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Publisher / Editor @ CloudAve and Enterprise Irregulars. Industry Observer, Blogger, Startup Advisor, Program Chair @ SVASE (Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs). In his "prior life" spent 15 years immersed in the business of Enterprise Software, at management positions with SAP, IBM, Deloitte, KPMG and the like.

6 responses to “From Shoebox to Paperless, 22nd Century (?) Expense Management”

  1. Martin Kleppmann

    Hi Zoli, I agree — given how quickly the web has evolved in the last few decades, it is astonishing that billing, accounts, expenses etc. are still handled laboriously on paper. Ok, more suppliers are now sending invoices as PDF or plain text by email, but it still requires information to be re-entered in your own system. Having a human in the loop is expensive and error-prone.

    I am currently working on OAccounts, an open standard for storing and exchanging financial transaction data between different accounting-related systems. See my blog post on “setting your accounts free” why I think this is a good idea.

    OAccounts uses the OASIS UBL open standard for representing invoice and payment data. This powerful standard is gradually getting adopted worldwide — for example, it is already mandatory in Denmark for any suppliers to the public sector to use it. It is well designed by people who understand the nuts and bolts of international commerce, and it really ought to be a format which all applications can understand.

    I am planning an open source reference implementation of OAccounts, which should provide the basis for a lot of the automatic linking of data sources which you are hoping for.

    I would much welcome any contributions in designing OAccounts, to make sure we get it right and make it suitable for the real world.

  2. Ian Sweeney

    Zoli,
    I love the line “we only generate and safeguard paper as a temporary medium between two electronic formats”. It’s absolutely true. We all have PCs, software, email and everything necessary to eliminate paper receipts.
    It’s worth noting that receipts (typically a record of a cash transaction) are only half the problem though. Invoices (typically a record of a credit transaction) are much more prevalent in a business environment and suffer from the same computer-to-paper-to-computer cycle. There are 24B B-2-B invoices sent in the US every year.
    The 1st gen of billFLO enables business receiving PDF invoices to import them into their accounting system without having to re-enter them – eliminating the need for a paper invoice while also archiving a digital copy for tracking. It’s our first step towards killing off the paper invoice.
    Keep up the good work on CloudAve, I’m enjoying yours a Ben’s daily insights.
    Ian Sweeney
    http://www.billflo.com

  3. quinthar

    Have you tried Expensify? It sounds like almost exactly what you describe: import your credit card straight from your banking website (similar to Mint), paperless eReceipts for imported purchases, submit and reimburse entirely online, etc. It’s going to public launch in a couple weeks — sign up for the mailing list here and I’ll add you as a beta tester so you can get a sneak peek!

    http://expensify.com

    -david (Founder, Expensify)

  4. Ben Young

    I need this for Xero. Then I would truly be a cloud business!!

  5. Mashable’s Tools for Freelancers | Tami Reiss

    [..] From Shoebox to Paperless, 22nd Century (?) Expense Management | CloudAve [..]

  6. AbbasAli

    Hello everyone!

    There’s a ton going on at http://Expensify.com : new API, closed a $1M round of seed funding, Salesforce application, QuickBooks integration, new iPhone app, and lots more. We’ve been working hard and people are starting to notice! Expensify’s Salesforce integration was recently picked the “audience choice” expense reporting application, AlwaysOn picked us as a “Global 250 innovator and disrupter”, we just demoed our new API at the SF New Tech meetup and we’ve got much more in store. Please check out our latest coverage below:

    http://venturebeat.com/2009/08/12/expensify-raises-1m-for-online-expense-reporting/
    http://www.examiner.com/x-4003-Techie-to-Trendy-Examiner~y2009m8d13-SF-New-Tech-is-a-fun-factory

    Thanks for your help. It’s hard work getting the word out, and I really appreciate the attention you’ve given us. (And if you would be so kind as to tweet or post us somewhere, that’d be rad!) If you have any questions at all, or if you’d like to see a live demo or learn more, please contact me or David Barrett (the CEO) directly at dbarrett@expensify.com (801-860-0540). Thanks!

    – Abbas (abbas@expensify.com)

    You should follow us at http://twitter.com/expensify