Shoeboxed is a quickly growing receipting company that is revolutionizing the way businesses organize their data. We had the opportunity to chat with Michael Hourigan, Marketing Manager at Shoeboxed, and ask him a few questions about what Shoeboxed does, where it came from and where the company is going.
Tell us a bit more about yourself and your role at Shoeboxed.
I am currently a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I started as an intern at Shoeboxed back in 2010 and have since become the affiliate marketing manager. Don’t let the “manager” title fool you though—I’m still just as much an intern as I ever was! In a nutshell, I facilitate online marketing partnerships with bloggers and website owners on behalf of Shoeboxed.
How was Shoeboxed born? Who founded the company?
Shoeboxed is the brainchild of Duke University graduate Taylor Mingos. Taylor started the company out of his dorm room back in 2007 and he continues to serve as Shoeboxed’s devoted founder and CEO.
What does Shoeboxed do?
Our service is simple: users send receipts and documents to us via one of our postage-paid envelopes or free mobile apps. We then scan, data enter and organize everything in a secure, searchable online account. All of the data is then safely stored in the cloud and ready to be exported to one of the many accounting, bookkeeping and contact management software’s that we are integrated with. The bottom line: no more crinkled, unorganized receipts, no more expensive scanners, no more data entry or lost documents!
How does Shoeboxed help employees keep their receipts organized for filing expenses?
Shoeboxed is wonderful for business travelers and employees alike who need a quick and simple way to track their expenses. Simply take pictures of receipts while you are on the road using one of our mobile apps and, when you get back to the office, Shoeboxed will generate a complete PDF or Excel expense report for you complete with the receipt images.
Do all businesses need to track receipts for tax purposes? Does Shoeboxed help people with tax filing?
All businesses need to keep track of receipts and expenses not only to ensure proper bookkeeping but also in case they get audited. Needless to say, tax season is a VERY BUSY time around the Shoeboxed office. Our service helps people file their taxes in the sense that all of their financial documents are stored in a single, searchable online account which can then be exported to numerous tax prep software’s. Shoeboxed is also fully accepted by the IRS so if your company is audited then all of your receipts and other expenses are easily accessible.
What aspect of Shoeboxed is the biggest time saver for business employees/owners?
The time saving benefits of Shoeboxed really are endless. To start, we scan and digitise all of your documents for you. This is a huge advantage over having to spend a couple hours each week pushing papers through an expensive scanner or paying an assistant to do it for you. Next, all of the data we extract is human verified which ensures perfect accuracy. All of the other scanning software’s out there only promise 80-90% accuracy which means it is up to you to find and correct mistakes. Not only is this tedious, but one small mistake, such as a decimal point in the wrong place, can have huge consequences for you and your company. All in all, Shoeboxed does the grunt work for you so you can get back to doing what you love.
Is there a specific genre of businesses that you find use Shoeboxed more than others?
All different kinds of businesses find value in using our service but accounting and bookkeeping companies are by far the heaviest users of Shoeboxed.
Do you think Shoeboxed appeals to large businesses as much as small privately owned businesses?
Absolutely. While most of the businesses that currently use Shoeboxed are classified as small or medium sized, we still have quite a few very large companies that use us for expense reporting.
You have an office in Sydney as well as in Durham, NC and Bucharest, Romania. Is there any reason why you set up your Sydney office?
Our main reason for opening our Sydney office was that Australia is known for being an early adopter market when it comes to tech ideas. People there tend to be super tech savvy and after doing some research we found that individuals there tended to have more financial and reporting problems than the average North American which meant they could really benefit from our service. We also found a really great team to lead us in Sydney which has been extremely helpful.
What does your Sydney team concentrate their effort on? (E.g. mobile app development, customer support, etc.)
The team in Sydney is actually just a slightly smaller version of our Headquarters in North Carolina. They are responsible for all of the data entry, customer support, program development and marketing efforts for Australian customers.
How does the startup community in Sydney compare with the US? Do you find it easy to do business in Australia or is it too regulated?
Even with the stricter business regulations in Australia, our Sydney branch has done extremely well in helping us to expand into foreign markets. The startup community isn’t quite as developed in Sydney as it is in say Durham or California, but our group over there has done really well in branching out and establishing some great relationships with other startups in the area.
Any plans to open an office anywhere else in the world?
We are always looking for new opportunities to grow and that certainly means opening up more Shoeboxed offices around the world. At the present we aren’t actively looking for new offices, but if I had to speculate on our next location, I would say Europe.
Your company is only 5 years old yet you are moving so rapidly. What kind of growth have you seen year to year?
We just passed 500,000 users last month and it won’t be long before we are celebrating 1,000,000! It seems like every month we are hiring more and more data entry personnel to keep up with the increasing amount of documents being sent to us.
