A New Design for Harvest Expenses

Before starting Harvest, Danny and I ran a small web design studio. As contractors for some of our clients, we had to submit weekly time and expense forms—gotta get reimbursed for gas and all the ham sandwiches we ate! When we launched Harvest in 2006, we didn’t include expense tracking in our initial version, but soon added it a few months later.

Time flies: Harvest Expenses officially turned six years old on January 7th this year.

We’re excited to start 2014 with our shiny new Harvest Expenses (the third incarnation, if you’re keeping track). In this first round of updates, we focused on overhauling the front-end code, with a few selected changes in the back-end that will allow us to bring new features to Harvest Expenses later this year.

New Harvest Expenses

Ledger-Style View

We’re dropping the current weekly expenses view in favor of a ledger-style display. In the soon-to-be-retired version, we show expenses one week at a time, which makes it unnecessarily difficult to review or to enter past expenses (you have to click multiple times to get to the right week).

The new expenses view shows a hundred most recent expenses on the initial load, likely to cover the past few months’ worth of entries for review. To enter a new expense, there’s a handy date selector—so you can say goodbye to that multiple-click navigation. To make that change we had to alter the entire structure of our expenses’ display—which turned out to be a lot harder than it sounds!

Other UI Goodies

Some other smaller improvements we’ve made:

  • The overall look and feel is now consistent with Timesheets.
  • The project and category dropdowns are now searchable, using our beloved Chosen library.
  • If you’re using a modern browser, you can drag and drop receipts into the expense form.

All of us here at Harvest use our expenses feature to track everything that needs to be reimbursed. We’re excited about these latest updates and hope you find them as useful as we do. Thanks for your continued support, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Update (March 4th, 2014): We just added Weekly Totals to the interface. Thank you for all the feedback, and we hope to bring more improvements to Harvest Expenses later this year!

94 Comments so far
  • Wow, this is awesome guys! Excited for this. Keep up the great work. Harvest is fantastic and nothing on the market to-date can touch it. Glad to see you guys are heavily investing in continuing to improve the interface and user experience.

  • Thanks Shawn- I agree with Jonathan’s sentiment! Love harvest and love it when you guys roll out new features-

  • Now if you could only have a configuration setting to separate the expense approval from the time approval! When you have an organization where a PM approves time and Accounting approves expenses, typing the two together is troublesome. In addition, being able to group expenses into an expense report would be very helpful. For instance, I might want all of my expenses related to a trip grouped together. This may cover only a few days, not a whole week or span multiple weeks.

  • You keep making my life easier. Thank you!

  • Harvest is seriously the most useful tool my business uses. I can’t imagine how much time I would spend billing and managing projects if it weren’t for you guys. Thanks so much for what you’re doing!

  • This is great news! Do you know if you can duplicate expenses yet? I always had to input my cell phone bill, insurance and bank fees separately for each month which seemed tedious. I’m glad that we can now look at all of them at once!

  • Looks great! Excited to use it, and I totally agree — fun to see it continuing to evolve!

  • I agree with Chris’ comment that separating expenses approval from timesheets would be helpful.

    Also, I would love it if we could apply expense items to a task within a project, not just at the project level.

    Enhancements look great!

  • This will be great! While Harvest isn’t always perfect for our needs, it’s definitely the best one out there that we’ve found so far. Updates like this make it even better! So thank you for continuing to develop Harvest even further and responding to our needs and wants in functionalities like this!

  • Love it. Expenses have been a pain point but I’m excited that’ll be over soon.

    Also, love the demo expenses in the screen shot above. Way to move into the future…

  • Please add tax support to expenses. In Canada, we need to have Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) as a separate line item. That’s the one reason I’m not using the Expenses component in Harvest.

    Here are some examples of how this could work:
    * http://help.expensify.com/tax/
    * http://community.freshbooks.com/support/how-do-i-create-an-expense/

  • Drew Davis January 29, 2014

    This really is great! We have been using Harvest for 6 months and are loving every second of it.

    Also, have you guys thought about creating a calendar feature? Our company is trying to find an app or service where we can share a calendar (meetings, days off, etc.) within a feature we already use (ie no iCal or gCal; Outlook does not sync with out MS Exchange). It would be a huge hit I think!

