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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.