ExpenseBot is a really easy way of managing expense reports and getting reimbursed faster.

ExpenseBot on Android (Beta)

Spence is on the loose and has made his way to Android devices! Download the app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.expensebot.app

   



As with our iOS app, the Android app (beta that it is) is a simple way to capture images of receipt and automatically upload them to your ExpenseBot account.

Want to do more while on the go? Our whole app is optimized for use on your device’s browser, but we’ve got more comprehensive native apps coming soon!

Date Ranges and Attendee Tracking

Two of the most prominent feature demands we’ve heard have been the ability to submit an expense that covers a period of days and the tracking of attendees. We’ve just pushed these out and here’s a brief review of how they operate!

Date Ranges

Now when adding or editing a category you have an option to enable tracking of start and end dates for transactions.

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When enabled, any transaction with that category will ask for a start and end date rather than just the transaction date. As an example, in the case of renting a car, this allows your staff to convey when they picked up and dropped off the car, and in turn allows policies that apply to periods of time to take the average daily rate into account.

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Now, where the date was the transaction is listed as a single date prior, it’ll now show as a date range!

Basic Attendee Tracking
ExpenseBot already allows for tracking of contacts and projects, but in the case of meals and entertainment, it’s vital to record who was in attendence and is being paid for. Like with Date Ranges above, you can enable attendee tracking on a per category basis.

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Once enabled, an optional Attendee field will appear when adding the transaction. It’s just a text field at the moment (we said it was *basic* attendee tracking, ya’ know).

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That attendee info is available when the approver is reviewing as well as on the printed expense report!

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Controlling Employee Spending

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably got an employee spending problem. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners estimates that the average business loses about $26,000 dollars per year to expense reporting inaccuracy or fraud, and businesses without an established spending policy and expense management software solution are estimated to have nearly double that loss annually!

Not all expense reporting fraud is malicious though. In some cases it’s as simple as forgetting that the other person paid for lunch or not attaching the right receipt. Let’s dig a little deeper into specific types and examples.

Overspending
The most obvious type of issue that we have seen is intentional spending that is outside of company policy. In many cases businesses have established spending policies, but they’re buried in an employee handbook binder or on an intranet page that no one has visited in half a decade.

In this instance the employee is either unaware that they’re spending too much, or are willing to overlook the policy limits in order to get or do what they need to. The best way to combat this issue is to have an openly available employee spending policy that alerts your employees when there is an update or change. Even better, if this information could be directly available to the employee, say in a mobile app that they can look at at the point they’re making a purchasing decision, that would be best. (Look for customized company spending policies to be part of the ExpenseBot native apps this summer!)

The second best way to handle accidental overspending is to have your expense management software catch it when it’s submitted for reimbursement. As you may have seen in ExpenseBot, we automatically flag any transactions that exceed a policy you’ve set for an expense category at the point they’re added to an expense report. Additionally, approval and reimbursement emails include that policy data so that the manager approving the expense report can make the right approval decision from anywhere at anytime.

Duplicates
Also common and not necessarily malicious is the duplicate expense item. An employee may accidentally upload the same receipt twice, or import a transaction from a credit card after they had already manually added the expense to your expense management tool.

It’s vital that your expense reporting software solution be smart enough to pick up these nuances and automatically flag receipts that appear to be identical or warn approvers of multiple transactions that seem a tad too similar.

Accuracy
Expense reports aren’t the most vital thing any of us do in a given day, so it’s understandable that someone might make a mistake when submitting one for reimbursement. It’s common to mistype an amount, maybe interpolating two numbers or missing a decimal place.

This is why having a credit card transaction or receipt to back up an expense is vital. The IRS requires receipts for any expense over seventy-five dollars, but most businesses require them for much lower amounts, many for anything ten dollars and more. With ExpenseBot’s credit card integration it’s possible to relax your receipt rules a tad though because you can be assured that any transaction imported from a card has the right amounts entered.

Ultimately, it’s up to the expense report approver and reimburser to verify that receipts match the data provided and that everything seems kosher before approving the expense report. It’ll never be possible to automate everything in the expense report creation process, and Sarbanes Oxley says it’s not legal to do so anyway, but we’ll keep trying to get as close as possible to remove human error from the equation.

Padding
Here’s where things get a little questionable. It’s possible that one of your most trusted staffers feels like they’re owed a bit more than what they currently take home. If so, they may be tempted to pad their expense reports a little bit here or there. A little rounding never hurt anyone, right? Things like submitting receipts with slightly altered amounts, or submitting a few items of low value with slightly larger-than-actual amounts but still small enough that they won’t require a receipt, maybe even making up a few “Coffee with Client” expenses here and there. Even small amounts can add up. You might think that this is rare, and it is, but once someone gets away with it, they’re guaranteed to try again.

There are only so many ways to handle this type of situation, but ultimately unethical actions like these are an HR issue and need to be disciplined severely to provide a deterrence factor for others going forward.

To summarize
Managing employee spending is a balancing act. Overzealous enforcement can cause morale issues and slow down the process taking more employee time than necessary while lax processes can cost tens of thousands of dollars per year. The best thing you can do is have a detailed and available policy and use a software product like ExpenseBot to provide structure to the process.

Credit Card Integration Upgrades

We’ve massively upgraded our credit card and bank account integration to allow for more seamless and easy setup and synchronization.

First, we’ve completely rewritten the back-end to make the process asynchronous which allows us to run the integration to your accounts on a nightly (or even hourly) basis ensuring that you’ve got the latest data.

Second, we’ve made it possible to change the nickname on your accounts (just click the name) so if you’ve got a bunch of similarly named credit cards you can tell them apart.

