Organizing Receipts & Documents
The most time consuming part of keeping books is data entry. Once you have a stack of receipts, bills, invoices, or even business cards you need to input them into an accounting software. (Simply Accounting, Quick Books, BasicBooks for Linux, or good old simple spread sheet).
To keep the papers organised you can get one of these simple and practical file folder holders. They can be easily moved around and won’t hide away deep in the giant filing cabinet. A modern way of organizing documents and even business cards will be explained after the video clips.
Steps to organizing your papers:
- On each receipt circle, date and method of payment, as well as a small note explaining what it is. A month from now you may not remeber the purchase but the note will be a life saver.
- Separate them into how you paid for them. Example: debit card, visa card or check.
- Take each stack and organize them based on date.
- Now the papers are ready to be entered into your accounting package.
There is a short YouTube clip that you can watch here:
Modern Document Organization:
To satisfy my curiosity I tried to scan and store my documents online. I chose Shoeboxed.com as they provides tools to take a photo of receipts and store online. I realized that I can also scan and organize business cards. They offer a 30 day, 50 receipts or biz cards free trial. Once you apply to take it for a test drive you would be given a username and a password. Their system is extremely user friendly. If you have an iPhone, I understand that they have an app for it. I have a Samsung Android Smart Phone which I am going to use. It has a 5 mega pixel camera which is well suited for this task. I am going to summarize the steps on how to scan / photo document so later on you can consider getting rid of the paper receipts! You can also mail in the documents in a prepaid envelop and they will scan it for you.
- Sign up for a free account at their website.
- Use your Smart phone or your camera to take a picture of one of your receipts. A bright surrounding and stable camera provides a sharp image. You can view these images online once uploaded. You can also use your scanner if you want to.
- Start your Gmail program (Any other email clients will work as well) on your mobile phone and attach the picture you took and send it away to their email address. Include a subject line and it would help you remember the details. The whole process is fast and convenient.
- You would receive a confirmation email that they did receive your email and would get processed within one business day.
- Repeat the same steps for other invoices, bills, and business cards.
- Upon logging into your account, you can view the receipts and edit the fields if you want to. Here is how it looks like (Click on it to see a larger version):
Once I took a picture of an invoice from almost a 45 degree angle (I mean my Smart Phone camera not exactly on top of the document, but 45 degree tilted). Shoeboxed was still able to recognize its data which is impressive. (To speed up loading this webpage I have placed a mini version of the image, click on it to see it in full size)
You can add to the categories and link your invoices to it. This allows for more flexibility and customize it to the way your business operates. The image below gives you an idea:
I like to try it further more to get a better understanding of its features and keep you updated. Meanwhile go to their site and sign up for a free trial. Nothing is better than hands on experience. You will find it extremely simple to use. Give Shoeboxed.com a try, get modernized now!
December 7, 2010