Posted December 29, 2005
Somewhere—in a clump in your drawer, in your wallet or handbag, in a crinkled envelope lost in a pile on your desk—you probably have a bunch of receipts that you long ago should have filed with an expense report at work, or kept neatly classified for when you're ready to do your taxes. You could make getting your act together in this regard a 2006 resolution… or you could just make the new NeatReceipts Scanalizer do it for you. This ingenious, updated scanner-and-software package uses a clever, proprietary OCR (optical character recognition) scheme that knows where to look on typical receipts for the information it wants—restaurant or store name, date, tax, total, and cash or charge—and then extracts and displays the information in a database that you can easily edit, annotate, and export to Microsoft Word, Excel or Money, Quicken, QuickBooks, etc. (It also, by the way, scans business cards and regular-sized 8.5" x 11" paper, so you can use it to make copies of all sorts of documents.) You can also print out neat sheets of your scanned receipts, which the NeatReceipts software automatically auto-sizes and rotates into place. (The IRS accepts digital copies of receipts, so you can discard the originals.) It all works so simply and instantaneously—receipts scan in seconds—that now you really have no excuse for letting your receipts pile up like snowdrifts. The software is currently Windows-only, though a Mac version is promised for 2006.
$200 at amazon.com.