Archives For May 2011

How to Sell it To the Man

micah —  May 30, 2011 — 1 Comment

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So you love Expensify. It makes your life so much easier. You use it everyday to keep track of your expenses, and you’ve even used it to submit reports to your manager. Even your manager loves Expensify! But you’re still wondering how you can get your boss/admin/ceo/accountant/finance dept to adopt Expensify company-wide. While you can always email us to do the work (we’re very persuasive), here are some quick selling points to nudge the powers that be.


Our price is simply unbeatable. Even if that does sound too much like a car salesman, it’s the plain truth. Most online expense reporting products charge between $5 – $10 per user per month, if not more. Expensify bills you $5 per active submitter per month, plus the first two for free. What’s the difference? The “active submitter” part. We only charge you for a user if they actually used the product that month – that is, if they submitted an expense report.
Expensify's Price Can't be Beat

For instance, say you sign up your company of 200 people. At $5/user that’s about $1,000 per month. Whoa there, not all 200 submit expense reports each month, so why would you pay for all 200 of them? If only 20 submit an expense report in a given month, we’ll bill you for only 20 users, because $100 a month is very different than $1,000, and we know that.

Numbers Don't Lie

Numbers Don't Lie

Numbers Don’t Lie

Expensify saves your employees time, money, and effort. Let’s say your salesperson earns 50K per year, which translates to roughly $20/hour. It takes them 20 hours and a lot of frustration to fill out the expense report each month. All right, let’s underestimate it to 10 hours. That’s still $20/hour x10 hours = $200. If it takes them 20 minutes to submit a report with Expensify, that’s $20/hour x 0.3hrs = $6, frustration-free. Talk about savings.

More than Pretty

Expensify’s User Interface is constantly praised for its simplicity and ease of use. Even people who struggle with sending an email can successfully navigate Expensify and submit their reports. There’s no rule that says expense reports have to be ugly.


Forget about that envelope stuffed with receipts that just sits on your desk, and staring at it only fills you with dread. No more endless papercuts as you scramble to find that one report your accountant wants to review. You don’t even have to relearn how to use a fax machine anymore! Receipts, eReceipts, credit cards, reports, reimbursement, all one click away.


organized closet

Make your expenses look like this without the legwork

Everything is archived digitally and securely in the cloud. This means you’ll never lose that report and you’ll never miss getting reimbursed for an expense because you misplaced that receipt. It’s also easier to search for what you need – no more sifting through that bottomless drawer of files for last year’s expense reports. Filter your expenses, receipts, and reports by date, type, category, and a multitude of other parameters.

Prevents Fraud

Dynamically create charts and graphs on the fly to instantly gather conclusive data of your company’s spending habits. Drill down by date range, category, and even by individual submitter. Why are all of your sales guys spending 15,000 but the last guy is dropping 50,000 per year? With a simple glance at the data you’ll quickly find out.

Plays Nice with Others

Does your accounting department use QuickBooks? Awesome, because Expensify connects to your QB account to sync everything back and forth. Perhaps they use another accounting package? That’s cool too – Expensify allows you to export expenses and reports into CSV, the standard spreadsheet file format, which can be easily imported into other software.

Expensify's Mobile apps

Expensify's Mobile App Army

Mobile Apps

The majority of people who struggle with expense reports are traveling. If you have a hard time remembering to pack your toothbrush, how can we expect you to keep track of that ever-growing pile of receipts while you’re on the go? The Expensify team loves to travel too, so we know how important it is to stay on top of your expense reports with the tools available. That’s why your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or Palm or any other smartphone are more than enought to keep you afloat while you’re away from home.

Legendary Customer Service

Try emailing any other “online expense reporting solution” with your issues, and note the average response time. If it hovers anywhere near 24 hrs (sometimes even 15 minutes), then we’ve got some competition. Otherwise, it’s a no-brainer.

Receipt Scanning

The newest of Expensify’s features made its debut just a short while ago, and it has already proven to be indispensable for many expense reporting warriors. Nothing else even comes close to the fully integrated receipt scanning, expense management, and expense reporting app we have to offer.

Simply Makes Everyone’s Life Better

Whether your company is using online competitor X for their expense reporting, or scotch taping receipts and faxing them out to the accounting department, let them know that Expensify is out there to make expense reports that don’t suck.

