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Looking back on the year, one of our major accomplishments in 2011 was releasing SmartScanning – the option to have our system pick out the details of an expense from the image of its receipt. Many of you jumped right on board and started feeding our app with your receipts, sharing the goodness with your friends. Towards the end of the year, we reached a critical mass and made SmartScanning completely free until 2012 to really put our system to the test.

Expensify's Mobile and Web based receipt scanning

Now, after processing hundreds of thousands of SmartScanned images, we have learned a lot and fixed mistakes that couldn’t have otherwise been predicted.  As we continue to learn and find ways to improve, changes like increasing accuracy, and decreasing scanning time will make their way in to the system.  Some of the planned changes though are forward facing and more immediate:

  • More free! Many of you have just a few receipts to deal with every month and there’s no good reason for us to hobble you just to eek out a few extra pennies. Instead of giving each account 10 free SmartScans, we now replenish them and give each account 10 free SmartScans each and every month!
  • End of month billing. Just like your utilities, your phone and most any other usage based service, it makes sense to receive a total for all of your activity at the end of the month. Any receipts which are SmartScanned above the free monthly quota will now be billed to you at the end of the month.

With these changes on the horizon, the high level pitch and functionality remain the same: SmartScanning will take any uploaded receipt and pick out the date, merchant and purchase amount from the image.  The SmartScanned information is used to create a line item expense entry for that receipt, or to attach it to a matching credit card purchase.  Any SmartScans used above the free monthly quota will be billed at only 20¢ each at the end of the month.  Learn more about SmartScans.

Happy Scanning in 2012!

While the IRS normally updates mileage rates once at the beginning of a year, rising gas prices have had enough of an impact for them to reconsider.  Starting July 1st and lasting until the end of the 2011 year on December 31st, any use of a vehicle for business will allow you a deductible of $0.555 per mile driven.

All new Expensify accounts created after the mileage rate change takes effect will already be updated with the new rate.  For everyone with an existing account we ask you to please update your rate by going to the Settings -> Preferences page and clicking [change] next to your miles unit.

The reason we don’t update all past accounts automatically is because we’ve found that a great many of you are using a rate set by your company or a source other than the IRS.

Read more about what prompted the mileage rate change on the IRS press release.

Invited to speak at this year’s AlwaysOn OnMobile event, David Barrett, CEO of Expensify, took a somewhat non-traditional approach to talking with the crowd.  While others part of the CEO showcase stood up to show off the latest tools built by their engineers or to offer predictions for the future, David took a step back to reflect on the past and growing trend of employee empowerment.


Instead of pitching the app to a crowd of rapt listeners, because “we’ll sign up more people today through natural or viral methods than there are people in this room,” David instead presented his views on the consumerization of I.T. and how this trend has allowed Expensify to grow and prosper.  In keeping with being a disruptor, the talk progressed to focus on what this means for larger, established companies and how fledgling start ups could adapt to build their own, cost free, sales force inside of the organizations they want to attract.

We’re using the stage Finovate Spring today to announce automatic receipt scanning and credit card association, along with self-tuning expense categorization that learns from user behavior. Check out what our official press release has to say:

“Expensify has been storing receipt images for a while, and recently received our one-millionth uploaded receipt,” says David Barrett, Founder and CEO of Expensify. “But we’re only just now starting to actively process those images to track and report expenses without any typing.”

With this new feature, receipt images are scanned upon upload such that the merchant name, sales date, and purchase amount are automatically read from the receipt image without any user interaction. Additionally, receipts that correspond to purchases on a credit card imported into Expensify are automatically associated with the matching expense. Finally, the category of the expense is automatically derived from information in the expense and past activity by the user.

“There are some services big and small that provide elements of this new feature,” adds David. “But only Expensify offers end-to-end expense report automation by combining receipt scanning, credit-card association, and self-tuning categorization.”

This new feature will be fully compatible with all past uploaded receipts, whether through Expensify’s iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or webOS applications; sent to; or uploaded through a web browser at

Learn more about receipt scanning!

Just about everyone at Kynetx Impact is looking to spread the good word and encourage the use of APIs. While developing an API can be a viable option, the assumption behind their rampant production is that an API will help the developer reap some sort of great success. Our very own David Barrett has a different story to tell.

Like everyone, we built out our API with the hope that a bunch of people would integrate, but in fact three things happened:

1) Very few people cared to integrate.  Instead, the biggest user of the Expensify API is still Expensify.

2) The vast majority of those people who did integrate never did anything with it.  They applied, they talked with our engineering team — in a sense, we paid the entire “cost” of integrating with them, even though they never actually ended up launching anything.

3) Those tiny few people who did actually launch something significant never actually produced any value for us.  We had high hopes on both sides that joint customers would see all this combined benefit, but in practice very few did.

Hear David speak and find out the full story of the Expensify API at the Kynetx Impact conference – he’ll be speaking on Wednesday at 11 in room 300. Come one, come all!

Each year the IRS updates the reimbursable mileage rate for business travel to reflect the costs for operating a vehicle. With prices going up, you are now able to claim $0.51 per mile travelled in 2011. Check out the full details on the rate change at

Missed logging a few trips this past year? We’ve got plenty of ways for you to make up for it this year!

Log mileage…

  • From your phone!

    Get any of our mobile apps and log your travel by entering in miles as the merchant and how far you drove as the amount.

  • With an email!

    Add how far you traveled and the word miles to the subject line of an email and shoot it off to

  • With a map!

    Create a new mileage expense directly from our site and click to show the map – enter in your start, end and any points in between to recreate a visual receipt for your travel.

