have you tried SmartRides yet? Let us know what you think!

 

Download the Expensify App and start enjoying SmartRides here:

Download Expensify on the App Store  Download Expensify on Google Play

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!

As part of the Webucator Tips series, we’re excited to share this power tip to current QuickBooks students. Read, share, and drop some knowledge!

When we first meet a potential Expensify user, the first thing we typically ask is, “How do you do your expense reports?” and “What accounting software do you use?”

Okay, so that’s actually two questions, but it’s hard to ask the first question without following up with the second. If you’ve ever had a hand in either, it’s easy to guess that expense reporting and accounting are intricately linked.

Companies use QuickBooks or similar accounting software to track employee expenses and reimburse them, along with their salary, directly from QuickBooks. But with QuickBooks’ less-than-intuitive functionality, it takes time to set up an expense reporting system in the software, and users typically end up entering each expense in manually by typing them up one by one. Do yourself a solid and avoid all that nonsense by integrating Expensify into your QuickBooks accounting! With tons of customization options, bi-directional integration, and flexible policies, you’ll be glad you did.

Customize, Customize, Customize!

Customization

These jeans aren’t for everyone…

Every company has different needs, and that’s why we’re so big on customization. Once users finished compiling an expense report, they can also customize the way a report is exported. For example, reimbursable expenses can be exported automatically as a check and non-reimbursable expenses as a credit card bill. You can take it a step further by customizing the integration if you have needs outside our traditional export method.

Bi-Directional Integration

Bi-directional integration between QBO and Expensify means that you can pull and push all sorts of valuable information from QBO. Sync categories, tags, report fields, and more to make sure everyone is on the same page. Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Flexible Policies

With categories, tags, and other data fields, you have the flexibility to customize your expense report policies for different groups of employees. Create and set any number of rules to any one group and adjust exposure to each policy as needed.

Power Up Your Accounting Capabilities

QuickBooks can be a powerful tool if you know how to use it. In the name of saving time and to avoid any hair pulling, do yourself a favor by integrating your QuickBooks Online with Expensify today. Take it from this guy, it’s worth it.

Need some help with implementation? Feel free to email us at help@expensify.com with your questions!

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!

Drag, Drop and Wow!

cead22 —  July 16, 2014 — 1 Comment

WOW Fridays, internally referred to as “fWOWdays”, are an experiment we just started at Expensify, and the main idea behind it is to allow engineers to devote 20% of their time working on cool projects that improve our customers lives and WOW them at the same time.

You may have heard of other companies doing something similar, but none of them really do it the way we do expense reports, that is, in a way that doesn’t suck. By focusing the 20% time on “Don’t-break-things-Fridays”, and shielding developers from support and other non-critical issues, they can stay in the zone and collaborate with other undistracted developers to build cool things.

This is a brief story of one of the first and probably smallest results of this experiment.

Drag and drop receipts to upload them

Drag to Upload

Drag and Drop Receipts Everywhere

Dragging and dropping receipts on the receipts page is the easier and faster way to import receipts from your computer into your Expensify account. We just enabled this functionality on the whole website, and made it smart enough to attach the imported receipts to expenses and reports automatically when you’re editing them.

Drag and drop receipt on report to attach it

Drag and drop receipts on report to attach it

As a consequence of this, an idea that had been in our designer’s wish list for months resurfaced, I call it “drag to report”. In that sentence, report is a verb, and put in words the idea is that as you drag expenses, a list of reports appears so that you can drop them into one of the reports to add said expenses to it.

The WOW factor

We’re constantly trying to make simple things simpler while saving our users valuable time. In this case it’s only a few seconds, but you’ll see how little savings tend to add up noticeably.

Drag to report expenses

Add 130 seconds (avg. number of expenses on a report * time it takes to SmartScan a receipt from your phone = 13 expenses * 10 seconds/expense = 130 seconds) and you end up with an expense report that don’t suck created and submitted in under 3 minutes.

Happy expensing!

Now that you have Expensify, those Sundays spent crafting crude paper expense reports (with receipts taped to the back) are a thing of the past, and perhaps you’re on the lookout for additional timesavers. I forward my emailed receipts to receipts@expensify.com to get them into my account, which is super convenient. But what if I could take it a step further, and didn’t even have to forward them in the first place? Here’s how to do that using Expensify & IFTTT (If This Then That). First, login to your free IFTTT account and select “Create a Recipe”.

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I used an old family recipe, passed down through many generations

Click “this” and define the first statement (IF I receive an email from auto-confirm@amazon.com).

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Since I use Gmail, I selected it as the channel for the triggering action. Then I entered the email address that’s been emailing me all these receipts. Now it’s time to create the triggered action.

Again, select Gmail from the list of triggers but this time enter the forwarding address and you’re done!

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This recipe sends receipts from Amazon to your Expensify account. With automatic SmartScanning enabled, Expensify will automatically match the receipt to its better half (the corresponding credit card expense). To illustrate, let’s say I make a reimbursable purchase from Amazon using my phone while at lunch. When I log into Expensify later and click on the Amazon expense I’ll see the image above. Receipt already attached and ready to add to a report! Even better, you can use this for any emailed receipt (airlines, rental cars, department stores etc.). If you’d like to use this recipe, here it is. You just saved yourself even more time – now go do something great with it!

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Already matched! SmartScan’s matching magic

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.

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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!