Want to find the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants, food trucks, and local chefs in your community and have it catered in your office? Discover the best food around with Cater2.me, this week’s Expensifier of the Week. Cater2.me discovers and partners with amazing local hot spots in your city to bring that unique experience directly into your office.cater2me logo

The X Factor

Cater2.me works with hundreds of taste-tested local food vendors — farmers market purveyors, food trucks, chef-owned restaurants and boutique caterers — to feed offices awesome meals. As of September 2014, they’ve served over five million meals.

Multi-Market Expense Reporting? Check.

The ever-growing Cater2.me team

The ever-growing Cater2.me team

With hubs in San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, and Austin, and recent launches in Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, and Houston, the Cater2.me team has grown significantly since they launched in 2010.

As a result of growing so much, they needed an expense reporting solution that would integrate seamlessly with their software for their multi-market team.

With Expensify, the Cater2.me team was excited to toss their expense sheets and begin using something more dynamic. There were multiple features everyone was excited about, but the mobile app takes the cake.

Expenses on the go? Sign us up!

The Final Word

“Expensify has allowed us to streamline a very boring and tedious task, submitting expense reports, into something quick and easy,”says Finance Manager Sandeep Sankarankutty. “As a result, we can easily manage expense at-a-glance (no more long hours of review!) and a happier finance team. The number of late expense reports has plummetted. We would recommend Expensify in a blink of an eye.”

Want to test us out? Learn more about how we can make your expense reports suck less and give us a try!

This post was first written for my website – you can find the original post here.

We’ve talked about open-sourcing some of our tools for a while, but talking and doing are different things. Having a small team developing an awesome service means we’re constantly busy and behind on many of our tasks, making it difficult to dedicate time for things that seem “less valuable”. As a result, I decided to set aside some time in the last few weeks to do this project and just get it done.

Here are few scattered thoughts around open sourcing our Segmented Control widget.

Where To Start

Creating an open source project can be very overwhelming, or at least it was for me.

You start worrying about if people will like it, use it, improve it; whether the company will appreciate it, support it, and develop it. Then you bring other projects into your thoughts and how they have beautiful landing pages and thorough documentation, an incredible automated test suite, contributors, and a community. You then wonder whether your project will be good enough to be open source and that doubt translates into postponing or even dropping the whole thing.

Needless to say this train of thought takes you nowhere.

With that in mind, we decided to start small. Like really small. I took it upon myself to prepare for open source primetime a jQuery UI widget that we’ve been using on Expensify’s web application for a year and change that is very small, very simple, very clean, and works very well.

And So It Began

As previously mentioned, the project is called Segmented Control. It is a UI control for the web that works similar to radio buttons in the sense that it allows users to select one value out of a (usually small) set of values. A project page is worth a thousand words, check it out.

I started with a quick cleanup of the code that included fixing some whitespace, removing underscore as a dependency, and adding some validation.

Then came the tests, and with it came setting up the repo with the JS dependencies, researching mocha, chai, npm, and bower.

I decided I didn’t want to run the test in the browser, which unveiled the trickiest part with relation to the automated tests: how to write tests for a jQuery UI widget that can run using node. Luckily, I stumbled into this Protip on Coderwall and learned about how jsdom could be used to create the widget, emulate clicks on the control, etc.

Finally, I created the project page, pushed it to Github and released it to the world.

Before You Go

This was a very interesting exercise, regardless of how small the project was. I found many challenges along the way, one of which was documenting the process in a blog post. I hope this first small step will pave the way for more involvement from Expensify in the open source community, and encourage a wider group of candidates to join our team.

I’d like to encourage everyone that has thought about open sourcing a piece of software, but found it overwhelming, to start, even with a very small project like ours.

Lastly, I’d also like to give a quick shout-out to Giorgio, the original developer of the widget.

