Toshl Finance Blog

Email Reports, File Exports and The Unbearable Lightness of Being Informed

Keeping you better informed about your finances is what we do at Toshl. Today, we’re unveiling email reports and improved file exports, to keep you informed even more thoroughly, yet effortlessly.

Email reports

They come in regular weekly, monthly and yearly instalments. They’ll help you see the state of your finances right now, discover how you got there and what’s coming up in the near future.

email reports in monthly, yearly and monthly instalments
Quick preview of the email reports. Click on the image to show a full size report with sample data.

What’s in the report?

  • Left to spend amount comparisons of your average spending in this period to past ones.
  • Monthly overview graph.
  • Account balances of financial account on the last day the report includes. As this might be sensitive information in some cases, this option is deactivated by default and can be added at will.
  • Sums of expenses, incomes as well as their categories, tags and daily averages.
  • 3 largest expenses and 3 largest incomes in the past period.
  • Budget summaries for budgets that match the time span of the reported period.
  • Coming up, the list of largest expenses and incomes coming up in the next period after the email report.
  • Net worth in the past year (yearly report only)
  • Monthly balances in the past year (yearly report only)
  • Monthly budgets in the past year (yearly report only)
  • Exported files for the same period can be automatically added to email reports as well, including files with custom filters.

Exports

Sometimes you’d also need to inform others about the state of your financial affairs, or at least the part that affects them. For example, notify your roommates about the sums of shared expense tags last month. Perhaps you need to send a report including your business expense receipts from last month to the office. Last but not least, sometimes you just need a summary of a financial period and some extra records for backup. In any case, the new file export and email report improvements in Toshl have you covered.

While we’ve offered file exports in Toshl from the start, this update takes them to the next level.

PDF

  • Completely redesigned and redone.
  • Printer friendly, with most of the document in black and white, using less surfaces to save up on ink.
  • Transaction lists are much easier to read now, include descriptions, repeat, location, splitting and paid / unpaid information
  • Transfers between financial accounts and balance reconciliations are now included by default.
  • Foreign currency amount, main currency amount and exchange rate are included if the transaction is in a foreign currency.
  • Photos and PDF attachments can now be added to the exported PDF. Images of expense receipts can be included as 1 per page or 4 per page, depending on how large you need them to report. Receipt images also linked from the transaction list itself, so the receipt copy can be easily referenced.
  • Monthly overview graph with the current state of finances and average spending.
  • Account balances on the last day of the exported time span.
  • Expense, income graphs are now included. This includes the donut graph for categories as well as the tag bubbles to get a better sense of proportions. 
  • Expense, income sums listed per category, per tag and per financial account. Listed from the largest to the smallest sum in the period for easier comparisons. 
  • Budget summaries for budgets that match the time span of the exported period.

CSV, XLS (Excel), OFX

  • Transfers and account balance reconciliations are now included by default.
  • Photos and attachments can now be added to these exports. They come in the form of the transaction file and images sorted into folders, packed together in a ZIP file.
  • New support for the OFX file format. Quick to export and import (no column matching required), but unfortunately cannot include category and tag data.

General notes

  • The exported files are no longer sent via email in the mobile apps. They’re now available directly, with the file downloaded in the app. Further actions are available using the system “open with” and share dialogues on iOS and Android. 
  • The CSV, XLS and OFX files can also be imported back into Toshl.
  • While most exporting should complete quickly, picking a long time span with lots of data – especially images, can take a bit longer. If that happens to take more than a few minutes, fear not, all is still well. You can freely close the app and when the exporting finishes on our servers, we’ll send you a notification informing you that the exported file is now available. 
  • If you’re having issues with the CSV not displaying unicode characters in Excel – like in Arab, Hebrew or pretty much any non-Latin script, make sure to import it to Excel as a CSV file. If you just open the CSV, Excel doesn’t detect text encoding well. If you import the file as CSV, set encoding to UTF-8, it will import correctly.

Filtering data for export

What makes these features really powerful, is the option to filter the exports however you want. For starters, you can select the types of data you want included in the file, as seen on the left screen.

Tap the global filtering button on the top right of the screen. There, you can filter by:

Tap the funnel icon just below the tabs and the filtering screen on the right opens up, to filter by:

  • categories
  • tags
  • locations

You can use a combination of filters to get the report you desire.

A common use for this is making a report of shared expenses. Marking the expenses that you share with someone with an additional tag. Then make a PDF report filtered by that tag to figure out how much you owe each other. The report can also include individual transactions, so everyone can see how you got to that sum.

You can also make business expense reports this way. Mark business expenses with an extra tag, as well as add the expense receipt images if you need additional information. Export to PDF and you can attach the expense receipts right in there. Moreover, you can also send a report like this to yourself every month, attached to the email report.

