So I just concluded the annual fear fest that accompanies doing my taxes. My return is filed and accepted, hopefully never to be heard from again. Now that that’s over, I’d like to make my confession to you, dear Gear Patrol readers. This time of year produces in me an acute sense of guilt and shame associated with my less than stellar levels of organization and document retention.
In an attempt to maximize my itemized deductions, I can’t tell you how many times I uttered an anguished cry lamenting the loss of a crucial reciept. Immutable documentation filed with the IRS is not the place for guesswork. My penitent vow is to get organized for next year’s tax season and beyond, using the super-functional NeatReceipts system by the Neat Company.
The NeatReceipts system is a pairing of a tidy little mobile scanner with Neat’s proprietary NeatWorks software. For high volume users, a faster desktop scanner is available as well. We tested the mobile variety and found the hardware to be top-notch. It’s small enough to pack along for business travel, powered via USB, and does just what it’s supposed to do – namely, scan documents. I’ll stop short of calling it cute.
The NeatWorks software (included) is really the brains of the operation. Its structure and smart text recognition abilities are what will take you from cramming receipts an invoices into ill-labeled manila folders to operating a sleek digital filing cabinet. The NeatReceipts system offers a wide range of functionality, but you could categorize it into three main areas of organization:
- Scan in receipts for all types of expenses, both business and personal. Exportable to popular software such as Excel, Quicken, Quickbooks, and TurboTax. Great for expense reports and tax time.
- Scan in business cards to eliminate that ever-growing card file that is taking over your desk. Contact fields are automatically captured and can be used to form your own searchable contact database. Can be exported to Outlook.
- Scan in any other type of document (warranties, utility bills, etc.) to create searchable PDF files.
Mac users will be happy to know that their very own version of the NeatWorks software is available, as well. It doesn’t offer quite as many export options as its PC-based brother, but it sure as heck will sync your contacts to your iPhone.
The final word on the NeatReceipts system: what’s not to love? It’s simple. It’ll will pay you back by keeping all the documentation you need to get your taxes and expense reports done right. It’s your chance to go paperless. That’s an opportunity as good for your sanity as for the planet.
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