Interested in learning more about us or getting involved in the open source project? Drop us a line!

myths about great leaders expensify

To be a great leader, you can’t just put on a mask…

So much reading on the internet today revolves around what makes a good leader, what characteristics a good leader has, and ultimately, how to be a good leader.  What we forget is that leaders are inherently part of a team, and without a team of supporters, leaders don’t exist.  A true leader relies on his or her peers and surroundings to help be the most effective they can be.  Bulldoze over these myths and avoid common misconceptions when trying to identify the leaders at your organization.  You’ll be glad you did.

Myth #1: Leaders are Assigned By Management

As much as they might like to think that’s the case, in practice leaders are nominated by peers, not selected by management.  Accordingly, you don’t need anybody’s permission to become a leader — just start leading.  You’ll know it’s working when people follow.  A good company aligns top-down management with bottom-up leadership, and thus will recognize your leadership and promote you for it.

Myth #2: Great Leaders are Larger Than Life Personalities

While there are obviously some clear examples of that (e.g. Steve Jobs), there’s many who would argue that he succeeded despite his personality, not because of it.  Rather, it’s generally accepted that the best leaders quietly enable others to be their best, rather than driving everybody toward the leader‘s own vision.  Perhaps the earliest recognition of this is in the Tao Te Ching:
The Master doesn’t talk, he acts.
When his work is done,
the people say, “Amazing:
we did it, all by ourselves!”

Myth #3: Leaders are Born, Not Made

I think this fallacy is more damaging than any other.  Leadership is a series of learnable skills — mostly around effective listening, communication, and an empathetic creativity to truly seek out and understand another person’s position, even if it’s not very clear to them.  Ultimately, leadership is the end result of anybody seeking to increase their (hopefully positive) impact on the world beyond what they can achieve themselves.

Whether you’re an aspiring leader or searching for the right person to lead your team, keep these common myths in mind so as to find a leader that truly does what he or she is intended to do: lead.

Want to work in an environment that encourages personal growth and leadership development? Check us out – we’re hiring web and mobile engineers!

If there’s one thing we love at Expensify more than Lemony, it’s our community of users. From independent contractors to not-for-profits to established startups and companies, we have some of the coolest users in the world. Starting today, we’ll be highlighting some of them in our weekly series, Expensifier of the Week.

Kicking off the series is…. *Drum roll*

Couchsurfing logo

Love to travel and on a budget? This week we’re profiling Couchsurfing, a global travel network connecting travelers with local hosts in over 120,000 cities worldwide. Read their story, see how they Expensify, and if you’re feeling adventurous, try them out on your next jet-set adventure!

The Couchsurfing Team

The amazing Couchsurfing team

Hold up, hold up: What is Couchsurfing?

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, couchsurfing is the fun, affordable way to travel. Couchsurfing makes it possible to travel anywhere in the world – like a local. It’s a global travel network connecting 10 million members in over 120,000 cities. Couchsurfers host each other in their homes, exploring the world while sharing their lives, their homes and their journeys. They also create millions of activities each week to meet up with like-minded travelers at home or on the road. 

“Couchsurfing members believe in a world made better by travel and travel made richer by connection,” says Kate Totten, Operations Manager at Couchsurfing. “They find adventure in the discovery of new friends and experiences, as well as miles traveled.”

It’s Not Just Couches We Surf On….

Couchsurfers don’t stick to couches or guest bedrooms – they also boat-surf in Hawaii, cave-surf in Jordan and yurt-surf in Mongolia. They come from every age and background, traveling and hosting as families, seniors, and students from the woods of New South Wales to the far north of Norway.

Even Couchsurfers Need to Report Expenses…

Kate Totten, Operations Manager at Couchsurfing

Kate Totten, Operations Manager at Couchsurfing and Expensifier We Love

Before Couchsurfing started using Expensify, employees would fill out expense reports on an Excel spreadsheet which were then emailed to an approving supervisor. When this process became too tedious, the company decided to look for other solutions.

“We had heard great things about [Expensify] from other companies, so we decided to try them out, says Totten. “After using them for a bit, I was surprised to find that for the first time, I didn’t dread doing expense reports.” Making people not hate expense reports, that’s definitely a win for us!

