Expensify is a cloud based expense reporting tool, usable from your computer or mobile device. It allows you to scan or take a picture of the expense receipt, complete details of the expense online, then submit an expense report for reimbursement. The scan or picture of the expense receipt is linked directly with the details of the expense within the system.

With a feature called Smartscan, Expensify will identify the name of the vendor, the amount and the date of transaction and auto populate those fields. You will then need to assign the expense to its proper category manually. Smartscan can work with receipts you have scanned, taken a picture of, or even ones that you receive via email which can be forwarded to a special email address with Expensify.

A free Expensify account includes 5 SmartScan transactions per month, but recently the company introduced an individual account level of service, which allows for unlimited SmartScans and other features for $5 a month.

While Expensify was designed and is largely intended for organizations and their employees to manage expense reports, it can be repurposed for more general record keeping requirements, such as tracking personal or household expenses. The addition of the individual account option makes this more feasible. Individuals who may find Expensify to be of use are those who qualify to claim employment expenses on their tax returns, or even self-employed individuals. After all, what is the expense portion of the annual Statement of Business Activities which accompanies your tax return other than a 12 month expense report? For micro businesses which don’t require the full suite of features included in full on bookkeeping systems such as Quickbooks Online or Xero, Expensify could be a viable solution.

One of the side benefits to a system like Expensify is that it keeps scanned copies of your expense receipts. Canada Revenue has made it clear that it is the taxpayer’s responsibility to ensure there are legible copies of all supporting documentation for expenses claimed should a CRA audit occur.  If the original receipt has faded to the point of no longer being legible then the expense can be denied.  A scanned image solves this concern.  An acceptable format for records per CRA includes “an accessible and readable electronic format”.  This would include non-proprietary, commonly used formats which would be the standard image file formats used by most software.

While the focus of this article has been on Expensify, there are many other tools and apps available (with more coming every day) which may make record keeping easier and less time consuming. However, as a taxpayer you must make sure that the information needed to properly file your taxes and support your filing position with CRA (or the IRS for our cross-border clients) is being accurately captured.

If you are thinking of implementing new cloud based tools and technologies please let us know, and we will be happy to help you evaluate the appropriateness of the tool to your individual situation.