Last month, I started looking through my receipts storage system (shoe box) looking for a receipt for a piece of computer equipment — I wanted to figure out how much longer I had on the warranty. Unfortunately, I quickly figured out that some receipts handed out by retailers are perishable. The receipt’s printing on the thermal paper was so faded that I couldn’t read the text. The receipt’s text had simply vanished. Gone.
Disgusted, I put the box down and thought about what would happen if this was during an IRS audit or if I was actually trying to get the equipment repaired under warranty? Simply keeping the receipts isn’t enough any more apparently.
While my aging Fujitsu ScanSnap does a wonderful job in scanning documents, is not mac compatible and doesn’t handle receipts very well (if at all). If I’m scanning a standard sized document, the scanner is without parallel, but when I try to scan a business card or receipt it fails miserably.
So last month, I picked up a NeatDesk for Mac scanner and decided to give it a try. I purchased one primarily on the hopes that it would help destroy the large stacks of paper that seem to accrue around my home office, and finally get rid of that shoebox.
Moreover, I’m hoping it saves me time and money. By ruthlessly processing paper, I’m hoping that I won’t find that I missed out on rebates (or paid bills) because they got sandwiched between unrelated pieces of paper and swept into a pile.
NeatDesk is an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) scanner that will scan your documents, business cards, and receipts into a database. It comes bundled with NeatWorks, which contains some automatic OCR software that will scan your receipt, parse the text of the receipt and can even generate expense reports automatically.
The scanner is a basic scanner, which is dead simple to install and use. And it works. It works well for most credit card receipts. Amazingly well.
On the mac, all of the scans are stored in the inbox folder, are analyzed by the OCR software and then you can move them to folders.
I feverously fed all of the receipts into the scanner and started to play with the reports. You can categorize your spending and then filter the reports based on it. I then started scanning statements, bills, EOBs, time sheets, invoices, and other papers.
It doesn’t work very well for larger documents, as it scans everything in as a single page. So a single 50 page document will become 50 one page documents.
I would definitely recommend the NeatDesk for Mac.