Do you feel like there is one thing that contributed to the rapid growth of Shoeboxed?
Aside from our marketing and social media efforts, I really feel that the main reason for our rapid growth is because people truly need and value our service. We provide quick and completely accurate document digitization and there is no other service out there that can claim the same thing. Once people try our service they grow to love it and can’t wait to tell their friends about us. As I’ve come to learn, it is really easy to sell something that you yourself trust and are completely confident in.
With nearly 9,000 followers and 10,000 tweets, you guys are very active on Twitter. How important has social media been to your growth?
If you want to be successful in today’s world it is crucial that you utilize social media and recognize all that it has to offer. At Shoeboxed, we not only use social media to keep people updated on the product, but also to give insight into our fun and innovative Shoeboxed culture. Social media has proven monumental in creating buzz about our service and expanding our client base.
How long have you had an accompanying blog? Do you feel it has expanded your audience/reach?
We really started focusing on our blogging efforts about 2 years ago. Similar to our social media efforts, the blog has proven to be a very effective way of keeping our customers in the loop about what is going on with the service and around the office. I definitely feel that our blog has helped to expand our client base as well as our reach with potential customers.
In what part of the world is Shoeboxed most popular?
Where are you growing fastest?
Both our North American branch and Australian branch are growing at extremely fast rates, but our North American client base is expanding a lot faster.
What is your greatest competition in your niche? People are lazy, so do you consider procrastination a competitor of sorts?
Our primary competitor would have to be the Neat Receipts Company and, like you mentioned, procrastination would definitely be considered a secondary competitor. That being said, the true beauty of Shoeboxed is that it requires next to no effort to get your documents digitized and organized. People really are lazy and lazy people aren’t going to take the time to sit down and manually scan all of their documents through a scanner. With Shoeboxed, all people have to do is snap a photo or pack all their documents into a prepaid envelope and we’ll do the rest!
Tell us about the new receipts inbox. Was this developed due to customer demand?
The Receipts inbox was created as a result of customer feedback and we are really excited with how easy it makes the submission process. With the new inbox, you can send any receipt, business card, bill or other document to one easy-to-remember email address and it will automatically be sorted, processed, human-verified and added to your Shoeboxed account. No more remembering or saving multiple email addresses – firstname.lastname@example.org can handle it all! Whether your document is in the body of the email or attached to it, our new unified inbox will catch and sort anything you send us!
Do you have a native iOS or Android app?
We actually have both iOS and Android apps that can be downloaded for free and easily linked with your Shoeboxed account. With these, document submission can be done instantly from your phone or iPad!
How have you found uptake of mobile? How important is it to your business today?
Our mobile submission apps have quickly become an integral part of our service. At least 25% of all the submissions we receive come through our apps and I’m sure that this number will continue to increase.
In the future most people will own a smartphone or tablet. How will this influence you in your decision making processes?
As with all aspects of our service, we are always working on improving the features of our smart phone apps and making them faster. Mobile services are becoming more and more popular and we are making sure that Shoeboxed will be at the forefront of document submission apps.
How long has Shoeboxed had a partnership with Google Apps? How important do you think it is to make your app work well with other SaaS tools like Evernote and Dropbox?
Shoeboxed has had a partnership with Google Apps for well over two years at this point and we think it is extremely important for our app to work well with other SaaS tools as well. Our main goal is to create a service that is useful in and of itself but that can also work seamlessly with other innovative products in our niche. Evernote and Dropbox are just two of the 15+ tools that we are partnered with.
You already have integration with Xero. Are there any plans to integrate with inDinero or Mint?
At this point, Shoeboxed doesn’t have integrations with inDinero or Mint, but they are things we are currently working on! In the meantime, you can keep up with all of our new features on our blog at http://blog.shoeboxed.com/ and see all of the companies and programs we currently work with at http://www.shoeboxed.com/partners/.
Apple tends to create an app to do one thing and do it really well. Do you take that approach with Shoeboxed?
We absolutely embrace this philosophy at Shoeboxed. We make sure that things are just the way they should be before we deploy them to our users. And if something does go wrong, we have a great customer support team and development team that will immediately field customer responses and fix the problem.
You seem to be on the edge of receipting and using all aspects of technology. What can the world expect from you next?
I can’t say too much about some of the stuff we have in the works, but people should expect some really awesome integrations and new mobile features in the coming months!
So to round things up, tell our readers exactly why they should use Shoeboxed!
Shoeboxed really is the cutting edge of document digitization and expense management. We are the only service that can promise complete accuracy and we do it at a much cheaper price. No matter what line of work you are in or how many documents you need digitized each month, with Shoeboxed you are guaranteed to save time and money. The best part though is that you can start COMPLETELY FREE! Sign up today and the first 30 days of your plan will be on us!