Yesterday was tax day for everyone in the United States – or it should have been! This marks my first year where my filing has my new job as a consultant. I’m technically based in the Madison area as a work from home employee, but travel frequently to Milwaukee for meetings, coordination, and general planning. We can do a lot remotely, but when you’re small it often makes sense to just sit down in the room with people.This means this tax year was the first time I needed to track some unreimbursed business expenses – primarily mileage of my car from my actual office to our corporate location and to clients.My problem is I hate keeping records, especially pieces of paper. I keep track of every gas tank fill up, but I often lose the receipts before I can put them someplace safe. I needed a method that will let me document my mileage or gas receipts without keeping tons of paper around for me to lose.
The first thing I did was create a new object in my dev org called “Mileage & Receipts.” I thought about using different objects, but realized there was going to be some overlap in the fields. I also thought of using record types to separate “Daily Miles” and the other expenses. I choose to use a picklist initially, but may update to have different record types in the future.
So I now have my base object in Salesforce. This provides the method of me saving my receipts and my miles data and letting me enter them into the computer once I’m back at my desk. Let’s be realistic here. This would require me to:
- Write down or otherwise store my odometer information
- Hold on to paper receipts
- Scan Receipts & Upload to Salesforce
- Remember to enter the data
I know me well enough that I would end up with a bunch of scribbled notes on pieces of paper or the receipts themselves. I would get distracted the moment I got to my computer or delayed with parenting/family duties. The pieces of paper would stack up and I would never get the information into Salesforce.
I need to be easily enter this information the moment I had it, before I left the car.
My first step was to create a global publisher action to create the new Mileage Record. It may make sense to create different actions for each type of record I’ll be needing (mileage, gas fill up, etc). It would allow me to default some fields, but I was in a hurry. I wanted something now. So I created my action on the assumption it’ll be for the most common record I’ll be creating – my daily miles.
Once the publisher action was created, I added it to the Global layout and to the layout of the Mileage & Receipt object. Now I can create a new record from anywhere!
More importantly, it makes creating a new record within Salesforce1 a breeze. So here’s my new process for my daily miles:
- Get in car & open Salesforce1
- Click the Action to create a mileage record
- Type in my odometer & save
- When I stopped, open Salesforce1, hit “Edit” and enter my odometer (End Field) & save
- Go on my merry way
When I’m filling up my gas tank it’s pretty simple. I know what my last odometer was because I track that in a different software already (that doesn’t accept receipt files). I could also pull it from my last gas fill up. So my process is:
- Open Salesforce1 and click action to create mileage record
- Enter Last Odometer for gas fill up & current odometer & save
- Use action to capture a photo of receipt
- Throw receipt away and drive off
Requisite Sum Up
With very little setup, I’m now able to quickly enter my miles that are will be reimbursed and my gas expenses. It’s done before I leave my car and when I need it I just have to pull up a report in Salesforce.
Which got me thinking, what else could I be using Salesforce1 to make my life easier. Maybe I should grab TaskRay and uses it for my weekly chores list. Perhaps for my grocery list.
Maybe I should expand my receipt object to include other items like food purchases. Most likely, with the upcoming arrival of my third child, perhaps now is the time to brush off BabyForce and finally make it mobile friendly so my wife will use it too.
My point is that Salesforce1 can make something extremely mobile and easy with very little effort. Even if you won’t use it for your business org, you should consider connecting it to your dev org (you do have a dev org right?). I bet you can think of a little magical project to make your own life easier.