When BakBurner Digital became an official company earlier this year, it meant I really needed to start being on top of the company’s finances. When I made a purchase using the company credit card, I couldn’t just let that be the only record on file. That meant saving every physical receipt — for the anti-hoarder in me that’s painful. Nor could I bare looking at a pile business cards I’ve received stacked up on my desk.
We live in a digital age, which means these documents should all reside on a hard drive taking up kbs of space rather than a couple inches of desk space. That’s when I learned about Shoeboxed, a company that lets you take a photo, mail, clip from the Web and more, documents and they’ll take care of all of the organizing. I already had a Gmail label for all email receipts, so Shoeboxed appeared to be my go-to for paper.
I started off my Shoeboxed experience by downloading their iOS app. The Shoeboxed app has a clean interface and is easy to use — although they really need to fix the status bar going over some of the header options after iOS 7 was implemented. Similar to banking apps, you’re presented with a camera to take a photo of your receipt. From there, it’s up to you how much or as little of information you want to provide. Do nothing and the Shoeboxed staff will gather the total, categorize the receipt and date it was received. You can always update this information later or set up unique categories for your different business areas.
One of the odd features of the app is where they display your unique email address. The screen says “Show this to the cashier…” The email address, however, is a random string of uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers. That’s not really ideal to have someone — especially during heavy holiday usage — work with behind the counter. I don’t foresee myself using that feature at all, so there’s no points lost in my book for that oddity.
Using the app is only one of the ways Shoeboxed can digitize your documents. Email, mail, browser clipping or scanning are other means to work with, well, how you work. I’ve only used the app and browser clipping, and both are extremely easy to use and not at all time consuming. I do, however, have a stack of about 50 business cards sitting on my desk right now. Those are getting shipped to Shoeboxed for them to take care of rather than me scanning each one into Evernote Hello. My estimated Shoeboxed time: 2 minutes. My estimated time saved from not entering them in Hello: 20 minutes.
For price conscious buyers, Shoeboxed recently unveiled a new feature called “Price Deputy.” You email your receipts to a dedicated email address and their staff will try to locate if the price you paid was the best. As a marketer, I get it. They partner with vendors who could potentially garner business if their prices are competitive. As a user, I’m getting the best price possible. That’s a win-win.
Another feature of Shoeboxed is they sync with several online services, including Evernote and my bookkeeping website of choice, Outright, a GoDaddy company. With Evernote, Shoeboxed will send any receipt, business card or other document to the notebooks of your choice. This is helpful for power users like myself who use the desktop application more than I log in to Shoeboxed or Evernote online. Plus, if you have the paid Evernote plan, you’ll be able to search through all your receipts.
I’m still trying to figure out the benefit of syncing with Outright since most of my transactions take place via credit card. You won’t want your credit card and Shoeboxed to tell you there was a new (duplicate) purchase. Right now, the benefit would be for cash purchases.
Shoeboxed is another great tool for simplifying your life, especially as a business owner. You can Shoeboxed, but I highly recommend upgrading to the paid plans, which start at just $9.95 a month and are discounted on an annual rate.
December 29, 2013 Update: It’s been nearly two months since my original review of the Shoeboxed service. Since then, thanks to Shoeboxed themselves, I’ve been trying their Classic plan with the mail-in option. The timing for this couldn’t have been better. I was in the middle of a big move, so the anti-hoarder in me was ready to start ridding even more clutter from my life.
Putting paper documents into a folder or desk drawer is about the only thing you can do if you don’t want the physical copies. Mortgage paperwork and certain financial, legal or medical documents are worth hanging on to the actuals. Everything else, it’s worth saving, but in KB not paper form.
As you can see from the photo, I had a ton of business cards and other paperwork to send to Shoeboxed. After stuffing and sending my prepaid envelope, it took about a week to receive notification that the documents were processing. One day later, they appeared in my account’s queue. Since I had synced my Shoeboxed account to Evernote (highly suggested), all also appeared in there, categorized to the proper notebook I assigned.
Originally, Shoeboxed returned all the documents I had originally sent in. Since I try to be green when I can, I noticed their option to shred and recycle the documents after they were added to my account. I opted in to that, since there was no need to hang on to those documents anymore.
I’m in the process of returning my third envelope to Shoeboxed. I don’t know if I collect enough paper to need the service on a monthly basis, but I do highly suggest it for those who might. Shoeboxed makes it extremely easy to get organized, saving time from having to scan, categorize and sync. I’d estimate it would take you at least a minute a document if you were doing it yourself. That’s close to two hours of time Shoeboxed saved me this past month. I’d say that’s more than worth the small price tag.
Are you a Shoeboxed user? How do you manage the paper documents in your life? Let us know in the comments below.