by Craik Pyke on 14/12/09 at 11:42 pm
Craik Pyke is telecommunications architect and software developer specializing in mobile applications and an editor for iPhoneCTO.
I’m not the road warrior that I once was. Looking back at the times when I was traveling 5
0% of the time, I wish I’d had an easy way to collect and catalogue my receipts. On more than one occasion, I’ve been caught having lost a receipt, viagra for sale or worse, the postal service lost my entire expense report and I was left struggling to request duplicates or credit card statements.
The iPhone has spurred the smartphone industry and more specifically, the development of applications that can address problems with which travelers are all too familiar.
Mobile Receipt is a well designed, single purpose application. It collects your receipts, permits the categorization into expense reports, and generates the expense reports for you. I’ve been using Mobile Receipt for several weeks now, and find it has a visually pleasing, easily navigable layout.
The main screen for the application presents three options:
- New Receipt
- View Receipt
- Expense Reports
As one would expect – the new and view receipts options are quite self explanatory, and whether you’re creating a new receipt or viewing/modifying an existing receipt, the view you’re presented with is the same:
The fields pertaining to the receipt (amount, date, category, notes) are fully customizable. The image is of course taken by the iPhone camera, so it’s at the users discretion as to best capturing the receipt. Perhaps the only missing feature at this point; if you have a multi-page receipt, you need to create multiple receipts within the application, as opposed to having multiple images attached to the receipt.
The expense reports are quite easy to generate too – one simply enters the Expense Reports screen, selects the receipts to be included, and generates the report.
The resultant report is actually emailed to you (more specifically, a set of links is mailed to you – the report is stored on the Mitek servers). If the user doesn’t like the report, or decides to alter it (missing receipt or some such error), the report can easily be altered and regenerated from the iPhone.
One point to bring up – there is both a “pro” and “non-pro” account option when signing into the application on first start. The fundamental difference between the two versions comes down to the duration the data is stored server side:
- for non-Pro
users, up to 100 receipts are stored for 30 days from the last user login
- for Pro users ($9.99 per year beyond the application cost), an unlimited number of receipts are stored in a 1 year image archive
In both cases, the data is stored securely on Mitek servers, and is not accessible by anyone aside from the account holder.
During my initial usage of the application, it bothered me that the large enterprise I work for, who are dogmatic SAP users, would be resistant to the notion of my using an application such as Mobile Receipt for my expense reporting. However, as I used Mobile Receipt more, it became quite clear to me that even if the company wouldn’t accept the expense report (and imaged receipts) directly, the on-the-fly capture and categorization of the expenses because the most useful point. I no longer had to worry about what expenses were associated with what trip/customer and when they occurred. So long as I incorporated capturing the image and key details of my expenses using Mobile Receipt as they occurred (which really takes less than a minute per receipt), then the generated expense reports served to dramatically reduce the time it took to transfer data to my corporate systems. Additionally, for those that don’t use large systems (SAP, ADP, or others), the generated reports from Mobile Receipt will satisfy any business needs.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with this application – in fact it remains installed on my iPhone to this day, and I make use of it for my “day job”, my other business related expenses, and even for personal expenses where having a copy of the receipt is critical.