All data exports

  • Export all images and file attachments. Can also be filtered by time span or account.
  • Export all data you have on Toshl in CSV form, including data on past payments, devices used etc. Additional metadata is available via the Toshl Developer API.

How do I get started?

The updated features are already available in the web app on toshl.com and in the latest Toshl Finance apps on Android and iOS. Version 3.5 and upwards.

At the time of publishing, the updated Android app was still in review on Google Play. It should be available to all shortly.

Some features require Toshl Pro or Toshl Medici membership plans.

  • CSV exports are free. PDF, XLS (Excel) and OFX files require either Toshl Pro or Medici.
  • Images of expense receipts require either Toshl Pro or Medici.
  • Email reports are free for all users, but become a lot more useful when paired with an automatically updating bank connection included in Toshl Medici.

Free 30-day trials are available for all new users.

When Toshl monsters see the reports, they make cuts. Juicy ones.

Posted in Android Tutorials, Announcements, iOS Tutorials, Tutorials, Web App Tutorials

Colours, Currencies, Connectivity! Toshl App Improvements Galore!

As we gear up for the release of major new features like the new email reports and exports, we’re taking a few moments to highlight some minor improvements that we’ve made recently in the Toshl apps.

  • A new set of colours for the graphs. Expenses, incomes, River flow, Planning… All the graphs in the web app got a fresh coating of paint, increasing the contrasts between categories while keeping our aesthetic standards satisfied. Web app is the first to get this update, with mobile apps following later on.
  • Overhauled budget history graph on the web app. It previously showed only your budget spending in past periods. It now compares your spending to the budget amount that you have set for the period. Go over your planned budget and the overspending will glow with increasingly menacing shades of red. Click on the graph to show details for the period. Previously available in the Android app, coming soon to iOS as well along with some yearly budgeting stats to boot.
  • 8 new cryptocurrencies with constantly updated fresh exchange rates added. They’re already available in all the Toshl Finance apps, just pick the currency and you’ll find them there. This bring the total of available currencies to 258. You can use any of these currencies for your entries, budgets, accounts or even as your main currency. New additions:
    • Aave (AAVE)
    • Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC)
    • SushiSwap (SUSHI)
    • Storj (SOTRJ)
    • NuCrypto (NU)
    • Ethereum 2 (ETH2)
    • Polygon (MATIC)
    • Ankr (ANKR)
  • Company VAT ID numbers for companies from the European Union can now be added to Toshl invoices as a part of the upgrade process when upgrading on our website. The ID is automatically matched with the company list and further details are pre-filled.
  • The upgrade process was streamlined, with less promotional imagery. We’ve added an option to skip the free T-shirt or socks that normally come with the 3-year plan.
  • Membership status translations on the user settings (Me) were improved for clarity in cases where the free trial auto-renewal had been already cancelled.
  • Bank connectivity systems were improved in app updates both on iOS and Android, with iOS getting the larger overhaul this time. We’re continuing work on these issues, in particular; handling redirections after authenticating on the bank’s website. Due to various web browsers on Android handling this quite differently and these behaviours changing, the last step of connecting can sometimes fail. The connection will normally fix itself in the next retry in an hour, but this skips limiting the import by date. A workaround is in the making. If this happens when connecting your bank, please also try connecting from the web browser on toshl.com. Such issues affect a minority of bank connections, most should connect fine on all devices.
  • Speedier syncing of the iOS mobile app with Toshl servers and consequently with other Toshl apps as well.

Toshl monsters got a bit carried away with the colours, but are fine now. Their friend Bojan is still recovering from the addiction.

Posted in Announcements

Bank Connection News – March 2021

2021 has so far been eventful when it comes to bank connections, to put it mildly. We’ve experienced some Brexit and connection partner related issues, which resulted in having to reconnect EU bank connections and even an extended dowtime in the case of certain banks, where replacements weren’t provided by partners.

We have better news today. The issues with connections have been abating for a while now, as our bank connection partners resolved the issues. Salt Edge provided an alternative AISP registration and onboarded banks shortly after, but still experienced delays in some cases due to the onboarding process. Plaid’s complete EU downtime continued for 2 months. They were granted a new AISP registration in middle of February and have been onboarding banks again since, most are now available again, but some exceptions remain. Where the connections are still not available, the ball is likely in the bank’s court, either due to slow processes of approving the new registration or errors on the connection itself.

At the time of writing 15 152 bank connections around the world are available on Toshl.

Yesterday, a larger batch of French and Spanish and Irish connections have been re-enabled. Where Salt Edge provided replacements during Plaid’s downtime, those connections will continue to use the Salt Edge connection. The connections which remained missing on Salt Edge, but are available again over Plaid, have been enabled.

