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.