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Certify Expenses Review – driving me nuts

February 11, 2017 1 comment

I’ve just googled Certify reviews, to see if I’m the only one finding this a nightmare… and it seems like I am!

I’m not sure why; maybe the reviewers have been using paper-based systems until now? My personal use of expenses has been most recently with Expensify, our corporate SAP-based system, and before that, Excel sheets. And Certify is just a huge blocker to my productivity.

Let’s look at some gripes:

  • It doesn’t work offline: although there’s this concept of ‘wallet’ which is local to the phone, you can’t open the app without network connectivity, as the first screen is a login screen.
  • You have to log in every time you open the app, although it saves your password. WHY? WHAT APP EVER DOES THIS, EVER?! Surely much of the utility of using a phone-based app is that you authenticate partly by the fact you have the phone, which is something you have, often behind a lockscreen, something you are/know. Thus, the app itself has a session cookie which keeps you logged in.
  • You can’t edit expense data on the web app. Believe me, I’ve tried. Is it hidden?
  • They don’t auto-populate emailed receipts – the OCR app is embedded in the phone, so anything that doesn’t come through the phone camera has to be edited manually… BUT you can only do that in the phone, after syncing the receipts on their servers back into your phone by explicitly pressing the “Sync” button in the phone app.
    • Still with me? Good!
  • The OCR of photographed receipts is flaky – they seem to find an amount, but rarely anything else. Expensify seemed to use “mechanical turks” (ie. people doing manual data entry in a low-wage country), which is, well, far more accurate!
  • Adding a receipt is a simple 16-click process:
    • Open the app
    • Log in
    • Press “Add Receipt”
    • Select your resolution (WTF?! Shouldn’t they know?)
    • Snap the photo
    • Click “Use Photo”
    • Press “Autofill”
    • (These steps may vary according to your company category selection):
      • Select your Department
      • Select your Category
      • Confirm the amount OCR’d was correct
      • Type Vendor (it has autocomplete once you start typing)
      • Type Location (same)
      • Type Reason
      • Select Reimburseable/Billable if appropriate
    • Save
    • Hit Sync again to sync (only needed when reporting)
  • Compare this to a force-press on the Expensify app, and simply snapping the receipt, to cover steps 1-7

 

Seriously! Why?!?!? Surely any UI/UX designer on the team, or even a developer, would see this app has a horrible experience against so many other apps, even outside the realm of expenses software.

On the upside, I suspect possible the business back-office processes and dashboards are great, beacuse they often are on an app that is this user-unfriendly.

 

And yes; I’m a company employee, writing this blog post about software that’s supposed to make my life easier and make me more productive on my primary role. Because it just so doesn’t!

 

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