Best Receipt Scanners
Receipt scanners are useful tools that allow you to track transactions. Discover what to look for in a receipt scanner and some of the top models.
Whether you run a large or small business, record keeping is an essential part of your transactions. Tracking your expenses is a critical part of growing as a business as well as paying your taxes. Whenever you complete a transaction, both you and the customer receive a receipt. In the past, businesses were required to keep track of these physical receipts to report the information in a master document, which is then used to track finances. This method was not only time consuming, but also carried many risks, as it was easy for a receipt to get lost or damaged, or for the same information to be entered twice.
In today’s digital age, receipt tracking is still a vital part of managing a business, but there are many simpler methods to record the information. Receipt scanners allow you to digitally scan transaction information, sparring you the hassle of managing hundreds of individual receipts. There are several types of receipt scanners available, which are divided into two categories, physical or digital. Which one you use largely depends on your personal preference and type of business.
How do Receipt Scanners Work?
At a glance, receipt scanners may seem unnecessary. With how common smartphones are, taking pictures of receipts is easy. However, receipt scanners do more than record an image. A receipt scanner creates a digital file, which can automatically be uploaded to a memory card or a cloud file. The scanner also records the images automatically. You can feed stacks of receipts into the scanner without having to manually scan each one. Compared to a regular scanner, receipt scanners do not require as much maintenance. With a regular scanner, you must also lay the receipts down along the flatbed surface, so even though you are recording in bulk, it is still significantly slower than a proper receipt scanner.
Choosing the Right Receipt Scanner
There are several considerations when selecting the right receipt scanner. For many businesses, portability is an important issue. Larger businesses often need physical devices to scan the large number of receipts they generate each day. Even if you run a smaller business, you may want a physical receipt scanner if you commonly go to conventions or similar events where you sell items from a stand or booth. Larger receipt scanners are better for scanning more receipts, but a smaller device that you can fit in a case or backpack may be better for your business.
Another consideration is online access. With an online connection, you can scan your receipts directly into your accounting software, greatly improving workplace efficiency. If your transactions require you to be on the go with limited internet connectivity, this is less important.
Even if you use a digital receipt scanner, storage size is another consideration. Storing copies of receipts typically uses a small amount of data, but for larger businesses, you may need a scanner with an external hard drive for additional storage space. Extra storage is also helpful depending on how often you store the receipts. If you upload information daily into your financing software you do not need a large hard drive, but if you only upload information during select periods you may fill up your hard drive quicker than expected.
How your receipts are stored changes depending on the scanner. What file type you use depends on the rest of your business needs. For example, some accounting software only works with PDF images, while others accept a broader range. Making sure all your financing software uses the same type of file ensures you do not have to manually convert anything. Along the same lines, compatibility is an important issue. Many receipt scanners work with popular accounting software, allowing you to link the software with the scanner and automatically update your financial records.
The Brother DS is a physical receipt scanner, but it is designed for easy transport, weighing less than two pounds and only measuring in at a little over one foot in length. The scanner itself is designed for a variety of different receipt sizes, with the ability to scan up to 16 pages per minute on average. It utilizes a built-in battery, but also has a USB connection. With an internet connection, you can email and upload your receipts onto the cloud. It supports multiple file formats, and even includes a SD memory card reader. Finally, the 940DW is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux devices. The cost varies depending on where you purchase it, but you can expect to pay around $150 to $200 on average for a new scanner.
Epson WorkForce ES-50
Epson produces a number of receipt scanners, but the ES-50 is highly recommended because of the speed, portability and affordable price. The scanner includes an auto feed function, allowing you to keep feeding it receipts, which are scanned and converted into a PDF, Word Document or Excel Sheet. It takes under 10 seconds to scan a single page of receipts. The scanner is fully compatible with cloud storage devices, including Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive. A new ES-50 only costs around $100 to $130, making it one of the most affordable physical receipt scanners on the market.
Concur is part of a larger suite of expense management software. The SAP Concur is a mobile app, allowing you to snap a picture of your receipt to automatically upload it to a cloud-based system. It only takes a few seconds to scan a receipt. The app is great if you already use Concur products, allowing you to keep your receipt scanner, financial tracker and expense report system in the same group of apps. You also receive a discount if you use other Concur products. The exact cost varies depending on your storage limits, and you must contact the company directly to get a quote.