Update: This position has been filled. Thanks for all your help!

We’re pretty excited about our rad office, but it takes some upkeep. Are you man (or woman) enough for the job? Specifically, we need someone to do as much of the following as possible (in order of priority):

  1. Come in the mornings and generally tidy up.  Erase the whiteboards, take the dishes out of the dishwasher, water the flowers, pick up any random items on the floors/surfaces and put them somewhere better, etc.  The cleaning crew does the basics, but they still leave the office in a bit more of a mess than I’d like.
  2. Keep the pantry stocked.  This means doing a weekly inventory to figure out what we have, what people are eating/drinking, ordering more of that, ordering less of what isn’t being used, polling the team to figure out what new things to add, being here to receive the delivery when it comes, stocking the shelves/fridges, etc.
  3. Be the gatekeeper for engineering applicants, ensuring that they’ve correctly filled out the questions, neatly entering their data into our candidate database, letting me know when they’re ready for evaluation, setting up in-person interview travel arrangements, handling hiring paperwork, etc.
  4. Ensuring our job posts are fresh on all the free and paid job boards.
  5. Generally being on hand to do whatever, whenever.

It’s not a particularly “difficult” job in the sense that there are no special skills required.  The only real showstopper qualifications are:

  • Can be reliably in our San Francisco office at the corner of Sutter and Market before 10am, Monday through Friday
  • Is generally web savvy
  • Has a credit card (you’ll occasionally need to buy things on behalf of the company and get reimbursed)
  • Is at least 21
  • Will work a 50 hour workweek without complaint
  • Is a sufficiently non-picky eater to join us for lunch on most days (we go someplace different every day, and the company reimburses you)
  • Can remain productive in a boisterous environment, with a diverse crew and soundtrack
  • Is super chill and easy to work with.

But that’s such a low bar to jump that it’s an especially hard position to fill.  After all, how do you screen candidates when almost everybody is qualified? Normally we ask a bunch of essay questions, but this time I’m going to do something a little different. This time, to apply for this position:

  • Record a 1 Min Video:  It honestly doesn’t matter about what.  There are very few “hard skills” required to do this job, so we’re just looking for personality.  We’re not looking for a master plant-waterer or anything.  We just want someone cool to hang with, who we can trust will do the work — day in and day out — with minimal drama and maximum friendliness.  Some suggestions:
    • Would you rather have the superpower of invisibility, flying, or mind-reading, and why?
    • What is your favorite beverage, and what is the ideal environment in which to drink it?
    • What was your most disastrous first date?
    • What is the most painful expense report you’ve ever filed?
  • Upload it to YouTube.  Or Vimeo, or Facebook, or anywhere you like to get your video fix.  Test the link to make sure it’ll work when we click it. (Hint: send it to someone else, or use Google Chrome’s “Incognito Window” to verify it works for more than just you.)
  • Send it.  Tweet it to @expensify (follow us so I can DM you back) or email it to, along with a resume or anything else you’d like to include.

That’s all.  If you follow the above instructions, I promise we’ll respond.  Hopefully in a timely manner, but definitely sometime.   Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Among the many useful little features we’ve been rolling out, a small but significant one is Merge. It’s one of my favorites, because it turns a major frustration – merging duplicate expenses – into a painless process.

To merge two expenses, simply select them in the table and click the “merge” button.

Merge expenses by selecting two from the table

Merge expenses by selecting two from the table

You’ll then enter the Merge Dialog. Merge is super smart – it automatically chooses the best-guess option for you. For example, if one expense has a receipt, and the other doesn’t, it will pre-select the receipt. If one is Uncategorized and the other has a category, it will choose the category for you. Also, fields that are identical are non-editable to avoid confusion. So most of the time, my merge options are already pre-selected, and all I have to do is look it over and click save.

The Mighty Merge Dialog

The Mighty Merge Dialog

When does Merge come in handy?

