Expense Management for the Masses


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In business travel, expenses are a necessary evil and from my personal experience (and I am sure the vast majority of you) the process of completing an expense report is tedious and time consuming.  Some of our readers I am sure work for large organizations and may benefit by having the use of enterprise-grade expense management systems such as Concur Expense, IBM GERS, Oracle, SAP or other tools.  That said, I suspect that the vast majority of you out there use a spreadsheet of some sort  to record expenses.  Regardless of which tool you use, the process of completing an expense report sucks. Depending on which tool, some of you may encounter more or less suckage, but ultimately it is never a pleasant experience.

In my career I started completing expense reports the old fashioned way, collecting receipts and filling out a spreadsheet.  Over the span of my career I worked for other companies and used other tools, and to be quite honest, the experiences was no more pleasant than the the use of a spreadsheet (YMMV).  Recently I came back to having to use a spreadsheet for expenses and after a spurt of travel and a collection of receipts that had to be collected, organized, cataloged and submitted.  I said to myself there has to be a better way to complete expenses on the go.  Since I often find there is a mobile app for just about anything, a few seconds on the iTunes App Store lead me to Expensify whose tag line is “Expense Reports that don’t Suck.”  Who can resist not trying an app out with such a spot-on message.

After a quick download and a little light reading about the product, I found that Expensify is a cloud service available on the Web and just about every major mobile platform.  Best of all, the core service is free with additional premium service starting at a very minimal cost of $5.00 per user.  In my use, I am using the free service and it is great.  In short, you can add you credit card accounts to the system and Expensify will capture charge activity which you can easily add to an expense report.  Additionally, you can use the mobile app to take pictures of receipts (both credit card and cash transactions) and the system exposes them to you.  So, with just a few clicks, you can create an expense report.  What is really cool is even if your company does not formally support Expensify, when you submit your report they will generate a nicely formatted PDF report with all support receipts nicely organized.

Demo (excuse the rough embedded link) :

http://www.expensify.com/expensify_demo.swf

This not a review by any means, but rather me wanting to share a very cool service with all of you.  So, if you are still using a spreadsheet to submit expenses versus using a corporate sponsored expense management solution, I encourage to you to try out Expensify.  It really is the expense solution for the masses (at least those who use spreadsheets) .  For a very detailed overview of the service and how to use it, please view their video tutorial below:

Safe Travels!

~Jim

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