Receipt management applications are aimed primarily at bookkeeping firms to ‘automate’ records management processes. There are a number of these – and the number keeps growing. However, it’s our experience that these are generally too limited in their application – and add a layer of expense and complexity to the recordkeeping process.
For the most part they represent ‘feature not a company’ attitudes on the part of their developers.
Survey of Receipt Management Apps
As we move more and more to electronic records, software developers are attempting to build applications that “automate” recordkeeping functions. Now that accounting software is “automatically” pulling the transaction data directly from the bank, the dream is to pull data directly from paper receipts using artificial intelligence. There are a number of applications that purport to do this.
APPS GEARED TO BOOKKEEPING FIRMS
Receipt-Bank targets CPAs to recommend to their small business clients
While both ReceiptBank and HubDoc target Bookkeepers and CPAs who are expected to recommend this record-keeping software to their small business clients, HubDoc seems a little more fully-featured.
EMPLOYEE EXPENSE REPORTS
By contrast, Expensify targets small businesses directly with monthly subscriptions based upon the number of people filing expense claims.
While Expensify “may not suck” – it will cost $60 USD per year per user.
There are a great number of apps out there and like most CPA firms we don’t have the resources to adequately test all of these tools. One of the problems with reviewing online apps is that they represent a moving target. So a review is always out of date after a few months.
FNAC – “Feature Not A Company”
In the startup world early stage investors often criticize startups for trying to build a company around a useful feature. Our sense of these receipt management apps is that they seem to be features rather than complete solutions.
However I typically prefer tools that are more widely applicable. I like to ensure that the investment in learning the tool provides opportunities to adapt it for use more broadly – in a variety of circumstances. I also prefer not to be used to “pimp” someone else’s product.
In spite of this, I could see myself recommending these offerings:
- Wave Accounting (receipts component)
General Purpose Tools
The better approach in our view, is to develop the capability to build your record-keeping system using a generic tool like SmartSheet or GOOGLE Forms-
Ideally the CPA firm would assist with the design of record-keeping systems that meet the particular needs of a specific business. Examples could include documentation for SR&ED technological uncertainties, deposit books (with cheque images attached), expense reporting for staff, timesheets customized for your needs, query sheets and so forth.
Using Your Smart Phone
As we’ll discuss later on, you can use your smart phone quite effectively to send photos pretty much anywhere that make sense. And don’t actually an “app” – other than your smart phone’s camera – to make that happen.