Here’s a little story for you. It’s a bit of a horror story for me. A couple of years ago I visited a client who was a few hours away. I drove there in my personal vehicle. While there, I performed some server maintenance and did some pretty extensive database work. I took the client out to lunch…and dinner. I then drove back home late that night…stopping for gas along the way.
Now, at the time I used a spreadsheet to keep track of billable time and expenses and expenses that were tax deductible. Why is this a horror story? Well, I forgot to log the entire trip. It wasn’t until several months later when I sat down to do my taxes that I remembered the trip. I didn’t have any receipts…I didn’t know the mileage driven…I didn’t have odometer readings. Here’s the really sickening part…I never invoiced the client for the actual work that day. I’m not going to tell you my hourly rate…but lets just say it was roughly 12 billable hours and it was not a small amount of money I missed out on.
So, now you know why I focus on apps that help me track expenses and time. Today I’m looking at Falcon Expenses for iOS. I published an interview a couple of days ago with Brooke Sugarman of Falcon Expenses and I’ve been using the app for a few days.
Falcon Expenses is an iOS app that lets you track your billable time, expenses, and mileage. I use two apps currently to do all of this so I’m pretty stoked about the possibility of reducing it down to one app to do it all. Falcon Expenses also has the benefit of letting you generate and send reports. Falcon Expenses is a fully mobile solution. There is no need to log into a desktop version and sync anything. It is all done on your iOS device.
You can enter expenses manually and then snap a picture of the receipt or you can just take a photo of the receipt and let Falcon Expenses scan the receipt and populate the pertinent data. It comes with two free scans and you can make in app purchases for more scans.
Mileage tracking is a great feature and with Falcon Expenses you can track by GPS, Odometer reading, or manually enter addresses. I have a client whom I regularly visit, I know their address by heart and always take the same route. I enter my starting address and their address and Falcon Expenses shows me the route on the screen and calculates the miles and cost. You set the cost per mile in the settings. This worked flawlessly.
Billable time is logged by using a built in timer or manually entering the time. You can select the category and you can use tags to further organize the entry. You define the hourly rate and select whether it is billable and reimbursable. Very straightforward and easy to use.
A common feature with Falcon Expenses is the ability to add the item (expense/time/mileage) to a specific report when you create the entry. You do it all at once and it is instantly on the report. This means I won’t forget to add it to the report later.
Falcon Expenses Features:
- Organize By Client or Project: Organize expenses by client or project with one tap
- Receipt Scanning: Take pictures of receipts while on-the-go and Falcon Expenses will type the data into your expense report for you. Merchant name, date, and amount are entered. Scanned receipt image is attached to the expense report.
- Mileage Tracking: Track mileage in 3 different ways (GPS, odometer readings, start and end address)
- Billable Time: Use the integrated timer to track billable hours, Falcon Expenses uses the hourly rate that you provide to calculate the amount of the hours that were worked.
- Expense Report or Invoice Exports: Email invoices or expense reports to anyone in a spreadsheet or PDF file with receipts attached.
As you can see, you can do a lot with Falcon Expenses. It really is a complete solution for tracking your expenses and billable time. In my interview with Ms. Sugarman, she indicated that we can expect Falcon Expenses to come to more platforms. Personally, I’ll be waiting for the Android version since that is my primary device. When it comes, it will become my app of choice. If you use an iOS device now, then there’s no reason to wait. Falcon Expenses is available and works very well for consultants, freelancers, or anyone who needs to track expenses.