Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Receipt Magic

Thanks for all the nice comments on the blog - please keep them coming, they are very motivational for me!

As a promised last week, now that we've looked at generating invoices, it's time to talk about dealing with expenses, or more specifically, those pesky receipts.

I hate dealing with receipts. The first time they asked me in the Apple Store if I'd like to have my receipt mailed to me, it made my day. But most of the time paper receipts are a reality - you need to keep them as documentation, and somehow you need to turn them into a record of your expenses if you want to really know how you are doing.

I've tried scanning receipts myself, but it's slow and painful, and then you have to do something with them - at least put a title on them so you can find them later. OCR? On a faded receipt, with all the different formats that are used? Forget it!

Except that Shoeboxed has figured out how to make it work. How does this sound:
  • throw your receipts in a folder,
  • mail the folder to Shoeboxed,
  • and they appear magically on line, neatly scanned and accurately converted into real data!
I was skeptical, but it works great! You can view each receipt online, and you can download a nice comma-separated file that you can import into a spreadsheet or accounting program. (But later on, I'm going to show you something even cooler to do with them.) I mean, it's not just effective and efficient, it's really kind of fun. (Yeah, I know, I'm a nerd...)

And bonus - it works with business cards too. A couple of times I've been suckered into buying little business card scanners, but they have been way too much trouble to keep using. Shoeboxed does it for you, and based on what I've seen so far, very accurately too. Then you can load the info into your address book.

What does it cost? Depending on how many receipts you have, $10/month and up. For the time this saves and the info you get from it, it's a great investment. And you can try it out free and see if you like it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. This one almost makes me want to go back in business fulltime!