Monday, October 25, 2010

ProOnGo Expense

Platform: Android

5 out of 5

FREE (Add Premium Services: $.99 to $4.99/month)

Takes the pain out of tracking and submitting your expense report. We all knew a computer could do this better than we could, right?

Must be running OS 2.0 or higher. Has trouble converting some receipt images taken in poor light, forcing you to edit expense data by hand. Free version allows for only five expense items per month.

Take a picture of each receipt and this app will extract the merchant name, date, and amount, then add it to a stock or custom spreadsheet report.

Read all of my past Android app reviews at Appolicious and Yahoo! Tech -- click here.

If you have an expense account, you’re a lucky devil. That said, your company also insists that you stay on top of your expense data. That stack of receipts and AMEX charges won’t make this month’s expense report for you, pal.

But ProOnGo Expense offers the next best thing, turning your mobile phone into a portable expense report generator that goes everywhere you do. In theory, the app offers up everything you’d want out of an expense service: As you make charges, immediately take a picture of the receipt and upload it for processing. The app will scan the image and extract the necessary information, store the original image, and add the item to your current report.

Plus, adding mileage and hand-written receipts is just as effortless, if it does require some patience to review, edit, and save each item to be sure it’s correct.

That’s where a small amount of pain comes into play. We all know our DROID camera’s take pretty excellent photos – if the subjects are stationary, relatively flat, and in excellent lighting. Apply the same tips to taking pics of your receipts and the recognition software will do a much better job of processing your images. Ignore these tips and you’ll spent far too much time editing your data. Trust me.

The free version limits your scans and imports to a measily five items per month. Paying for the various levels of “premium service” will unlock key features like storing unlimited data, and sending your data to your own spreadsheet templates.

The app does a solid job of inserting the original receipts and all data into your custom forms, likely making your resident bean counters that much happier when they see your report in their inboxes.
Processing some images can take several minutes, and hand-editing data can be a chore.

That said, this is a solid start for the firm, and I have high hopes that future updates will bring faster, cleaner recognition and tighter integration with the larger expense report tools in use by larger companies.

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