Fetch, according to the website, is the easiest way to track expenses and reimburse your employees. Like other tools in this category, one of the central functions is that users can upload receipts from their mobile phone.
Fetch is brand new, so not many people know about the app yet. It’s actually a companion app to another solution we’ve reviewed Shoeboxed. The goal with Fetch is to make the expense tracking and reimbursement process easier and faster than ever.
That said, it’s a little silly that Shoeboxed developed another app separately than adding more features and functions, but they can charge more with more products.
The app was made to reduce the stress associated with expense reporting. Employees need to keep track of everything they spent while they were out and hang onto receipts. Now, we’re able to take pictures of receipts and recycle them immediately.
So what all does Fetch do, and do you need to also buy Shoeboxed to cover all of your expense-related needs?
Keep reading and we’ll dive into to the details.
What is Fetch?
Like other expense management tools, Fetch helps you categorize and track what your employees are using their company funds on. You’ll get approval flows and can process payments, plus Fetch keeps a record for your accountant on hand.
As we mentioned, Fetch is made by the people responsible for Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed is an app we’ve reviewed before that specializes in receipt capture–not just for employee expenses, but all expenses. The app features a receipt capture function and categorizes the items purchased by scanning the uploaded photos.
Additionally, the app comes with a human data verification service, which allows users to send their receipts in for an audit. The idea is, you’ll categorize your expenses accurately and save time and money down the road.
With Fetch, they’ve opted to scale back and look exclusively at the employee side of expense tracking.
Which is great in a way, as small businesses might lose hours dealing with expense reporting–both from an organizational standpoint and on the admin side.
Still, we’re a little wary of an expense tracking tool that doesn’t account for the full spectrum of expense reporting. You’re just not getting as much bang for your buck.
Fetch Promises to Be a Real Time Saver
Fetch’s whole premise is that its a tool that takes the task of employee report building out of the equation. When an employee submits an expense, it’s immediately batched for approval. From there admins can approve or reject the transaction. And, you’ll get a look at who you paid, and who you still owe.
Perfect for Small and Mid-Size Companies
Fetch is an affordable solution that allows smaller companies to get ahead of the expense tracking process. It’s fast and serves as both a way to gain some visibility into your organization and pay employees back in a timely manner.
You Can Make Direct Payments
Once you approve a payment, you can submit payment directly to the employee for faster reimbursement. Employees don’t need to stand in line at the bank to deposit a check and you can check another item off of your to-do list.
Ease of Use
The mobile app is an intuitive solution that requires little in the way of onboarding or set up time.
Enrolling your team in the app is as simple as sending out a batch of emails directly from the app and employees click a link to download the app. No need to create accounts for your team—they can start submitting expenses right away.
Plus, admins have access to a dashboard that shows which items have been submitted and which have not.
The website mentions QuickBooks integration but doesn’t mention any other tools. Still, if you’re a QuickBooks user, this might be worth a try.
Fetch syncs to your account so new entries are recorded in the system and reimbursements are automatically recorded, too, so your accounts will remain updated in both systems.
We’re not sure if this app is compatible with other solutions like Xero or Sage, but many of the accounting tools out there come with their own expense reporting—whether that’s an add-on or part of the core package.
What we liked about Fetch was, they listed out the entire process of connecting your account to QuickBooks Online. You’ll click the “connect QuickBooks” button from inside the app and authorize data sharing between the two tools.
Then you’ll be prompted to finish setting up. Map employees to QuickBooks Vendors and map your categories to QuickBooks accounts. This way, expenses come in pre-categorized, making things easier for the accountant.
For employee payments, each time you click pay from the Fetch app, it creates a bill in QuickBooks. Multiple items from the same user will be recorded within that same bill.
Custom Expense Categories
Account owners can customize their expense categories from their accounts. The site, again, walks you through the process, but you’ll go to your settings and select, “add new custom category.” Give it a name and save.
You can also add sub-categories to existing custom categories. The preloaded categories do not allow you to add a subcategory, which seems a bit strange. But, they may stick to the IRS-approved reporting categories so they’ll work with your tax reporting. The IRS may not recognize custom categories.
