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.
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.
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.