Tax Day Celebration (or Commiseration?) – NeatReceipts Review

April 15 is one week away. Have you filed your taxes yet? I’ll admit that I have not. We’re paying this year, and I’m putting it off until almost the last minute. I’ll probably file over the weekend and mail payment on Monday.

One of the hardest parts about being self-employed and doing my own taxes is categorizing all my receipts at tax time. So far my filing system includes a folder on my computer and a file folder in my filing cabinet. When tax time rolls around, I pile the receipts in different categories and enter the info in my tax program.

It would be a lot easier if I kept things categorized throughout the year, but I hate dealing with the bulky scanner in the other room, and I don’t want to add any more file folders to my already huge filing system.

Enter NeatReceipts. I’ve been wanting to review this product for a while now. It seemed like it would be a great solution for keeping track of tax deductible receipts. When I was contacted by the NeatReceipts company about giving away their product, I jumped at the chance to review it. Did it live up to my expectations? Read to find out!

The NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner

I reviewed the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner, which is designed to be…well…mobile. At 10.8”W x 1.6”D x 1.3”H and 10.6 oz., it’s certainly portable. It would easily fit in any laptop bag. Included in the package were the scanner, an installation CD, a USB cord, a quick start guide, calibration paper, dry cleaning paper, and alcohol cleaning paper. The Neat Mobile Scanner comes in Mac and PC versions. I tested the PC version.

The quick start guide and installation CD were easy to follow, so setup was a snap. I appreciated the little sticker placed right across the USB connection port, warning me to stop and run the installation CD before connecting the scanner to my computer. As someone who sometimes skips ahead of the directions (or doesn’t read them at all), it probably saved me a headache.

Installation took me about 10 minutes, only because I didn’t turn my antivirus completely off before beginning. Once I turned it completely off, as stated in the instructions, it took about 30 seconds. The instructions also remind you to turn your antivirus protection back on, so you don’t leave your computer unprotected for long.

The NeatReceipts Process

Once I had the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner set up, I was ready to begin scanning. Upon opening the program, I was given the option to watch a short introductory video. Having learned from my mistake of not following the directions, when it came to turning off my antivirus program, I opted to watch the short video. It was very clear and informative. Once I knew what I was doing, I felt comfortable trying to scan a few documents.

The scanner is set up to scan documents that are up to 8.5” wide. I scanned a couple of receipts, a business card, and a document, which I inadvertently scanned upside down. The NeatReceipts software categorized all three types of documents into the correct categories: receipts, business cards, and documents.

The software also correctly imported the information on the receipts and business card. Plus, it correctly oriented the document I had scanned upside down.

Once scanned in, it was easy to categorize my receipts into folders to keep track of my expenses. When categorizing, the NeatWorks software makes it easy to choose categories from Schedule C, so when tax time rolls around, your receipts are already neatly split into the correct categories.

There are many different options for importing and exporting data. NeatReceipts works with .XLS (Microsoft Excel), .RTF(Word), .OFX(Outlook), .QIF (Quicken), .TXF (Turbo Tax), .IIF(Quickbooks), .CSV, HTML, and Plaxo formats. Plus you can create quarterly or end of the year tax reports from within the software. And if you want to scan something into a PDF file, saved directly to your hard drive, you can do that too.

You can also search your receipts. I tried a couple of searches, and it pulled up the correct receipts every time. That’s I feature I personally would find very useful.

My Opinion

I’m kind of a techno-geek, so I thought the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner was really cool.

The Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Small and portable
  • Reads the info on receipts, so you don’t have to type in the info
  • Intuitive organization system

The Cons:

  • One more piece of equipment to keep track of

Overall, I can see where the NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner would be very useful for the self-employed person. Especially if that person travels a lot. It would be nice to be able to scan in receipts while on the road, rather than dealing with a big pile of receipts when I get home.

I only tested it for a short time, but during that time, I didn’t have any computer or technical problems.

If I traveled more, I’d be tempted to buy myself a NeatReceipts Mobile Scanner. But since I’m frugal and don’t travel that often, I really can’t justify the expense as a necessary one. I wouldn’t mind receiving one as a gift, though.

Disclosure: I was provided a review unit of the NeatReceipts scanner, which I will need to send back to the company. All opinions are my own.



