Every year at tax time, freelancers and independent contractors undertake a mad scramble to find expenses that can be claimed back on your taxes to maximize your tax return or offset the amount you need to pay. Remembering what you've spent, and when, becomes a game of "Oh yeah!!!!" as you randomly remember things after conversations with fellow freelancers. Or ongoing expenses like travel costs need to calculated across many transactions to understand the amounts to be claimed back. My challenge was to shift the method of capturing to be more fluid and integrated into a user's day allowing them to collect and forget until needed and get a comprehensive list of expenses when needed.
With card linking through third parties like Plaid, it is now possible to see transactions made on credit cards as they occur. By creating a single-window into multiple cards, the need to pick and choose what card is used for different types of purchases is gone. You simply spend on any card and see all your transactions in a timely feed. With this constant stream of transactional information being presented to you, it becomes a far faster and simpler task to flag things as they occur, organize only the important ones into groups or folders for easy reference, add relevant information such as receipt images as needed, and share any information with your tax accountant or employer.
Really every app should be one, two, three, and done. But in this case I really need the user to take steps to add a card and lay the foundation for the data structure by creating folders. To make sure these elements are in place for first use I made it part of the onboarding process. This also familiarizes the user with the elements of the app before seeing them within the app interface...of course, they could choose to skip it all in which case they'll get no real benefit for the app.
The transactional information that is available from sources is minimal. In order for it to be useful down the line, adding some simple additional info to augment the pulled transactional data gives it far deeper meaning. You can add specific locations, snap and add a physical receipt for records, jot down any additional notes like attendees or projects associated with purchases, and of course you can file any transaction into a folder for organization and easier referencing.
You either know what a transaction is associated with, or you know when you made it. Because the user has the ability to group expenses in folders, each folder purpose or meaning and track down expenses associated with that meaning is easy. Alternatively, pulled transactions will all be timestamped. As a result we can isolate transactions day-by-day in a calendared view, to show daily at-a-glance lists to track down a specific transaction.
We often self categorize cards. Some are business, some are for joint accounts, some are personal, some you like to limit to travel purchases. Generally, when transactions are pulled they are associated with the credit card number. If you're anything like me, that's not a number that is committed to memory. By adding the card by number once, then labeling your card anything you want, it becomes far easier to tie together origin, and potentially the purpose, of any incoming transaction.
Dave's Fantastical App Factory
Concept, Brand, UX, UI Design, Prototyping
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