  • Great Improvement! Now would you consider adding an area for mark-up on expenses? Thanks

  • Great improvement in UI. In terms of features, it would be great to track expenses as in cost of goods sold and revenue. For example if we paid $1,000 for printing of a brochure and mark it up to retail at $1,200 for the client it would be great to keep track of both, as well as the margin profit.

  • Fantastic new changes guys, if I can pipe in with a potential feature of the new expenses. Often when I am billing to recoup expenses I need to attach the receipts and currently there’s no way to do that. I hope that’s something the new system will be able to do.

    Otherwise great news on the changes!

  • I love that you’re going to fix this. It is one of the few things i wish was better in harvest. I will give you an example. If I make a new expense for a random day, and then realise I got the date wrong and it should have been the week before, well with the web UI, I could only move it to a different day of the same week, but with the android app I could move it anywhere.

  • This is amazing (and long overdue) news! I can’t wait to see the updates in person because the current methods have been driving me crazy for a long time now. :)

  • This is good news. One step closer to not needing Quickbooks Online.

  • Joseph Lemmons January 29, 2014

    Here, here — adding markup support and tracking would be great! Definitely looking forward to these new Expenses changes though. Great job guys!

  • Excellent! I can’t wait for the switch! Great job.

  • Will you be changing expenses to make it easier to track and reimburse internal employee expenses not invoiced through to a customer?

    Thanks!
    -Steve-

  • Marg Roy January 29, 2014

    Great enhancement and have to say I just luuuuve the product I save so much time and effort plus I capture all my chargeable time….then roll it into a Xero debtors invoice…soooo gooood. Love your work.

  • Mark Swinkels January 29, 2014

    Is it possible to have expenses be billable and non-billable like hours. We do consulting work and in some cases costs are transferred to the customer and in some cases they just add to the COGS.

  • Christa Mabee January 29, 2014

    Nice! Loving your product. You save me so much time, and it just keeps getting better.

  • I’ve been waiting for something like this for months, it’s what held me back from using Expenses in Harvest more frequently. Looking forward to it!

  • I did a little “Woo hoo!”. I really hope one of the features to be introduced later is recurring expenses. I have a few monthly software subscription expenses that current require 12 expense records which unfortunately I can’t enter as one yearly expense.

    Having the ability to flag expenses as including or excluding tax would be awesome too.

    Looking forward to hearing more! Good work guys.

  • This is great… especially since I just uploaded all of last year’s expenses… to 2014.

  • Would be great if you could add an API to send the expenses as a PO or Bill to Xero/other software.

  • This sounds like a great update! Now if only we can get a late fee calculator and/or balance carry over feature, that would be great!

    Regardless, love the billing system as a whole!!
    Thanks.

  • Nice work! As an insurance claim services company, we find Harvest to be far superior; even to companies who even who market a billing/tracking service “for our line of work”. Keep up the great additions. Thanks!

  • Great improvement! And +1 for adding mark-up to expenses.
    Michael

  • Looks like a great update, I’m using Harvest now for almost one year in my one-man company, and it just saves me so much time. One feature could be handy : the possibility to introduce a negative amount, as I sometimes take cash from my company account to pay for expenses. That cash amount needs to be deducted from my personal expense note.
    Are you also looking at expanding the functionality of the mobile apps?

    Great product – great team ! Peter

  • Hi,

    attached receipts should be included automatically when generating invoices (PDF) and linked to the invoice in a consistent way such as “task”.

    I quite honestly think, the tax problem is difficult to solve. Here in Austria we take the receipt amount excluding VAT and add overall 20% to the entire invoice.

    Regards,
    Gernot

  • Excellent – updates are essential to keep the product viable for my company’s needs.

    One expense issue I have is when I pay for items that are to be billed to a client but use a company credit card.

    Obviously the expense can be picked up on the invoice, but when I run an expenses report so I can be reimbursed on my expenses I need to remember what was on the Co card, what’s on my personal card and then get the calculator out.

    This is not ideal.

