If you operate a small business and want to get organized, consider using a receipt scanner. These mobile apps let you convert paper receipts to a digital format with your smartphone camera, helping you track your expenses while you’re on the go. Saving your receipts in this fashion ensures you always have a copy in your files, which comes in handy when tax time rolls around. Using this modern functionality has wide-ranging benefits to factor in if you’re on the fence about scanning and tracking receipts for your small business.
Receipt Scanning Equipment and Software
Modern business computing equipment and apps combine physical receipt scanners and receipt scanning software to save your expense documentation in an easy-to-access way. This technology lets you set high enough resolution to make your digital receipt copies super clear, and their high amount of dots per inch easily capture all the details, from fine print on contracts to handwritten details. Adjustable contrast control takes advantage of this enhanced resolution so you can even save information from faded receipts, or those printed on poor-quality paper. While stand-alone receipt scanners save space with their compact sizing, you might find multipurpose equipment, such as an all-in-one printer with scanner, might work better if you frequently scan large stacks of documents.
Physical receipt scanning equipment also has the advantage of color-processing capabilities. This means that if your receipts feature different colors for different information, your equipment picks it up easily and replicates it in the digital copy. These options let you save your receipts as photos in a JPEG format, or you can opt to save them as a PDF file, which may make them searchable. Additionally, some receipt scanners offer further convenience due to integrating directly with accounting software programs, such as QuickBooks Online.
Smartphone Receipt Scanning for Mobile Tracking
Smartphone apps exist that let you snap photos of receipts and send that information directly to expense reporting apps, such as the QuickBooks mobile accounting app. You can then sync the data to the Receipt Bank app, which stores your documentation in the cloud. This expense management app integrates with QuickBooks to provide numerous benefits, including:
- Extracts data from accounts payable items, including invoices and receipts
- Classifies accounts payable items
- Includes an archive for easy data storage
- Has a dashboard that lets you manage multiple accounts
- Features multiple submission methods
- Lets you submit purchase invoices and expense claims
- Works with both Android and iOS
Additionally, using mobile receipt scanning options makes things easier for your remote workers and those who travel to client locations. These apps even capture handwritten notes on your documents to preserve every bit of information you need, and they save you the trouble of making separate entries for all the itemized charges that appear on your receipts.
Benefits of Scanning and Tracking Your Receipts
Of course the main benefit of scanning your receipts is that it improves your organization and tracking. As a savvy entrepreneur, you know that storing receipts on your computer or in the cloud ensures you have all the documentation you need for financial reporting and business tax returns. Receipt scanning software reduces the amount of storage space you need for your essential paperwork. Additionally, by storing your receipts digitally, you can file them right where you need them for easy access when you have questions or concerns. This also benefits you when you deal with clients who require expense tracking. You can simply send those clients digital copies of your receipts for their records via email or on a flash drive. This keeps your small business well organized and running smoothly.
Expectations for Scanned Receipts
Small businesses in Canada must save their receipts for six years, so digital copies make sense, especially if you’re running low on storage space. Keep in mind that your digital receipt copies must meet requirements set forth by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The CRA requires you to electronically store all documents you create electronically. For example, if you send a client an online invoice and then the client pays the invoice online, your software generates an electronic receipt. In this case, since all records originated electronically, you must save them all electronically.
Luckily, the CRA also lets you convert paper records to electronic files so long as they meet the CRA’s imaging requirements. This means you want to familiarize yourself the latest receipt scanning standards set forth by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB). The CRA currently accepts most popular forms of electronic documents, including PDF, DOC, and DOCX files. Rather than the file type, most of these standards deal with the clarity of your documentation, so keep in mind that resolution matters when it’s time to file your taxes.
Saving Your Scanned Receipts
Once you convert your records to an electronic format, your next task is finding a way to organize them. If you only have a few documents, you can easily scan them and organize the files in folders. For example, you could have a folder for all business expenses from a certain year, a folder related to GST information, and so on. Alternatively, apps and programs can help organize your documents. For example, LedgerDocs allows you to scan, email, upload, or take photos of documents, and it lets you easily search for records once you save them. This app also helps with collaboration by enabling you to send records to anyone else in the office and attach notes to those records.
Submitting Scanned Receipts as Records
If the CRA needs more information on your tax return, you can submit the records electronically using My Account, My Business Account or Represent a Client. Just hit Submit Documents, and follow the prompts. The CRA performs most audits on-site at your place of business, so if you get audited, you can show or print electronic documents as requested.
Scanning Your Receipts in a Timely Manner
It’s easy to let daily paperwork accumulate when you run a small business, but everything runs better when you stay on top of scanning and tracking your invoices and receipts. When you take time each week to attend to basic bookkeeping tasks, you have a more accurate view of your cash flow, and it’s easier to pay all your bills and expenses on time. To do this, you might find it easiest to collect daily expense receipts, customer invoices, and bills from merchants in a bin throughout the week, and then take a few minutes to enter the transactions before the weekend. Consider that you also need to schedule time to pay bills, follow up on customer invoices, and review your cash flow.
When you run a small business, you’re always looking for ways to save time and simplify your record-keeping procedures. Receipt scanning and tracking help by ensuring you have all the documentation you need when tax time approaches. With that in mind, consider using the QuickBooks Self-Employed app, which helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage their businesses on the go. Download the app today.”