Home' LAPTOP Magazine : July 2011 Contents Which Service iS BeSt for You?
Each of the three services has its comparative pros and cons. Since all offer free trial periods, there’s an opportunity to see
which best suits your needs. But any of these three would be an improvement over the time-consuming way you’re doing
your expenses now.
instant ExpEnsE REpoRts
the right app can save time and energy when recording and submitting expenses from the road.
by Stewart Wolpin
Do you fill out expense reports? It’s
likely your favorite activity, right
behind getting a root canal and taking
your dog out in a raging rain storm. But at
least those other activities won’t put you to
sleep—or waste time at work that you could
be spending on, you know, work.
As usual, technology comes to the rescue
with solutions to speed up the expense
report process. If you peruse the varying
smartphone app stores, you’ll find dozens,
if not hundreds, of expense-reporting apps.
Many of these are designed to track just
one or two types of expenses, and most
are designed to be used by an individual,
not a company employee. But businesses
large and small require far more expansive
expense-recording applications with more
capabilities and customization options to
meet their particular financial reporting
We’ve identified three companies
offering just what the efficiency expert
asked for. These services and their cor-
responding apps have the necessary
features to satisfy both small businesses
and the Forbes 500.
• Concur (www.concur.com)
• Expensify (www.expensify.com)
• ProOnGo (www.proongo.com)
While all three share a number of attri-
butes, there are vast differences between
the services and features each offers and
how they are priced.
hoW theY Work
Generally speaking, Concur, Expensify, and
ProOnGo operate fairly similarly, but they
differ greatly when it comes to the details.
You can register for each service via the
mobile app, but it’s easier to set up and
customize your account online. The apps
are best used for on-the-go expense filing.
All three services have apps for iPhone,
Android, and BlackBerry; Expensify also
offers a webOS app, while ProOnGo has
one for Windows Phone.
With all three services, users create a new
expense record and fill in the merchant name,
location, date, category (usually chosen from
a pull-down menu), and amount. There’s also
an option for adding comments (identifying
the office supplies you bought, for instance)
or additional category fields (such as further
identifying a “transportation” expense as
a rental car, taxi, or train). All three mobile
apps let you use your smartphone camera
to snap a picture of your receipt to attach
to the expense report.
Once you've created your expense records,
you can apply individual entries or all records
to one or several expense reports. You can
do the same with your credit card or bank
transactions, which all three services allow
you to automatically import by supplying
the appropriate account numbers. All three
services use a secure credit-reporting service;
all the companies ever “see” are the bank or
credit card transactions applied to expense
reports. They have no access to any other
bank or card information.
Normally, once you complete an expense
record, it’s uploaded to be included with
your other expense records and files. But
you don’t always have an Internet con-
nection, so all three services allow you to
create expense records offline.
Once you’ve completed your expense
report on your smartphone, you can view
it and send it up the varying levels of the
corporate chain of command, usually via
e-mail, for adjudication and reimburse-
ment. All three services enable reports to be
imported into Intuit’s QuickBooks, the most
popular accounting software used by small
and medium-sized businesses, as an Intuit
Interchange Format (IIF) file. In addition,
all support standard Excel CSV (Comma
Separated Values) and XML files.
There is a slight learning curve for each
of the services and apps, but once you grok
the inner logic behind each, the whole
process becomes quick and easy.
The 10,000 -line spreadsheet of the digital
expense service world, Concur was founded
in 1993. In addition to personalized training
during the 30-day free trial period, Concur
comes in two versions: Concur Breeze,
designed for smaller business with fewer
than 50 employees, and Concur Premier, the
company’s raision d’être, a sophisticated,
expansive, and configurable package that
includes customizable analytic reports
from Cognos and an Expedia-like travel
service called Cliqbook, which allows
companies to define hotels and other
Breeze costs $8 a month per employee,
whether they file expense reports or not.
Concur Premier’s pricing depends on how
many employees, how many Cognos reports
will be generated, and other variable factors
such as whether you need travel assistance.
It’s assumed a company would start out
with Breeze, then grow into Premier based
on its usage in practice.
Laptop | July 2011
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