important announcement for all ProOnGo customers

ProOnGo Blog

Posts are primarily about QuickBooks, Xero, expense reports, and other topics useful to small business owners, CPAs, and ProAdvisors.

 


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ProOnGo Expense

Time to Make the Move to Neat!

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

In September 2013 we reached out to tell you about our move to become a part of The Neat Company, the company that many of you have come to know as the worldwide leader in capturing, organizing, and taking action on receipts. Today we have an important update about our work to integrate ProOnGo Expense features into Neat’s cloud service, including timing for the sunsetting of ProOnGo Expense. But first, let’s run through the list of “what’s new in Neat’s cloud service” to make it easier for ProOnGo Expense users to transition over. New to Neat’s cloud service:

  • QuickBooks Online compatibility, for expense reports, invoices, and credit card transaction matching
  • Private beta of Xero compatibility, with much more to come
  • Excel compatibility
  • Export-to-TurboTax and and export-to-Quicken capabilities

Aside from these new additions, Neat’s cloud service has had longstanding support for scanning receipts into the cloud from a wide variety of scanners, email-in sources, and their mobile apps. On the export side, Neat’s cloud service also supports PDF-based expense reports, which is a benefit that most ProOnGo Expense users did not have.

With these new additions to Neat’s cloud service, building on it’s already strong offering, the time has come for us to announce the upcoming sunset of ProOnGo Expense. Here’s what to expect:

  • Anytime that you are ready to begin moving over to Neat’s cloud service, please create a Neat account (don’t forget to get your 30 days free !), and email support@proongo.com so that we can offer help & advice about moving your data over to Neat.
  • If you choose to move forward with some other solution, we recommend doing a series of expense reports in ProOnGo Expense, and downloading them, so that your historic expense information is retrieved prior to the ProOnGo Expense site being decommissioned. Please feel free to email support@proongo.com anytime, for advice and help with this process.
  • Effective immediately, we’re no longer accepting new subscriptions. However, for a short period of time we’ll continue to offer the ability to add additional seats to existing subscriptions.
  • On April 30th, we’ll cease to offer the ability to add additional seats to existing subscriptions
  • On July 31st, the ProOnGo Expense site will go read-only, and the mobile apps will be removed from the BlackBerry, iOS, and Android app stores.
  • On August 31st, the ProOnGo Expense site will be decommissioned and no longer available.

For those of you that are ready to make the hop to Neat’s cloud service right away, we’re ready and excited to serve you, but regardless of what your future needs are, we sincerely thank you for being a customer and we stand eager at support@proongo.com to make the transition as easy as possible!

Power Users & Expense Report Gurus, We’re Listening!

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

Power users and expense report gurus, by now you know that we’re on your side. In the past year, you’ve challenged us in ways that keep us on our toes, especially you QuickBooks ProAdvisors who bring us questions on behalf of your most sophisticated clients.

As your wish lists keep coming in, we’ve made a change to where we put our advanced options in our expense editor. In the past you probably looked for the relatively small yellow buttons near the top of the expense editor:

Expense Editor with Advanced Features: Old
Expense Editor with Advanced Features: Old

However, we’ve now moved those same options to a “gears menu” in the top-left of the expense editor:

Expense Editor with Advanced Features: New
Expense Editor with Advanced Features: New

Why the change? Because we’ve got a long list of requests for this area of the product, and the “gears” menu will be a sustainable clutter-free place to expand to house an increasingly large number of advanced options — far more practical than a dedicated button for each rarely-used advanced feature.

So, stay in touch, keep the requests coming, and we’ll keep improving!

5 QuickBooks Compatibility Improvements that Delight

Saturday, August 24th, 2013

When we introduced our QuickBooks compatibility a few years ago, we started with a deep focus on the data flows between ProOnGo and QuickBooks. Nothing is more important to us than the sanctity of your accounting data, and that meant taking a microscope with us as we focused on every field and entity that flows between ProOnGo and QuickBooks. That attention to detail led to a mountain of appreciation from data architects, API folks, IT professionals, and CPAs.

However, during that effort, sometimes it took a few tries to get your feedback into our user interface while we refined the ways in which you configure, send, or review the data headed to QuickBooks. You know, the user interface that caters to humans, not hard drives, memory, and network infrastructure.

This post is our shot at bringing you up-to-speed on some of the subtle UI improvements that have been added recently as we’ve increased our focus on what real, live, everyday users tell us about their needs and experiences.