Totten continues, “Expensify was so easy to use that I stopped waiting until the last minute to do reports and instead would get to them right away. Expensify’s best feature is the ability to just take a picture of a receipt and upload it via the app in seconds. You never have to use the scanner again!”

Last Words of Wisdom

“The top benefit of Expensify is usability. It takes very little time to set up, and the user experience is so seamless and intuitive that employees jump right into it. They have no complaints with integrating Expensify into their everyday work lives,” says Totten. “I would absolutely recommend Expensify to other companies. It takes all the hassle out of expenses for both employees and managers.”

Want to test us out and not dread your next expense report? Love Expensify and want to be featured on our weekly series? Leave us a comment or email joanie@expensify.com!

David Barrett Travel Expensify

With the faithful sidekick, Lemony, of course! Photo by Robert Chen

Every year, I spend 1-2 months overseas, with probably a trip every month in between. In the last four weeks alone, I spoke at conferences in Norway and Tunisia, before heading to Portugal with the team for our 2014 Offshore. Currently, I’m writing this on a 30-hour journey from Portugal to SFO — which due to the miracle of timezones, happens in a mere 16 hours.

With all this movement, you can say that I’ve had my fair share of both delightful and horrifying experiences in business travel. Along the way, I’ve developed some core nuggets of knowledge that I live by, and I’m passing them along to the next travel-savvy entrepreneur (aka YOU). 

1) Pack Light

Obvious advice, but I mean, really light.  Buy the smallest suitcase you can — if it has wheels, it’s too big.  I travel with a bag slightly larger than a tennis racquet case.  Aim to travel light enough that you can carry everything with you at all times — to the conference, to dinner, to the meetings, everywhere.  It’s a business trip after all, and to make the most of it you need to be out shaking hands, not ferrying back and forth to your hotel room.

2) Get a Spare Battery

I carry a ChugPlug for my MacBook Air and USB charger for my phone, both of which I use them all the time.  Even if there are outlets where you’re going (and why take that chance?), it’s never cool to fumble with cords at the start and end of a meeting, or be stuck huddled around a conference’s lone “charging station”.  The technology to go cordless exists and is readily available, so enjoy it!

3) Use Modern Tools

We are living in a golden era of great services for business travelers, such as Clear for skipping security lines, Uber for getting where you need to go, Expensify for scanning receipts and managing your itinerary, Airbnb for feeling like home while on the road, Gogo wireless for staying connected in the air, etc.  Make a point to really give them a shot, even if it means developing new habits to go with them.

4) Learn Four Key Phrases

You don't need to go all out, just learn a few key phrases

You don’t need to go all out, just learn a few key phrases

Wherever you go, learn how to say “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me”, and “one”.  If you’ve got those down, you can say “Excuse me, one cappuccino please? Thank you!”  It’s not at all productive because odds are they speak your language far better than you speak theirs, but there’s something very satisfying about having a full interaction in another language — even if it’s as insignificant as ordering coffee.

5) Treat Yourself

Even on the best of days, business travel pretty much sucks.  It’s a strange combination of incredible stress: discovering your flight is delayed and you must sit in an uncomfortable chair for hours, awaiting the privilege of sitting in a different uncomfortable chair for hours more, followed by a sterile hotel in a town you don’t have time to explore, a single long-shot meeting that will probably amount to nothing, and then the whole thing over in reverse.  It’s not a fundamentally glamorous endeavor, so take your luxuries where you can.  Even if it’s just you, go to a steak house and order a nice bottle of wine.  Splurge for an overpriced movie.  Go down to the lobby bar for a nightcap and order top shelf.  You deserve it.

Have you tried any of these tips yourself? Want to share some advice or fun stories from your travels? Write to us in the comments below!

You just started your new job and you want to make a good impression.  You’ve been working at the same job for years and want more responsibility.  In either case, how do you step up your game and make a difference?  What can you do to get yourself noticed?

