This is my story. This is your story. This is every working class hero’s story.
Let this be told loud and clear - EXPENSE REPORTS ARE THE WORST!
This write-up isn’t a rant about how I have lost money because of messy paper receipts or how I would rather clean my washroom than doing expense reports.
This is about how I won that war, and I never crib about expense reports or managing receipts anymore. And how YOU CAN manage receipts effortlessly too! I really want to tell my story, so I have it here (you can skip to next section about the receipt management app if you aren’t interested, but that might be rude).
How I lost paper receipts, and then $200 in reimbursements
It was a beautiful day around the end of the month, and I had just got my coffee and settled on my desk. The first thing I did was say hello to my email inbox, but I had no clue what pain it was about to bring. What happened next was ugly -‘REMINDER: LAST DAY TO SUBMIT YOUR EXPENSE REPORT’.
My then employer let employees report expenses for the current and previous month. What it meant to me was that if I didn’t do my expense report this month like the last one, I would lose out on over $500! That’s a new iPhone dream going down the drain, right there.
Did I do my expense report? Yes, obviously. I found around 70% of receipts, and spent about 3 hours finding and reporting them on an age-old spreadsheet format. So, I lost about $200 because of those dreadful paper receipts which disappear when you need them.
Life was certainly miserable, but I didn’t give up. I was in Starbucks that night sipping on my white chocolate mocha, trying to find the best way to manage paper receipts. Guess what? I just saved you a lot of effort.
Why you can’t manage paper receipts manually
‘Managing receipts’ doesn’t sound like a very daunting task, does it? Never did to me, so I tried managing receipts manually. I tried making my wallet a safe house, then the office drawer, and then on top of my fridge and what not! But well, the reality is a different story.
- Receipts get lost, easily: You make an expense at a restaurant, and then another in the airport and then at client meetings. You will not be able to keep them all in one place, I challenge you. I tried storing them in my wallet, but then ended up throwing them out by mistake with few other unwanted papers. Keep it in your pants and your washing machine will wash the life out of it.
- Receipts are fragile: And so are your chances of getting your money back - receipts can get torn, you can spill tea on it, the ink can fade away off the thermal receipts.
- The problem of too many: The moment you have more than 5-10 receipts to claim reimbursements from, your inner voice convinces you that only the 80% receipts with large expenses are worth claiming, and rest are just waste of time (thanks to the herculean task of manual entries)
There is an app that manages your receipts
The mandate was clear - receipts are messy, and I can’t manage them manually. So I started looking out - my main aim was to manage and store receipts without any hassle.
Here is a run-down of the things that you can find an app for:
- Receipt scanning – The must have feature! I found this feature solving my biggest problem - storing receipts. Just click a picture of expense receipt on the app, the app then will store the receipt for you to review later.
- Manual entry – I found this feature handy when I did not have my receipt of expenditure. As I had details of my expenses, the app allowed me to fill in all the details manually.
- Expense reports – I was able to generate expense report in less than 2 mins with this feature in the app. With the receipts stored inside your app, being able to select the receipts and generate a report in one-click was simply awesome.
- Duplicate invoice detection - This feature can be very handy, because none of us want our reports rejected after submission! Some applications today are capable of automatically informing you about duplicate receipts being uploaded.
- Mileage calculator – Do you do a lot of travelling for business and log travel mileage?. Some apps allow you to set your organization default mileage rates, and then use GPS to instantly calculate distance.
- Email Plugins – Given that most of your UBER, LYFT, Flight, Food orders and many other receipts drop into your inbox, you can look for apps that pair an email plugin with them. Fyle has receipt tracking email plugins for gmail, and a similar add-on for outlook.
- Currency Change – And for those times when you make foreign trips or buy software from foreign vendors, multi-currency support can be extremely handy.
Receipt Management App Costs lesser than a Starbucks Mocha
If money is a matter, then I must say that the cost of an app is cheaper than a cup of coffee. The apps range from $3.49 to $8. I now have one less report to make (which took a lot of my time).
I hated spending a lot of time on preparing expense report as they were not helping me meet my deadlines or ease my workload. So, I suggest don’t spend time preparing a report which can easily and efficiently be prepared by an app.
It’s been 4 months since I have started using Fyle for receipt management, and I love it. I regret not looking up earlier, I could have avoided wasting too many hours of manually filling expense reports. So if you’re still doing your expense reports manually and have to keep track of your receipts for every expense you make, it’s about time you moved to a receipt tracking app like Fyle.