Tame the paper monster – NeatDesk Receipt Scanner

neatdeskI have a drawer in my office that is dedicated to receipts. When I get a new receipt, I just open it and shove it in. I don’t organize them at all. Then when tax time rolls around, I kick myself for being so lazy. I think I found a cool solution to my problem though. It’s the NeatDesk desktop scanner. It has scanning slots for full sized 8×10 sized receipts (even if they are double sided), down to business card sized receipts like the ones you get from cab drivers. Special software on your computer helps you file the scanned info. There’s even a Mac version. The only down side is the price – $399.95.

Posted in: Computer Gear, News

{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Federico October 16, 2009, 2:03 pm

    How does the Neat scanner.compare to the Fujitsu scan snaps?

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  • TC October 16, 2009, 2:41 pm

    I have the slim bar-scanner from NeatDesk (formerly Neat Receipts) and it’s pretty good. I don’t know that I need to drop 4 Benjamins on another desktop space waster. It’s also not very portable whereas my bar-scanner will go right into my laptop bag (backpack) and travels with my anywhere.

    Seems a bit of overkill when you can get an all-in-one printer, scanner, faxer for much less.

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  • Bob October 16, 2009, 3:47 pm

    On my iPhone, I use JotNot to photograph, process (make more readable), and then send receipts to Evernote from within JotNot. Works great!

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  • ferris209 October 16, 2009, 5:55 pm

    Yeah, I love the idea, but lets be real folks, it is a fancified scanner. I don’t understand the price at all.

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  • Ltrs October 17, 2009, 7:50 am

    I own a business and we have used this for a long time. This is the high end model that scans lots of receipts very quickly. It also comes with excellent software that OCRs the receipt and generates expense reports that are perfect. It then allows you to export the report to PDF (the version we send to the client for reimbursement), and also exports to excel (the one we import to our accounting software).

    It catergorizes everything perfectly right down to the tax deduction category. No more manual data entry associated with receipts for any purpose.

    In addition it zips through a stack of business cards in a heartbeat (like the 50 or so that
    we collected at a trade show last week), OCRs
    them and exports them into our contact manager.

    Time is money and this device has paid for itself long ago for us. They have less expensive versions the bar type scanner someone mentioned above. We used to use that one. But I jumped on this newer model when it came out because of the speed (and the updated software). I believe you can also buy the software by itself and use your own scanner.

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  • Daniel Staal October 17, 2009, 9:29 am

    The price isn’t that high for an _autofeed_ scanner. (Which this is.)

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  • Julie October 17, 2009, 11:31 am

    @Bob That’s a great idea! Do you then throw the original receipts in the trash? I’m wondering if scanned receipts are acceptable to the IRS in the event of an audit?

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  • ferris209 October 17, 2009, 1:00 pm

    @ Daniel Staal & Ltrs

    I reckon ya’ll are right, I guess the price isn’t that bad now that you mention the fact that it automates so much stuff, plus if you figure it into a business scheme, it can quickly be worth its weight in gold I imagine. It’s just at first glance, it looks and sounds like a glorified scanner at a steep price, but if it can do all it advertises, it’d be worth it.

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  • Ltrs October 17, 2009, 1:16 pm

    @Julie: we shred the receipts when we’re done and then recycle the paper. And yes our accountant says the IRS accepts the scanned receipts.

    @ferris: it really does work as advertised! OCR is 90% plus accurate. But you can easily tweak anything that didn’t read just perfect.

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  • Julie October 17, 2009, 10:28 pm

    @Ltrs I might start using the iPhone / Evernote solution mentioned here then :)

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  • TC October 18, 2009, 10:04 pm

    @Ltrs I don’t disagree with your comment about time and money. :) Many of the features you refer to are available from the very same software package that came with my NeatReceipts scanner (same company, same software).

    I will say that in general the OCR is pretty good when the receipts are machine generated. Any time you have a credit card receipt where you plug in the tip and final total it rarely picks up the correct totals. Perhaps if I were more regimented in the way I right the totals it might do better.

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  • Ekstor October 19, 2009, 4:25 pm

    For anyone questioning this as a glorified scanner setup, I have the Fujitsu ScanSnap S300 solution which I imagine is somewhat similar. Everything gets scanned directly into a PDF file and Fujitsu provides the software to make the PDF’s searchable. There are two primary models: the S300 which is a portable solution and the S1500 which looks strikingly similar to the product above (including high price tag). Look them both up on Amazon and you will find hundreds of reviews with an average rating of around 4.5 stars. This is despite the price and despite the fact that these aren’t even TWAIN-compliant devices (cannot be used for other purposes)… what it does however, it does EXTREMELY well, saving time and headache from our day-to-day personal document management needs!

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  • Ltrs October 20, 2009, 2:09 am

    @tc: true enough! But I bought the software years ago and was very happy with it. But there was a significant cost to go from v2 to v3 so it seemed worthwhile to upgrade to the speedy scanner at the same time.

    I feel like the ROI for my business was less than a month — but they have less expensive options too. It’s cool stuff though.

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  • Jenn October 22, 2009, 1:59 pm

    Hi folks,
    My name is Jenn and I’m an employee of The Neat Company. Julie, thanks for the write up.

    I wanted to address some of the comments / questions posted. NeatDesk is a scanner, but what truly makes it unique and useful is the software that comes bundled with it. As posted by Ltrs, the software identifies and captures key information from scanned documents and auto-populates fields (such as vendor, date and total for receipts and name, address and phone numbers for business cards). You can create expense reports and PDFs and export data to applications such as Quicken, Excel, Outlook and Address Book. Additionally, everything is keyword searchable so retrieval is fast and simple.

    Additionally, if price or portability are concerns, we offer two options. Our NeatReceipts product is bundled with the same software, but ships with a portable scanner. It’s USB powered and is a sheetfed scanner (meaning it scans 1 sheet at a time). If you need a small footprint that can easily travel, this would be a good option. The current price is $179.

    However, if you’re scanning a significant volume of paper and speed is essential, the larger NeatDesk scanner would be a better fit. It’s an auto document feed scanner that can be loaded up with up to 50 pages. The footprint is still pretty small, but doesn’t fit so nicely in a laptop bag.

    I’d be happy to answer any specific questions. Feel free to contact me directly at jchoi@neatco.com.

    Thanks,
    Jenn

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  • CipherThis August 11, 2011, 10:56 pm

    I’ve been using neat receipts since they came out with the product software version 1 several years ago. I’ve used the portable “harmonica” scanner for all these years, great for business cards and receipts, dang slow for de-cluttering. Just bought the neat desk scanner…wow! Fast duplex scans really clean up the files and desk quickly. That is worth $400 to me. I scan stacks of documents directly to PDF format into a folder that Evernote automatically scans…stuff goes directly and automatically into Evernote and is, of course 100% searchable. Also sends stuff automatically to Dropbox and Paperport as well.
    Business cards import directly into Outlook Contacts.

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