We recently updated our mobile app to offer a very cool new feature from within the mobile app for receipt management. Users can now attach receipts from their Dropbox account to transactions on the mobile app! (If you don’t have a Dropbox account yet, don’t worry – we won’t judge you. We will however make fun of you :). Sign up is very easy.)
The attached receipts can be standard .jpg or .png receipts taken with a camera. But the great thing about it is that now you can also attach multi-page PDF receipts! Super convenient is what we are shooting for with this feature and it delivers. Here is what it looks like:
During the 1st-time login, the app will ask the user for permission to link to their Dropbox account. Once the user approves, the user can attach anything from their Dropbox account.
We recommend users to create a ‘Receipts’ folder within their Dropbox and access that from our mobile app. That way everything is organized better and data management becomes easier.
From a process standpoint it is easy as Apple Pie (or cake; we forget). Simply click on ‘Add Photo’, select ‘Dropbox’ and pick the respective receipt from there. Finito!
Hope you find this feature to be useful while crossing the Seven Seas. As always, contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss in more detail!
In the last few months we have received several questions from our prospects and customers related to deploying our T&E expense reporting application in a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model versus a licensing model. We are one of very few vendors that provide both options to customers.
While SaaS is quickly becoming the model of choice for many, there are good reasons to evaluate the licensing model as well. So how does SaaS really compare to the more traditional licensing model? Well, let’s review some of the typical questions and comments we have seen.
‘We are interested in subscribing to your SaaS model because it is cheaper than licensing it. Is this a valid statement?’
Short answer: Yes.
Generally speaking, an on-premise deployment through licensing requires greater upfront capital investment (CFOs typically amortize this cost as Capex) compared to the SaaS model. And there are several reasons for this – installing expensive hardware & software on-site, requiring resources and personnel to manage the hardware and software, ongoing maintenance expenses, upgrades, support fees and license fees. However with SaaS the company doesn’t have to allocate resources and personnel to manage the application. The additional charges for upgrades, hardware and administration fees are avoided and included in the monthly subscription. Customers simply have to login and go!
What are the benefits of SaaS and Licensing?
The SaaS model gives the buyer immediate business benefits with frequent updates, shorter deployment times and independence from having to maintain an IT team to support the application. There is also an easier adoption and more flexibility for end-users because SaaS vendors typically utilize the latest technology to include mobile apps, web based applications etc. compared to internal IT teams in end-user companies that cannot keep pace with vendors.
Licensing with On-premise deployments have typically provided more integration with existing IT and operational systems. But many SaaS solution providers (including us) now provide seamless integration with several systems. Also, there is always the risk with management of data which might be easier to accomplish in an On-premise model vs SaaS. But then again, vendors like us provide customers with the option of sending them backed-up data periodically to alleviate any concerns.
SaaS or Licensing: which one is more flexible?
That depends – on the company, their operations, availability of resources and personnel and their goals in choosing between the two. Both hosted (through SaaS) and On-premise are scalable, easy to configure and have technical flexibility. However, SaaS is probably more flexible for the end user as there are no limitations in accessing it from anywhere with an internet connection through multiple mechanisms (web, mobile phone, tablet etc.)
Is SaaS still a risky proposition?
Licensing has always been the de-facto model compared to SaaS over the last several decades, at least. Hence SaaS is perceived to be more risky. And the main areas of risk revolve around impact risks such as loss of control, integration challenges and data storage being off-site. The risks with licensing a solution are more related to implementation such as deployment, support and training. And the risk can vary a lot and depends on the company’s operations and structure.
In conclusion, which model is better? Sorry, but there is no one single answer. It really comes down to the business objectives, goals and culture of the company. Some of our customers that have small IT teams have opted for our expense reporting solution in the SaaS model because it is much easier for them to manage. Other customers have opted for the licensing model because they wanted more control and some of them were bound by corporate policies to retain all technology applications and data within the company which is managed On-Premise. So the question really becomes – ‘SaaS vs Licensing: which size fits your company best?’
* Very nice white paper on ‘On-Premise’ VS. Cloud-based solutions provided by GFI software – Link
* Educational video on Cloud Computing vs. On-Premise Solutions
A new breed of CFOs are here – and they are here to stay. It seems that more and more CFOs are now looking beyond just reporting on quarterly results. Today’s CFOs take part in product innovation, come up with breakthrough business ideas, challenge corporate customs and are more involved in front end growth of the company. A recent report titled ‘Managing Innovation’ put together by the AICPA (American Institute of CPAs) and CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), corroborates this new trend while providing tips from the CFOs themselves. Here are five areas –
Early stage ideas need to be treated differently
Several CFOs noted that companies, even innovative, make a big mistake by treating early stage concepts and ideas within their R&D departments with traditional financial metrics and guidelines. This saps the innovative spirit while miring the innovative process in more paperwork and justifications. Nurturing success at this stage means applying different rules – right from the beginning. The study notes that ‘Distrust is exacerbated when early-stage ideas are prematurely tested against traditional financial metric, before they can evolve’. Because of this many finance executives call for relaxed P&Ls, reasonable growth metrics and don’t demand too much of new ventures, at least initially.