1. QuickBooks Reimbursements – Making Read-Only

Imagine that you send a set of expenses to QuickBooks as a check or vendor bill to reimburse an employee for out-of-pocket expenses. The moment that you issue that reimbursement, the expense allocations and other details become an important financial record that should almost certainly not be modified thereafter. Sure, there’s an occasional correction after-the-fact, but once the financial transaction has been made — the payout to the employee — you’ll be hard pressed to think of any legitimate reason to add/remove line items, change the amounts, or other fundamental details.

QuickBooks Compatibility & Reimbursed Expense Protection
QuickBooks Compatibility & Reimbursed Expense Protection

That’s why expenses in the Reimbursed state generally should not be modified in ProOnGo, and they now have a “lock” hover if your mouse is suspiciously close to doing an edit-in-place on the expense.

Sure, we’ve always had reactive popups and error messages that catch you in your tracks if you try to modify a reimbursed expense, but now we have this “gentler and kinder” proactive hint that reminds you that the expense is read-only and strongly encourages you to use our QuickBooks compatibility correctly.


2. QuickBooks Reimbursements – One-Click Preview

Ever get into a situation where your employees suddenly file dozens of expense reimbursement requests, and it reminds you to catch up on these and other recent expenses? Us to. When it happens, it’s nice to have a running tally of how many expenses you need to send to QuickBooks, and you’ve long had our “yellow bar notification” that keeps you informed about that. However, it occurred to us that when you see that notification, more often than not you want a one-click way to preview the list of expenses that need to be sent over. Now, you’ve got just that – click on the blue-circle magnifying glass embedded into the text of the notification:

QuickBooks Compatibility &  One-Click Preview
QuickBooks Compatibility & One-Click Preview

When you click on that magnifying glass, you get a list of the expenses that will be included in your next send-to-QuickBooks. Your QuickBooks compatibility is now easier than ever to understand.


3. QuickBooks Compatibility Settings – Deep and Broad

The day that our QuickBooks settings page reached the equivalent of five full screen heights, we realized that an unwieldy settings page means settings that are too intimidating to touch. We needed to do a better job of making the settings much easier to understand and use. Done! Check out our new “left nav” style that breaks up QuickBooks compatibility settings into logical, easy to understand groups:

Reimbursed Expense Protection
Reimbursed Expense Protection

We hope you’ll agree that this is an easier and far less cumbersome way to navigate the deep and wide range of QuickBooks compatibility scenarios that we support.


4. Easy Edits in a Data Rich Environment

There’s nothing worse than staring at a user interface that looks and feels like a data grid. If we wanted to use Excel 97, we’d use Excel 97. The problem with data grids is that they tend to be functional but hard on the eyes. Check out our new, subtle UI cues that make it easy to see what row you are currently hovering over, and therefore what row you can edit-in-place if you want to click to edit:

Easy Edits in a Data Rich Environment
Easy Edits in a Data Rich Environment


5. Receipts Where & When You Want

Most of our users want to forward in their receipt images to Receipt Reader, have them turned into data fields for a QuickBooks import, and then basically not think about the receipt ever again. Good call, that’s the way it should be!

However, if your expense list contains a mix of expenses created manually vs. with receipt reader vs. with bank sync, you’ll soon forget which ones have receipts attached already and which ones are still “to do”. So, our thumbnails that appear upon hover, will help keep you sane:

Thumbnails - There when you want
Thumbnails – There when you want

The problem? Originally we set up these hover thumbnails in a way that might conceivably get “in the way” if you were using edit-in-place on that expense row. Problem solved! Now we hover just a few pixels down-and-to-the-right, to make sure that the hovered receipt thumbnail stays well out of the way of your edit-in-place. And, while we were working on it, we improved the speed of the receipt thumbnail appearance by a factor of 3x. Enjoy!


Stay Tuned!

That’s it for now, but keep the feedback coming, and we’ll keep working to make our QuickBooks compatibility natural, intuitive, and hassle-free.



Tales of Expense Receipts and User Interfaces

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Expense receipts are our business. We think about how to empower you to submit your receipts with ease, how to turn them into data fields that save you a lot of manual effort, and how to help you relay them to your company via an expense report or accounting integration.

We’ve been at it for years, but we’re amazed that with every month that passes, your feedback continues to drive user interface improvements that make the experience more pleasant.


