[New Feature] Build Custom Expense Summaries with Shoeboxed Reports

After months of testing and user feedback, we are proud to announce that the new Reports section of the Shoeboxed Web App is out of Beta and now an official Shoeboxed feature!

After months of testing and user feedback, we are proud to announce that the new Reports section of the Shoeboxed Web App is out of Beta and now an official Shoeboxed feature!

The new Reports allows users to create customized expense reports based on parameters like date, categories, and vendor name. Unlike older versions of Shoeboxed expense reporting, the goal of Reports is to give users an effortless way to create detailed and custom-built financial summaries using their receipt data.

When you log in, you’ll notice that the new design is very distinct from the Beta version. The look and feel is now consistent with the rest of the web app, and you no longer have to bypass a summary screen before creating a new report. The new permanent Reports section is also cleaner, faster, and less buggy.

Here’s a quick summary of what you’ll see in the new Reports section:

New, Cleaner Interface

Shoeboxed Reports
Build new reports, navigate through old ones, and download reports in one centralized location.

Once you click the “Reports” tab, you’ll be taken to a screen that includes a list of past reports on the right (that you can download straight to your computer) and the Reports builder on the left. The colors, fonts and buttons have also been updated to match the rest of the web app for a more pleasant and reliable in-app experience.

Autofill Smart Filters

Shoeboxed Reports
Look for specific categories and vendors in a fraction of the time using new autofill filters.

Vendor names and categories will now be searchable using autofill and a drop-down smart filter selection. In other words, if you start typing “ta” for “Target”, you will see a list populated with possible vendor name matches (it’s like Google search, but for your receipts!)

Quick Links for Date Ranges

Shoeboxed Reports Date Range
Use quick links to the right of the date boxes to instantly select a date range for your report.

We added date range “quick links” in the date filter section so that you can select common date ranges for your receipt reports without having to manually select them from the drop down calendar.

But Wait! We Still Need Your Help

We've gotten user feedback requesting pre-generated "quick reports" that would provide detailed expense summaries without a user having to build them. What kind of specific pre-generated "quick reports" would you like to see automated in your Shoeboxed account?


Using Facebook Ads to Promote Your Business for Beginners

Tips and tricks for beginners on how to understand your audience, optimize your ad, and properly set budgets for your business Facebook ads.

Now that you’ve created a website and Facebook page for your business, it’s time to promote your business using Facebook ads.

First things first – when starting a Facebook Ads campaign you need to decide if you are going to drive traffic to a website or a Fan page. This will make a big difference in your strategy, and there are pros and cons to each.

For example, if you choose to link to a Fan Page, it will be easier to get an ad approved because you are not driving visitors away from Facebook (and Facebook really likes that). But on a Fan Page, you won’t able to engage and create leads with customers like you would be able to on your website.

Generally speaking, it’s recommended to drive traffic to your website and not to your Facebook page. There is more flexibility when leading customers to your own website. Ultimately, the decision should be based on what your goal is – do you want to create more leads and drive people to your website, or do you want to have more Facebook followers and create social buzz?

For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on creating a Facebook ad that links to a website.

Understanding your Facebook audience

Before creating an ad, it’s crucial to first understand your audience on Facebook, and there are two great ways to do that:

  • By digging into competitor Facebook pages or pages related to your industry
  • By analyzing Facebook groups related to your product or industry

Take notes on the kind of language, messaging and imagery used, and find a way to incorporate that with your own ad. For example, when browsing through competitor Facebook pages, see what kind of content is included in the most popular posts from their page. When analyzing Facebook groups, try to get into their heads. Learn how to approach your audience and understand their needs and desires by reading the conversations in these groups. What are their issues? How are they currently dealing with them? What are their interests?

People are receptive to content that they are familiar with, and information from both methods will prove to be a tremendous asset when creating an ad that resonates with your target audience.

Optimizing your ad and website for Facebook traffic

Once you understand your audience, use that insight to brainstorm creative ad ideas. Leaving a first impression with your ad is vital, so be sure to stand out by using strong headlines and powerful images. Try to pick an image that represents the mission of your business or product, but also something that resonates with your customer base. You want people to remember you. Social Times has a great article on Facebook ad creative best practices if you need some inspiration.

Next, you’ll want to make sure the landing page your ad links to is optimized. Once a customer clicks on the ad and is taken to your website, there should be correspondence between the CTA’s in your ad message and the content delivered in the landing page. Having a clean and professional-looking landing page will also help you optimize your landing page. There are dozens of websites and resources out there with tips on how to optimize landing pages.

Facebook Ads campaign – step by step

The first step when creating a Facebook ads campaign is to choose an objective. There are several options, but for the purposes of this guide you’ll want to pick “Send People to your website”.

Facebook Ads

After adding your website URL, the next step will be to set your audience and budget. Here you will use the information you previously collected when you were researching your Facebook audience.

Setting a Target Audience

Start by selecting a location. If you are running a local business you should select your city and surrounding areas, but if not you can start by focusing on your country. Note: don’t target a super large area or multiple countries – this will hurt your targeting and your ads may not be hitting the right people for your campaign.

Facebook Ads

After that, you will be sent to select very specific parameters for your audience like gender, education level, consumer behavior, family information and more. Facebook ads allow you to get very granular with audience targeting, but don’t spend too much time going through targeting options or you will run the risk of jeopardizing the reach to potential customers.

If the purpose of your campaign is to lead customers to your website and create sales and marketing leads, then a good way to start is to target people that are spending money online (ex. above 24 years old, has a credit card, etc).

