Tag Archives: application

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.

Digital Transformation: Path to Improving Your Business

This is an open letter to businesses and agencies attempting to transform their enterprise through the use of digital technologies. Each organization is at a different point along this path in an effort to engage customers, suppliers, and employees through digital technologies in order to remain competitive and profitable. I would like to suggest some ways to accelerate that transformation.

New Technologies

Management consultants Bain and Company suggested in a recent article that there are six basic design rules that can accelerate a company’s digital transformation. These include breaking boundaries, being open, inducing insights, and being user-friendly. I would like to add a couple of others that I think will help move you down the road to your destination.

Internal Partnering

Many companies are reworking their internal and external processes to achieve efficiency and build a digital presence that will hopefully draw customers. Even my local hardware store and ice cream shop have websites. They are for the most part static pages with information like location, phone number and store hours but at least that keeps me from having to dust off the yellow pages. They have taken the first steps towards moving to a digital world.

Whether you are moving back-end infrastructure, applications and software to the cloud or experimenting with a web presence for the first time, it is important to partner with your technology department. As a business, you know WHAT you want to do but the employees in your information management department know HOW to do it. Partner with them at every turn to combine business knowledge and technical knowledge. I suggest you even consider embedding some technical people in your business. This is a great way for them to learn more about your needs so that they can custom design a solution for you. We used to worry about technology people “going native” if they were embedded in the business, but now I think that crossover is necessary and will result in better and more effective solutions.

External Partnering

One of the design rules from Bain is to focus on the user experience. What better way to do that than ask users themselves? Sometimes this requires getting out of the office and asking customers their opinion of a new mobile app or a change to your website or even a new digital product that you are considering. I will be the first to admit that traditional surveys leave me cold. Every time I get near the local Home Depot store my smart phone asks me to rate my recent visit. I never comply. If a business I frequent were to put a device in my hand and ask me to try out a new digital product I would be much more inclined to reply. There are different ways of partnering with and surveying customers, but it is important in order to design a user experience they will accept.


Wherever you are on the digital transformation continuum, I hope you will consider these ideas to make your journey smoother. They can help you in implementation and customer engagement. How is your digital transformation progressing? 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.

The Ideal AIM Candidate

Cheerful interviewer shaking hand of an applicant in her officeAIM Applications

We are starting to see applications to the Applied Information Management (AIM) Master of Science Degree Program for Winter 2014. In reviewing them, it got me to thinking about what it is that I really look for in an AIM applicant and who will hopefully become a successful AIM student and graduate.


At the heart of it all, I am looking for a clear record of an applicant’s professional and academic history. There is no need to add extraneous or superfluous honors and activities if they do not support your core message. Less is more. If you can explain your history in a shorter format but still convey your message, fantastic; if you can find a fresh format, even better.


There is not a lot you can do about your transcripts at this point; they are what they are. BUT, if you did go through a period of distraction and failed grades during your undergraduate experience, please find a way to explain the situation. If you don’t offer any detail about that time period, then I will assume that you are OK with your record, but usually I am not. It could be a prediction of things to come.


Tell me about yourself and some of the choices and influences that brought you to where you are today. Tell me about some of the experiences that shaped your life. Sell me on your life story and why you are a good candidate for the AIM Program.

Statement of Purpose

Elaborate on your autobiography and tell me what it is you are looking for in life and how you expect the AIM Program to further your progress toward that goal. How can the AIM Program help you grow and develop to achieve your vision? Conversely, how can you help the AIM Program and the other students that you will be working with? What experiences do you bring to the program that will further the understanding of your fellow students and help enhance their experience? Finally, tell me about your experiences with distributed learning and distributed teams. If you do not have experience in these areas, tell me about your plan to succeed as a student in a distributed online learning environment.


Choose people that can speak to your skills and your potential to succeed in the AIM online graduate program. Choose people who may already be thinking about your next role, post graduation. Mentors are great because they know your strengths and weakness and hopefully realize your potential to succeed in the AIM Program as well as your potential to succeed and grow with your organization.


In short, we are looking for intelligent, hard-working individuals who have had some life successes already and who show promise for even greater success with help from the AIM Program. We are looking for individuals who are open to learning and open to helping others be successful in their learning.

If you are in the AIM Program or have graduated from the AIM Program, congratulations! If you are thinking about joining us, I look forward to meeting you soon.


Author Kelly BrownAbout Kelly Brown

Kelly Brown is an IT professional, adjunct faculty for the University of Oregon, and academic director of the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program. He writes about IT topics that keep him up at night.