    I need a tickbox to let me tell Harvest if an expense is billable to a client and / or a claimable item on my personal expenses monthly claim. A tick box is all that’s needed.

  • Thanks You!!! I use “Expenses” to track how I pay contractors / freelancers. It would be great to be able to add reoccurring contractors.

  • Happy 7th anniversary.
    It’s great to have Harvest available as a tool.
    Have you already thought about an integration with Skype, making logging time spend on calls much easier?
    Another great integration would be with Nimble, to make CRM and Timetracking more efficient and less time consuming.

    Keep it up.

    Best wishes

    Dieter

  • We love your time tracking. The expensing functions so far are not enough to support our international travels. Expensify is the app to defeat. We currently expense in Expensify and enter one line with the Expensify report in Harvest. It’s about features and not so much about GUI. I hope you guys are able to make a leap here.

  • This will be a great and much appreciated improvement — will make entering expenses much easier. Thank you. BTW – We love, absolutely love, Harvest.

  • Looks good but when will we be able to assign expenses to tasks?

  • Wannes Van Loock January 30, 2014

    I need to attach receipts or invoices to ! +1

  • Wannes Van Loock January 30, 2014

    Tickbox billable or not billable need that to ! +1

  • I’m happy you guys are so pro-active with the program and it’s working well for us in most ways.

    We need to be able to print off our expense sheet for a specific time period only, with a total. Will this be possible with the new layout? Right now we can print weekly with a lovely total – I don’t mind if people want to print bi-weekly or monthly or whatever using the new layout (as long as it doesn’t overlap the previous expense submission), but we do need it totaled for specific time periods. I await the roll-out to see how that will work.

    We’re in Canada as well and to handle HST I’ve created a separate Category for HST and ask that people break it out of the expense and charge it to our Administrative project, as we can’t charge HST on top of HST. It’s a bit fussy but it works, as not every item expensed had HST charged to it already (e.g. mileage) so a tax line item wouldn’t work, but the separate Category does for us.

  • Hi,

    Great, cant wait for the improvements.
    Great service you provide.

  • Appreciate the improvements, keep the coming.

  • We would really love to see “Departments” intigrated as a graphical report and as one of the hours approval queries. Some managers approve hours such as “administrative work” and “sick/ vacation” time however with one project and multiple departments the reports and approvals are more complicated.

  • Is it searchable, too?

  • As someone who processes everyone’s expenses, I would LOVE to see a feature added where I can lock the previous week after I have processed expenses. Not everyone submits on time so if they haven’t submitted anything, that week is still available for them to go in and back date items. I really need a way to prevent that from happening. (I contacted the help desk about this and was told to just go in and submit each person then approve them myself. A definite no-no at my company.) Also, would be nice to be able to sort all expenses by person then download into PDF and have it keep the sort in place. Currently, it has been defaulting into a sort by date. BUT I do LOVE Harvest! It cut HOURS from my manual processing. Keep up the great work!

  • As someone who processes everyone’s expenses, I would LOVE to see a feature added where I can lock the previous week after I have processed expenses. Not everyone submits on time so if they haven’t submitted anything, that week is still available for them to go in and back date items. I really need a way to prevent that from happening. (I contacted the help desk about this and was told to just go in and submit each person then approve them myself. A definite no-no at my company.) Also, would be nice to be able to sort all expenses by person then download into PDF and have it keep the sort in place. Currently, it has been defaulting into a sort by date. BUT I do LOVE Harvest! It cut HOURS from my manual processing. Keep up the great work!

  • I was doing that very thing (clicking each week to find and edit expenses entered a year ago) so this update is much appreciated. Thank you!

  • Lotsa projects have recurring expenses– for example, mileage or parking or tolls. Pls consider recurring/copyable/templated expenses, then add the Harvest magic.

    PS. O fall my tools, this one is by far the best value.

  • I am looking forward to the new Deisign and I really hope that the „see expenses for” popup menu will contain „all“.
    Michael

  • Good news! Good to see that Harvest is developing new features and listens to their users.

    One thing that would be very helpful is a mileage (also km’s of course) and trip-administration. (from, to, automated km calculation) per day. Not only for clients, but also for tax payment.

