Many businesses dream of becoming completely paperless. We all fantasize about that day when everything in the office is digital. This appeals not only to our desire for order, cleanliness, and good environmental habits, but also to our need for more space in our office. Imagine getting rid of those hideous filing cabinets forever!
But where to start? Even with online software available for every conceivable office task, any paperless project can seem overwhelming.
For us, expense reports are the worst offenders when it comes to generating paper and filling our filing cabinets. Therefore, they were a logical target for a paperless project. After some research, we chose Expensify (www.expensify.com). Here is our take.
What is it? Expensify is an online expense reporting tool for use by all your employees to enter, manage, and get paid for expense reports. It also syncs well with both desktop and online versions of Quickbooks.
How does it work? At the outset, Expensify requires a bit of set-up. Once you open an account, you’ll want to create an Expensify Policy for your company. Within this policy, you can choose categories for expenses, set receipt requirements, add reimbursement bank accounts, and create the connection to your Quickbooks file. The most technically challenging part is the Quickbooks sync. Although Expensify does a decent job of documenting the process, some experimentation was necessary. For instance, it wasn’t apparent to us that Expensify will actually pull your Quickbooks accounts into your Policy and you should not create categories yourself. Once you’re done with your Policy, you’re ready to add employee accounts.
We recommend creating a pilot with one employee, and having him/her enter an expense report. Test and tweak your approval process and more importantly, test the Quickbooks sync. After making sure things are working, you can roll out Expensify to the rest of your company. Finally, you can reimburse your employees directly from Expensify using bank transfers, which Expensify will then sync to Quickbooks.
How much does it cost? The Team plan for Expensify, which will work great for most businesses, costs $5/month per active user. The first two users are free. One tiny extra is SmartScans, a useful feature that automatically scans receipts that employees submit.
What we like about Expensify. It saves time and paper, as it avoids double entry of the expense report. This is especially apparent when you use the free feature to download credit card activity into Expensify. The iPhone app is slick and easy to use, and the website is both intuitive and fast. All in all, it’s a great application.
What we don’t like about Expensify. Not much. The Quickbooks sync is a bit complicated, but this is mostly due to Quickbooks quirkiness. Try it for yourself!