Smart Phones as Scanners

Almost everyone has a smart phone these days. Smart phone cameras today are almost as good as digital single lens reflex cameras were a few years ago.

There are a great many mobile scanning apps that allow you to use your smartphone as a scanner. While an all-in-one printer or a document scanner may be superior – particularly for multi-page documents, these mobile scanning apps are quite capable –

Best Mobile Snanning Apps 2018
Article on Mobile Scanning Apps – PCMag

For documents a sheetfed scanner attached to a PC is very efficient and the resulting files can automatically be sent to a shared drive on a cloud service. A cheap all-in-one colour printer can generally be purchased for less than a hundred bucks and can be used to scan documents one page at a time.

A cheap all-in-one colour printer (cheap printer because they want you to buy expensive ink) could be used to scan multiple receipts for an employee expense report, for example.

However it is pretty traightforward to take a picture with your phone and send it via email or upload to a cloud-based sharing application like GOOGLE DRIVE, ONEDRIVE or DROPBOX.




The screenshot from Android phone illustrates how a your camera can be used to take a picture that can then be emailed to someone for processing or simply uploaded to a cloud-based file-sharing application (eg. GOOGLE DRIVE – ONEDRIVE – DROPBOX, etc).

Cash Register TapesOnce you have a photo on your phone simply select the share icon and save to GOOGLE DRIVE – share iconsome other cloud service – or send to an email address.

If you don’t have a Gmail account, simply set up a new (and free) one to get your own GOOGLE DRIVE account. It is pretty straightforward, but – if you want to set up a Gmail address for your dog, remember to multiply that to qualify for an account, even dogs must meet the minimum age requirement.

3 Save to Drive


The “share function” will allow you to specify a directory or you use one that has recently been used.

If you share to GOOGLE DRIVE you’ll be able to pick a directory and change the file name.













There are many other sharing options.


5 eMail

Sending to an email address set up for that purpose works well also. In fact that is one of the strategies that WAVE ACCOUNTING software uses.

Someone monitoring the email account can easily tell who sent the email – i.e. there is a “from” field in your email service.

What’s more you can set up a variety of different folders within the email account for:

  1. different expense types
  2. employees
  3. customers

This technique could even be used for technical leads to document technological problems for an SR&ED claim.

The Canada Revenue Agency would call this “contemporaneous documentation”.

The beauty of all these approaches is that they work just as well as many so-called “receipt management services” – and are free – and very easy to set up.


6 Organize eMail

At the end of the day, most of the simple receipt imaging applications are probably over-priced “one trick ponies”.