  • My company just switched over to Harvest from our own internal system beginning in January. My team loves it, easy to move everything on to it.

    Being a Canadian, I too second Colan Shwartz comments about the tax. In Canada keeping track of our taxes on expenses is really a big thing for the government and not many systems do this. This would not only help out Colan and ourselves but would give your product an competitive edge in the Canadian market.

  • Great Changes… but…

    It would really be helpful to have the ability to split out taxes (sales tax) separately on expenses. Like, Sue’s comments above, in Canada we can claim back our HST paid on expenses from what we remit to the government. It’s a manual process now but would really help if I could enter two amounts (expense and sales tax paid) and then get a report.

    Keep up the good work Harvest, I’m lost without you!

  • It would be great to add an option to mark the expense to payment type. So right now we have employees using categories as the payment type (and then they have to type the actual category into the notes).

    Ideally, we’d have categories for the different types of purchases that employees make and payment types for the different ways employees pay for those (company AmEx, reimbursement, purchase order, etc)

  • I love you guys. That is all. Real love.

  • Karen Henderson January 30, 2014

    So great to see continued upgrades, especially in this area. I’d love to see the invoice automatically (or by choice by radio button selection) SUBTOTAL “service” charges (and related taxes) (for my consulting time) and SUBTOTAL “claimed expenses” (and related taxes), then give an “invoice total” (including all tax). This would be a fantastic enhancement!

    and FYI to the Canadian about HST handling, you can easily setup an HST tax code, (under invoices>configure>default values), and set up a tax of 13% or whatever your province’s HST is, and then just enter an expense (as a pre-tax amount) when you enter your expenses, then make sure they are checked as “taxable” when you issue an invoice, and it will add the HST (and subtotal the HST at the bottom of the invoice) and there you have your HST handling!

  • Hi, My business could not survive without Harvest.

    Request/Suggestion. I work w a variety of subcontractors who are also on Harvest. Wish we could link our two systems when they are working on my project so that they can share their time data. Thanks. B

  • I have 6 days left in my trial. I was on the fence because although I absolutely love the design and ease-of-use for time-tracking, quoting and invoicing, the expense tracking wasn’t so easy. The timing of your most recent post couldn’t have been better. I will sign up now that I see how easy it will be to track expenses. Thank-you!
    andi

  • Peg Manning January 31, 2014

    Looking forward to these changes! We love Harvest. I actually ENJOY billing now.

  • I’d love to see possibility to store expense template rows. Reason: I travel to the customer and mark the distance in km’s, and the route, as well as customer name. I really hate having to keep separate list from which I have to copy&paste these strings to the Harvest Expenses row.

    In fact I have stopped marking these expenses for now, waiting for the motivation to sit down for N hours and spend quality time with Harvest. I may not resist the urge to let Twitter know how I feel about specific systems.

  • I agree with JK’s comment. This would be a huge help!

    “Excellent – updates are essential to keep the product viable for my company’s needs.

    One expense issue I have is when I pay for items that are to be billed to a client but use a company credit card.

    Obviously the expense can be picked up on the invoice, but when I run an expenses report so I can be reimbursed on my expenses I need to remember what was on the Co card, what’s on my personal card and then get the calculator out.

    This is not ideal.

    I need a tickbox to let me tell Harvest if an expense is billable to a client and / or a claimable item on my personal expenses monthly claim. A tick box is all that’s needed.”

  • Great. We still do have one big big big need. We need to mark an expense as billable to client and furthermore a thick box to mark an expense as refunded to employee.

  • I love Harvest over the past 8+ months. It has made starting my own business so much easier. This update looks great! One question: will this solve the issue of being able to easily bill a flat rate instead of hourly rate? For many of my clients I don’t bill hourly but still need to keep track of hours spend (more for my own data). Thanks!

  • Totally agree with many of these requests. Please add the option to separate the tax amount from the total expanse and summarize the total tax every month. I have been using Harvest for more than a year now, but haven’t touched the expanses feature so far because of that missing column. Thank you!

  • It would be great if uploaded receipts were included with the invoice PDFs. I always have to attach them separately which is a pain; no real point in uploading them.

