The NeatReceipts system is more than a scanner in many ways, and less than a scanner in other ways. While it is, in essence, a scanner paired with proprietary software, this isn’t an all-in-one piece of hardware for your computer that you’d regularly use for scanning photos, copying pages from books and other typical tasks you’d see in a flatbed scanner. Instead, the NeatReceipts system is optimized for organizing bills, tax documents, mail and, of course, receipts.
But here’s the big question: does what NeatReceipts have to offer worth paying $199 on top of what you’ve already invested towards a printer and/or scanner? This review will take a look at NeatReciepts top features and help you decide.
Advanced OCR Software
The real star of the show is NeatReceipts impressive OCR software. OCR, which stands for optical character recognition, is the software that allows the scanner to not only scan documents, but accurately recognize words and letters. Based on the scanners we’ve seen, very few all-in-one scanners come close to NeatReceipts’ advanced OCR capabilities. NeatReceipts can even pick out some of the faintest, tiniest text on the most crumpled of receipts. This takes NeatReceipts beyond the level of a mere scanner, and makes into a veritable transcriber. And that’s truly rare and valuable among scanners.
The fact that NeatReceipts can recognize data is only half of the equation. It also parses out information from business cards and documents and puts it into searchable PDF form. That’s the main thing you’re paying for, and for anyone who struggles with dead-tree filing systems, it’s totally worth it. NeatReceipts helps you stay organized by making it easy to search and reference scanned materials. It’s sort of like the iTunes of documents, receipts and bills.
Taxes and Finance
This is one of the features that we actually didn’t use that much—but only because there was a slight learning curve. NeatReceipts lets you export data to Excel or QuickBooks, but it also lets you assign each receipt to a certain tax deductible category. As non-business users, this didn’t appeal to us much—but for anyone who doesn’t take the standard deduction, this can make tax time much easier. The IRS accepts scanned receipts with tax returns, and NeatReceipts packages it all up in a convenient bundle for your accountant.
The NeatReceipts scanner is about 1 x 1 x 14 inches long, which is fairly small and portable. It weighs just 10.6 ounces and is sturdy enough to hold up to being tossed in a briefcase or laptop bag. That’s important, because if there’s ever a time when you need to track expenses, it’s when you’re on the road, away from your filing cabinet. It connects via USB and doesn’t require an AC outlet, either, which means you can even use it while floating in an airport terminal. A+.
If you have trouble keeping track of receipts, or simply hate having tons of paper shoved in files and folders, NeatReceipts is worth the money. If it saves you one hour of time a week, it’s worth it—and chances are, it will.