Expense Receipts – User Interface Evolution

Here’s an example of a UI that we designed in the early days, that we realized was not our finest piece of work. It’s too text-heavy, non-intuitive, and the buttons are tiny:

Expense Receipts  - Old UI
Expense Receipts – Old UI


…but, here is what it looks like now, with your feedback:

Expense Receipts  - New UI
Expense Receipts – New UI

Thanks as always for being an active participant in our design process, by sending your feedback, and in many cases by being part of our beta programs to iterate on pre-release designs.

Have feedback to share about some aspect of our UI that we could improve? Don’t hesitate to let us know!

Adding Time Activities to a QuickBooks Customer Invoice

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Your time activities, if you bill by the hour, should be guarded as if they are money. After all, they are the lifeblood of your revenue stream. So, if you’ve filed time activities in ProOnGo, you might be wondering about the fastest path to get those into an invoice and out to the client.

This post will show you the journey of your time activities from ProOnGo to QuickBooks, then into a Vendor Bill in QuickBooks, so that you are fast on the trail to driving up revenue.


Time Activities – Timesheets or One-by-One

The first step is to file a timesheet or one or more individual time activities. If you are filing five or more activities per week, we bet you’ll gravitate towards the timesheet approach. If you are filing fewer than five time activities per week, we speculate that you’ll choose to file them one-by-one. Here’s where those two tabs live in the web app:

Time in ProOnGo
Time in ProOnGo


Time Activities – Approve + Send to QuickBooks

If you are a sole proprietor, you probably have all of our auto-approval settings turned on, saving you from having to approve your own time activities, which sounds like the premise for some kind of bad screenplay about a split personality.

If you are not a sole proprietor — if you are a member of a larger team — you and your employees are probably going through our more traditional Draft => Submit => Approve workflow. So, if you are a manager working in that situation, you’ll find yourself going in to ProOnGo to approve timesheets and/or individual time activities, and then sending to QuickBooks (maybe right away, or maybe weekly or monthly):

Time Activities - Send to QuickBooks
Time Activities – Send to QuickBooks


Time Activities – Sending to QuickBooks

When you send your time activities to QuickBooks, perhaps you are in a rush to get an invoice out to one of your clients, containing your billable time. No problem, that’ll happen momentarily. But first, lets start with the more fundamental concept: you are sending time activities from ProOnGo, so they land as time activities in QuickBooks. Your time activities might contain a mix of hours that are billable or not billable, that have various customers and jobs attached to them, and perhaps even different service items or classes. And that’s fine.

That’s why the time activities that you send from ProOnGo, first land simply as time activities in QuickBooks, for example:

Time Activities - In QuickBooks
Time Activities – In QuickBooks


But, you should still feel empowered to rush out that invoice to your client. Why? Because the moment that you go to create that new invoice, QuickBooks will proactively ask you if you want to add the unbilled time activities for that customer, to the invoice. We thank whoever at Intuit first added this feature, it’s a huge timesaver:

Time Activities - In QuickBooks
Time Activities – In QuickBooks


The “End Game”

Even after you’ve taken your time activities through this whole sequence, they still continue to exist in QuickBooks (and in ProOnGo) as time activities. That way if you ever need to run a report to summarize or scrutinize your time activities for some past financial reporting period, you can easily do so.


Expense Receipts – Delighting the Most Detail Oriented

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

If your expense receipts live neatly in ProOnGo Expense, there is a good chance that you are using our emailed-in-receipts feature. That’s becoming a very popular scenario, because you can email in your receipts for auto-matching without ever even opening the mobile app. It seems like we struck a nerve, in a good way, when we told people that they don’t even need to bother opening the app at all if they merely want to get their receipts auto-attached to the right transactions.


Expense Receipts – Achieving Delight via an Accelerometer

If you are one of the many who forward in receipts via smartphone, you might have wondered how your phone (and ProOnGo) somehow know what side of the receipt is “up”. You can thank a handy part called an Accelerometer for that. This is what allows a smartphone to know what orientation you are holding the phone at, when you snap a picture of a receipt. If you are holding your receipt upright, and your phone upright, the phone is going to do a great job of saving that receipt upright when it writes out the .PNG or .JPG.


What If? What Then…

But what if you happen to take a picture of a receipt that is sitting flat on a table, and your phone is virtually “flat” as well, held directly above the receipt. Well, although your accelerometer is helpful in all kinds of scenarios, it struggles in this one: if your phone is held flat, above a flat surface, your accelerometer can’t do much good for you when it comes to knowing how to orient the receipt that you are taking a picture of. So, there is a chance that you’ll end up sending in a receipt that is off by 90 degrees, 180 degrees, or 270 degrees.

