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That Guy!

micah —  June 22, 2011 — 5 Comments

It’s a Small World

After working in expense reports for a while, you start to realize that the online financial world can be a little small at times. For instance, you always hear about the same apps, or the same features, or even meet the same people.

But here’s one guy we here at Expensify have become all too familiar with – yet we’ve never met in person! He occasionally pops up to say Hi, but we have yet to have the chance to say Hi back. Let me introduce you then, to That Guy!

Our Story


We met briefly while watching an introductory video to another online expense reporting solution. He didn’t strike any of us as particularly remarkable. If we could have guessed in that first sighting that this wasn’t the last we’d see of him, we’d have honestly been a little nicer.

Our First Date - we were all a little nervous but kinda excited!


The second time we saw each other, there was something about him that I just couldn’t ignore anymore. This feeling of having seen him before was more potent than a deja-vu. I felt not only like we had just met, but that I really knew this guy, even though I couldn’t say from where. In a moment of inspiration, I dug out some archival footage and the realization hit us! We finally re-connected with someone we had long forgotten.

The second date was sweeter than the first.

The second date was sweeter than the first.


By the third time we had grown as close as old buddies. A simple “hey” and a slight nod of the head was all it took for both of us to acknowledge that a deep and mysterious connection had formed.

Third time's the charm! Who knew there were more to come?

Third time's the charm! Who knew there were more to come?


The fourth time was a surprise encounter, seeing as he had jumped out of his natural habitat of online sites and into a new ambience of print magazines. Still, it was like reuniting with a long lost friend. His familiar face was reassuring and comforting, inspiring so much confidence! We were all ecstatic to see him once again.

He really jumped out the fourth time!


Finally, we couldn’t believe our luck when we bumped into him a fifth time. I mean, though we do occasionally browse them for work, it’s not like we’re avid readers of financial sites and magazines. It seemed providential almost.

True Love or Destiny?

Have YOU seen That Guy?

By now, he’s family. We all shout with glee when we see him, and make sure to compliment his snazzy tie or new glasses. Yes, That Guy has been a major influence in our lives, and we hope to one day cross paths again. So if you see him around, don’t be shy and say Hi!

At Expensify we make “expense reports that don’t suck.” Our users are not shy about letting us know how Expensify has completely changed the way companies do (and feel about) expense reports.

Heidi Anderson from Groundspeak met Mich at the Finovate conference. Heidi didn’t hesitate to express her love for Expensify, and she even volunteered to dish out the whole story.

Tell me about your company.

GroundspeakGroundspeak was founded in October 2000 by three guys who were working at a about to dot.bomb. We’re located in Seattle, WA, and are 56 going on 60 (employees). We’re very excited to have been chosen as one of the best companies to work for in Seattle by SeattleMet magazine. Although they don’t list Expensify as one of our key employee benefits, they should!

Tell me about yourself.

I joined Groundspeak in 2007, leaving behind the crazy world of publicly traded companies to be the 19th employee and VP of Finance (and the only member of the Finance/Accounting/HR team). Today I’m the CFO (same job, different title) and we still keep our Finance team pretty small and we have a Director of HR, so things are looking up.

My free time is a little thin right now with all the exciting things happening at the office, but when I have it I dream of surfing in Hawaii and watch HGTV designer shows. (I mentioned I live in Seattle, where it’s cold and grey 10 months of the year?)

What were you using before Expensify?

OMG, where do I start?! Our biggest expense is payroll and we have few regular bills, so we pay most of our ad-hoc expenses with company credit cards. Wrangling receipts from 3 founders, marketing folks and anyone who travels can be exhausting not to mention time consuming. Worse, “discussions” over whether they were never turned in or got “lost” in the accounting in-box (ahem, please don’t put that piece of paper on my desk if you want to see it again) became a dreaded part of month-end close. In addition to the “just put it in the accounting in-box” method of recording and reconciling 12 credit cards each month, we have excel sheets for employee out-of-pocket expenses. When I finally hired an accountant to help, she dreaded that part of month-end close, too.

When did you start using Expensify?

December 2010, when my accountant was about to head out on maternity leave. (She’s finally back on Monday, by the way. Adorable baby girl named Emma)

Tell me about your relationship with Expensify.

Top 10 reasons to love Expensify:

  1. It’s easy! (100% of folks with accounts are using it successfully with no or minimal training)
  2. It’s fun! (yes, I’m a finance geek)
  3. Mobile apps!
  4. Best receipt management ever!
  5. My CEO loves it!
  6. My VPs use it!
  7. Print to pdf includes ALL receipts, a complete, portable package (Complete package of audit support can be saved to our internal finance drive).
  8. Import directly from the bank!
  9. Export to csv (entire month, all employees, in one fell swoop)!
  10. Affordable!

(Too many exclamation marks? I couldn’t help myself.)

What do your co-workers say about it?

They don’t – and that’s the best part about it. We went from a system where all they had to do was drop a receipt in the box, and they were complaining. Now, no complaints, and no comments. Just completed expense reports with no hassle. Awesome. (When people do comment, it’s generally to say they “love it!”.)

Has Expensify made their life easier? Harder? In what ways?

Easier. Everyone loves taking a picture of the receipt at a restaurant, uploading it through the app or forwarding via email, and being able to forget about it.


Thanks again for the opportunity to contribute. Keep up the good work.

Thank you Heidi! It’s always refreshing to listen to peek out of our computer screens and read about real live user adventures.
Want to be featured?