However you choose to log your miles, we’ll make sure they’re converted to the rate you specify on the preferences tab of your settings page. For everyone still working on your 2010 expenses – make sure to update the mileage rate for the new year once you’re done!

Doing business in places others haven’t heard of? While we may not know where you are either, rest assured that we’ve got your expense needs covered – your purchases can now be recorded in any of 159 currencies.

Any expense in a foreign currency will automatically be converted to your home currency once added to a report. We use Oanda, the touchstone foreign exchange rate calculator used by corporations, tax authorities, auditing firms, and financial institutions worldwide, to do the currency conversion based on the day’s exchange rate when the expense was incurred. Check out the full list of supported foreign currencies on our currency conversion help page.

A lot of you have been asking for a way to pay for all of your employees use of the app from one account, regardless of who is approving their expense reports. In keeping with making things a little better each and every day, we’ve just released centralized billing which lets you do just that.  At the end of each month, we’ll charge the billing card associated with your account for the active users from each expense policy that you own.

Wondering how centralized billing works?

  • If you have previously created an expense policy, only the billing card tied to the policy owner’s account will be used to pay for the use and approvals of everyone part of that policy.
  • Any newly created expense policy will be tied to the billing card associated with your account by default.
  • Any administrators part of a policy can take over paying for it at any time by going to the billing tab of the policy they want to take over.  Once a person takes over paying for a policy, they will become that policy’s owner.

All of this makes central billing incredibly powerful, eliminates the confusion of who pays, and adds an entire new level of flexibility to creating workflows without a rigid report approval structure.  The person getting billed will still get 2 free users each month across all of the policies they pay for and, as always, there are no contacts to sign. You are free to use our app for as long as you need to with the option to cancel billing at any time.

Find out more about our pricing and billing options here

How many times have you heard “cloud this” or “cloud that” but were never sure of where your stuff actually was in this “cloud”? Well, at Expensify we got fed up with giving people a roundabout answer about which one was our cloud and where your expense reports are going. This past weekend Zhenya and Witold took some time off from providing phone support and monitoring servers to hand pick and deliver your expense reports in to the cloud.

A cherry picker wasn’t tall enough and the clouds of smoke around San Francisco weren’t the clouds we were looking for. Already, picking a cloud seemed way more difficult than initially thought. Not to be discouraged, we set our sights outside of San Francisco. After several hours of driving, we’d finally found a cloud we liked.

Hovering right above Mt. Shasta, our very own expense cloud looked so soft and pure, yet menacing enough to ward off any potential threats to the security of your expenses. Making haste to get your expense reports moved in to their cloud, we geared up and proceeded on our quest.


Having only stopped to put a fresh Clif bar in our stomachs and water to wash away the thirst, we made our way through the tree line and emerged on to the lower part of Avalanche Gulch.

Feeling good from the thinning air, we kept on our way up, winding along the narrowing gully…

…until we reached a plateau: Helen Lake, a place to rest and relax for the night. Tired from the last push, we lounged around where the sun peeked through the cloud (and got quite a tan!) to give our legs a much needed break. A packet of chicken and rice mixed with boiling water did the trick to bring back our strength and regain our confidence in the mission at hand. As we set up our neon yellow home for the night, all we could think about was the next part of the climb, and more hot food.

It’s morning. 5 AM to be precise. It’s also cold, but not nearly as cold as it should be for all of the snow surrounding us. Despite the differences in scenery, the next day of cloud searching began much like any other day: with breakfast. A boiling pot of Gatorade mix and a blueberry crisp Clif bar sets us straight as we begin our move in to the cloud.


Just mere meters below the cloud, you can really see the excitement burning Wito’s lungs as he comes ever closer to announcing…

“It’s official! ”

“Your expense reports are in the cloud.”

The glee and glory soon faded as our thoughts turned to the future. What about when we get more people using our apps? What happens when we expand and need a bigger cloud? Well, what a perfect spot for us to be in. It just so happened that the summit was staring down at us, several hundred meters in the distance. Surely up there we would have enough room to host a bigger cloud when the need arose.

Refueling from now frozen chocolate chip Clif bars and icy water, safe and secure in the knowledge that we’d got at least a little cloud space to tide us over, the push to the summit seemed easy. We clambered up the last bit of ice, snaked over a sulfur spring and made the last steps to wind around a cluster of rocks to set foot on the very tip top of Mt. Shasta.

Finally, looking down at our expense cloud below, we knew that our mission was a success. Overcoming hurdles (and a lot of icy rocks), we had come out on top ensuring that we have enough cloud space to handle our growth.

As of this writing, we are the first and only expense reporting solution with tangible proof of being in the cloud. Where else do you get that kind of authenticity and dedication?

Exciting news, our friends at Intuit have picked us through the Intuit Partner Platform to be a part of the “Get Organized, Get Rewarded” promotion with MyFax and OfficeDrop. Get rewarded for using Expensify by signing up your company through the Intuit Workplace App Center.

Expensify is a partner in Intuit's Get Organized. Get Rewarded promotion

Sign up for Expensify through the Intuit Workplace App Center!

Sign up your entire company to use Expensify through the Intuit Workplace App Center, and keep using us to track your business spending and create expense reports that don’t suck for 6 months. If you do, Intuit will reimburse your company for the first 3 months of using our service!

Wondering about our pricing? Use us for free to create and submit expense reports! When more than 2 people submit an expense report for approval and reimbursement, we’re only $5/submitter per month with the first 2 submitters free. More details about our pricing is at