Here we are at tax time again – when our phone rings off the hook with people calling to say they need help with their receipts to file their taxes. They tell us that they’ve got receipts in Ziploc bags, file folders or envelopes labeled with the months on each. Some even stash them in a shoe-box!
They want to know if we can help them find a better way to manage these little pieces of paper, perhaps by storing them in the computer. Since Island Organizers helps small businesses to figure out how to do just that, here’s one of the ways we show clients who have a ScanSnap scanner to put that handy tool to work.
Fujitsu bundles several software tools to show small businesses how to go “paperless”. With the ScanSnap Receipt software, clients who use a CPA to file their taxes can save time and money by having the computer and scanner store the receipts in an organized system. Here’s how:
Create Expense Categories
Since ScanSnap Receipt provides “boxes” for you to store receipts, we teach clients to create a new Inbox called 2015 Receipts. We have them take out their tax return from the previous year to find how their CPA groups their expenses. We show them how ScanSnap Receipt allows you to create categories that match those groups.
For businesses that are sole proprietors, the CPA likely filed a “Form Schedule C” for expenses allowed by the IRS. For other types of businesses (LLC, partnership or corporation, etc.), there is a similar tax form(s) that list those expenses. You can optionally ask your CPA for a list to help you get started.
Next, we tell clients to start scanning the receipts one after the other. If they have a ScanSnap iX500, they simply put a stack of receipts in the feeder and press the blue ‘Scan’ button. ScanSnap iX100 users must feed them one at a time or use the Dual Scan feature. In either case, these speed demons present a list of those receipts, along with an image of each one, on the screen within seconds!
As clients click each receipt in the list, they pull down the category list and select the appropriate one for that expense. When they are preparing for tax season, they simply run an Export. ScanSnap Receipts creates a file (.csv) on the computer that can then be opened in Excel where the list can be sorted by category. Then, Excel automatically finds the totals for each. Some clients simply send the Excel file to their CPAs who have been shocked, surprised and relieved at the same time!
Toss The Paper
Before celebrating by TOSSING all those receipts, we advise clients to be sure to confirm this with their CPA. We have them explain that ScanSnap Receipt saved a copy of every one of them in case one needs to be printed in the future.
Karen Simon is the Technology Organizing Specialist at Island Organizers, a company that helps small business owners and solopreneurs to become and stay organized. She is also part of the Tech Team at TechOrganizing.com, a resource for productivity consultants to stay current with tools and techniques to help their clients. Contact Karen at IslandOrganizers.com