Set a Goal

Not a career goal, a life goal.  A goal so big you likely can’t ever fully realize it even with a lifetime of effort, but something you genuinely want to devote your life to trying.  Figure out how to make your current role into a powerful stepping stone on the long and often murky path to however you personally define success.

The bigger your goal and the more you can align your position to achieve it, the more naturally motivated you will be to work hard, resist distraction, and keep finding ways to move forward even when everyone else would have given up.  This will all have an immediately noticeable impact on your job performance even if you keep it secret.  But, if your boss is any good, his or her goal is to help you succeed in your life’s ambition. So, do them a favor and figure out what that is and then tell them so they can help steer your career in that direction.

Be a Force Multiplier

There is no such thing as a long-term career path that involves you remaining as an individual contributor forever.  The most important skills you will ever develop involve collaborating with those around you to achieve more as a team than the sum of what you can each achieve alone.
  1. Be the person that keeps the meeting focused on the topic at hand.  Write down decisions as they happen, and email them out when done — along with a photo of the whiteboard.
  2. Master the art of being able to argue both sides of the topic to the satisfaction of all involved, demonstrating you are making a real effort to remain objective in your recommendations.
  3. Speak up for the silent majority whenever you see a vocal minority hijacking the discussion or taking it in unproductive directions.  Don’t ask permission or wait to be told, just start doing it.  Your boss will definitely notice.

Be a Carbon Fuel Rod

Keep calm and be awesome

You heard right.

When everybody else is dramatically melting down around you in the heat of the moment, be the one who absorbs and neutralizes the anxiety of your peers, rather than reflecting and magnifying it.  Separate the smoke from the fire and get everybody calmly focused on proactive, realistic solutions.  Remind people forcefully about the many supposed problems that don’t actually exist.  A huge amount of your boss’s time is spent unwinding needless anxiety from unnecessarily high amounts of workplace drama, and your help here will be extremely appreciated.

Employers are looking for the best of the best, and those people tend to exude ambition, collaboration, and focus.  Stepping up and helping your boss is a surefire way to make the case that yes, you are the one they need and can’t live without. At Expensify, we love it when candidates exhibit any, if not all, of these traits because honestly, there is so much to do and we just need to Get Shit Done.
Interested in our GSD mentality? We’re hiring! Drop us a note and get in touch or email jobs@expensify.com.

It’s that time of year again – the team is working hard from Portugal on the offshore and if history has taught us anything, that means it’s time for the design department to bring you a lil’ visual refresh. This time around, we’ve tackled the way we display tables, including a revamped Expenses and Reports list, and we’ve given our Approval Mode selector a complete makeover too.

Old Expenses Table

Out with the old…

New Expenses Table

…and in with dat new new.

Let’s Start With The Tables

We’ve made some pretty significant strides in the past couple of years in terms of our UI, but the expenses list and reports list haven’t really changed much. We wanted to not only make the tables easier to read and look at for users, but also to make them easier to style and control for our engineers as well. Rather than bloating our base table class, we’ve now got a whole slew of helper classes to keep our CSS much cleaner. Semantically, it’s now easier for engineers to pass these helper classes through to the table object to add certain effects to the table such as draggability, hoverability, selectability, and more.

The reports list got a lot of love too, making it easier for admins and employees alike to scan through reports regardless of the length of report titles, email addresses, and policy names. Colored borders on each row help communicate the report status, and new report type icons make it clear that you are looking at a report or an invoice (and down the road – a trip and more!).

New reports list.

The new reports list.

New report table.

Tables in reports need love, too.

What Up, New Approval Mode Selector

From our support agents, we realized that a number of users were confused about how to change the default Approval Mode in a policy. It wasn’t obvious that there were a number of options to choose from, or even how to choose another option in the first place. To solve this, we made a much more visual selector that clearly shows which option you have enabled, and which options you have to choose from.

Old approval mode selector

How do I change approval modes…?

New approval mode selector

There we go.

We hope you like the new changes, and we’re always open to hearing your feedback! If improving a product that millions of people use to make their life easier is your cup of tea, then head over to our jobs page because we’re hiring too.