Receipt apps - the first step in making accounts digital

Joe Griffin
Joe Griffin

Receipt apps help everyone. If business owners aren’t using a receipt app, they’re doing needless extra work. If accountants want to get their clients over the digital Rubicon, a receipt app is a good first step.

For business owners, here’s a guide to getting started with a receipt app and why you should. For accountants and bookkeepers, we hope this post will work as a communications resource when you’re moving your clients to digital. 

Making all accounts digital can be a challenge for business owners; while bringing clients to digital is an ongoing issue for accountants. It has become especially important in the UK, where Making Tax Digital (MTD) is being rolled out. 

However, it’s not just a UK issue. Several countries are in the midst of an equivalent, compulsory digital tax initiative; and, of course, there are myriad advantages for businesses and their accountants when a company takes the plunge to digital, automation and the cloud. 

Receipts are one of the last bastions of paper-based business we have. While bank statements, invoices and even contracts go electronic, paper receipts are still stubbornly ubiquitous. 

More importantly, scanning receipts is a common first step in the journey to digitising accounts. And, as Chinese philosopher Laozi said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Getting Started with a Receipt App 

If you’re a business owner who doesn’t know where to start, we’d suggest talking to your accountant about their preferred app, and heading to your app store of choice (whether that’s the App Store or Google Play Store, for instance).

In the case of AutoEntry, download the app and name or “create” your company within it and upload documents. (There are walk through videos and step by step guides in our help section.) As one of our customers has said, if you can take and send a selfie, you can use AutoEntry.  

Some data automation tools (including ours) have functions beyond receipt capture, but receipt capture is a good place to start if you want to get a feel for the technology. Also, once you’ve created an account, it gets easier to use additional functionality. Every step forward makes the next step easier.

Advantages of Receipt Apps 

Embracing new technologies should not be seen as an obligation. They’re an opportunity. Just as it would be hard to imagine life without email now, once you start using cloud-based automation tools, it will be unappealing to return to manual data entry. 

Here are the advantages of receipt apps and automation tools...

Receipt apps greatly reduce the labour of data entry 

The most obvious and appealing advantage of receipt apps and data automation is the time-saving: instead of hoarding receipts and then manually entering their data at a later date, you just snap, upload to your accountant or accounts software, and then forget about it. 

Depending on how many receipts you deal with, this could save hours per week of data entry. Plus the time saved of organising, finding and storing these paper receipts.

Less stressful tax season

A beautiful thing about automation is that it helps you do jobs incrementally: so, for example, instead of collating everything at the last minute, you’re filing every receipt as soon as you get it. By the time tax season rolls around, you’ve already done much (possibly all) of your data entry and filing.

They’re more accurate 

Automated data entry is typically more accurate than when a human does it. This is especially the case with strong AI that can learn patterns (like document formats and fonts) and become more efficient the more you use it. 

Digital files are more secure and easy to manage 

Contrary to popular belief, digital files tend to be more secure than their analogue equivalents. Data entry software is encrypted and laptops and files are (or should be) password protected. 

It’s also easier to find what you’re looking for with digital files, thanks to search functionality and adaptable sorting (whether by chronology, alphabetical or by another category).  

Less clutter and paper in your life 

Reducing the volume of paper in your life benefits everyone: your workspace is less cluttered, you have more storage space and it’s good for the environment. Also, if you’re a small business, your accountant will not miss those boxes of receipts being dropped off to their office!

The Next Step

Once a business owner has mastered receipt capture and gotten used to that aspect of data entry, they should graduate onto other software as a service (SaaS) offerings. This might include automating and digitising bank statements and invoices. 

You can tell vendors and financial institutions to send documents straight to your accounts software, and even encourage them to use the same accounts software, expediting the whole process even further. 

AutoEntry - making life easier 

Whether you’re a business owner or you’re an accountant or bookkeeper, AutoEntry makes life easier in a myriad of ways. Find out how with a free trial.

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