And now let’s put the pieces together. There is a field called “Detailed Targeting” where you will want to add the Facebook pages you used when researching your audience. Here you will find two important fields: Exclude People and Narrow Audience. With Exclude People you can select people who like page A and don’t like page B, and on Narrow Audience you can pick people who like page A and page B. This will be immensely helpful for your targeting efforts – the more defined and targeted your audience is, the higher the click conversion rate will be.

Facebook Ads

When doing this, you will notice that your potential reach will decrease in an icon to the right. The potential reach is an important metric because it will help you set lower budgets.

Setting a Budget

Facebook ad budgeting lets you start at $10 per day! Analyze how many clicks you are getting, how much you are spending per click and if your visitors are taking the desired action to change your budget as needed.

Facebook Ads

When setting your daily budget you will also notice that your “estimated daily reach” will change. At this stage, it’s helpful to experiment and try different parameter variables to see if you can reach more people with the same budget. You will notice that just by changing the age of your target audience you can increase your reach at no extra cost.

Creating your ad

Note: even if you are driving traffic to your website you are going to need a fan page to be linked to your current ad campaign.

This stage is pretty straight forward. And to create a great ad you must use the knowledge you acquired when researching your audience. You can start by selecting your image. Remember, pick the type of image that is popular on big Fan Pages and don’t forget to use your logo to customize the image. If you don’t know how to do that you can use a tool called Pixlr.com (among dozens of other internet tools) that can help you edit images to make them look more professional.

You are almost done! Just add a headline based on your promotional research (refer back to the beginning of this article) and use a text that relates to what you read on Facebook groups. This will help you to get a low cost per click and increase your click through rate. Those two metrics go hand in hand, so always keep your eye on this.

After that, you just have to choose the placement:

  • Desktop New Feed
  • Mobile New Feed
  • Instagram
  • Desktop Right Column

You should test each placement to see which will perform better. And remember: the main two metrics to control are CTR (click-through-rate) and CPC (cost-per-click). To optimize the campaign, always start by changing the image, then headline and only then should you change the text. This is one of the best methods to get started on Facebook ads. It will help you understand the platform, see how things work, understand your audience and give you a chance to improve your metrics in the middle of a campaign.

This article is a guest contribution from Felipe Kurpiel, an internet marketer with a passion for SEO and affiliate marketing. 

3 Simple Steps to Get Through the Last Month Before Taxes Are Due

We went ahead to compile a list of a few tips which can come in handy as we enter the “oh-I-still-need-to-finish-filing” phase of the tax season.

Tax season is here and most of us are stressing out and trying to get our act together before the April 18 deadline.

Individuals and small businesses like you have found their way to productivity by eliminating paperwork in their day-to-day transactions and quite often, we hear from them about how they tackle the tax season and paperwork woes.

The insights we have gathered from them are simple and effective, with staying paperless and well-organized being the regular takeaway. We went ahead to compile a list of a few such tips which can come in handy as we enter the “oh-I-still-need-to-finish-filing” phase of the tax season (we know you already have a lot of lists to deal with this tax season, so we promise to keep this short).

1. Let D-Day stay on top of your mind

In the rush of work, it’s easy to lose track of time and days. One fine morning when you wake up, all that you are left with are few more days ’till you hit the deadline. To save yourself from the hopeless scramble that ensues, start early.

Make a list of what needs to be done (however small the activity is) and span it across the limited time that you have at hand. Once you have charted this out, the only thing you need to do is to stick to it and not procrastinate.

2. Compile all the required documents

One of the biggest reasons for stress during tax time is not finding your relevant documents in time and sometimes even forgetting to take them into account. To avoid this, the first step of your list needs to be putting together all of the documents.

Look for all of those receipts, investment documents and other records you need for tax filing and consolidate them in one central location. If you are not able to do this in one go, spread this activity across few days and a weekend. Starting off slow when you have enough time is better than doing things in a jiffy right when you wake up to the deadline.

3. Start the e-filing process!

In case you have been filing taxes on your own, after step 2 you are all set to start your e-filing process. And if not, get in touch with a tax preparer to sail through the tax filing process.

The latest guidelines issued by IRS has brought Form 8878 and Form 8879 (Electronic Return Originator authorization forms for individual taxpayers) under the scope of electronic signatures. For the uninitiated, Form 8879 is an IRS e-file signature authorization form that authorizes an ERO to enter the taxpayers’ PINs on individual income tax returns. Form 8878 is an IRS e-file authorization form for application of extension of time to file taxes, that authorizes an ERO to enter the taxpayers’ PINs on Forms 4868 and 2350.

Before, when going by the ERO method, taxpayers had to physically sign these authorization forms either in the ERO’s office or sign the physical copy and send it via mail or fax. But with the recent e-signature guidance, you can now authorize your EROs even remotely by choosing to electronically sign your authorization documents and simply e-mailing them to their tax preparer. (Yes, this method is IRS compliant.)

This not only makes e-filing process hassle-free, quick, and smooth, but it also saves a bit of your money too, which you would otherwise end up spending getting your authorization forms mailed to the ERO.

Using SignEasy to help with e-filing:

All set to get going with eSignatures? Click here to get started with signing documents online for free with SignEasy. SignEasy is also offering an exclusive 30% discount if you upgrade to SignEasy Pro. Use the discount code SHOEBOXED while making the purchase and get unlimited documents to sign, cloud integration, advanced security and much more. Please note the discount can be availed only through purchasing via the web.

Amrita Premrajan is Content Strategist and Marketer at SignEasy. Featured by Google, Apple and loved by 3.5 million users, SignEasy is a cloud-based solution to sign and fill documents from smartphones, tablets and web. SignEasy helps individuals and businesses reduce turnaround times, close deals faster and cut costs by eliminating the cycle of printing, scanning and faxing of paperwork.