Our automatic expense capture service, Snap, is now fully rolled out sporting an iPhone app, Android app, and an email-in service. This means wherever you are, and however you purchase a business expense, you can send us the receipt and have it waiting for you in your Crunch account when you next log in.
We’ve already seen some people making excellent use of Snap, like this ingenious time-saver from Crunch client James Pearson:
— James Pearson (@FearMediocrity) May 30, 2012
But there are a couple of things you can do to make your expense processing through Snap even easier. I’m using GMail for the examples here, but you can modify these methods for your email client of choice.
1. Add us to your address book
Adding our expense email address (email@example.com) to your address book will make forwarding any invoices to us much quicker. If you’re on a mobile device you can just type in the first few letters and the address will auto-complete.
Don’t forget to include attachments if you’re forwarding a PDF invoice!
2. Organise those expenses
GMail’s labels and filters will help you organise your business expenses for easier handling later on.
In this example I’m using Amazon to purchase business items (staplers, ring-binders, luxury yachts – that kind of thing). I’ve set up a filter so that everything arriving from firstname.lastname@example.org (the email address Amazon uses for order processing) is labelled “Expenses”.
You can add additional email addresses to the same filter if you use more than one supplier, too.
With this label in place I don’t have to hunt through my inbox for items to forward to Crunch – I can just view the label and forward whichever items need processing. For more information on setting up filters and labels in GMail see Google’s help articles here and here.
3. Don’t worry if you only get one confirmation email
Snap is operated by our partners Receipt Bank, who have set up a handy-dandy confirmation system for expense submission. They don’t want to clog up your inbox with a stack of separate confirmations every time you submit more that one receipt, so when you submit an expense to be captured they will wait a little while to see if you send any more.
When they think you’re done (for example, if you submit five expenses in half an hour then nothing more for an hour) they’ll send you one confirmation for all your submissions. Clever, huh?
4. Add your card details to Crunch
You can only mark expenses as paid in Crunch if you assign a payment method to them – and expenses recorded through Snap are no different. Snap will mark expenses as paid wherever possible (if you have the receipt for an item it’s a good bet you’ve already paid for it!) – however, this will only happen if Snap can deduce the payment method from the receipt.
This usually means the last four digits of the card you used to pay – if these are on your receipt and they match the details of a card stored in Crunch, voilà, your expense is marked as paid automatically!
5. Foreign currencies work, but be careful
If you submit a receipt in Euros, Dollars, or any other foreign currency Snap will convert it to GBP using the current rate from the European Central Bank (or the conversion rate at the time the expense occurred). It will be as accurate as it can be at the time of submission but your bank may use a slightly different rate, or add a foreign currency charge of a few percent on top.
This means the GBP amount taken out of your bank account may not exactly match the amount of the expense raised by Snap. This isn’t a disaster – it just means that when it comes time for Bank Reconciliation you will have to manually adjust the amount to match your bank statement.
6. Get hold of your original images
If you’re using Snap on a smartphone, all the images will be stored after you take them – but what if you drop it in the toilet? Well, don’t worry – the original images are stored as expense attachments in your Crunch account! Good thing, too – HMRC ask that you keep records going back six years for any business expenses.
Your images are perfectly safe in Crunch (read about the fancy infrastructure we’re using to keep your data safe here), but if you want to download them for your own records, visit the “Export Crunch Data” tab in the “Your Crunch” dashboard. Tick the expenses box and all your images will be in the .zip file that is generated.
We’re really excited about how Snap will grow in the future and further automate time-consuming accounting tasks, and we’re thinking hard about where we could take it next.
What features would you like to see added to Snap? Have any tips of your own to impart? Let us know in the comments below.