Expense Receipts with Incorrect Rotation
Expense Receipts with Incorrect Rotation

In those cases, it’s easy to use the web app to rotate the receipt to be upright. It probably doesn’t make much of a difference to your accountant, and it doesn’t make a difference to us. However, we’ve been asked for a way to let users rotate their own receipts, and now you have it:

Expense Receipts with Incorrect Rotation
Expense Receipts with Incorrect Rotation

Obviously, once you’ve rotated the receipt, it’ll show up correctly not only in the web app…

Expense Receipts with Rotation Fixed
Expense Receipts with Rotation Fixed


Expense Receipts with Rotation Fixed
Expense Receipts with Rotation Fixed

…but also in reports that you export from ProOnGo.


Where’s My Excel Expense Report for Those Expenses?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

The “old world” of tracking expenses via an Excel expense report has millions of small business people trained to think that if expenses are being submitted or approved, that surely there is an Excel expense report that goes with it.

And over the years we’ve built quite a robust feature set around exporting Excel expense reports, all available to you. But only use it if you must: we hope that you never end up using that part of the product.

Why? Because new age expense reports really should be wholly managed via web-based workflow, never landing in and Excel expense report.


Excel Expense Report? That’s the “Old Way”

If your company uses ProOnGo to manage expenses, and you find yourself looking for your Excel expense report, we hope that you’ll call off the search for that report and instead simply submit your expense report to your manager using our web-based workflow. Just checkmark your expenses, then go to Bulk Actions → Submit all Selected:

Filing an Expense Report
Filing an Expense Report

…then, give your expense report a friendly name, and submit:

Naming Your Expense Report
Naming Your Expense Report

If you follow those steps, your manager ends up with those expenses showing as ‘Submitted’, so that he/she can approve via web, without ever opening Excel.


It’s Not That We Dislike Excel

It’s not that we dislike Excel. It’s simply that if you are already following a web-based workflow, an Excel report of those expenses becomes a duplicate, unnecessary business process… a burden and an extra step to manage.

On a side note, it’s for that reason that our welcome wizard now makes it very easy to consciously decide that you don’t need any Excel based expense reports at all:

Welcome Wizard - Excel Expense Report Unnecessary
Welcome Wizard – Excel Expense Report Unnecessary

Little UI cues like this are just our little way of starting to “nudge” you more and more to rely on the web-based workflow than on any legacy-style Excel expense report.


Expense Reports – Tutorials for New Users

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Expense reports are historically filled with a brutal amount of red tape and obscure steps, which is the whole reason why ProOnGo Expense exists. We aim to help you cut through the red tape. Once in awhile, we get asked for a “user manual” and our first response is — if you’ve found something that you think requires a manual, please tell us so that we can make it more intuitive.


Expense Reports – Step-by-Step Walkthroughs

However, we understand that some of your company’s users might still require some step-by-step walkthroughs of key scenarios. It won’t come in a printed manual or a 500 page PDF, but we do have user-friendly walkthroughs of the scenarios that most new users will be curious about.

So, instead of a thick, text-heavy document, how about step-by-step walkthroughs that actually illustrate exactly how to do the task at hand? For example:

Submitting a Timesheet
Submitting a Timesheet

We think that’s a heck of a lot more pleasant than following along with something that looks more like a user manual about expense reports.


The List of Walkthroughs

We’ve got a growing list of walkthroughs that we’ve got on hand waiting for you, and we add more “by request”. Here are the ones we’ve got so far (click here to get to them):

  • Receipt Matching on iOS
  • Update Payment Method
  • Create a Private Label Subsite
  • Send Expenses to Xero
  • Send Receipt Images to Xero
  • Remove Users from your Private Label Subsite
  • Install and Launch ProOnGo on iOS
  • Mapping Between Bank Categories and Chart of Accounts
  • Syncing Credit Card Transactions from Your Bank
  • Forwarding In Credit Card Receipts
  • Choose a Client Name for a Credit Card Expense
  • Sending your Corporate Card Expenses to Google Drive
  • Filling out an Out-of-Pocket Expense
  • Submitting an Out-of-Pocket Expense Report
  • Submitting a Timesheet
  • Signing in via Google Chrome
  • Signing in via ProOnGo
  • Submit a Group of Mileage Expenses
  • Install ProOnGo Expense from iTunes
  • File a Mileage Expense via Mobile App

So, if you are looking for step-by-step walkthroughs about filing expense reports, approving expenses, sending to accounting, etc. — now you know where to find our stash of screenshots. And, don’t be shy about requesting additional screenshots if you think of something else you need!