Recent additions and re-additions to bank connections:

  • Ireland Allied Irish Banks, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB (now over API), KBC, Ulster Bank
  • France Credit Lyonnais (LCL), Société Générale, HSBC, La Banque Postale
  • Netherlands American Express, Garantibank
  • Poland PKO Bank
  • Italy Banca Sviluppo Tuscia, Intesa Sanpaolo Corporate, BCC di Massafra, CRS, Banca Capasso Antonio, Banca Macerata, Banca Santa Giulia, Banca d’Alba, Banca di Sconto e Conti Correnti, Banco Marchigiano CC, Mediocredito Trentino, Prader Bank, Solution Bank
  • Belgium AXA
  • Germany Sparda Bank (7 regional veriations now over API), Barcalycard (now API)
  • Hungary MKB Bank
  • Spain Novo Banco
  • United Arab Emirates ADIB (Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank)
  • Croatia HBP
  • Slovakia OTP Banka
  • Czechia Fio Banka
  • Slovenia Delavska Hranilnica started supporting business accounts

Notable removals

  • Unites States several Charles Schwab connections in the US.
  • Israel Yahav Bank due to “technical issues” with scraping.

Still Missing in action – were available until Brexit issues, waiting to get them back. In most cases waiting for the bank to approve the new registration.

  • France Banque Populaire (multiple regions), Caisse d’Epargne (multiple regions), Crédit Coopératif, AXA, BBVA
  • Sweden ICA
  • Finland OP
  • Norway DNB, Danske
  • bunq (in multiple countries, originally Dutch)

Providing transparency about shitty banking

With API connections – which banks need to provide by law in the European Union, the banks provide a large part of the functionality on their end. The authentication and the sending of account, transaction data, if we simplify a bit.

While we understand that there are usually some glitches with the implementation of new solutions, some banks are showing remarkable consistency in not resolving issues for long periods of time. As for the reasons, we leave the Hanlon’s razor to you.

To better explain what goes on in some of these cases, what are the legal limitations of PSD2 and in hopes of improvements in the future, we’ve started the Shitty Bank List, where we’ll keep you updated on the depths of bank depravities. Our sincere hope is to shrink that list to 0 as connections and attitudes to Open Banking improve.

Posted in Announcements, Bank connections

A Sneak Peek at Rich E-mail Reports and Exports (Beta)

Major new features are coming up. At the moment, we’re testing much improved regular e-mail reports in weekly, monthly and yearly incarnations. Rather than just including the exported files, they now help you keep up with your finances and draw a line under your financial performance in the past month. How much was left to spend, how much you spent on food, account balances at the end of the month. All you need for a complete picture.

File exports are new as well. We’ve added OFX, but the real emphasis was on the PDF. Much like the e-mail reports, it’s no longer just about the list of transactions, but becomes a full report in its own right. Sums, graphs, budgets all while keeping it modular and printer friendly.

If you’re curious, you can get access to these new features a bit early.

Sign up for the Exports & Reports Beta

We’re interested in your feedback. Both in how useful or not you find the features, as well as any reports about technical issues, if you run into them. While working well in cases we tried, the more different different types of data we can test the feature with, the better. In short, we’d like you to report some reports regarding these reports.

Posted in Announcements

On Brexit, Excrement, Fans, Their Relative Locations and the Resulting Outage.

In 2016 the UK Conservative Party, with David Cameron leading it, fired shots. Into their own feet. As if this act of collective national self-mutilation wasn’t enough, they’re now coming for our feet as well.

WTF does all this have to do with Toshl Finance? 

I’m glad you asked.

Banks in the European Union have a legal obligation to provide automatic data access (APIs) to transactions, financial accounts upon client’s authorisation. In turn, companies accessing that data, need to comply with the regulations as well and get a licence from the national banking regulator. Once the banking regulator in an EU member state issues the licence, it can be easily recognised (passported) by all other EU members. This way, an EU company can access this kind of financial data across the EU.

Lets, for the moment, leave aside that the banks are in many cases still woefully unprepared and merrily breaking this legislation, years after it was first announced and over a year since the last implementation deadline passed (Sep 14 2019). In most cases though, it’s working in at least a good-enough way.

As there are thousands of banks, each with their own peculiarities in technical implementations, we work with partners who help unify these connections and provide data access. The companies we work with right now are Salt Edge and Plaid.

Through either misfortune or lack of foresight, both these companies are registered in the United Kingdom. They got their AISP licence from the banking regulator in the UK (Financial Conduct Authority – FCA).

Due to the upcoming no-deal variation of Brexit, the legal system as described above will no longer apply in the UK. Licences issued by the UK banking regulator will no longer be automatically valid across the EU. They will be automatically revoked on Jan 1 2021.

