Gear We Like
Show Me The Money!
Yes, you’re traveling and working around the world, spending your way through exotic, fun locations like a drunken sailor. But at the end of the day the bills still have to be paid, and expenses submitted to get some of your hard earned dosh back, or even to make sure you stay square with the tax man!
In this article I look at mobile expense management, and some of the easier ways to make sure you stay on top of your expenses as you work your way around the world spending on the never-never.
We’ll kick off with Expensify.
Expensify is a web-based expense management tool for individuals and businesses that makes it easy to import expenses, scan receipts and reimburse reports.
If you use the Evernote application, Expensify also allows you to add receipt images into the Expensify notebook in your Evernote account. They’ll automatically be copied into Expensify, where you can easily create and submit expense reports. Once a report has been approved, you can export it directly to Evernote as a searchable PDF for future reference.
You can scan your receipts using your smartphone if you don’t have a scanner available
Expensify is also available as a free (there’s that word again) Android, iPhone, webOS, and Blackberry app.
In terms of pricing Expensify is free to use for individuals.
For companies it costs $5 / submitter / month to approve expense reports. Only employees who submitted an expense report for a particular month are billed.
The next application on the list is Xpenser.
Xpenser provides time, receipt, and expense management from a multitude of devices and interfaces – using voice, email, SMS, iPhone, instant messaging, Twitter or the web, via a simple, intuitive format.
Expenses are recorded using natural language – for example, “lunch $45.11 with Jack of Company X” – and are categorized, tagged, and stored in user selected folders. Receipts can be attached to the emails – for example by taking a picture of the receipt using a mobile phone – and are stored and managed online.
Time is recorded using the same simple format – for example “time 27 minutes contract review client x” – or using timers – for example, “time start Client Y conference call”, “time end” and is converted based on user defined increment and rounding rules.
Xpenser offers automated mileage and international currency conversion, budgets, per-client routing, credit card and bank statement import, and export to a variety of formats and applications. Workflow features also allow expenses to be submitted for comment or approval.
Xpensers pricing is $9 per user per month, although it does come with a 30-day free use account.
NEAT receipts is a bit different from the first two in that it also comes with a small portable scanner for your receipts. This scanner plugs into the USB port of your computer
The NEAT Receipts scanner and software can scan and store images and details of receipts, business cards and any paper documentation up to 8-1/2 inches wide. Scan a receipt and NEAT Receipts software pulls the transaction date, amount and sales tax into the software, and you categorize the transaction and mark whether the receipt is reimbursable or tax deductible.
Scanned items are organized into folders in the NEAT Receipts software, which has separate organizers for receipts, tax-related documentation, business cards and documents.
Receipts can be printed, emailed or exported to a variety of formats including PDF, OFX and QIF. Or in plain English, you can export receipt data to Microsoft Money, TurboTax, and any financial software that imports QIF files such as Moneydance, Quicken or You Need A Budget Pro. You can also export data for further analysis to Microsoft Excel.
This version of NEAT receipts costs $195.
There is also a cloud version where you can use your smartphone to do the scanning. The pricing for this version ranges from $5.99 a month for personal use to $24.99 a month (for up to 5 users) for business use.
The final contender for mobile expense management is Shoeboxed
Shoeboxed is a website that can automatically organize all your receipts. Users are given new “@shoeboxed.com” e-mail addresses and e-mail receipts from stores come directly into users’ accounts.
For paper receipts, users scan in receipts themselves or participate in Shoeboxed Mail-In, where they can mail their receipts to Shoeboxed, and the company will scan them in and upload all the relevant info into their accounts before sending the receipts back.
Shoeboxed also scans business cards for organisations online to allow them to manage contact data. Data is exportable to LinkedIn, Gmail, Salesforce, iPhone, Outlook, Apple Address Book, and other programs via the csv format.
Unlike the other three examples, Shoeboxed doesn’t charge on a per user basis, but rather on a per documents basis. Plans range from $19.95 per month for 50 docs to $99.95 for 500 docs
All images via their respective companies.