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The ideal receipt scanner will clearly scan receipts onto a computer and will come with software that allows you to organize the receipts or transfer the scanned receipts to the software program of your choice, whether it's spreadsheet or financial software. When looking for a receipt scanner, consider the price of the scanner and whether it is compatible with the type of computer you use. Other important considerations are the quality of the scanned image and ease of use of both the scanner and its software.
A receipt scanner allows you to cut down on the amount of paperwork you hold onto, as it makes a copy of a receipt and stores it as an image on a computer. When you scan receipts, you can sort them by type, month, or trip so that you can quickly find the receipts when you are preparing a tax return or preparing an expense report for reimbursement. Some receipt scanners are designed for use with a computer, while others are apps that you can install on a smartphone.
Image quality is important when choosing a receipt scanner. If you cannot read the scanned receipt, it is of little value. Some scanners have trouble reading receipts that are written by hand or that have been crumpled. Others may have difficultly scanning receipts that are not printed in black on a white background. Although no scanner will produce perfect images all of the time, look for one that can handle faded or colored receipts.
In some cases, the receipt scanner is only as good as its software. Look for receipt software that straightens receipts that scan crookedly and that allows you to search through scanned receipts. Some software programs that come with receipt scanners will automatically input data from the receipt, such as the amount, tax, and item purchased, provided the scanner is able to get a clear image from the receipt and read the data correctly.
If you use a smartphone, you may wish to get a scanner app. Scanner apps use the camera on your phone to take pictures of receipts. You can then email the image to yourself and upload it onto a spreadsheet or other software of your choice. An app on your phone eliminates the need for an extra piece of equipment and allows you to scan receipts when you are on the go. Phone-based scanners are also far less expensive than separate scanners and may even be available for free.