Pro Tip Mondays: Merge Expenses

micah —  May 23, 2011 — 12 Comments

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.

12 responses to Pro Tip Mondays: Merge Expenses

  1. 

    Love it! Works great. However, for some reason the eReceipt copies over the top of my pictured receipt even though that was the one I selected for the merge. Any ideas?

  2. 

    Hi Jay! We’re not aware of any issues with this feature but I’m happy to look into the details for you. Can you email the merchant name and amount for this expense? I’m at jason@expensify.com. Thx!

  3. 

    I’m having the same issue where when merging the selected receipt (when there are two mine and an ereceipt) is not kept as the receipt in the merged expense.

  4. 

    Can you merge from the app? This would be more than helpful as I’m hardly every at my desk.

  5. 

    Unfortunately no. We’re bringing more and more of the web functionality to mobile, but there’s a *lot* there. Thanks for your patience!

  6. 

    Why can’t we merge multiple expenses from a credit card? My CC company has made the decision that for all payments made abroad, 2 lines are provided in the statement: the actual payment (converted into GBP) and a second one for the “non-GBP transaction fee”. My expense to my company needs to be a combination of both!

  7. 

    Wow! This is a great feature. My company requires receipts for the little expenses too so this will help keep it organized. I have also started to immediately import receipts through my phone and discarding the paper copy. Then use the merge feature through my desktop when I get back to the office.

    By far the best program for expense tracking!.

  8. 

    Thanks Rezco for your kind words!

  9. 
    Ernesto Cabrera May 22, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    is it possible to instruct the program to disregard dates for automatic matching credit card report with already existing expenses? the dates are always different since the bank transaction is always later than the actual transaction. Or otherwise, how to import with actual transaction dates?

  10. 

    OK I found the expenses – they were categorized as deleted? I had to undelete them. Why does merging default to delete?

  11. 
    Natalie O'Connor December 16, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Lena,
    Merging should not default to deleting the expenses. Please reach out to help@expensify.com if this is still an issue for you and your team.

  12. 
    Natalie O'Connor December 16, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Ernesto,
    This problem should have been resolved for you. If this is still an issue today, please let us know by writing to help@expensify.com. Thanks!

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