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  • 27 February 2014
  • Dr Billy M.

Managing receipts and expenses with your smartphone

Regardless of whether your business is Internet-based or a brick-and-mortar store, chances are you will be required to travel on work-related errands. It could even be a well-deserved break, and you are taking a holiday. The fact is, your life gets complicated with bills and receipts from expenses you incur along the way. These can be a source of annoyance, especially if you have to account for them because the taxman says so. Fortunately, your smartphone can come in handy. Managing receipts and expenses with your smartphone will keep you on top of the game by helping you track your spending and save some money without fussing with receipts.

Convenience of mobile technology

Doing business just got better with smartphones. It is now easier to move around without all the paperwork generated by travel-related activities: hotel accommodation, meals, and air and ground travel. It's more accurate as well. How exactly does a mobile device help you manage the receipts and expenses? The trick is to leverage the expense apps on your ever-useful smartphone. Besides saving you the agony of manually sorting your expenses and being at the risk of losing some receipts, smartphone apps will transmit these to a database or your accounting program at your convenience.

For your strategy to work, you have to own a smartphone that is capable of downloading and accessing suitable applications for your business life.

For your strategy to work, you have to own a smartphone that is capable of downloading and accessing suitable applications for your business life. A little research online will give you a good idea of what's appropriate for your needs. In managing receipts and expenses with your smartphone, many applications function in a similar fashion: they capture the details on the documents and transmit them in a format that can be either integrated into accounting software or be read over any digital platform with a printout.

Snapshots of receipts and expenses

The smartphone allows you to take snapshots of your receipts and keep them in document form, which you can later email to your bookkeeper for proper business records. Depending on the smartphone app, you can also make notes about the particular expense. For example, you can add annotations about the location and what you were doing just to keep track of your expenses. With some apps, it is also possible to take a snapshot of several receipts simultaneously. Examples include the Jotnot Scanner Pro and Cashbook.

Send encrypted documents

Most smartphones will allow you to send your receipts and expenses securely over the Internet. You do not need the whole world knowing about your expenditures through social media though. Therefore, a good app will have encryption. It will also require a password when you are sending or sharing a document, or when your bookkeeper is doing the same with you. Your finances remain private despite being transmitted over the Internet.

The digital world is awash with apps that can assist you in managing receipts and expenses with your smartphone. Examples include Expensify, which can help you track purchases made with a credit card, debit card, cash, or your bank account; FreshBooks, which can provide accounting services for your small business by tracking expenses, invoices, and client information; and MoneyWise, which can generate charts and graphs as well as track budgets, then export data in a friendly format such as CSV or HTML.

Manual entries

You may be one of those individuals who believes in manipulating financial figures manually. If for some reason you don't have, or dislike, the snapshot apps, the smartphone is very user-friendly and has several integrated interfaces that allow you to input your expense details manually. The phone will categorize all the expenses accordingly and back them up online without compromising data security.

The smartphone allows you to travel light and backup your receipts and expenses in the cloud, where you can always retrieve them when needed. Remember to delete the documents from your phone to create space for new entries and to free up space as well. It should be appreciated that the smartphone apps can also be used routinely in managing your expenditures even at your place of business, not just when you're traveling. It is convenient, saves paper and energy, uses minimal storage due to cloud computing, and is inexpensive.

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