With our Nomadic lifestyle, everything has to be geared towards efficiency, effectiveness, flexibility and either multipurpose, lighter weight or both. So, as a general rule, we continue to strive to drop weight or size and increase efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility. One such device was added to our toolbox to help us with all of this. It is lightweight, multifunctional and allows me to increase my efficiency. It is a device by a company called Neat and it allows me to digitize receipts and documents.
For Christmas I received the Neat Receipts model of their product line specifically for the PC; or more technically referred to as the NM-1000. It is a portable scanner that can scan receipts, business cards, and documents on the go while the software identifies, extracts, and organizes key information. Side note, they have it for Mac also. The only difference is the software version included.
The Neat Receipts portable scanner truly is portable. There is no power cable for it. The device draws the required power to operate directly from the USB cable. It is about 11 inches (28 cm) long, 2 inches (5 cm) wide and roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) tall.
This device comes with some powerful software that helps you to organize your scanned receipts and documents. I have been using it for more than a month now and it works pretty well. The software does a very good job of determining what establishment the receipt comes from, the date, the gross amount and the tax paid. If it does not recognize it accurately, it is simple to modify.
You can add digital documents to the software also. For example, if a company mailed you a PDF receipt, you can import it, with a few clicks, into this software. The software also allows you to create tax or expense reports with your receipt data, or export it to popular spreadsheet and accounting software. It also allows you to sync your contacts with popular personal information management software like Outlook or Address Book.
I have read a few reviews that said the only real “con” is that the portable scanner is not very fast. For a device of this size that does not require a separate power and data cable, I think it scans at a decent pace. The scanner even has a built-in scan and PDF button on the top of it to allow for faster processing.
The IRS now allows you to submit legible digital copies of receipts in lieu of paper copies. With this change a few years ago, that means that you no longer have to keep the original receipts. However, if the digital copy is all you have, in my opinion, you should have a good back up routine.
The product comes with a trial offer of being able to sync your data to the cloud for $6 per month. In my opinion, you can run the OneDrive app and sync the data to your OneDrive for free; as long as you have a Live Account. Or, you can sync it to a USB flash drive or external hard drive. There are many choices. Just make sure you actually utilize one of them. My personal opinion and practice is a local backup (flash drive or hard drive) and a cloud solution. This way if you have a fire, theft, etc, you still have an offsite copy.
If you are on the go or just trying to conserve space, this little receipt, business card and document scanner can really do the job. After one month, I am sold on it. Any of you who have one now or have owned one in the past, I would be interested in your feedback on your experience.
If you are interested in giving one a try, you can pick one up at Neat’s Online Store.
Also, if you buy between now and April 1, 2015, you can receive FREE TAX PREPARATION from 1-800ACCOUNTANT. Digitize your receipts and documents and eliminate the need to keep the paper. Efficient, light, effective and flexible…the Nomad Way. Safe Travels.