Expensify: Doing Away With the Arduous Task of Expense Reporting

Expensify: Doing Away With the Arduous Task of Expense Reporting

CIO VendorDavid Barrett, Founder & CEO Expense reporting is often a dreary task that is left for the last minute. For obvious reasons, no one wants to take up the responsibility of sorting through hundreds of bills while on a work trip or lunch to note down the expenses. This has been a practice for years, that is until the advent of the smartphone. The ability to take a picture of the bill or receipt and have all the data automatically taken and organized into the prerequisite folder has been a godsend for many, especially for those that travel a lot on business.

Expensify is one such provider that got in on the ground floor of this technology. Having started in 2008 as a simple receipt scanning software, the firm has now evolved into one that offers multiple solutions dealing with expense management for businesses. It was when the company launched SmartScan that it truly began to revolutionize the expense reporting industry. SmartScan enabled customers to go completely paperless—using just an image of the receipt; negating the need to attach paper receipts and printing expense reports. This was a welcome change as many customers began using the SmartScan solution for their expense reporting without the permission of their organizations.

"Expense tracking, receipt scanning, and efficient creation of expense reports, and because of their rapid growth, they faced a pressing need to roll out key features"

When you look at this form of receipt management, it seems like a no-brainer. However, back in 2008, it was not so. Fast forward to August 2017 when the firm reached five million active users, worldwide. Expense tracking, receipt scanning, and efficient creation of expense reports and because of their rapid growth, they faced a pressing need to roll out key features, and they had to do it fast. “Expensify has doubled its customer base, growing its number of users to more than five million worldwide. Employees are tired of spending countless hours doing mundane tasks and instead are turning to technology to speed up those processes,” says David Barett, Founder, and CEO of Expensify.

Today, Expensify serves more than 300,000 customers the world over, from solo-preneurs to global enterprises across all industry verticals with its easy-to-use mobile and web applications

Today, Expensify serves more than 300,000 customers the world over, from solo-preneurs to global enterprises across various industry verticals with its easy-to-use mobile and web applications that combine powerful compliance features along with integration with all major accounting software. This inevitably saves customers more than half the time usually spent on expense management. “As we scale up and take on thousands more customers per month, we are committed to doubling down on the user experience and eliminating any workflows, bugs, or features that cause user confusion,” says Barett.

Over the years, Expensify has grown exponentially, having received several rounds of funding; the company is always at the forefront of incorporating new features and functionalities into its solutions to make the process of expense management even more comfortable than before. With the company’s tagline being ‘Expense reports that don't suck!’ it is easy to see why the folks at Expensify are so dedicated to eradicating the burden of the laborious process of expense reporting.

Using Expensify is as simple as it comes—just one click. Just taking a picture of the receipts with a smartphone and forgetting about it. Expensify’s patented SmartScan OCR technology reads the receipt and transcribes all the relevant data, which it adds to an expense report. This is merged with each expense of the corresponding credit card transaction that it automatically submits, approves and even reimburses the next day—all without any human intervention. The application allows users to schedule when the reports are to be provided—either daily, weekly or monthly—making it very easy for the accounts team to close the books on time. Expensify has further implemented an artificially intelligent virtual assistant right into its applications. Called Concierge, it is built on top of the firm’s custom geo-redundant NewSQL database, Bedrock. Concierge submits the receipts the same night that it has been scanned and can also be scheduled for weekly, bi-weekly, monthly uploads. What sets it apart is that it knows when a receipt is out of company policy and will only submit those that are part of work reimbursements.

In the event that a user loses a receipt, the application allows for credit card syncing, where the user can just submit an expense from any transaction and have it get approved the very next day. Expensify does a lot more than just merely digitizing expenses— the firm has automated and streamlined the entire workflow. Admins can configure Expensify to meet the varying needs of their organizations—advanced policy compliance and multi-layer approval workflows. By increasing compliance and offering real-time insight into the organization’s finances through it is fully automated, two-way integrations with all major accounting software. Expensify also ensures that all the reports are submitted on-time, which aids with the real-time insights into a company’s finances. Accountants do not need to spend most of their time doing the grunt work anymore and can spend more time doing things they are good at—advising their clients and customers.

One of the five biggest Business Process Outsourcing firms (BPO) that has been using Expensify for years had initially transitioned around ten percent of its clients over to Expensify’s payment application. However, after noting the success that the firm has acclaimed, the BPO has set its sights on transitioning over 80 percent of its clients. Before having employed Expensify’s services, the BPO’s clients had to rely on a manual process instead of expense reporting. Expensify was able to implement its solution in a matter of hours, and with it in place, the BPO experienced increased employee experience and satisfaction as well as reduced reconciliation time. As the revenue stream of the BPO included auditing, tax and advisory services, it saw additional benefits as the clients were using Expensify. Another huge advantage was the amount of time saved—on average, expense reports took about 30 minutes to prepare and get approved, which Expensify cut down by half. It also improved productivity by 50 percent as the average IT professional spent around 30 percent of their time managing the previous expense reporting system used by the BPO. The biggest takeaway, however, is the ROI that the BPO was able to capitalize on—the BPO experienced benefits of $44,192 against a spending cost of $6,332 for things like implementation and license costs. This added up to an ROI of over 598 percent! “Expensify differentiates itself on simplicity, mobility, administrative and audit time savings, and delivers a great user experience,” explained the Managing Director of the BPO.

Expensify is ten years old this year, and it wants to concentrate on perfecting the solution it has. More and more companies and accounting firms are managing their expenses through Expensify than any other software in the world and Expensify have the ability to function out of the box for most companies that operate with fewer than 1,000 employees—with some customization for organizations with more than 1,000 employees. “2018 is 100 percent focused on just taking care of our existing customers, and especially our large network of accounting partners who are increasingly standardizing their clients on Expensify across the board,” concludes Barett.

- Amitav Haldipur
    September 26, 2018