This is the second blog post in our series of how we built iPhone app for our on-line automated accounting solution Bullet and the thinking that went in behind it. In this section we talk about our iPhone app for expenses capture, and why we didn’t go for OCR.

iPhone App for Expenses

So lets look at Expenses, again here’s what we wanted to do, you’ll notice a repeating theme.

  • Take advantage of the iPhone and think of the camera as a scanner – nothing new here.
  • Integrate into your Bullet account, automatically add to wages if an personal expense. Remember, with Bullet our goal is to automate accounts.
  • Our reward, or stickiness is the minute you snap that receipt you know it’s been saved to the cloud, the data added to your accounts within 24 hours, and you’ll be saving money.

Some problems we had to think about when building this.

  • We couldn’t auto upload the expenses, incase you were roaming.
  • Would we OCR them or manually do it, what were the pros and cons with both, we went with the later. Simply to get a product up and out in the fastest time, so we could analyse the data  first before making a call on V2.
  • How do we handle foreign expenses, foreign currency etc. Simple, if we can’t read the receipt or it’s in a foreign language, we don’t charge for it. As with all the expenses, you receive the scanned ‘photographed’ copy. We’re making an assumption here that most expenses wont be from Japan, and if they are you’ll probably remember the trip well enough to input them from the scan. *We provide 15 receipts scans per month for free.

 Overview of Receipt Process

Click for Larger Image

Overview of Receipts iphone Application

Overview of Receipts iphone Application

Fig 1. Here you can see all the saved receipts, they’re stored in a separate gallery so not to mess up your photo’s. It also fixes the problem of the cost of Data Roaming.

Fig 1. Receipts Upload Screen - Bullet iPhone App

Fig 2. Receipts Selecting Book - Bullet's iPhone App

Fig 2. Here is where we find out if it’s ‘Personal Money’, to be added to your wages as expenses, or a ‘Company Expenses’. We calculate all the taxes in the background as well, we use this method through Bullet it enables us to guide you with out you ever having to learn accounts – Thank God.

Fig 2. Receipts Selecting Book - Bullet's iPhone App

Fig 2. Receipts Selecting Book - Bullet's iPhone App

So that’s a snap shot of our first iPhone app, signup to our blog for future articles and tomorrows conclusion on this series where we look at why we ditched our customer design for speed but how we still put our stamp on it. Let us know your thoughts we’re always looking to get feedback?

Read our final post 3/3 of about our iPhone

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