Small business owners have a lot on their plates, especially at the beginning of the new year. January means a lot more than broken resolutions and blizzards (depending on your latitude). It is the time when you begin preparing your books for tax time, cleaning out the files and gathering a year’s worth of business expenses. Perhaps your’e one of the few that is extremely diligent about tracking expenses. If you have detailed filing and bookkeeping processes in place and methods for capturing business expenses in multiple forms (email, scan or mobile receipt scanning app) you are definitely in the minority. All too often small business owners face the nightmare scenario of having to cull together a quarter or year’s worth of business expenses.
A receipt scanning app can alleviate this and other issues in a number of ways. Here’s how…
Whether you’re having a business lunch, getting gas or picking up supplies the beauty of a receipt scanning app is that it’s always with you…in your pocket..ready to be deployed as a hand-held bookkeeper. The apps work on both iOS and Android platforms, so pretty much any mobile device can leverage an app like the one from Neat. Using the app is as easy as snapping a selfie. Take a pic of the receipt and the app captures and processes the receipt and stores an image of it indefinitely.
If your work vehicle is a storage bin on wheels for receipts, then you absolutely will benefit from a receipt scanning app. Because images of the receipts are stored in the cloud, they’ll be safe and sound should the IRS ever audit you or your business. Furthermore, the documents that are scanned go through a process known as OCR (Optical Character Recognition). This process reads information from the paper receipt and transforms it into a searchable record in the software – so not only is an image stored – but you can actually search and find the images based on information pulled from the document itself! Pretty…Neat! By eliminating the need to file, retain and perhaps someday have to search out a receipt, a good mobile receipt scanning app, properly used, will save a ton of time on the back end!
At the end of a quarter or year, the last thing your bookkeeper or account wants is for you to show up at their doorstep with a box full of receipts. Firstly, you’re going to spend A LOT more on them handling all of your data entry than you would on any mobile app for scanning receipts. If you consistently use a mobile app to scan and capture expenses, you can typically connect these apps directly with an accounting software used by most accountants. The most common is QuickBooks, offered in both an Online and Desktop version. With some very simple push-button integration, you can simply snap pics of receipts and have them go right into QuickBooks, which can be worked on by your accountant/bookkeeper throughout the year. This eliminates the bursts of data entry activity and eliminates the data entry costs passed on to you by your accountant.
Aside from an audit most of the pain in tax time comes from the work preparing your documents so they can be reviewed and used to create your tax documentation. This is typically the part of the process that your business outsources – a smart move unless your trained in the ways of the tax force. However, there’s a ton of tax prep…prep that needs to be done which is on you and if you do it organically throughout the year, tax time is less painful, less time consuming….and most importantly…less risky. Given the costs of mobile receipt scanning apps like the one from Neat running around $15-$24 per month, it’s a no brainer that these type of apps pay form themselves many times over in one tax cycle.
The Neat Company makes software for small business that is used to help manage expenses and spend while reducing data entry related to tax preparation and/or expense management. Neat software is offered via the cloud and has several pricing tiers to fit any budget. You can try Neat free for 30 days by clicking here or explore our pricing and plans here.