  • Now that we’ve introduced receipt scanning, Merge becomes extra nifty. Sometimes you scan a receipt and it fails to associate to a credit card expense; rather a new cash expense is created instead. This can happen when the merchant on the receipt doesn’t match the one on the credit card statement (for instance, I often get coffee at Stable Cafe, but the merchant name appears as “Mission Creek Kitchen” which doesn’t match the receipt).
  • On occasion it’s actually better to have the receipt instantly scanned to create a separate cash expense, and then to merge it with the credit card expense. This is because the merchant names on credit cards can be garbled, so if you create a brand new expense from the receipt you don’t have to clean up “S*bucksSF393902” as “Starbucks” each time. Moreover, the posting date, that is, the date the bank gives us for this transaction, is usually different from the actual purchase date, and if the receipt is scanned as cash it will display the correct purchase date. Merging the cash expense and the credit card expense will keep the imported credit data intact while tidying up all the details.
  • Sometimes the bank takes a few extra days to give us your transactions, and in the meantime you’ve created a cash expense and attached the receipt to it. You also went ahead and categorized and tagged it accordingly, so as not to forget to expense that. When the credit card transaction comes in, you don’t want to go through the hassle of re-categorizing and re-tagging the new expense, detaching and re-attaching the receipt to it, and then deleting the leftover expense. Simply merge them and skip all those extra steps.

So even if you don’t have duplicate expenses, go ahead and merge just to experience the fun.

Awesome people have more fun working than most pople have playing. It’s because they work hard on things they care about, with people who share their passions. They kill bugs like others catapult birds. They don’t need sudoku because they have SQL. Hard work is naturally fun work, if you’re in the right environment, with the right people.

But work-fun is very different than play-fun, and as surprising as it might sound, when you’re so busy with the former you sometimes forget the latter. If that sounds familiar, my suggestion to you is: Don’t forget to have fun. Play-fun. Schedule it in. Take advantage of it when the opportunity arises. Set aside the deadline for a moment and go do sommething stupid. Your compiler can wait, but once those moments are gone, they’re gone.

This mantra occurred to me recently upon learning of our billboard. Getting a billboard is a long, painful, and expensive process. We debated it forever, discarded countless concepts, payed an enormous deposit… and then forgot about it and got back to work. But then one day, we heard rumor that it was there — and we were having lunch only a few blocks away! We had huge deadlines looming before us and couldn’t reasonably spare the time for a field trip. But you don’t get a second chance at seeing your startup’s first billboard. This is what it was like for us:

Expense reports that don't suck

David Barrett, CEO of Expensify Expense reports that don't suck Expense reports that don't suck

It’s a little thing, perhaps. But I’m glad I was there when we saw our first billboard for the first time. It’s one of those opportunities that only comes once. Don’t forget to have fun, and you won’t ever forget it.

This world weary traveler is just daydreaming of ways to make your expense reports that much better.

Name: Tom Jacobs

Alter Egos, if any: DJ Hats Magee

Hometown: Wye River, Victoria, Australia

Expensify Job Title/Role: Mobile & Integrations

When did you start working for Expensify? July 2009

What is the most exciting project you’ve completed so far for Expensify? Flipping the site upside down

When you’re not fine-tuning expense reports that don’t suck, what projects do you work on in your off-time? My other business, “Vacuum cleaners that don’t suck”, which didn’t work out so well.

Even Tom has to cycle away from that joke as fast as he can.

(From the Proust Questionnaire)

What is your greatest fear? Fear itself, and also birds pooping on me.

What is your favorite journey? Any trip involving a stop at “the centre of the earth”.

On what occasion do you lie? Only while taking a lie detector.

Which words or phrases do you over-use? “Cowabungtastic”. Used it there for the first time, now it has been used too many times.

What do you most value in your friends? Their ability to keep a straight face when I exclaim “Cowabungtastic”.

Let’s say you start using Expensify with you personal email address. Then your boss wants in on it too, and before you know it your whole company has been signed up. That’s great! Except you were invited through your work email address, so now you have two Expensify accounts, both containing valuable data. But it’s really a pain to keep track of two accounts.

To resolve this conundrum simply merge both accounts, or rather, merge one account into the other. In this case, you’d probably want to keep your work email as the primary login, and you want to merge your personal account into that one.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sign in with the account you want to keep using
  2. Go to Settings, and scroll down to Merge Accounts section
  3. Enter the email and password of the account you wish to merge with
  4. Click the merge accounts button. Be careful, this step is not reversible!

merge two Expensify accounts

That’s it. We’ll bring in all of the reports, imported cards, secondary logins, and other settings from the account you are merging from to the account you are currently logged into.

This is Mich signing off after another grueling Pro Tips session. Come back next week!