Innovation

Expensify makes expense report filing automatic with ReceiptBurner

We live and work in a digital world. Why, then, are we still keeping physical paper trails for expense tracking? Expensify wants to make expense reporting invisible with ReceiptBurner.

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Do you have to deal with expense reporting at work? If so, you know all the hassles that come with it: trying not to lose receipts, manually inputting all that information ... it can be a real pain.

Expensify has built its entire business around making expense reporting easier with things like OCR scanning of receipts, automatic filing of Uber trips, lots of API options, and datasets that companies can use to plan expenses for the future.

Today Expensify is launching a new integration platform called ReceiptBurner, which will automatically send receipts to the Expensify servers, turn them into expense reports, and submit it for reimbursement.

SEE: Five apps for managing your receipts (TechRepublic)

Automating automation

Automating away mundane tasks, like creating expense reports, is great for employees and businesses alike. Records become more accurate, employees have to deal with less hassle, and the entire system flows more smoothly.

But the current system isn't completely automated, even with Expensify and products like it: employees still have to scan the receipt in and file the expense report. Expensify isn't content with that, which is where ReceiptBurner comes in.

ReceiptBurner is designed to completely eliminate the need for employees to interact with the expense reporting system. When someone, for example, takes an Uber ride from the airport to their hotel an expense report is automatically generated at the end of the ride.

Vendors using ReceiptBurner will have buttons added to their apps and websites that will allow users to submit their receipt to Expensify by clicking a single button as long as they are using a business account.

Your business has to have automatic data harvesting turned on to get the most out of ReceiptBurner. If it's not active the employee will still have to manually submit the report.

The drawback

The ultimate goal for Expensify, as CEO David Barrett said, "Is for receipts to become the next floppy disk." It's an admirable goal, and definitely one that anybody who's filed an expense report can get behind, but there's a major hurdle to jump before they can get there: vendors.

SEE: 10 ways to get the most out of your process automation (TechRepublic)

ReceiptBurner has to partner with companies so that transactions automatically transfer to the Expensify system. There aren't a lot of partner companies to start: Uber, HotelTonight, Revel, SaneBox, and Fujitsu ScanSnap are it. Companies not using one of those are out of luck for now.

Expensify plans to continually expand ReceiptBurner, so if your company is already using its software you'll be able to experience the automation benefits as the vendor list grows.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  • If your business is already an Expensify customer you'll be able to take advantage of ReceiptBurner immediately. Just make sure you have automatic harvesting turned on.
  • ReceiptBurner could make the entire expense tracking system invisible, which is good for employees and businesses alike. It's going to take time, however, to expand.
  • Don't use ReceiptBurner's launch to decide to join the Expensify ecosystem. ReceiptBurner isn't going to be universally functional until its list of vendors grows.


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About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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