The best way to scan your receipts

We all receive receipts through-out the week. Some are more important than others, and we generally try to save the important ones (needed for business reimbursement, taxes, or potential product returns). However, they end up getting folded up, maybe tossed in a drawer, maybe left in the bag, maybe put in a folder…

The Scanner Bin is an affordable solution (assuming you have a smartphone) to make sure that all of your receipts stay in one location prior to getting scanned.  While in it’s upright position, it simply acts as a desk-side receptacle. When you are ready to scan, you dump the receipts out onto a desk or table and set the scanner bin on it’s side. Place your smartphone over the aperture and you have a stable, hands-free stand that blocks ambient light and allows quick scanning of the receipts.

The key issue with scanning receipts with a smartphone is that receipts are usually folded up and therefore won’t lay flat. This issue can be quickly fixed using some double-sided tape as described in this video.

There are several free scanning applications that have features such as batch mode (so you can scan one after another very quickly and save all into a pdf) and OCR (optical character recognition), which automatically reads the text on the receipt so that you can save it into Excel or Quicken. A few examples that are made for both Android and iOS are CamScanner, TinyScan, and Genius Scan.

There are other solutions out there, but they either do not solve all the issues or they are too expensive. There is no reason to spend a lot of money on a receipt scanning system.

The proposed solution:

– Put a Scanner Bin in your office (and download a scanning app onto your smartphone)

– Toss all of your important receipts and letters into the Scanner Bin

– Once a week or so, go empty out the Scanner Bin onto a desk and scan in the receipts and letters, holding the folded ones flat with the Flat Sheet

– Use the OCR software on your scanning app to read the text on those letters and receipts and store them in your software of choice (xls, Quicken, etc.)

– Keep a pdf copy of each receipt on your phone so that you can quickly find it to return a product or use during tax time, for example

– Shred the receipts and letters and place the shredded material in your recycling bin

Compare the Scanner Bin to the Neat Scanner, to a flatbed scanner, or to other smartphone/tablet stand solutions (Scandock or StandScan) and you will find that it is the most feature-inclusive, hassle-free, affordable choice.

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