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Third, we’ve changed the automation aspects around a bit, now there are two checkboxes per card, a “Company Card” checkbox that will make sure that your employees don’t accidentally submit a charge on a company-paid account for reimbursement as well as an option to “Ignore this card”, for the cases when a user has an account with multiple cards on it, but uses only certain cards for business expenses.

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The transactions from an “ignored account” are still available, but only under the “Ignored transaction” area of the application.

Finally, we’ve added the (now correct) card balances and last four digits of each card to help you identify which account is which in the case that you’ve got a bunch of similar accounts.

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We’ve got a few more minor updates to linked accounts coming soon, plus Android receipt capture app is in testing now. Happy expensing!

Announcing Spence, on iOS!

Spence, our ever-productive robot mascot and the AI behind ExpenseBot is now invading your iOS devices! Download the app here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spence-from-expensebot/id878715679?ls=1&mt=8

  

Keeping with our goal of automated expense reports, Spence is a light-weight app, allowing you to simply log in and take photos of your receipts or upload existing photos you may have taken.

These images will upload automatically to your ExpensBot account and be available to be attached to transactions nearly instantly.

Have an Android device? No worries, we’ll have something for you soon…

The Latest from ExpenseBot

Mobile Web Compatibility!

Hey road warriors, now you can use ExpenseBot from pretty much any smartphone by just logging in directly at https://expensebot.com. Want to take a picture of that receipt for coffee that you bought with cash? Now you can!

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You can do pretty much everything on the mobile site as you would from your PC, so expense away without being chained to your desk!

We know, some people prefer native mobile apps. So do we. More news on that soon. If you’d like to get early access to our iOS and Android apps, please make sure you’ve got an ExpenseBot account and then drop us a note at earlyaccess@expensebot.com

Don’t have a smartphone? Don’t worry, we’ll have you covered soon…



Printable PDFs

One of our top user requests has been the ability to print expense reports. Just click the “Print Report” button on an expense report and you’ll get a basic PDF version of the expense report that you can save or print off for submission (yes, some businesses still require a paper expense report to be turned in).

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We even automatically attach any receipts you’ve added to the expense report to the bottom of the page(s) saving you from needing to collate and staple them!



Minor Revamp of Navigation

You may notice that we’ve simplified some of the product’s interface including the terminology used on the navigation. As an example, what we used to refer to as “expenses”, or “expense items”, are now universally called “transactions” to eliminate any confusion with expense reports.

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We plan to make additional minor changes in the coming weeks and we’ll let you know when they happen.

Heartbleed

Given the recent revelations and concerns about the Heartbleed bug, we wanted to take a moment to reassure our customers that we’ve taken all possible steps to secure their data and accounts.

We take security very seriously at ExpenseBot. Once alerted to the potential vulnerability, we patched our production environments to remove the affected component and have proactively reissued all SSL certificates currently in utilization.

In addition, we have forced the expiration of all user passwords, and we would encourage you all to change passwords on all of the products and sites you use as soon as they have been patched.

You can learn more about the bug and what it affects at Heartbleed.com

Please contact ExpenseBot support at support@expensebot.com if you have any additional questions of concerns regarding this situation.

The Age of Simplified Expense Reporting

The modern world is one of impatience. If a 2.7 GB download of an episode of Breaking Bad takes longer than 20 minutes, it’s the most unbearable wait imaginable. Between Twitter and Facebook, news spreads like wildfire and we know about current events moments after they happen. The world is at our fingertips 24/7, complete with reviews and YouTube mashups.

This begs the question, then: why do expense reports still rely on the same old monthly process of gathering up receipts, poring over spreadsheets, and hoping that we did everything just right? Why are business owners willing to wait months to receive the balled up, torn, and crumpled remains of parking passes, receipts, and mileage claims that represent thousands of dollars of the company’s money? No one’s life is made easier by this titanic expense reporting process.

The Aberdeen research group says it costs the average US company $18 in employee labor to process an individual expense report. Businesses that utilize best practices and that automate the expense reporting process have cut it down to 8 minutes; meanwhile, it can take more than 30 minutes for businesses that have limited understanding or control of its expense reporting.

ExpenseBot was built with around the idea that even something as tedious as expense reports can be automated and simplified. We’re driven to reduce (and eventually remove) the burden of effort on your employees by automating the data entry required to create an expense report and providing a beautiful user-interface for the rare occasions someone actually needs to log in to do something manually.

Stop wasting your company’s money and employee’s time on paperwork and make your business life a little better, faster, and more modern with ExpenseBot.

Pilot ExpenseBot in your organization today!

Hey small business owners, finance managers, controllers, and bookkeepers! Have a business with 1-1000 employees and tired of managing your expense reports manually?

Sign up for ExpenseBot today [https://expensebot.com/trial] and you’ll get early access to our automated expense management tool!

  • Automation makes your life easier!
    Why have your staff spending hours ever month to create, submit, approve, and reimburse expense reports when ExpenseBot can automate the process? We’ll create expense reports for your employees and allow them to easily submit them for reimbursal.
  • Powered by service!
    The ExpenseBot service staff is here to help! We’ll guide you through the setup process and have your account up and running within minutes. We’ll also assist your staff by proactively identifying possible problems with expense reports saving them time, hassle, and keeping the reimbursal process efficient.
  • Your company’s data is secure!
    Security is paramount to us here at ExpenseBot. We not only meet, but exceed bank-level security protocols, utilizing the latest in encryption and best practices to keep your data safe.

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ExpenseBot blog booting up!