Get to know Expensify

Expensify automates the drudgery of collecting and cataloguing receipt information. It makes sharing expense info with your boss or bookkeeper easier—and it probably integrates with the accounting system you already use!

Setting up an account with Expensify is easy. Type in your email, set up a password, and type in your phone number to have the app download link texted to you.

Once you download the app, you’re in business. You can scan and upload any receipts you have just by taking a picture. And if you don’t want to use the app, you can upload any PDF receipts or scanned files from your computer through Expensify’s website.

This is where the magic happens. Once you take a picture or upload your receipt, Expensify gets to work on what they call a SmartScan. SmartScans are automated ways of tracking your expenses. Expensify will attempt to read the receipt via OCR and figure out the vendor, date, amount, and category.

I tried this with a variety of receipts and expenses, some of which were more complicated than others. I even tried with invoices that I was certain would fool AIs, and much to my surprise, Expensify couldn’t be stumped. Every time, Expensify got the date right and the vendor right. (They didn’t even mess up with confusing chains based on locations, even if the receipts were slightly different—and international receipts from travel come through correctly as well.)

SmartScans take a little bit of time. While your receipts sync instantly, the actually scanning process can take a few minutes. You might assume that could be annoying, but in practice, you won’t have to think about the receipt after you upload it.

That’s because Expensify can automatically categorize your expenses for you. The first time you scan a receipt from a particular vendor, you can tell Expensify to tag every receipt from that vendor with the same tag, add those receipts to particular expense reports, and group it as a particular sort of expense.

If Expensify isn’t sure what to do with a particular receipt, it can notify you via the app or via email. From there, you can review it and give Expensify the human input it needs to learn how to read receipts from that vendor in the future. Believe it or not, this is a feature I never had to test (though a colleague had to edit international receipts after a trip, especially to set which receipt was in which currency).

It’s easy to report standard expense, but nearly equally easy to set up something as complex as an automated mileage reports. Any time you take a picture of a receipt from a new gas station, you’ll be able to quickly set up a rule that says to add receipts from that vendor to a mileage report. And using the app’s built-in GPS function, you can even track your mileage if you're using that instead of itemized expenses.

Once you’ve collected all this information into reports, they can be sent to employers, bookkeepers, or whoever else needs the information. And all that can be automated as well. In fact, if you’re just submitting expenses, you can set up rules that immediately send completed SmartScans to the appropriate party at your company.

Once an expense has been approved, Expensify goes the extra mile: you can collect an approved reimbursement to your bank account within twenty-four hours. If you’re an accountant, or handle your own accounting, you can sync your expenses to Quickbooks or Xero for added convenience.

All of this takes very little fiddling, and it can be done directly within the smartphone app for added convenience. It’s so easy to use that the work practically gets done for you.

With Expensify, you can simplify much of your expense tracking and management. The company is trusted by CPAs, bookkeepers, and small businesses everywhere—and you can include me in that list.

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