  • Recurring expenses are a must! Would be a really neat idea if you could add Harvest billing as a recurring expense which would automagically add the invoice to it as well. I’m sure that feature would help the majority of your customer base out!

  • Hi everyone – thank you very much for your support and ideas. For the first release, we won’t solve all the ideas listed here, but we are listening! Some comments:

    * Tax – this is a tough one. As Karen Henderson pointed out above, if you use our Invoice module, you can set up a tax there and apply to expenses. We’ll look into having it on a per-expense level.
    * Billable / reimbursable flag – yes, we hope to add this feature later this year.
    * Duplicate / recurring expenses – noted!
    * Markup on expenses – this might be beyond what we’re ready for, but we’ll keep this on our radar.
    * Separating expense approval from time – yes, we’d like this to happen as well, but it does involve a significant overhaul of how approval works today.
    * Include expense receipts on invoice – yes! We’d love to make this happen.

  • Will there ever be an option to upload expense details from an excel document? It would be really helpful for managing credit card expenses in our company.

  • Jeff Dye February 1, 2014

    Please consider making the following two modifications related to expenses:

    (1) Have a separate section in the standard Invoice format for expenses. Expenses are currently reflected as line items in the invoice along with time. For me, the invoice would be much improved if there were separate totals for time and expenses and then a combined grand total.

    (2) Create the option to attach receipts for expenses directly to the Invoice when the invoice is created. I upload receipts for each expense entry and would like these uploaded receipts to attach to the Invoice during the invoice creation process so that the accounting backup for the charged expenses is readily available.

    Thank you very much for considering these two changes. I very much enjoy using Harvest and Harvest makes my business much easier to manage.

  • Please add a tax column! It’s good to see I’m not the only one who is in need of it. It’s the only reason I don’t use the Expenses component in Harvest, and I would love to keep everything in the one place.

  • I think this is a huge step in the right direction! Thanks.

  • that’s all great but when will there be the link that connects invoices to specific projects. at the moment invoices are linked to clients not to projects, there is a project code associated with projects, but not with invoices. we requested this about 2 years ago and were told it was coming but so far nothing.
    harvest is great but this little thing would make it excellent, your competition has been catching up.

  • I really don’t like how you can’t navigate to a past expense now. I have to keep clicking “show more” until I get to the expense to edit something. Really annoying.

  • Just love the new Expenses Design. Especially Drag’n Drop!

    Keep up the good work – it keeps getting better :)

  • I would like to know if it is possible to track expenses (ie kilometers with a rate for our clients and a different rate for our employees). We charge our clients .65$/km and we pay our employees ,54$/km.

    Also, is it possible to mark the expenses that have been paid so we will not pay them twice.

    Thank you

  • OK, so the ledger view is nice, I guess. But there’s no weekly total against each week. For my own financial management I record a weekly total of expenses owed, now I have to run a report rather than just viewing the expenses page. Please add a total against each week. It shouldn’t be too hard, because you put a header for each week with the dates, so just make a bit of room for a weekly total.

    If you do this, I will love you again.

  • Looks great, thanks.

    I suggest you bring back the text recognition, for multiple expenses with the same or similar description.

  • Really good, thanks! In a glance I discovered a few un-invoiced expenses, nice to have the overview.

  • The new expense interface is great. Keep up the good work.

  • Glad to see that the reimbursable option is coming down the road! Another feature that would be really useful to have is the ability to archive expense categories that already have expenses posted to them (like we can archive projects that already have time posted to them).

    This will be a really essential feature down the road because right now our categories are basically reimbursable, purchase order, and company credit card so that we know when to reimburse employees and when not to. Once the reimbursable option becomes available, we’d want to archive those categories and go back to using the actual category types (office supplies, airfare, information technology, etc).

    Finally, it would be helpful if we could assign expense categories to specific projects similar to how tasks are assigned currently.

  • This makes it sooooo much easier to reconcile expenses! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Today, for example, I wasn’t sure if I had entered an expense or not and needed to search through the history to see if I could find it. Now, with up to a hundred line items on the screen, I was able to simply CTRL + F in my browser and search for the expense amount I was looking for. Quick and easy.

