Archives For April 2012

The people section of your company expense policy can sometimes be confusing to set up. In this blog post, I will go over what the various fields mean as well as a few examples of how your people section can be set up.

Email: everyone is designated in Expensify by their email address.

Submits to: This is who the expense reports will be first submitted to. Employees who don’t approve expense reports will only have their “submits to” field filled (no one in their “forwards to” field).

Forwards to: Only approvers will have their “forwards to” line filled. This line designates who expense reports should be forwarded to for further approval.

Admin: Being an admin of an expense policy gives you the ability to change policy settings, add/remove people to the policy, and view any report that has been submitted within the policy.

The following are examples of how this will look when set up correctly.

Example 1:

For this example we will say that there are 3 groups of people involved in the company.

Employees only submit expense reports; they have no approving powers. Their expense reports are submitted to their manager who forwards them on for further approval. Employees have their manager in the “submits to” field and no one in their “forwards to” field.

Managers approve employee expense reports and submit reports of their own. They forward the reports they receive to accounting after approval and send their own personal expense reports directly to accounting as well. They have accounting in both their “submits to” and “forwards to” fields.

Accounting does not submit any expense reports. They receive all expense reports. For accounting we will go ahead and put accounting in the “submits to” field because they will not be submitting expense reports to anyone. Accounting will have no one in their “forwards to” field because they are the final approver (they don’t forward reports to anyone).

Example 2:

In this example we will still have 3 groups of people. The only difference is that instead of having managers submit their own personal expense reports directly to accounting, they are submitted to another manager for first approval and then forwarded to accounting.

In this case the Manager 1’s “submits to” field will have Manager 2. Everything else will stay the same.

If you have any questions about setting up your approval workflow please feel free to contact us at!

Just a quick update to let you know full mobile expense reporting is now available on all platforms — iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. Plus, we’re releasing updates fast and furious (new iOS update today!) in preparation for a very, very significant upgrade happening on May 8th. I think you’re going to really like it, thanks for your patience!

Founder and CEO of Expensify
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PS: Incidentally, we’ve removed business card scanning from the mobile apps: if you’ve used the feature, please go to and click “export to CSV” to download your data. It was a cool feature, but a bit out of our scope and not widely used. In the interest of keeping a simple, tight, and focused product, we opted to remove it. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Do you use our iPhone app?

If so, then we have big news for you. You might be aware that we have another iPhone app in the App Store – “Expensify Lite”. Today, we’re renaming this Expensify Lite app to be just “Expensify” – because it’s now our main iPhone app.

If you use our old tab-based iPhone app, we recommend downloading this new Expensify app. Just go to the App Store on your iPhone, search for “Expensify”, and install. It does everything the old app does, plus a bunch more things like mileage, and receipt reporting + commenting on upload.

Our old iPhone/iPad app is now called “Expensify for iPad”.

So now the apps are called:


Expensify for iPad

The old tab-based app will remain as our iPad app until we add iPad support to our new app, at which point we’ll upgrade the old app to be the new one. So in a few months both listings in the App Store will be our new app, but you can jump over to the new app right now by downloading “Expensify” today.


Q: Why rewrite the app?

A: The new app was designed to streamline what we realized were by far the most common actions: scanning receipts and logging expenses while on the road.  It still does everything the old app does, along with a whole lot more.

Q: Why the new look?

A: Visual design is a tricky topic.  The main reason it looks so different is because the new app is built atop a cross-platform layer — it still uses native iPhone controls (and thus still has native performance), but doesn’t necessarily obey all the iPhone conventions.  The upside is it is more similar to our website and more consistent across platforms, at the downside of not feeling optimized for any platform in particular.  We’ll be adding in more platform-specific flair over time, but right now the feedback we’ve received has overwhelmingly encouraged us to just focus on getting the functionality right first.