My KDP or Killer Dowel Pin Misery.

Yep, my 1997 Dodge Ram with what I thought was a trusty Cummins Diesel has done me two disfavors that are going to cost me some bucks.

The Killer Dowel Pin is used to hold the Timing Gear Case Housing in place on the crankcase of the 2nd generation Cummins 5.9 liter diesel engine. This one is known for backing out and falling into the gears where it either destroys a gear or gears, and other expense engine parts like the camshaft, or it gets thrown into the aluminum case where you end up with cracks or a hole.

If the KDP strikes and you break a case, then it’s going to cast around $300 for parts, and a lot of labor to disassemble the front of the truck so you can then pull the camshaft out and install the case, and retime the engine.

Killer Dowel Pin
Killer Dowel Pin

Some people get lucky and never have a problem with the KDP, others have severe engine damage, and some people get cracks or holes in the case, and others just end up with a KDP in their oil pan. I have a cracked case.

Another thing that just cost me a bunch of money is a shrinking exhaust manifold header. Yep, cast iron and they all end up shrinking, and sometimes they shrink so much they crack the header bolt tabs. Yep, mine cracked not one but three of these tabs, and this requires a new head. That’s about another $500 if you buy a cheap Chinese head. If though you already have a lot expensive upgrades you’ll probably want a new high performance head with 60lb exhaust valve springs and maybe some mild porting etc. That’s more money.

And by the time they pull out the camshaft, another $500 for a high performance cam will seem relatively cheap.

It’s enough to make you cry.

Excel Expense Report Template – This is going to sound crazy, I know.

There are a lot of accountants, and bookkeepers who process expense reports for companies the old fashioned way. The old fashioned way might include using a paper based ledger or more likely an Excel Expense Report Template.

It’s 2014 and people are still inputting data by hand, and it makes no sense to me at all. And to top it off they are using methods and work flows for gathering receipts, copying the data over to their Expense Report Template, then manually checking credit card receipts and statements against those paper receipts, getting a manager’s approval, and finally cutting a check for reimbursement. I’m left scratching my head in wonder why some folks still needlessly waste their time.

Time is Money. We’ve all heard the old adage, that you can be penny wise and pound foolish. And in this case you’ve got to wonder if people in charge of expense reports think it costs nothing to manually input data and jump through all those other hoops to pay employees back for their legitimate expenses.

How on earth do busy people get expense reports done? Simple. Use Expense Report Management Software to do the job.

By now most of the civilized humans in this country have a pretty sophisticated smart phone. Doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone or an Android, you can download a free mobile application to capture your receipts out in the field. You go out on a business trip, and photograph the dinner receipt where you entertained a client. It’s a legit business expense so record it. You could then email yourself the resulting image of the receipt, but that’s another waste of time if you have an Expense App. Open your app and use it to make the photo of your receipt, and hit the Submit button.

Your expense application will then automatically categorize your expense and load up the total. You can make notes if you desire, assign to a project etc. Any data entry is optional and determined by the administrator. It can literally be a simple couple of clicks to capture a receipt and submit for reimbursement. Back at the office the approver can immediately transfer reimbursement to your credit card or integrate with quickbooks, or Intaac or, etc.

It’s time to ditch the expense report template and move up in the world of labor saving and automation.

Rat Zapper Gets Mouse
Rat Zapper Gets Mouse
The electronic rat trap did its job and killed a mouse!

Cat sat in front of the sink for a few hours, patiently watching and waiting. When she does this it’s a good sign of a rodent being present. Every time in the past when she does this, either a mouse or a rat shows up. It’s that time of year again where the critters are looking for shelter from the cold. They show up in the garage, and find their way under the house and eventually make their way to the kitchen. I imagine they are finding a gap at plumbing or electrical or gas pipes.

Of course there will be other tell tail signs that you’ve got a rodent in the house. You can sometimes hear them behind walls, or in the crawl space or even in the attic. And you’ll often find rodent droppings under the sink or beneath a nice warm spot such as a free standing range. Find the sign and put out the electronic traps.

I have two electronic rodent traps I use. The newest and not as proven is the Rat Zapper. It’s a little larger but has similar features as my other trap the Victor Electronic Rat Trap. Both promise easy clean up and no fuss no muss no mess rodent offing. The old spring powered mechanical traps often maim but not kill the rodent, and just as often if not more, make a big mess. It’s disgusting.