Creative use of capital
Shell allocates $1.5B every year to R&D, plus sends a further $4B for incubating innovative ideas and solutions across all of its business lines. A good part of it goes to – what it refers to as – ‘the game-changer budget’, a fund used by employees to apply for innovative research projects outside of their daily work. ‘A finance function needs to understand the business well enough to know what is a worthwhile activity’ says Royal Dutch Shell CFO Simon Henry.
How do you define risk?
Risk is inevitable for every business. And no risk means no reward. Common knowledge, correct? Not as common as you think. ‘The perception that risk management is there to apply the brakes is a misconception’, says Anita Menon, Chief Risk Office at Prudential BSN Takaful, a joint venture between Prudential and Bank Simpanan Nasional. ‘The risk function is there to encourage the business to understand that they need balanced strategies or actions in order to grow the company’
CFO is now CIO, as in Controlled Innovation Officer
Simon Henry, CFO of Shell says that the finance department’s visibility and role in monitoring the performance of various business units makes it uniquely positioned to counter risk with planned opportunity. Having that twin outlook brings guidance to gung-ho projects and ideas that are sure to change the world but without a qualified financial base, which is needed to build sustainable businesses. ‘We want to encourage innovation and not stifle it, but not in a totally uncontrolled way’, says Henry.
Inside the belly of the beast
To manage innovation better, many CFOs are inclined to place top lieutenants where the action is – inside new ventures and projects. Giving a top finance exec. this level of visibility and access, where innovation is ripe and unbridled, helps to not only build the business case for funding such projects but also get a more in-the -trenches experience that is uncommon for finance folks. This helps finance understand the process, chaotic as it may be, and that not everything can be qualified in Microsoft Excel. ‘The role of [finance embeds] is decision support, from idea right through to launch’, says Stephen Bolton, group controller at Diageo.
So, as a CFO, do you see yourself employing one or more of these recommendations? Let us know in the comments below or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We wanted to capture a few notes about getting the PDF Preview function in the application to show the latest values – whether it is new expense entries or change in status. Since every user’s browser settings can be set differently, it is important to understand how these settings can affect the PDF Preview function.
Depending on the stage of the expense report in the approval process, it can retain various statuses. The initial status is always ‘Saved not Submitted’. When the expense report is submitted the status will change to other levels and consequently, the PDF will show the updated status. Also, as the user adds new transactions or make updates to existing transactions, the PDF content will change content-wise.
In 99.99% of the cases, the most recent entries/statuses are not visible in the PDF due to the cache settings of the user’s browser. If the settings are done correctly, the updates within the PDF would be instantaneous. In most cases refreshing the browser will show the updates. If doing a CTRL + F5 shows the updates, it proves that it is a cache setting issue (Basically CTRL + F5 re-downloads the page while just F5 reloads the content from the cache)
If your cache storage setting is large, you may need to clear the cache (periodically) to see the updated PDF. Alternately, the user may choose to reduce the cache setting to, say, 1MB. Here is how the cache can be cleared in some of the frequently used browsers –
For the uninitiated, here are a few references to understand what the cache really is and it’s function.
Cache 101 – It is not cash spelled incorrectly
Cache 102 – link 1 | link 2 (a technical note from friends at Cisco)
Hope this quick guide helps you understand how your browser’s settings play a vital role in the application’s functionality. As always, let us know if there are any questions – email@example.com.
In the last few months, we have been receiving inquiries regarding our integration with ERP & Accounting systems in relation to some of the other expense reporting solutions out there. I think the key difference can be summarized as – Full Automation
Most of the other systems out there say that they can ‘integrate’ but what they really mean is that they provide a flat-file that can then be imported into the ERP system. Nothing wrong with this and it may actually work better for some companies. But when we refer to integration, we mean full 100% automated integration, which means – the Accounting person pushes a button and the expenses are available in the ERP system as GL entries or into AP. This makes a huge difference for our customers.
Using our integration manager utility, they are able to pick and choose expense reports they want to send. After that, they click on a button to push the expense data. Simple as that! We have heard from our customers that With this approach, there is lesser chances of errors, much fewer manual steps that need to be taken and it can be performed by anyone in Accounting or AP without any expert training. Plus, the mapping of parameters can be tweaked very easily within the integration manager by the Admin without having to redesign the flat file format. Thus the Accounting folks will have lot more flexibility in how the data is pushed to the ERP or Accounting systems. We guarantee that this approach is 21st century proof! 🙂
So, come take a look at this and some of the other advancements we are making in the expense reporting space. To see a list of some of the systems we integrate with, go to the ‘Advanced Functions’tab here. If you’d like to learn more or have any questions, as always, send us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been receiving several inquiries over the last few months about our integration with NAV2013 in relation to what would happen if NAV is hosted on the cloud. Here is the quick scoop –
Microsoft has made significant investments towards the “hostability” of NAV2013. This helps deploying and using NAV in the cloud, thus benefiting both customers and partners. Microsoft is currently fine-tuning deployment scenarios and developing guidance for deploying NAV on Azure. Microsoft expects to make deployment of NAV on Azure broadly available in Q1, 2013. They had initially planned it closer to Nov 2012.
