Being self-employed, I find myself having to purchase a lot of items on the move that I would later quite like to reclaim the tax for. This could be lunches, refreshments, stationery, diesel, anything that is tax-deductable.
Quite often, I would find myself in a position whereby I wasn’t able to make a claim for something because, like a true fool, I would lose the receipts.
Ha, not anymore! That’s because I use an application from those great people at Smile Software called PDFpen Scan+.
PDFpen Scan+ allows me to take snapshots of my receipts using my iPhone’s built-camera (or iPad if I’m so inclined). Capturing the image is easy because PDFpen Scan+ automatically detects the edges of your target and you don’t even need to click a button to take the photo. Just hold it still and the image is captured.
Once you have an image, the magic can start. PDFpen Scan+ has OCR (Optical Character Recognition) built-in, so you can perform OCR on your documents to make them searchable. I don’t use this feature personally because OCR takes place when I export the document and it hits my Macbook Pro, however this is certainly a great feature for many people.
Instead, I give my receipt a simple name (rec-xxx where xxx represents the location that the purchase was made from) and I export to Dropbox where I have a Holding Folder. My Mac takes over the processing now. This Holding Folder has a range of Hazel rules assigned to it that look for various files. One of the rules looks for any file that comes in with rec in the title and will:
- OCR the document using an AppleScript (the script opens PDFpen Pro, runs OCR and then closes)
- Rename based on the date of the receipt and the location it was obtained.
- Copy the file to DEVONthink Pro Office
- Copy the file to iCloud Drive
- Copy the file to Google Drive (yes, I'm pretty security conscious around my receipts - I don't want to lose them!)
- Add a reminder to OmniFocus (using the OmniFocus Mail Drop feature) to add this receipt into Kashflow, my online accounting software.
I think that workflow is pretty comprehensive and covers every aspect I need with regards to capturing on the move for business. I could use other apps but I’ve got an affinity with the team at Smile Software that I cannot chake because they make such good quality products at very fair pricing.
Go out and get PDFpen Scan+ today, it’s a bargain at £3.99/$6.99