So under the sink goes the RatZapper, and the Victor Electronic Rodent trap. I usually put the traps parallel to the wall since rodents seem to travel around a room or cupboard in this way. They hug the perimeter, and this is where you should put your traps.

Both electronic killing machines got almonds and buttered toast as bait. I find a variety of baits work. Peanut butter, peanut butter studded with cat food, cheese, slices of apple, nuts, crackers, bread etc all do their work at one time or another. Sometimes a bait doesn’t work. Just swap it out for something else. I had one rat in the garage that was impossible to catch until I used a slice of salami to finally shock that sucker into permanent sleep.

The Rat Zapper was the trap that got its victim, a fat mouse.

Rat Zapper Gets Mouse

See our other report on the Rat Zapper Review, and on the Victor Electronic Rat Trap and an update to my original Victor Electronic Rat Trap Review

The 2014 IRS Mileage Rate Update is here.

The IRS has changed the rules possible in response to lower gas prices, which in turn reflects lower revenue for the tax collectors.

Expense Management software companies are sure to be updating their software to show these changes.

Read more about the 2014 IRS Mileage Rate

A related article on IRS Record Keeping can be found on the Tallie Blog. This is really good information on best practices for record keeping as it relates to small and large business practices.

Mobile Expense App – Track expenses on the Tallie iPhone and Android app.

Definition: Tallie. Tallie Mobile is an smart phone application designed to make recording, gathering, saving, and tracking your business expenses, a quick and automated task.

Mobile Expenses App
Mobile Expenses App
Mobile Expense App
Mobile Expense App
Mobile Expense App Categories
Mobile Expense App Categories
iPhone Expense App
iPhone Expense App

Seamlessly capture expense receipts, report on your expenses, and more with the Tallie mobile expense app.

With Tallie on your phone, you can:

  • Capture receipts with multiple pages
  • Mobile Receipt Capture
    Mobile Receipt Capture
  • Capture & automatically calculate mileage
  • Email receipts to one location from almost any mobile platform

Available for:

iPhone Mobile Expense App & iPad Mobile Expense App

Use your phone to track expenses.

Just snap a picture of your receipt. Tallie will create an expense in your account filled with important data scanned from your receipt, such as merchant and dollar amount.

Available on any mobile devices with an HTML5-compatible mobile browser.

Mobile Business Expense Report

Drag and Drop Expenses on your Desktop Computer

You can also drag & drop receipts into Tallie from your desktop.

drag and drop expense receipts
drag and drop expense receipts

Select one or more receipt files on your desktop and drag them onto the empty receipt tile on the Purchases page.

Just like images taken on your phone, Tallie will scan these receipts for key expense data.

Credit Card Transactions Import and Match

Let Tallie import & match credit card transactions.

Use the Credit Cards page to tie a credit card to your Tallie account. Tallie will match credit card transactions to any receipts you have already included in your account.

You may choose to automatically import all transactions from a credit card or manually import individual transactions as they occur.

Tallie starts your expense reports for you.

When you’re ready to submit a report, you’ll find that Tallie has already pulled together your expenses into monthly reports, ready for you to review & submit.

submit expense reports
submit expense reports

If you automatically import expenses from a credit card, Tallie will prepare a separate report for that card based on its billing cycle.

Tallie alerts you if your report may not be approved.

expense reports alerts
expense reports alerts

Tallie can review reports for required information, possible duplicates, and company policy violations before you submit.

Your company account administrator will determine which information Tallie should review during account setup.

Fixed Rate Expense Categories

Have expenses that are reimbursed on a quantity basis, such as Per Diems? Your administrator can now set up fixed rate expense categories. Tallie will take care of the calculations for you.

automatic expense categorization
automatic expense categorization integration

In addition to reimbursing you via check or payroll, Tallie can now reimburse vendors and employees through our custom-built integration with

Remind Approver button on submitted reports

Is your approver too slow to approve the report you submitted a month ago? Have Tallie send them a friendly reminder email.

expense report remind app
expense report remind app

Just be careful not to send them too many and make them mad.