Have You Tried This Neat Tool to Slay the Paper Beast?


NeatReceipts portable scanner

There are two things society has promised me that I have not yet experienced: flying cars and paperless offices. About once a year I scan a headline claiming that there’s a promising flying car in the works, but you can’t prove it by me.

The paperless office, however, may be substantially closer to reality…well at least the “largely” paperless office.

Cloud computing is playing a major role in transformation. People everywhere are using Google docs, Google drive and a parade of other efficient and affordable cloud services. On the front line in the battle to move our huge pile of paper to little zeros and ones that live in our data storage devices or up on the cloud is the family of Neat scanners, software and services.

When life gives you paper…

If you watch much television, you’ve seen the commercials for the Neat scanners. They take documents, scan them and turn them into searchable digital files. The software extracts critical information such as names, dates and receipt totals, so the Neat systems can be extremely useful for businesses.

Anyone who has had to deal with filing expense reports or itemizing deductions for tax purposes will immediately understand what a time saver this can be. How many of you jam all your receipts into a single file folder and spent hours sorting them out (and trying to remember what they were for) when April 15 starts looming on the calendar?

Recently I had to deal with a huge pile of contracts. I needed to review various revisions, etc. Do you know how much faster it is to search for words and phrases in a contract after it’s been converted into a keyword searchable document? Rhetorical question. Of course you do.

A trio of scanners

Neat has a lineup of products and services that run the gamut from purse-size to cloud-size. NeatReceipts is a portable scanner you can take on the road. The company also offers a desktop model along with a wi-fi enabled scanner that can send documents to the cloud without being connected to a computer. But it’s probably the software that’s really the most important part of the system.

As I said above, you can turn all your paper into searchable documents and get them properly categorized virtually immediately. The software has another very cool feature you’ll probably find useful. You can “print” web receipts to Neat and the software will extract all the information and put it in your files along with the paper receipts that you’ve scanned. Plus, it’s compatible with other software you’re using, such as Quickbooks.

Use your smartphone camera

If we ever win the war against paper, Neat’s hardware products will become obsolete, however we both know that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. But the company is looking forward and has launched its Neat Cloud Service. Neat Cloud works with its Neat mobile apps. This lets you snap a photo of a receipt or document with your smart phone or tablet and have the information sent automatically to the cloud service and properly filed.

Do you have any favorite paper-slaying hardware, software or services you’d like to mention?

Sponsored by AT&T