Due to this, the existing connections via API to banks in the European Union will stop working on Jan 1.

Some will just need to be reactivated, some will not be able to. If you’re not interested in the why and how, skip ahead to instructions on how to fix the connections.

We checked with both Plaid and Salt Edge multiple times during the last few years, especially in recent times when it was becoming clearer that Brexit likely won’t be orderly. Both companies reassured us that they’re taking the required measures and that there won’t be any disruption. Obviously, that didn’t happen as planned.

We also obtained our own AISP licence from the Slovenian banking regulator in 2020 in addition to using the licences of our partners to connect. Due to this, we can certainly appreciate that filling in all the regulatory checkboxes is a large task. The requirements of the PSD2 legislation and consequently of the regulator, are often unnecessarily complex while doubtful in usefulness. We did not yet start the migration to using our own licence as we initially expected to do this more gradually and seamlessly to the end user in 2021. 

Had we known that Plaid and Salt Edge were not prepared with their AISP licences, we could have started this process sooner.

However, Plaid only notified us of these problems on 11 Dec, Salt Edge on 1 Dec.

The two companies came to rather different solutions for these issues. 

Salt Edge

Salt Edge is in the process of registering its new licence with the National bank of Romania, but they were not able to complete it so far and plan to do so in the first half of 2021. They ended up buying (or leasing?) the AISP licence from another company.

The current connections will become inactive, but should be able to be immediately re-added on Jan 1 by using the new AISP licence. The new connection will need to be authenticated again by logging in to your online bank. The connection will also create new financial accounts to import on and they’ll need to be merged with the previous accounts. See instructions.

A secondary issue is that these connections will need to be re-added again once Salt Edge gets its own proper licence. Wherever possible, we will try to use our own licence from here on, so that this second switch won’t be necessary.

Plaid

Plaid is in the process of registering its new licence with the National bank of Netherlands. They however did not even provide a wonky attempt at replacement like Salt Edge did. From Plaid, we just got a straight up notice on Dec 11 that they won’t be offering their services in January 2021 until they receive the new licence. Without even adding an apology. Quite an attitude, especially coming from a well funded company that Visa intends to pay 5,3 billion dollars for. Not exactly starved for resources, if for competence.

Needless to say, we are extremely disappointed with this outcome.

Our action plan

  • Use of our own AISP licence and certificates. Transitioning to them was the plan all along for 2021, but we’re now greatly speeding up those efforts. Unfortunately this also takes some time, as banks need to onboard our certificates, have varying degrees of IT sophistication and there could be staffing issues due to Covid-19 and the end of the year.
  • Replacing Plaid bank connections with the ones from Salt Edge, where available. We currently offer European Plaid connections in Spain, France, the Netherlands and UK. UK will, ironically, be unaffected by this. Quite a few of these connections will have replacements available via a Salt Edge connection, but unfortunately, we cannot promise this will be the case for all. We will likely be experiencing a prolonged downtime with certain connections in France, Spain and the Netherlands until Plaid has a registered AISP licence again. 
  • Searching for new bank connection partners to provide both wider connectivity as well as backup connections precisely for such cases as described here.
  • Notifying all our customers of these issues via this blog, social networks and emails to provide re-connecting instructions and lessen the impact.
  • As we investigate the replacement connection options for banks, we will be providing more detailed information about which banks will be affected, how and notifying the affected users.

How will this look in practice? How can I resolve this with my own bank connections and accounts?

  1. On January 1st, an affected connection will become inactive. 
  2. Re-add it as a new bank connection.
  3. Limit import by date. After authenticating the connection, you’ll be asked what time period you want to import the transactions for. Choose from Jan 1 2021 onward. This is to avoid duplication with your previously imported transactions.
  4. Merge old and new financial accounts. The re-added connection will also add new financial accounts and import on these new accounts. You can then easily merge them with the financial accounts from before, to keep them unified. Select to keep updating the account from the new bank connection.
  5. Done.

Only bank connections to banks in the European Union over an API connection are affected by these issues. 

Replacement connections will be provided for most banks.

Due to Plaid’s January shutdown we won’t be able to provide replacements for some connections in France, Spain and the Netherlands in the meantime.

Connections elsewhere around the world and connections using the scraping method are not affected by this issue.

In conclusion, we realise this is a big letdown. We sincerely apologise to our customers who will be affected by this issue. We will be doing our utmost to remedy the situation and provide more robust connectivity options in the future so that such situations won’t be able to reoccur.

The Brexit omnishambles makes fools of us all. We wish our English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish brethren and all affected by this pest, the strength and perseverance to overcome.

Update 17. 12. : removed a direct quote from Salt Edge upon request and a made factual correction regarding licence purchase.

Posted in Uncategorized