Expensify's Free Expense Report System Takes The Hassle Out of Reimbursements

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Expensify, the startup that took second place at TC50′s demo pit last year, has launched the public beta version of its business expense tracking and reimbursement system. Expensify has created a bigger and better version of its system, which we reviewed last fall.

Expensify still offers the “electronic payment card,” which is essentially an Expensify-branded MasterCard that is linked to your original credit card (which doesn’t have to be a MasterCard). When you use this card, business expenses are immediately charged to the linked credit card’s account. Not only does this allow you to still rack up any frequent flier miles associated with your primary credit card but it takes only a week to get the Expensify card and you don’t have to undergo a credit check. You can get numerous cards (and are able to manually write what each card is for in a blank white spot on the top of the card), which is ideal for consultants who are billing reimbursements to different clients.

Now Expensify also gives you the option of using an existing corporate or personal credit card and the service will automatically import your purchases directly from the banking website. Expensify currently can import over 90 percent of U.S. credit cards. Expensify also allows you to apply for an American Express Blue Card, from which the startup receives a referral fee when a user enrolls.

Here’s a quick demo:

http://expensify.com/expensify_demo.swf

Once the billing information is set up, Expensify will automatically generate an expense report with “e-receipts” for all purchases under $75 and gives you the ability to import any receipts over that amount via an email, jpeg, or pdf file (e-receipts are all formatted to IRS regulations). Expensify will also have an iPhone app that will take a picture of the receipts and upload it to the site directly. The drawback to the e-receipt is that it doesn’t give a line by lie itemization of a receipt, which shows for example, how much each entree cost and whether there was alcohol on the bill. Many employers have certain restrictions on expensing alcohol with meals or how much money can be spent per person in a group.

Once all receipts are uploaded, Expensify will create a one-click expense report organized by category of expense (i.e. food, travel), attaches all the receipts and even includes charts detailing the breakdown of expenditures. You can also label expenses in the report and add comments. Once you sign off on the report, Expensify will send a PDF of the report via email directly to the reimbursement contact, along with a link back to the report where the admin can approve or reject the report. Once approved, funds are deposited directly back into the credit card used or a checking account. You also have the option of sending the report directly to the whoever is reimbursing you directly and going through their channels for reimbursement.

Expensify is now completely free-the startup eliminated the 3 percent transaction fee it was originally proposing to charge users during private beta. With its new service options and its free platform, Expensify will undoubtedly challenge similar expense report sites out there like Shoeboxed and Concur, who both charge a monthly fees for users.

This service is ideal for freelancers, contractors or small businesses looking to integrate or use an expense system at little to no cost. Its doubtful that big businesses, who often have established in-house expense report systems with strict rules on how to submit expenses, will allow Expensify reports to pass by freely. But CEO and co-founder David Barrett says that Expensify is specifically targeted towards small businesses and the self-employed and delivers options that will suit both groups expense needs

Here’s a look at a sample expense report:

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