App review: Expensify
Keeping track of business expenses needn’t be a nuisance. Why? Because there’s an app for that, of course.
Getting to claim certain expenses as business ones is great if you’re an employee, and essential if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner. But expense claims only work if you, you know, actually remember to keep track of your spending and then file a claim. Expensify wants to make not only tracking your expenses, but claiming on them, as easy as spending the money in the first place.
Expensify offers a free online service, and free apps for Android and iOS. Download the app and it’ll prompt you to insert your work email address to create your account. Thereafter, you’ll be prompted to add a bank card. Sadly, this doesn’t work outside the US (where you can link your banking info to the app and add or categorise expenses straight from your transaction history).
Nonetheless, you can still take pictures of receipts and let the built-in SmartScan facility run optical character recognition on the image. In other words, it endeavours to recognise the numbers and text in the image so it can pull out the pertinent information from it automatically.
While you can store as many images of receipts (or other documents) as you like in Expensify, you can only SmartScan ten receipts for free each month. Any more than that requires moving to one of the paid Expensify tiers.
Categorise your expenses
You can create categories for receipts, mark them as billable or reimbursable, and generate expense reports automatically. Share these reports straight from the app with your company’s accountant, or whoever else handles the purse strings, and the hope is you’ll get reimburses before the requisite receipts have been worn blank in the darkest corners of your wallet, purse or bag.
If you’re a business traveller, you can also add your travel itinerary and keep track of expenses by trip. You’ll get updates about your flight status and prompts at the end of a trip to submit the requisite expense report.
Set your currency in the settings menu, rate the app, invite a friend to try it out, or unlock the paid features, which include the option to create an expense policy. Using the Expensify website, paid users can set up company-wide – or individual specific – expense policies with rules about amounts, timeframes and the like.
The paid tiers also let you export data in formats that are compatible with popular accounting software packages and services like Xero, Quickbooks, NetSuite, SalesForce, SAGE, Oracle and SAP, among others. And the admin panel means it’s also possible for an individual to manage policies for an entire team. Most individual users aren’t likely to need these features, but they’re a boon if you’re trying to manage a team’s expenditure.
Without support for South African banks, the automation component of filing claims and getting reimbursed is limited, but Expensify is still a simple, straight-forward and efficient way to track expenses and might just help you remember to actually claim for them.
Please note that while the app may be free, the data required to download and use it is not. You can buy data bundles from Vodacom Online.