Sometimes, I have to stop and think about how well technology has changed even the simplest functions of running a small business. There was a day when answering machines or services, maps and payphones were essential components to running a successful small business. Now, all of those functions and many more are seamlessly integrated into a device that almost everyone carries in their pocket–the smartphone.
Just as the smartphone has eliminated my need to consult a map and find a payphone to check my answering machine messages, so has it efficiently and completely revolutionized the way that I keep track of my business expenses. One of the latest and least expensive (because it’s free!) entries into the toolbox of the 21st century entrepreneur is Foreceipt Receipt Manager for Google Drive.
I don’t know about you, but one of the most frustrating things for me to do in managing my business is keeping track of my expenses. Billing customers is easy and exciting, but tracking expenses is not something that I consider to be enjoyable, to say the least. I’ve learned through the years that the key is to track the expense as soon as I have documentation of the expense, whether it’s a receipt for a hotel stay or Starbucks. Otherwise, I lose track of the receipt or I forget the circumstances that necessitated the receipt, which is bad news. However, immediate tracking of the expense is not always easy since I hate doing it to begin with and because logging it into a ledger and keeping track of the receipt is a nuisance if you’re as active as I am. Having an app such as Foreceipt Receipt Manager for Google Drive that takes much of the pain out of the process, however, is a game changer for me. Being able to easily track expenses and document receipts enables me to quickly log those expenses as they are incurred without any drama and keeps me from slowing down the rest of my day.
As the name implies, this is an app for Google Drive users for iPhone only. So if Google Drive is not in your plans, or if you own an Android phone, this app is not for you. It downloads swiftly and installs flawlessly. The app will prompt you for your Google Drive login upon opening. The interface is well organized and fairly intuitive. After a few minutes of exploration, I was up and running and scanning several receipts that I had lurking in my wallet for over a week.
Foreceipt can visually log receipts via your iPhone’s camera — point the camera at the receipt and push the button. After snapping a photo of your receipt, you manually enter the vendor, price & expense category. That’s it! The whole process takes me less than a minute.
Your receipts are stored on your Google Drive and can be exported in CSV or PDF file formats or archived in a Zip file.
There is a great summary screen that, well, summarizes your expenses as they’re logged. You can view your expenses by week, month or year, which is very handy. In addition to logging receipts, you can keep track of your income, recurring bills and see how your overall budget is trending. Though, truth be told, those functions are why I have Quickbooks. But for simple tracking of receipts and logging those expenses in a timely manner, it’s hard to beat Foreciept’s simple interface and inexpensive (free!) price.
If you’re like I was and still struggling to keep proper record of your receipts, give Foreceipt Receipt Manager for Google Drive a try. It’s combination of price (free!), ease of use and useful features will help to take the pain out of logging your expenses.
Deb Howard Greenleaf, EA, CEO and Principal, of Greenleaf Accounting Services provides virtual accounting and bookkeeping services and specializes in financial management to consultants, coaches, solo professionals, and other small business owners across the US. Deb is an Enrolled Agent (EA)—an IRS-licensed tax professional—and specializes in small businesses and entrepreneurs filing Schedule C or as an LLC. As an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Deb spends her day in QuickBooks Online and specializes in providing QBO support.