  • Hi guys! amazing and easy-to-use as always!
    I think one important feature I still can’t see is the possibility to add a note for each expenses (that can be filtered) that says: “advance payment” or something similar to express the fact that when an employee creates an expense note, some expenses are paid via credit card or similar and so no need for the employee to get refunded, other times the employee does an “advance payment” and in the internal expenses flow these are the money the employee needs back at the end of the month. I hope it’s clear as a concept.. (maybe not!)

  • Hi folks. Thanks for the good communication beforehand – always appreciate a company that tells people it’s about to do something.

    So far, the changes are really a matter of adjustment of order of process. I do have two issues, which may or may not match those listed above (I’ll admit I don’t have time to read through all the comments to find out): the first being that if you click on the calendar to add a new expense but decide you don’t need to change the date, the calendar will not go away even if you tab or click on the next field. That is a bit annoying, in that if you’ve clicked to another field, it should understand that you are done.

    The second matter is much more in the inconvenience field. I work for someone who doesn’t always get his receipts in on time. Sometimes items listed 9 months previously need to be adjusted. The new ledger system requires me to scroll down through screens and screens and screens before I get to the weeks I require, instead of offering me the addition option of the month or even the quarter that I need to go to.

    Otherwise, thanks much for continuing to offer a quality product.

  • We also would like to see a Tax input option besides the raw expense amount, as a Canadian company this is essential.

  • I generally like the Harvest UI – very clean and easy to use.

    However, I’m not sure about this new expense format. I really liked that I could see the sum of the week, but now I see these huge $number which doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s just rows of big numbers. I rather want to see how much I spent weekly, and want to be able to skim through the categories (which is now on the second row of each expense and it’s extremely hard to skim through.)

    So much space is taken for the first column (to show the duration), which, again, is meaningless to me (though it “looks” nice and spacious, but it’s not adding any function.) The duration can be just another row instead of a column, and it would be great if you could add a category column and a weekly sum column…

    I know you can see those things in “Report”, but I’m too lazy to go there…

    Sorry to be picky. I’ve been really enjoying using the Harvest app!!

  • Why can’t I have both views?

  • Drew Ungvarsky February 12, 2014

    Very cool. Just a heads-up on a bug. After I logged a receipt with a JPG and immediately edited that same receipt, I got an error about a corrupt file. But refreshing and editing the same expense, I was fine.

  • Mike Swanson February 12, 2014

    Would love to be able to track tax amounts on expenses. This would simplify how we have to report tax in Canada. See Colan Schwartz’s links:

    Here are some examples of how this could work:
    * http://help.expensify.com/tax/
    * http://community.freshbooks.com/support/how-do-i-create-an-expense/

  • Drew, I just tried to recreate the issue you were seeing and couldn’t make it happen. Can you write into support (support@harvestapp.com) with details so we can properly investigate? Thanks!

  • New UI looks great and is much more efficient. Thanks.

  • Loyal Harvest user here, an independent contractor.

    The new expense report set-up looks beautiful on the screen. However, I have not been able to export the report so that it will look this way to the client. Instead, the client gets an ugly several-page-long document (if exported to PDF) or a nice neat Excel file with no receipts attached or included.

    To me, as my invoices go to clients, it is more important that the Expense Report format (and functionality) be aligned with the Invoices format, rather than with the Time Report format. The reports themselves are really for internal use; the client sees the invoices.

    I would love to see the invoice template include an option to attach the expense report, rather than having to re-input the expense information into the invoice form. And if one selects “expenses” from the pull down menu on the list of items on the invoice, it would make sense for the option to attach a receipt to pop up there.

    Thanks!

  • Kevin Pettersen February 20, 2014

    Kudos to the new design….but I could not agree more about the ability to separate out taxes from expense entries….I just spent an hour doing this manually for one large invoice…….if you want to address the pain of a customer this would be it (the design part was a nice to have, but the tax separation for expenses is a NEED to have). Please, please please, solve this quickly as I’m having to do this manually more and more often.

  • Agree with previous poster – REALLY would be useful to have weekly totals on the Expense page!

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