The best expense app for your tax obligations

4 min read
Author: Andrew Bakonski
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We looked at 5 popular apps to manage expenses (1) Shoeboxed, (2) Receipt Bank, (3) Expensify, (4) Tallie and (5) Veryfi to find the best expense app for you. We tested each to see how well they performed their core function–Collection and identification of receipts. If you want to skip ahead, the Summary finding are right at the bottom in the Conclusion section. Or keep on reading to see how we tested, what we looked for and why.

1. Privacy

Most hacks happen through social engineering aka “dumpster diving” — someone going through your personal information to trick people (say bank manager) into breaking normal security procedures (social engineering). It is one of the greatest threats that organizations today encounter. Identities are stolen this way and your data accessed. The best expense app you need to trust.

Unfortunately all but Veryfi expense apps tested were found to rely on manual outsourced labor (to cheaper countries) for the purposes of reviewing & editing your receipt data. If you are relying on such apps to store your medical bills then be warned, your personal identifiable information is now vulnerable too! Major red flag.

2. Real-Time

The best expense app will give you immediate feedback so you can truly throw away your receipt. Imagine uploading a photo to share on Facebook and waiting a few minutes to share it with your friends. Annoying, right? Slow stalls you. Just like waiting around for receipt to process gives one little confidence that (a) the receipt will not be lost and (b) that you can throw away your original paper receipt.

3. Mobile Experience

Your smartphone is a computer in your pocket. The best expense app will be built mobile-first as a native app. You are investing in an app and you want it to have a pleasant mobile end-to-end experience. If you need to use a desktop to finish something you started on your phone then that’s a broken experience. In many finance apps, we noticed difficulty in abstracting a spreadsheet into a mobile screen hence the broken end-to end experience.

4. Data

The data on your receipt is valuable. It is Gold. Especially when converted to text it can be searchable, editable and pushed to your cloud accounting software. The piece of technology which allows this is called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) with some magic sauce to help OCR produce quality results. Unfortunately many apps we tried butchered this process with the exception of Veryfi.

5. Intelligence

Machine learning is fast becoming a hot topic because it is enabling people to be more efficient with their time by letting intelligent machines do the tedious and error prone data entry. Machines can process information with more precision and much faster than humans. This means machines scale, humans do not.

The best expense app will be heading to full automation of the entire process for the end user. How do you know if your app is using machine learning? (a) The apps gets better over time in identifying elements on your receipt and (b) real-time processing; machines are fast.

Want to see some Intelligence at work?

  1. Install Veryfi (it’s free)
  2. Grab a Receipt with a Retailer logo and Scan it

Note how fast the system identifies the logo without having to OCR any text. No humans. No smoke shows. Just Machine Learning at it’s finest.

Make the right decision

QuickBooks S/E Expensify Receipt Bank Tallie Shoeboxed Veryfi
Video comparisons n/a Video Video Video Video Videos
Scan to Processed Manual data entry 2:36 min 8:28 min 33 sec 33:45 min 3 sec
Unlimited scans
Personal email for collection
Auto Categorization
Extracts: Line-by-line
Extracts: Store name
Extracts: Store logos
Extracts: Total
Extracts: Taxes & handwritten Tips
Extracts: Payment type
Extracts: Date & Time
World Currency & Conversion
No bull support
Machine Learning
Machine Processing
HIPAA Compliant

Now you know what to look out for in your next bookkeeping app. Here is what we found in our review of 5 apps. Yes the last one was our own 😉 No fluff here. Just pure data. In the video links below you can see the timer used to measure speed and also the outcome of each scan to identify its ability to read the base receipt. If we missed something in our tests please let us know.

  • Overall Tallie appears to be trying to solve machine processing. 33 seconds to process a receipts is fast but not the fastest or the most accurate of the lot. However Tallie’s hidden minimum fee of $50 is deceptive and not seen in any of the other apps.
  • User experience wise, Expensify is doing a good job in providing a clean experience but somewhat limited on the mobile device experience side falling back on their desktop web version. Pricing is fair too. We enjoyed using Expensify.
  • Unfortunately for Shoeboxed and Receipt bank, both shared the same slow user experience, confusing interfaces and riddled with bugs making it very hard to win hearts. Not to mention Shoeboxed and Receipt Bank price points are extremely high for the service they provide. This is a side effect of manual labor for processing receipts.

Comparison Videos

What is Veryfi

Veryfi helps you track, analyze and report on business spending. Veryfi is a Mobile & Watch app which uses machine learning and real-time OCR to automate your expense management with seamless QuickBooks Online, Saasu & Xero integration.

Veryfi Expense & Income Tracker on iTunes App Store Veryfi Expense & Income Tracker on Google Play App Store or learn more

Why Now?

Veryfi was founded by software engineers with financial services backgrounds. We set out to change the fact that all of the existing solutions in the marketplace today inefficiently deploy human labor behind spreadsheets in the cloud. Veryfi is a 100% machine automated mobile-first platform combining machine learning with our secret sauce and a sprinkle of OCR. This provides a pleasant real-time user experience built on fast processing speeds that business owners should demand in this day and age.

We hope you like Veryfi because we’re just getting started. Our product road map for 2017 takes us deep into truly automating the whole bookkeeping process. Feel free to join us so that you too can enjoy the ride!

Your friends @ Team Veryfi

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