Tag Archives: accounting

Expense Tracking Made Easy

Expense Tracking Made Easy

This blog post comes from research to find the best business expense tracker. Small business owners are on their own when it comes to maintaining tax records and associated documentation, and it is important to track all expenses for accurate accounting and tax reporting. Small business owners already have enough on their plates without having to worry about learning new software just for tracking expenses. Applications such as QuickBooks already track accounts payable and accounts receivables, but is there an alternative that is easy and reliable to track everyday expenses and mileage for the busy entrepreneur? Here is what I uncovered.


PC Magazine suggests doing your homework before choosing the ideal expense app for your company. They highly recommend a cloud-based solution so that you can deploy it easily and your employees can use it any time, anywhere. They also suggest studying your company to understand the needs. Do you have remote employees or traveling sales people? Are you a small to medium (SMB) sized company or a small partnership? The solution you choose should meet the needs of all types of employees within your organization where possible. It is also important to work closely with your accounting department to make sure that the new solution is compatible with your accounting software and that they can integrate business expenses with other payables for a holistic view of your financial health. Finally, it is important to consider data storage for archival and tax purposes. These questions are most important when you have a growing company. Of course, if you are a sole proprietor then you can easily answer these questions because you are the CEO and CFO.

Operational Considerations

One of the big considerations suggested by PC Magazine is actual expense input. You buy gas for the company car or dine with a prospective customer but then are left with the task of inputting the expenses. It is easiest to scan a receipt with a smartphone or input the data electronically as the expenses are incurred. It is best to avoid any application that requires manual input because you are less likely to actually do it— after all, you have a company to run. PC Magazine favored three applications for ease of use, ability to integrate with back end finance processes, and flexibility in adding expenditures.

Certify Now

This application comes with a free trial and integrates well with existing QuickBook installations. It allows you to input expenses in different ways, provides an easy-to-use interface, and produces easily-viewed reports. They highlight the easy setup for the end user and backend finance department.

Xpenditure Small Business

This application can also work for larger businesses and integrates easily with existing accounting systems. The company also has a free trial version and touts real time reports and easy expense additions.


This company advertises that their application produces “expense reports that don’t suck”. Personally I was hoping for an application that danced, but I will take this. This product is tightly integrated with backend accounting systems, can provide approval flows for reimbursement, and enables easy synchronization. They also ease the input process through smartphone scanning and optical character recognition to minimize manual input.


There are several cloud-based solutions on the market, but your success really depends on the size and nature of your company and whether the interface and functions are intuitive. No expense application will help sort out accounting issues if it is not easy to use. Do you use an expense tracker for your business? Let me know what works for you.


About Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.

Gaining a Seat at the Table: The Value of Finance Education

Business people in a meeting.In the AIM program we offer a finance course to prepare students to justify projects, work and speak with finance professionals, and understand and execute budgets. I think it is important that all professionals understand financial calculations and are able to determine whether the project or new equipment they are proposing will truly add value to the organization in the long term or short term. I want to share with you some ways that financial training has helped me in my career and my life.

Speak The Language

For at least two decades I have heard IT professionals exclaim “if only I could get a seat at the table, things would be different!” They contend that if only they could sit with high-level managers or sit at the “big kids” table then they could make them understand the value of IT. I contend that in order to sit at that table, one needs to speak and comprehend the language. When the other managers start talking about cap-ex or op-ex or accelerated depreciation, you need to know what they are talking about and how it affects you, your department, and your budget. That is why we offer a finance course in AIM, to prepare our graduates to engage in a meaningful conversation with other managers. We want our graduates to have a seat at the table.

Finance Background

I took four accounting courses as an undergraduate and one as a graduate student—one in investment accounting, plus the standard run of beginning, intermediate and advanced accounting. The first has proven invaluable in evaluating investments, both in the corporate world and for my own personal finance. To be able to assess a company in terms of earnings and profit or loss makes the difference between a losing investment and financial success. The other three courses were also valuable, although at the time I had doubts. This was before the days of Excel or QuickBooks so we did double entry accounting and wrote numbers in left columns or right columns; debits to the left, credits to the right. I can still hear the mantra in my head. While I questioned the benefits of the exercise and how I might apply it to my job as a systems administrator, I was fortunate to be able to see the big picture value of dividing expenses up into long-term capital expenses and short-term operating expenses and uniquely accounting for both of these. I also saw the value in calculating return on investment in order to justify a project or purchase. I saw how it gave me legitimacy and a seat at the table.


My financial education has helped me to become a successful professional and I am grateful that I had early exposure to the fundamental principles of accounting. Although it is a language of its own, it is important to be able to speak and understand it in order to get ahead, and it is part of a well-rounded graduate education.

Has an education in accounting principles helped you in your work and profession? Are there any other “languages” that you have found important in order to move to the next level? Let me know your thoughts.

Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional and assistant professor of practice for the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT and business topics that keep him up at night.