Expensify: Expenses On the Run? Fun?

Expensify - Expenses Made EasyI hated doing my monthly expenses when I worked at Fortune 500 companies. I had to sleuth through my bags, my luggage and my car to retrieve all the expense receipts and match them to my credit card statement. I would waste an entire day, usually under managerial “threats”, trying to reconcile my statement and my expenses. Heck, I just hated it just as much I hated accounting.

One of the benefits of running your own firm is that you get to choose the tools that make work, fun and mobile. Online accounting Freshbooks is an example of a great resource to run your business anywhere.

What about expenses? Can it be fun and simple? Enter Expensify with a tag line that reads “Expense reports that don’t suck”. Imagine a simple way to capture and digitize on the run, your travel, business mileage, restaurant receipts and billing.

What I like about Expensify: With the Expensify app, I simply need to pull out my phone, take a picture of the receipt and the Expensify will upload the data. It then matches the receipt information to the expense.  I can also email all my trip information, travel plans and digital receipts to my Expensify email account and save me the burden of having to locate my receipts after the trip. Finally, Expensify syncs with Freshbooks, Dropbox and my Evernote account. All my receipts are uploaded to my primary cloud server (such as Dropbox) so I do not have to scatter my receipts all over different clouds.

Pricing: I also like Expensify’s activity based pricing. For example, a Team plan cost $6 a month. However, my consultants can register for free. This is useful when you are working collaboratively with a independent group of consultants on behalf of a client. Your consultant can submit his time billing and expenses to you with the SmartScan technology.

Expensify works with various banks and credit card companies in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and most European countries.

Yes, it is possible to make expense reports on the run. Online solutions like Expensify make it easy to run your business, anywhere, anytime.

Evernote Premium Gets It Right With Business Cards Scanning

Best Way To Collect Business Cards with Evernote The core reason why I run a cloud office is to work anywhere. Working anywhere means you are going to meet a lot of cool people and collect plenty of business cards. Think of the last conference you attended. How did do you keep track of everyone you met while on the move? And who logs all of your business cards?

When it comes to my cloud office, I ruthlessly look for ways to simplify my workflow. It’s easy to get lost in the learning business when you are in the knowledge business. I choose apps that are easy to learn but powerful enough for remote work. Evernote is one of my essential core cloud office apps. But last December 2013, Evernote Premium upped the ante by simplifying the business card scanning workflow into a powerful business intelligence tool.

This is how I now organize my collection of business cards with Evernote and my iPhone:

1. Configure your initial settings on your Evernote app on your iPhone and/or iPad: Go to Evernote App > Settings (upper left) > General > Camera > Business Cards > Save Contact Info to Contacts (optional) and/or Select Notebook to save all contacts (I prefer this option because I do not want to add all my Evernote contacts to my iPhone. I can easily find them later in Evernote). In this setting panel, you should add your LinkedIn contact info (recommended otherwise, what’s the point in collecting business cards). I also recommend you complete “My Contact Info so you can easily forward via email, your own contact info on the spot.

2. Take a picture of your new contact’s business card with your Evernote app on your iPhone (Android – not yet). Select the business card feature after taking a picture in order to scan and optically recognize the characters on the card.

3. Choose if you wish to email “My Contact Info” to your new friend. This feature instantly emails your contact information to your new contact. Your new contact will remember you with this workflow.

There are plenty of benefits for choosing Evernote Premium to scan business cards. Evernote will contextualize your new contact according to the date and event entered in your calendar. Evernote will OCR your contact info and will locate your contact on LinkedIn immediately. Think of all the business cards you collected and quickly forgot how you come across this new person. Evernote will even link your previous notes or research to this new contact, thus becoming a powerful business intelligence tool.

Finally, here are a few additional resources and quick silent video to show you how fast this workflow can work for you. Good luck and remember everyone!!

How to Eliminate Piles of Business Cards from Networking Events

Evernote Can Remember Every Business Card You Collect

Freshbooks: My Simple 4 Step Cloud Accounting Workflow

Simple Cloud Accounting

Simple Cloud Accounting

How’s the tax season going for you?

I don’t think anyone hates accounting as much as I do. I’m bad at organizing my invoices, receipts and all the crazy paperwork surrounding this annual tax slumpfest. However, if I want to run my business anywhere, I need a simple system to keep me organized year round. This is year 3 of my simple cloud accounting system and I am happy to report an almost stress-free pre-tax season (paying taxes is always a drag but…).

4- Step Cloud Accounting Workflow:

1. Freshbooks: Imagine entering expenses from your smartphone in 45 seconds.  Ever wish you could easily create an invoice from your tablet while on the run. Simple? This describes my Freshbooks experience.

My accountant tried to get me on Quickbooks because of its “Journal Entries” capabilities (now available on Freshbooks). I don’t even know what that means, Commerce degree notwithstanding. I don’t like Quickbooks. It’s just too complicated to learn.

It’s easy with Freshbooks. For example: I just finished fuelling my car. I now take a picture of the receipt. I enter the amount, click on taxes, chuck the paper receipt and 45 seconds later, I drive off. Some of you would rather save the receipt. My recent audit experience tells me digital receipts are good enough. Besides, you have your bank statement & credit card statements.

Finally, Freshbooks can easily be integrated with PayPal and other online payment solutions so you can get paid for selling your digital services.

2. Digitize my paper trail and upload to cloud: I digitize (Scan Snap) all of my paper receipts, such as professional dues, office supplies, car repairs, meals and all other usual monthly bills. I turn on the OCR function of my scanner so I can search by keyword later. I try to scan every week (takes me about 10 minutes). I bought the ebook from Brook Duncan’s Document Snap on how to Go Paperless and it is without a doubt, the best investment under $20 I ever made.  Basically, my system goes like this: All my receipts are uploaded to a cloud provider, such as Dropbox. I name all my digital receipts according to the date it was created, like 20140221_20.00. Remember the fuel expense I took a picture while on the go? Well, I digitized that picture into a searchable pdf with my CamScanner Pro app on my iPhone and upload it to my Dropbox account which is linked to my app.

3. What about e-bills: If you are like me, every month you get an electronic bill. How do I save those e-bills? I emailed the receipts or bills to my Evernote account. I tag my bills with “2014” + “expenses”. That’s it. Don’t go complicated. Evernote has a powerful tagging system that can bring up your e-bills under 2 seconds.

4. What About Super confidential files (like your tax receipts, etc…): I am a big Transporter fan. Transporter is perfect when you absolutely need to keep your data private and non-accessible by third parties (for example, governmental requests). The cool thing is that you can still access your private information from your iPhone or iPad.

There you have it. Say goodbye to your annual accounting angst and start running your business from anywhere.