We have published several articles about personal finance management services using sites such as Mint.com to track personal spending and maintaining a budget. Using an iPhone or Android camera, you can easily track expenses with very little or no manual data input. Another useful site in this regard is a fairly new one called Lemon.com, which enables you to store and organize financial receipts and other scanned or photographed documents.
In addition to its other features, Lemon.com might be a useful online service and mobile application for small business owners or anyone who needs to keep track of receipts for accounting purposes. A similar type of scanning process can also be found in an iPhone app called JotNot Pro.
Lemon has four main features, including the ability to collect receipts using your smartphone camera, or e-mailing them via your personal Lemon account address. Lemon can scan your receipts and turn them into information that is taggable and searchable to monitor how you’re spending your money.
The Lemon service manages receipts by month and label, such as personal or business. These free core features of Lemon allow for 100 receipts per month, including unlimited storage, access to multiple devices, and online accounting reports. Paid premium services include custom reports and the ability to export receipts from your account.
How It Works
You can import your receipt using your smartphone, or by emailing them to your @lemon account. In my experience I have found the iPhone camera to be a very powerful tool for scanning documents. In fact I have found it even better than dedicated scanners. The scans are pretty short and the resolution is high enough for printing purposes if necessary.
In the Lemon app, you tap the camera icon and take a photo of the receipt in what should be a well lit area and solid surface. You then tag and label the receipt as Personal, Business, Credit Card, Cash, Check, or any other custom label you want to add. You can apply more than one label to a particular receipt.
After confirming your receipt, it will be sent to Lemon’s database and turned into digitized, useful data. It captures the name of the merchant for the receipt, the date of purchase, and its amount.
The information for your purchases will be stored and managed on your account. This same process can be used for emailing receipts to your account.
What’s great about this service is that Lemon will keep and maintain all of your original scanned images. All of your receipt information can be easily viewed on your account Dashboard. You can also export and e-mail a report of all your receipts in either XLS, CSV, or PDF formats.
Before discovering Lemon.com, I used a similar receipt scanning app called JotNot Pro ($0.99). While this application doesn’t have an online account counterpart, its scanning features are very advanced for a smartphone app.
When you take a photo scan of receipts and documents using JotNot, you can actually crop out everything outside the edges of the receipt. It works ten times better than any scanner I’ve ever used.
Similar to Lemon, you can also tag your receipts, as well as export them via e-mail, iTunes, and Evernote. Scanned documents can also be converted to PDF.
Both Lemon.com and JotNot are great tools for paperless archiving of receipts and documents. With their smartphone apps, it takes very little time to record documents and keep them managed.
Let us know what you think of these applications. What do you use to maintain a paperless lifestyle?
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