There’s no easy way of going around the tedious task of tracking your expenses and reimbursements. Especially if you are a freelancer or consultant, you end up investing an inordinate amount of time separating receipts and credit card statements for clients and then creating an expense report most often a week after the expenses took place. Startup Xpenser is hoping to help professionals mitigate this problem by letting time, expenses and receipts be recorded and submitted immediately. Similar to what TripIt does for planning travel, Xpenser simplifies expense reporting.
Xpenser gives you a phone number where you can simply call and leave a message, which is transcribed into an expense submission. So if a traveler gets out of a taxi, she can call and leave a message for Xpenser saying “taxi $27 to hotel.” Xpenser parses the input, categorizes and records it, and makes it available on the Xpenser site for search, export, or for submission as an expense report. The traveler could also take a picture of a lunch receipt using her mobile phone and email it to Xpenser with the subject “Lunch $62.75 With Michael” and Xpensers will add it to its expense folder. The same conversion can be used for SMS messages as well. And you can also use instant messaging (Yahoo, MSN, AIM, or Google Talk) to converse with Xpenser. For example, if you are measuring your time on a particular project you could send “time start client X conference call” and then “time end.”
Parand Darugar, Xpenser’s founder and CEO, says the startup uses natural language capabilities allow expenses to be recorded without having to learn complex rules or symbols. On the actual site, you can define budgets and be alerted of the remaining balance each time an expense is submitted. You can also establish folders for different clients or projects and Xpenser will place the expense in the correct folder with the mention of the folder name. And you can tag tag expenses for easy search and categorization. Once expense reports are compiled, you can download the report in a file to be sent for reimbursement.
You can also import credit card statements or export your reports to Excel, Quicken, Outright, Freshbooks and other programs. To let developers build off of Xpenser, the startup is opening up its API. Xpenser will soon be launching applications for the iPhone, BlackBerry and other smartphone devices.
Xpenser is free but will be rolling out a freemium model that will let users pay to store more data and other features. Darugar says Xpenser was born from his days at Yahoo when he needed a simple way to organize his expenses on the go. Of course, online expense reporting has become a competitive landscape with Expensify, Shoeboxed and Concur all vying for users.