Imagine the IRS is auditing you, and the entire process now hinges on a $60 receipt that your employee spent on an expensive cup of coffee during a client meeting. Where do you look for this tiny bit of paper now? Months have passed since your last audit, and since then, you’ve stuffed all your business records into one little cabinet.
Chances are, you might not find this receipt and end up in the bad books of the IRS. This is a good indication that it's time to invest in a receipt scanner app.
What are receipt scanner apps?
Receipt scanner apps let you take pictures and create digital copies of your physical receipts, which can be easily retrieved from a common cloud storage.
It enables you to file your expenses quickly, whether you're managing your organization’s finances or filing your taxes – you know exactly where your money has been spent. While physical receipts are prone to get lost in a sea of similar ones, digital receipts, with the help of receipt scanners, are harder to lose as they can be accessed from virtually anywhere.
How do receipt management apps help businesses?
Keeping an active track of employee spending can be a daunting task. It becomes a particularly challenging task when there are multiple spends to keep a tab on. These spends could be on vendor invoices, utilities, office events, and more. Digitizing receipts can remove many inconveniences involved in your bookkeeping process.
Here’s how a receipt scanning app can help your employees:
- Enables tracking of receipts on-the-go
- Digitally stores all your receipts for easy retrieval
- Paperless recording and documenting of expenses, eliminating manual entry
- Eliminates the chance of losing receipts and thereby money
- Helps employees gain an overview of where they’ve been spending
Here’s how digital receipts can help your organization:
- Eliminates the worry of handling paper receipts
- Improves team productivity and efficiency
- Eases the reimbursement process
- Saves time by automating the process of receipt management
- Helps you gain insight into your business spends
Features to look for in a receipt scanner
Every organization has different needs when it comes to managing business receipts. While picking an app, ensure that the app you select complements your business needs. With the multitudes of options present in the market today, it can get confusing to make your pick.
Here’s a quick list of the most important features to look for in a receipt management app. Keep in mind that you might not need all of them, but this list should be helpful in guiding you to find the perfect one to suit your needs:
- Perfect OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
- Real-time detection of duplicate expenses
- Automatic extraction of data such as category and merchant
- Accurate detection of receipt data utilizing minimal time
- Unlimited cloud storage for digital receipts
- Insights into spending trends, categories, patterns and more
- Seamless integrations with other accounting softwares
- Effortless approval workflow automation to suit your organization’s needs
- Agnostic access irrespective of device, be it a mobile OS or web application
- 24/7 customer service
The best receipt scanner apps to manage your business expenses
Note: The order of this list in no way shows our preferences or their quality. The list just showcases a range of different softwares, some of which suit businesses at a particular stage or type. So read through the descriptions thoroughly and choose the software whose offerings seem best suited for you.
Fyle is an expense management software with a powerful mobile app for receipt scanning and expense tracking features. Using AI, it extracts all the necessary information from paper receipts and creates an expense without manual effort. Additionally, it seamlessly enforces compliance by automating pre-submission checks. So all your employees need to do is review and submit receipts while approvers can instantly know if any violations have been made.
If your employees use corporate credit cards, reconciling them is even easier. Fyle enables you to gain real-time expense management on cards you already have. It notifies you of spending seconds after your card has been swiped and also lets you collect receipts in real time via text. This enables Finance teams to reconcile card expenses on the go without being dependent on bank feeds; thereby, saving them a ton of time and manual effort.
Pricing: Standard plan starts from $4.99 per active user/month, billed annually
Tracking and organizing receipts while traveling or working remotely can be a hassle and often leads to losing the receipts. This problem is solved with Expensify's mobile app. You can scan receipts without any limits, track your mileage, send them for approval, and more. Coupled with the SmartScan feature, your receipts get scanned and extracted automatically, saving you time and effort.
Pricing: $5.00/month/user with the Expensify Card
3. SAP Concur
Concur mobile app comes with its receipt scanning feature called Expense It. So your employees can track paper receipts on the go right from their smartphone, which extracts the data efficiently. The app automatically creates an expense entry and sends it to Concur Expense, where you can track and verify your employees' purchases. Other features include an activity dashboard, spending statistics, integration with accounting software, and more. However, SAP Concur is widely accepted as an expense management software for large enterprises, so it might be pricier than its competition.
Pricing: Contact for pricing
4. Receipts by Wave
If you're a small business owner or a self-employed individual searching for a free receipt-tracking app, Receipts by Wave is a great choice. It provides a free plan with unlimited income and expense tracking. If your expense management needs are simple, Wave gets the job done. You can use it to record receipts and also use it for basic accounting and invoicing. But if you have more advanced needs, like payroll, inventory management, or audit history, you have to integrate it with other platforms or get one of Wave's paid plans.
Pricing: Free plan with limited features
5. Zoho Expense
Zoho Expense, an expense management product in the Zoho product suite, comes with unlimited receipt scanning and storing features. It is an excellent option if your organization already uses other Zoho products. Once your employee takes a receipt photo, the app extracts data using OCR and automatically generates an expense report that can be sent for approval. It also comes with duplicate and fraud detection, which alerts the user if they are uploading a duplicate receipt.
Pricing: The premium plan for Zoho Expense starts from $5/active user /month, billed annually. They also offer a free plan with basic expense tracking features.
6. Quickbooks Online
QuickBooks Online is primarily an accounting platform with receipt-tracking capabilities. It lets you capture receipts, add them to an accounting report and send them for approval. However, it is pretty flexible regarding how you want to use it, as it also integrates directly with other expense management platforms. So you can use QBO strictly for accounting purposes while leveraging specialized apps for your receipt tracking needs. The only drawbacks are that it is comparatively more expensive and requires some technical and accounting knowledge to operate.
Pricing: Standard plan starts from $15 per organization/month, billed annually. They also offer a free plan for businesses with revenue <50K USD per annum.
7. Office Lens
Office Lens is a free Microsoft app developed as a document scanner with receipt-scanning features. It auto-enhances and trims the receipt accurately, making it ready to be shared as JPEG, PNG, or PDF. It's a solid option if you want nothing but a simple and powerful document-scanning app.
Evernote is synonymous with note-making and document creation, but it also has a capable document scanner. Users can scan paper receipts and tag them, ready to be saved or shared. This makes it easier for them to manage and organize the receipts.
Shoeboxed is an expense-tracking and receipt-scanning app with unlimited cloud storage. Your employees have two ways of tracking receipts - their mobile app or 'Magic EnvelopeTM' to send the physical receipts to Shoeboxed via mail for free to scan on your behalf. In addition, you can find all the receipts in a document management system where you can organize them according to your wish.
Pricing: Pricing plans start from $18/month, billed annually.
10. The camera on your phone
While this is a no-brainer, all smartphones these days come with a capable camera that you can use to take pictures of the receipts and share them with your finance team easily. So while you might not get the fancy OCR technology or fraud detection features, it is still a great workaround for folks who do not want to use more apps, and it has no learning curve.
While tracking and storing heaps of paper receipts is very time-consuming and cumbersome, a receipt scanner app can help by taking over the grunt work for your employees and finance team.
When choosing a tool, consider what features are most important to your business needs, whether it fits your budget, and if it can benefit the entire organization as a whole.
Once that's clear, you can come back to this list and make an informed decision.
Editor’s note: The post was originally published in June 2019 and has been updated for 2022.