If you’re a satisfied Expensify customer and would like to be featured on our blog, drop us a line and let us know.

How to Sell it To the Man

micah —  May 30, 2011 — 1 Comment

Share the Love

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.

Expensify SWAG

micah —  May 13, 2011 — 1 Comment

As with any cool company, you gotta have some SWAG (or s.w.a.g, which stands for Stuff We All Get, but can also be Stuff With Our Logo, but that makes it SWOL and it doesn’t sound that cool). Since moving into our awesome new office, the Expensify team has been busy putting our logo on anything that will fit it, whether that anything is practically usable or not. Take a look at some custom swag we’ve made.

Expensify's Mighty Mouse Pad

Expensify's Mighty Mouse Pad

Expensify Coasters

Expensify Coasters

Expensify Coasters

Of course we got the whole set.

Expensify Tote Bags

Tote Bags, cause it's cool to be green while promoting your brand

Expensify Phone Booth

Phone Booth, with a laser etched logo on the glass

Expensify laser etched wine glasses

And if you look closely at the stemless wine glass, you'll see our laser etched logo at the bottom

Pro Tip Mondays: No 3G?

micah —  May 9, 2011 — 1 Comment

Don't be frustrated, we've all been without 3G

The best way to upload receipts on the go is to download the Expensify app for your mobile phone and snap a picture of the receipt. Voila – it’s instantly uploaded to your account.

But sometimes you are unable to upload the receipt onto the interwebs. Even hardware gets the blues.

Sometimes 3G is not available on the farm

Do you find yourself stuck without 3G coverage? Are you in San Francisco on ATT? Are you traveling and your data plan is prohibitively expensive abroad? Don’t worry – you can still get your receipt safely uploaded into Expensify.

Simply take a picture of the receipt using your phone’s camera and email it to When you regain an internet or 3G connection all of the queued emails will be sent and we’ll upload any receipts to your account in bulk. Magic!

That's right, just email it in!

I know, it makes me happy too

Stay tuned for more Pro Tip Mondays!

This Wednesday, May 11, marks the end of our current milestone. While we are usually quite active about keeping our users up to date on the latest feature developments, you may have noticed a bit of a silent spell this time around. That’s because the Expensify team has been quite busy getting ready for Finovate, “a two-day showcase of cutting-edge financial and banking technology innovations from leading established companies and hot new startups.”

Finovate Spring 2011We’ll be demoing a super secret feature that’s been slowly simmering in the Expensify kitchen. Rest assured it’s going to be better, bolder, and bigger than anything out there.

As we polish the finishing touches, we wanted to spread the excitement to every person in expense reporting distress, letting them know that we’re there for them. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you might have noticed a giant Expensify billboard on your way into the city. If you don’t live here, you should come check it out.

Pest Control

micah —  February 7, 2011 — Leave a comment


There’s always an inexhaustible list of features, user requests, great ideas, and random goodies we would like to implement at Expensify. However, for the past few weeks we froze 99% of new feature development. Instead, this milestone we took a step back and tackled the most dreaded part of any engineering task: Bugs. That’s right, we voluntarily decided to take on the infinitely scrolling list of alerts, warnings, crashes, plunks, thunks, and uglies — and fix them all.

But why would we take a break from making the product bigger? Because first we wanted to make the product better. We wanted to get rid of all that code that was causing unexpected glitches or unacceptable results. The bugs were just plain annoying, both to us and to our users.

Bugging Around

Bugs come in all shapes and sizes. There were big bugs, little bugs, confusing bugs, convoluted bugs, old bugs, new bugs, obscure bugs, scratch-your-head-and-say-wha? bugs. But we tackled them all. I’ve asked the Engineering team for their thoughts. Here are the highlights from this season:

What was most significant/important/enjoyable bug you fixed this milestone?

The most fun one was moving database checkpointing into a different thread so our systems don’t occasionally halt for a second or two slowing down the site. But, really I imagine the one I’m enjoying most now was probably some trivial thing that reduced the number of my daily alerts from 9182739821731982739821 to just 123098218093.

I fixed the iPhone app from crashing due to low memory.

[Some engineering mumbo-jumbo… in sum, Nate] effectively eliminated the software constraints on the size of PDFs we can make.

Fixing small bugs that made a big difference, and fixing things that never worked in the first place. For example, detecting the file extension when uploading receipts before we try to upload the receipt to the server and make it crash.

How did you feel about this milestone?

[I enjoy the] fewer emails bugging me about junk. I no longer have 500+ emails each morning.

People don’t like things that crash.

I did not enjoy working on high bugs because I am a terrible tester and it would take me a very long time to reproduce many of these errors. However I do like the fact that my ToDo list is much much shorter than it used to be.

Frustration: how do you reproduce something that is not supposed to happen? Relief: our big red bug count on the dashboard is not a number divisible by 100.

Why was this milestone important? What did you get out of it?

[We now get] faster detection of new bugs.

The product has become much more stable as a result of our focus on the bug hunt, and I think this will lay the groundwork for future required levels of excellence. Before, each new high bug was a drop in the bucket. Now it will be more like a gong at a funeral procession.

The code is much cleaner now, so my OCD isn’t triggered everytime I look at it.

Now that our Critical and High Bug count is approaching zero, the Engineering Team is experiencing a mix of feelings. It’s not that we were particularly attached to these bugs, or we’re going to miss them or anything. It’s more of a fresh, clean start feeling, a blend of nervousness and excitement for what comes next. It’s time to stop looking at old code and start creating new one.

May all those bugs rest in peace.