Author

By , on Apr 8, 2010
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{93 Comments}

  1. Anita:

    I’m glad to see a normal everyday review on this product. I’ve been wanting to get one for quite awhile but have been afraid it’s just another impractical gadget. We have a good size farm where we raise both crops and cows. Between the bank, the tax man, & the government the paperwork is UNBELIEVABLE – enough to drive me right round the bend! And of course keeping receipts is a must. Did I mention we also run a hunting business on the side? I end up with so many boxes of paper by the end of the year that I absolutely dread doing taxes. As you can imagine I’ve been looking for something to simplify so I no longer end up a loon by tax day. Thanks for the review.

  2. J. Pendergast:

    Like you, I tend to skip the directions, so I found comfort in knowing I’m not alone. I work for a non-profit, and cannot believe the amount of paperwork and filing. Our office provides materials to recovery groups throughout Southern California. We also keep track of all group contributions, meeting times, group locations, contact people, as well as changes. Our office manager is invaluable to us. She’s also drowning in paper. We rely on volunteers, and they work extremely hard at keeping incoming paperwork organized. We could also send you updates on the scanners usuage, if that would be helpful. I didn’t read the entire column, re:Free Neatreceits, so I hope I’ve told you what you need to decide. If I could, I’d tell you the name of our organization, however, anonymity prevents me from doing so. Thank you for the review and maybe for the ‘Neatreceipts.’
    Sincerely,
    J. Pendergast

  3. Bea Etrock:

    I travel a lot for business, as well as trak all my personal receipts. What a mountain of crumbly odd shaped little papers! This would be a wonderful, useful item.

  4. Tanza:

    I would love to use this product to keep track of my organic shopping receipts. I am working closely to try to keep my shopping done locally to support small farms and grocery establishments. Their small receipts often get lost in my purse. NeatReciepts would be GREAT!

  5. Terri:

    NeatRecipts would be awesome for home budgeting and for the non-profit organization I started.

  6. Caitlin Langevin:

    I would love to use this scanner to scan all my shopping receipts and help me with my household budgets. :)

  7. Jenna:

    I use my laptop a lot while watching tv, so having a portable scanner that I can scan all of my documents right there would be awesome! I’ve seen other reviews of this scanner and they have all been great. I would love this!

  8. Kim Morin:

    I’m on a budget and can’t afford to buy a laptop until I pay down some of my credit card debt. I think the portable scanner would be a blessing to help with my writing career. Not having a laptop – I write ideas or quotes or clips of conversations on napkins or slips of used paper. The scanner would help me organize all those slips into a more organized collection of random thoughts. I could also scan receipts so I can see where the holes in my budget are and where the money keeps seeping out.

  9. What a great way to organize all the paper clutter 10 people in a house can create. I am a techo-junkie too!

  10. I am a paper junkie! I hate to throw away receipts or papers of any kind. BUT, if I could scan them and have a digital copy, just maybe I could declutter my house and be FREE of all the paper litter!

  11. Kim Babarovic:

    Gracious! As a freelancer myself with an added helping of ADD, this machine sounds like it would restore the ever-elusive organization and calm I seek around T-time. Also, I appreciate the regular tips from y’all that keep my number-challenged brain aimed in the right direction.

  12. Matt Hyclak:

    I’ve been looking for a process to start scanning receipts, and especially medical bills. Our daughter had some problems after she was born that we’re still having follow-ups for a year later (she’s fine, thankfully). It’s not often a week goes by that we don’t get an EOB from the insurance company. It sounds like this might make it easy to track those pieces of paper and help me reduce the stack of stuff on top of my filing cabinet!

  13. Kristy:

    This will definitely help with keeping track of my receipts. I’ve been trying to save money and a friend said I should keep track of all my purchases. I’ve been using the multiple pockets folder to keep all the receipts, then input everything in a spreadsheet later.
    The scanner will be really handy and my receipts will be a lot more organized.

  14. I would definitely use this for receipts. I keep track off all my purchases through a spreadsheet and having the receipts scanned into my computer would make it easier!

  15. Dung:

    I currently keep my receipts in an envelope weekly. Then I start a new one and put the old one in a shoebox in my closet to keep track of my spending. A neatreceipts scanner would keep my records more organized without needing to keep all my papers in the closet.

  16. Cheri:

    I’d use it for the business I’m getting ready to launch. It would be very handy since I’m not used to keeping track of receipts.

  17. Holly:

    My CPA recommended that we invest in one of these for our home business…if only I had the extra cash to buy it. Sure hope I win the Neat Receipts prize!

  18. Harrken:

    I think this would be a great tool for clearing the clutter from my desk. I could scan all of the stuff that I need to keep but that does not need to be the original.

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