Our application is deployed on the cloud too (as one of the options), specifically Azure (Yes, we are heavily Microsoft oriented and we love it :). With this option, the customer has nothing to worry about in regards to hosting the data, managing the application or tackling the overhead associated with maintaining a server, support etc. Our integration with NAV is agnostic to the hosting format employed. NAV can be on a dedicated server on the cloud or we could be co-hosted with NAV too. Neither approaches affect out integration from the user’s perspective. On the back-end, there will be a few more gerbils turning wheels. But the customer will always experience a seamless and fully automated integration between our solution and NAV.
This flexible integration and hosting capabilities between our solution and NAV makes life much easier for the customer, the partner and of course for us too. Read about our integration with NAV here. If you would like to learn more or have any further questions, send us a message at – email@example.com.
Meanwhile, here are some more tidbits about NAV013 you may find useful
– Microsoft announced the availability of NAV 2013 in 15 markets. With significant improvements in functionality and several new capabilities, this launch was hailed as the most significant release of NAV yet
– Functionality such as Cash Flow Forecast, Cost Accounting, and Excel Integration to Query enable greater accounting efficiency for customers while offering partners the ability to develop customized solutions
– The new NAV web client allows users to access NAV from virtually any device. Improved query and charting offer compelling ways to analyze and display data for more users
– Improvements to the migration tool, partner development tools, and increased interoperability with Microsoft technologies mean less time is needed for partners to customize and deploy solutions, and they are easier for customers to learn and have impact
– Specifically useful for partners, NAV2013 enables easier deployment, configuration and installation through the RoleTailored developer experience. The new .NET Framework enhancements makes it easier to build, deploy and integrate high-performing add-ons with existing NAV solutions, and share data more easily
2012 was a great year for us. We advanced our product to the next level through some very innovative features and updates. Some of the ideas came from our customers who love our solution and what it did to solve their T&E pain. Many thanks to them!
Now 2013 is here and we are bustling with new ideas. Our goal is still the same – No more hassle with expense reporting.
Here is a great article from Mashable about 5 common travel problems how to solve them with technology. (Thank you Mike Murphy!)
“Although business travel is on the rise again, companies are expecting employees to wring even greater efficiency and productivity from their business trips. Unfortunately, even the most seasoned road warrior can run into hurdles when traveling for business…..
We had a very successful exhibition of our T&E expense reporting solution at DEMO last week. DEMO is one of the biggest technology launchpad conferences in the US that provides a stage for young companies with disruptive and game-changing solutions. The event has been in existence since the 1980s. Some of the name brands that have emerged from DEMO include Salesforce.com, Tivo, VMWare and WebEx among others.
Microsoft selected us from several global companies and sponsored us to attend and present at this show (thanks again Microsoft!). It was great to receive kudos and recognition from someone like Microsoft. Our solid integration with Dynamics GP, NAV, AX and SL caught their attention and they wanted us to discuss the innovations we were making in T&E expense reporting – an old pain point that hasn’t been solved yet!
It was very exciting to fly out to SFO and showcase our solution in the heart of the Silicon Valley. We were also 1 of the 2 companies from Georgia. This is great news for the Southeast hi-tech scene. It puts Georgia on the map for hi-tech innovation compared to the bigger players like Boston, New York and of course the Silicon Valley.
We look forward to being part of the DEMO alumni and continue taking the pain out of expense reporting for companies and employees!
By popular demand, Gorilla Expense has released a new feature where Multi-Levels Approvals of expense reports can be setup. The approvers can be designated as different types of users, viz. ‘Manager’, ‘Admin’, ‘Accounting’ etc. This feature adapts to a company’s existing work-flow. And similar to other areas, this feature can be customized by us to meet your specific needs.
Note that the Multi-Level Approval is different from the Redirect Expense Report feature. In Redirect Expense Report, the approver can redirect an expense report to someone else is he/she is unavailable. The Multi-Level approval is disparate but works in conjunction with expense report redirection.
With this feature, different departments within a company will have visibility into T&E spend. There is also enhanced accountability because people who need to sign off on expenses are now fully involved. Hope you enjoy this functionality!
Why Customers Love Our Solution
High User Adoption
Fastest & Most Accurate Receipt Scan Engine. Period.
Features + Security = Enterprise-Grade Solution
Included Integration with Back-end Accounting Systems- No Third Party to deal with
Included Responsive Support
No Long Term Contracts Or Overage Penalties.
Pay Per User or Pay Per Report
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