Saving and maintaining receipts can be a hassle. Those tiny slivers of white paper from taxis and restaurants that are all too easy to misplace are ESPECIALLY a pain in the (fill in the blank).
And is it me or do some of the receipts have disappearing ink?! I have brought some receipts out of my wallet only to see that the detail has faded or no longer exists!
Electronic receipts, on the other hand, can be easier to deal with. Because they are so easy we tend to not put them in a central location. Rather, we leave them virtually scattered, on our accounts on Amazon, or Office Max, or Moo.com, or any other site where purchases have been made online.
The reality is, having receipts organized and in one place is ideal because it is easier to have access to them when needed.
Let’s discuss a few ways to make managing receipts easier:
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
Take A Picture With Your Smartphone or Tablet
This is helpful for those paper receipts, especially the skinny, tiny slivers mentioned above.
As soon as you get the receipt, whip out your smartphone or tablet, write the business purpose and attendees, and take a picture.
The IRS accepts photos of your receipt. Furthermore, a photo is amazingly versatile in terms of how and where the receipt is stored.
Using an app, you can easily upload the photo to QuickBooks Online, Xero, or another accounting software. And if you don’t use cloud based software, there are plenty of receipt management apps at your service.
Now you don’t have to worry about losing receipts or trying to decode the faded detail on the receipt again…unless you want to.
Place Them In An Envelope
Deemed “old-fashioned” by some, this is a very effective, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” practice. Even companies, like ShoeBoxed support this practice (more on ShoeBoxed below).
The minute you get a paper receipt, place it in the designated envelope and you’re done.
Use Google Docs or another Shared Folder
Many small (and large) businesses utilize Google’s business suite. Create a folder inside Google Docs and designate that folder for receipts. There you can store receipts that have been uploaded, scanned, and emailed.
And if your business does not use Google, the practice is the same. Create a folder in a shared drive and designate that folder for receipts.
Use Third-Party Providers That Digitizes Receipts
I am a HUGE fan of anything that works in the background while I’m doing other things. Hubdoc does just that. In fact, as of 2017, Hubdoc now comes standard with the pricing packages offered to my clients.
For those of you that are not familiar with Hubdoc, it automatically retrieves and stores your electronic financial related documents (bank statements, invoices, receipts, and more) in one very organized, central location. For the paper receipts, you can take a photo or scan to a designated email, and Hubdoc will do the rest.
Hubdoc also syncs to QuickBooks Online and Xero. It extracts key data from the receipt and adds the transaction (you’ll have to give it permission to do this and approve it). A copy of the receipt is attached to that transaction.
And if you don’t use QuickBooks Online or Xero? No worries! What matters is that your important documents are in one location that is easy for you to access.
I am also a fan of Shoeboxed. It is a MUST for businesses that deal with a lot physical documents.
Remember the suggestion of placing receipts into an envelope? Well, Shoeboxed provides you with an envelope, called the Magic Envelope. Place that envelope in the mail, and it is on its way to making your life easier…like magic! You can also take a photo or email your receipts to Shoeboxed.
When Shoeboxed receives the Magic Envelope, your receipts are digitized and organized in one central, virtual location, which you can access anywhere. Your receipt data will also be organized in standard IRS categories.
Shoeboxed also digitizes business cards. The next time you attend a networking event and collect some cards, place those cards in the Magic Envelope, and never worry about losing a contact again.
You can also take a photo of your receipts and even email receipts received in your inbox to Shoeboxed.
In terms of cloud based accounting software, Shoeboxed integrates with QuickBooks Online and Xero in addition to Wave.
As a reminder, receipts do well to audit proof your business, which provides protection against errors and potential IRS perils. If anything, understand that saving receipts can also help your business make more money. For more about the benefits of receipts, please read here.