The freelance life rules. Today, more and more professionals are leaving the corporate world behind for a shot at being their own boss.
Sometimes, that "go-it-alone" mentality comes with a price, i.e., those particular set of skills you have to have to run your own gig. Insurance. HR. Payroll. And the list goes on and on...
After Alex Marlantes received a 1099 form in the mail from a summer run as a Lyft driver, he and his friend, Gabriel Garza, couldn't find any software that could help navigate the expenses and mileage he accumulated.
They were on to something. With no standard tools to help freelancers like them, they went to work to create an operating system that would make it seamless for all their self-employed comrades out there.
The end result was the Everlance, a free mobile app for Apple iOS and Android devices that helps freelancers log income, expenses and mileage. Today, Garza, co-founder and chief technology officer, and Marlantes, co-founder and CEO, are changing the game for today's growing entrepreneurial sect.
Everlance uses a smartphone's GPS and proprietary, built-from-scratch algorithms to automatically and accurately log car trips in the background without draining batteries. Every ride shows up as a card, complete with a mapped summary of distance traveled and the dollar amount that the freelancer can deduct. Users simply "swipe left if the drive was personal, or you swipe right if it was for work."
The app stores physical receipts as photos, and all the information the app collect is securely synced to the cloud. Everlance enlists Amazon Web Services and the "highest standards of security" to ensure that user data is easily accessible on the go while remaining encrypted and well-protected, assured Garza.
Insightful Accountant sat down with Marlantes to get a glimpse into where the app and freelance market is heading, and why it can be an ally for today's ProAdvisors.
Give us a snapshot of the Everlance app?
Everlance is a GPS-based mileage and expense tracking app that tracks your savings as you drive. Simply install the app, enable GPS, and watch your savings grow with every business trip it catches. The interface also allows users to categorize their trips and send reports to their accountant all directly from the app.
Why is such Everlance a valuable tool?
As accountants tell their clients, every 1,000 business miles is worth $535 as a tax write off. However, many contractors and business owners are using the “odometer and pencil” method of tracking mileage. Realtors, contractors, salespeople and many more are missing out on valuable mileage write-offs each and every year.
This is even more important with the boom of the “freelance economy” – where many Uber drivers and Taskrabbit “Taskers” are jumping into these jobs, without being armed with the proper information on the tax implications of being an independent contractor.
How does it help accounting professionals?
Users can send detailed mileage and expense reports to their accountant – directly from the app. This not only is incredibly convenient for the user, but it saves the accountant time and energy, instead of sifting through notebooks and excel sheets, they're given a thorough and detailed report.
What do you expect from the accounting space in 2017?
We’re continuing to see a big trend toward people becoming their own boss. The “freelance economy” is much bigger than Uber or Doordash. It’s also about architects, attorneys and the many others leaving their employer to work for themselves. Technology has been a big driver of this trend. The internet allows professionals to find business online through platforms like Upwork and every day being your own boss is getting a little easier as startups rush to fill in all the services normally provided by an employer (health insurance, tax withholding, retirement planning, etc.)
What type of partnerships is Everlance developing in 2017?
We’ve recently partnered with H&R Block, the leader in assisted tax filing with over 20 million tax returns filed in 2016. We’ve built a deep integration that enables users to easily transfer all of their data from Everlance into the H&R Block app, Tax Edge, with the click of a button.
Similarly, we have recently launched functionality to link with the major financial institutions. This allows direct deposit revenue data or business expenses put onto a credit card to appear in the Everlance app. We are essentially digitizing all the data that used to exist on paper.
What does your to-do list look like this year?
We’re very excited to have recently passed 100,000 active users. We’re looking to continue that momentum by helping serve the accounting community. We think if we can make their life easier we could grow even faster.
What should every accounting professional know about Everlance?
We are a set-it and forget it tool for your clients. They simply install the app and it starts recording business expenses. It’s a win-win for your client and you.
The bottom line is we save you and your client time, money and dramatically improve the quality of record keeping.
What’s the next "best thing" for Everlance?
We have a lot of new functionality in the works that we can’t publicly comment on at this time, but I’d say we’re particularly interested in how we can help our users once we’ve digitized all their expense data.