Once upon a time, people copied out documents that needed to be replicated. Then photocopy machines came along and simplified things. At some point, document scanners came along with the ability to make an electronic copy of a physical document.
Receipt scanning is the next logical step. It is an amazing convenience that allows users to have an electronic copy of data by simply taking a picture of a document containing the data. In other words, it not only replicates but also converts.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1 – You take a picture and upload it into the platform (somewhat like you would upload a picture on any social media website, or if you were sending it to someone on WhatsApp, Telegram, or email)
Tip – do scan your document as early as possible after you have received it. The system scans visible information from the document – the ink, on receipts especially, tends to fade drastically over time.
Step 2 – Optical character recognition (OCR) technology swoops in and extracts all the written information from the document you just snapped: it could be a receipt, an invoice, a bill, a bank statement, or any other financial document.
The technology used is trained to recognize and capture data. The user must make sure that the document belongs to one among the long list of file formats that the system has been trained to read. These are: JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, HTML, PDF, DOC, DOCX, ODT and RTF.
However, for bank statements that are packed with data, the system can recognize only PDF and TIFF files.
Additionally, users need to pay heed to how the system is programmed to accept file sizes:
Images – up to 6MB
Zip Archives – up to 1000 MB.
Step 3 – All the data that was visible on the document will now be presented to the user in an electronic and easy to manage format.
Any foreign currencies in the documents will be automatically converted to your GBP or whatever base currency you have chosen. For example, Dext uses a currency conversion app called Fixer to convert foreign currency to GBP for specifically the day that the document was dated. Isn’t that smart? Fixer gets its conversion rate from financial data sources and banks including the European Central Bank.
The date, the supplier, relevant tax category – any relevant information mentioned on the document- is captured.
A photo of the original document is also Retained with each entry.
Step 4 – Receipt scanners could misunderstand something on a receipt – it is possible, especially when foreign currency or interchangeable terms and abbreviations are involved.
As a result, the entry generated by the system can also be checked and edited by the user.
Step 5 – The receipt is scanned and you have all the information in electronic format on the app. But perhaps you wanted to send that data on, or perhaps you (or your accountant) wanted the data for some calculations. Receipt scanning allows for data to be exported to CSV or PDF file formats. Once extracted you can use it as you desire.
Step 6 – Now the data that has been captured will also be categorized and saved. The system compares your paperwork and creates categories automatically – you may also create categories independently.
While all of this is happening, a dedicated online security team typically works round the clock to protect the data of users. Bank statements in particular are supposed to be protected by bank-level encryption. And the accounting software does not – as per the law – save your bank details.
Receipt scanning is a dream-come-true convenience that can cut down hours spent on data entry. To get it right, check out the Dext receipt scanning software.