Automatic Data Extraction
When you sync Fetch to other apps, it will automatically populate your Fetch account and the linked account. So, bank accounts are automatically updated when you pay an employee.
Photo Receipt Recording
Employees can upload receipts when they’re still on the road. A small capability, but one that saves some headaches associated with spreadsheets, lost receipts and submitting reports on time.
Email Receipt Capture
Hook up Fetch to your email provider, and it will scan for receipts–think flight confirmations or online purchases. Honestly, this is one of the better features you’ll find in the Fetch toolkit. It’s a means of bringing all expenses into one central hub without the need to manually record every item purchased online or elsewhere.
Fetch allows you to assign your expenses to projects for an added layer of context. Admins can filter incoming costs to specific projects. This function is one of the more useful elements of the Fetch lineup. Use the project tracking to view the costs by category or see if specific projects are over or under budget.
Users can manually create new projects, but an admin must grant the rest of the team access. Otherwise only the administrator and creator can view the entry.
Or, account owners can choose to use team projects. Employees lose the ability to create projects themselves. Instead, they’ll choose from a list of options laid out by the owner.
Fetch is one of the cheaper options on the market. That is unless you go on a real hiring spree. The tool costs $9.95 per user per month, which makes perfect sense for a company that has a few employees and needs to streamline the reporting process.
Still, Fetch admins there to approve expenses and pay bills don’t count as part of the monthly plan—so you’ll only need to provide access to people who will be using their personal accounts in the field. These employees are likely sales reps or people tasked with meeting vendors or clients in person. Additionally, Fetch comes in handy for people who travel for work.
With that in mind, you’re not going to give everyone a Fetch account. It’s not the same as something like Dash or Happay, which offer prepaid cards for any type of employee expenses.
That said, if you’re already in the market for an accounting tool, this might be an unnecessary expense. QuickBooks Online, for example, already provides some expense reporting. Xero’s solution comes with an add-on.
With that in mind, the app is available through a 14-day free trial, and they don’t force you to give out your credit card to find out whether the tool is right for you.
The FAQ section on the site mentions this app makes the most sense for smaller companies that have a few employees who regularly deal with out of pocket expenses.
The technological specs associated with Fetch are pretty minimal. The cloud-based solution only requires the ability to connect to the internet. Users with the mobile app may need to update their operating system before downloading, and phones should be relatively recent.
Mobile App, Cloud-Based
Fetch is based online both from your online browser and through the mobile app. Both versions work together so that all parties have access to real-time data.
Fetch relies on 256-bit encryptions to protect your financial data and they partner with Dwolla, an online payment processor that adheres to the same rigorous standards as the banking industry.
Customer service reps are available between 9 am and 6 pm Monday through Thursday, EST and Friday 9-4. Call or email for help.
As we mentioned in the features section above, the tutorials are fantastic. The site gives users a text-based walkthrough of each feature and tells you how to set it all up.
Additionally, the website isn’t this huge navigation experience. Instead, there are a few tabs, you’ll get an overview, a comprehensive FAQ section that cuts through the chase, and information about how to use the tool.
While Fetch does a great job of making sure customers are taken care of, there are some features missing from the suite. For example, you can’t integrate the tool with your bank accounts. Nor does Fetch come with smart categorization or other features that make a piece of expense management software worth the investment.
In the end, we were pretty impressed with the quality of care the customer service team provides. Despite the fact that Fetch is a relatively limited solution, they cover all of their bases and make things easy for the customer to determine whether or not this solution will work for their business.
Still, we never quite got the reasoning behind making this tool in the first place. The company that makes the app is responsible for Shoeboxed a similar app that spends more focus on documenting receipts.
Because receipts still feature heavily in Fetch’s functionality, it seems like the two apps should be one application with more features. They’d be able to charge a little more and users might find more incentive to purchase.
With Fetch, you get reporting and receipt capture. The streamlined approval is the real draw, but these days, you can process electronic payments through PayPal, Venmo, and others–which might work for small businesses. Dwolla, too, and you’ll get some added security.
Fetch is a good idea, but ultimately, we feel that it aims to solve a problem that doesn’t exactly exist.
Yes, expense reporting is an issue for a lot of companies, but a separate app for reimbursements when others tools do that and more seems a bit silly.