Credit Card Sync – The Past May Predict The Future

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Credit card sync has become one of our most popular features over the past few months. Perhaps it’s the fact that we support sync with 18,500+ financial institutions. Perhaps it’s the fact that we let you auto-categorize those transactions based on the bank’s category information. Perhaps it’s the fact that we let you auto-sync those transactions directly into your QuickBooks credit card register.

Whatever the case, your thirst for credit card transactions in your expense reports, has led us to “go deep” in giving you access to advanced information about the status of your credit card syncs.


Credit Card Sync Advanced Status

If you’ve set up a credit card sync, and you’ve received a notification that there is an error syncing with your financial institution, don’t dispair. There are a lot of moving parts in the equation: your financial institution’s server might be temporarily unavailable, you may have changed your credentials without updating ProOnGo, or there might be a temporary loss of connectivity somewhere between ProOnGo and your financial institution. Most of the time, it’s nothing that requires your action, but in some cases (like if you change your credentials), it does require a moment of work from you.

Anytime you need to make a change to an existing credit card sync, the place to start is Settings → Credit Cards, and then click on the button that has a “gear” on it:

Credit Card Sync - Advanced Info
Credit Card Sync – Advanced Info

Then, if you want to see the precise nitty gritty details about every time that we’ve attempted to sync transactions, click on the “History” button:

Credit Card Sync - Advanced Options
Credit Card Sync – Advanced Options

You are hot on the trail of seeing the outcome of every attempt that we’ve made to connect with your bank, either successfully or unsuccessfully, with a detailed message about each attempt.


Credit Card Sync History

Usually, once you are looking at the history screen, the results are self explanatory. For example, in the below case, the error message indicates that I need to re-connect to QuickBooks in order for my bank’s transactions to flow through to my QuickBooks credit card register:

Credit Card Sync - History
Credit Card Sync – History

And, odds are good that if you see the same error message numerous times in a row, that the past may predict the future: the error message will probably keep occurring until you take some corrective action. Need help with any particular error message? Let us know so that we can (a) help, and (b) improve the error message to make it more intuitive.


Credit Card Receipts – Finishing Your Expense Report

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Your credit card receipts should be one of the only parts of your expense report that you have to manually add. Your transactions should come from QuickBooks Online Banking sync’d into ProOnGo, or from ProOnGo fetching your transactions directly from your bank. Your categories should be pretty close to correct from the get-go if you’ve set up the mappings just right (and/or if QuickBooks is guessing your categories based on historic transactions).

So, lets see what we can do about making your credit card receipts the one and only small step between you and finishing off your expense report.


Credit Card Receipts: Let Us Match Them

Hopefully you are already using our “matching” feature to email in your receipts and have them auto-matched to your receipt images. If you are doing that, you’ve got transactions arriving from QuickBooks or your bank, and receipts arriving from your emails. Together, that means that there will be very little left for you to do manually – your expenses will basically be ready for submission.

What if Your Receipt Is Illegible, or the Date is Off

But what if you find yourself in a situation where a receipt didn’t match to it’s transaction? Usually this happens if the receipt is illegible or there is some large gap between the date on which the receipt was printed versus when the merchant actually ran the charge.

Both of these problems are shrinking by the day. Receipt legibility is less of an issue than ever before, because cameras on smartphones are getting so much better. Gaps between the date on which you make a purchase and the date that the merchant runs the charge, are getting less and less common, because merchants are getting more and more savvy about running their charges in realtime or close to it.

Still, it can happen, occasionally, that some receipt that you forwarded in does not “find” it’s matching transaction. If that happens to you, here is an incredibly easy way to do the match manually:


Step 1: Open the transaction that the receipt should belong to, and click on “Attach from Gallery”

Credit Card Receipts - Matching
Credit Card Receipts – Matching Manually



Step 2: Browse the Thumbnails and Find the Right Receipt. Click on the thumbnail that you think is the receipt you are looking for.

Credit Card Receipts - Matching
Credit Card Receipts – via Gallery



Step 3: Verify the full-res receipt image to make sure it’s the one you want, then press “Attach”

Credit Card Receipts - Verify
Credit Card Receipts – Verify



Step 4: Done! You’ve attached a receipt image from the gallery, to a particular transaction, manually.

Credit Card Receipts - Done
Credit Card Receipts – Matched!

Again, you should find it rare that you end up doing this process manually, but if you find yourself needing to do so – now you know how to do it.