Expensify is in the business of helping organizations wrangle their expense management. A pretty simple task, you might think. But why, if it is so, is expense reimbursement time the most hated part of most employees’ jobs? Is it because the time-sucking process of photocopying receipts, filling in forms, claiming reimbursement and the like is diametrically opposed from actually getting their jobs done (unless, of course, their job is 100% expense management, in which case it just goes to show how broken enterprise systems really are.)

So while many (if not most) large enterprises use archaic expense management tools that are part of huge ERP solutions from vendors like SAP and Oracle, Expsensify has quietly been building momentum for its pure-play expense management application. Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, Expensify’s modus operandi is to simply be the best at one particular thing.

And the market seems to be responding to the promise of no longer having to spend countless hours doing mundane and mind-numbing tasks. Rather, automation is being used, where appropriate, to free workers up to do more valuable work. As David Barrett, Expensify’s founder and CEO says:

More and more, employees are tired of spending countless hours doing mundane tasks and instead are turning to technology to speed up those processes. They’re getting smarter and taking it upon themselves to search for better tools to expedite their workload. This shift, coupled with our unique bottom-up adoption model, has really translated to exponential growth in new customers and partnerships

And when he says exponential growth, he means it. Since January, Expnsify has added one million new users to its platform – it now has over five million people doing their expense reimbursements with the Expensify product. Notably, Barrett proudly stats that that growth has been both organic and, wait for it, profitable. He doesn’t provide any numbers, but he does say that the company is showing “notable profit,” whatever that means.

In addition to doubling the number of total customers, the channel is an important measure for Expsnify who gains customers both directly, and through partners. Expensify has also doubled the number of accounting firms in its ExpensifyApproved! Partnership Program. Many of these new partners represent top 50 accounting firms such as Kaufman Rossin, BPM CPA, Rehmann, and Wipfli.

As an added incentive to these accounting company partners, Expensify has been building out tools specific to their needs, including a central dashboard to manage all client expenses, firm-wide billing capabilities, and enhanced reporting features. On top of that, Expensify has partnered with FinancialForce, Bill.com, Lyft, and five travel solutions to further enhance the product for all partners and customers.

Helping accountants survive to fight another day

I have strong thoughts about what automation will mean for the long term future of the accounting profession. I see some real mid-term risks to the industry. As such, it is a smart move for these practitioners to begin embracing new revenue streams and opportunities – if they were advising their own clients, they’d couch it in terms of “portfolio diversification.’’” Any way, one of these accounts, Mark Stricker, a partner at Wipfli, is pretty positive about what Expensify brings to his business:

Partnering with Expensify has made a crucial difference to our firm. It’s so easy to onboard our clients to Expensify, and such a relief that we no longer depend upon manual, paper-based systems to track receipts. Previously we could only see the full picture of our clients’ financials after all expense reports had been submitted and reimbursed at the end of the month. Expensify allows us to track our clients’ spend in realtime, so we can advise our clients based on their current financial status, not last month’s.

MyPOV

Since its founding almost a decade ago, Expensfify has done all the right things to grow its product, its partners, and its end-user customers. This strategy has proven successful and Expensify’s momentum is an indication that the time is right to disrupt traditional approaches towards expensing.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Nelson Bostrom |

    Expense reports don’t take hours to do and photocopying isn’t involved when using Oracle or SAP. Any controller or travel manager that has used or evaluated these systems is aware of this.

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