I used to use one of those programs/scanners that they sell at airports and on infomercials to manage my expenses. A recent upgrade of my laptop to Windows 8.1 forced me to reinstall and upgrade the software and something broke. It no longer combined all of the receipts for the period into a single document when I exported them. It could have been something I was doing wrong but I didn’t really bother to troubleshoot it. I was getting tired of being tied to my desk when doing my expenses and wanted a more portable solution anyways. I decided I’d try to make use of Novell Filr as it’d be a good use-case/example for others who might be interested in doing the same.
The first thing I needed to do was find a way to convert paper based receipts to electronic documents that I could put into Filr. I’m a bit of an App junkie/packrat to begin with so I already had several apps that I could choose from. I decided on Scanner Pro by Readdle (this sometimes goes on sale around holidays or on special occasions) but I must say, Genius Scan+ and CamScanner are a close second. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter as long as you have an App that provides a good quality image and has enough enhancement features like grayscale if needed, image alignment, etc so that you end up with something that your finance people will accept. It was surprisingly easy to get into the habit of snapping a quick picture of a receipt as I get it. Typically at the end of a trip I upload all the receipts pertaining to that trip into Filr as a single file. I no longer have to remember where I carefully filed those paper receipts for processing later on. Especially since that filing space is usually the bottom of my computer bag and instead of being filed, they’re crumpled up, folded over multiple times etc.
When I’m ready, I use the Open In feature of iOS to pass that image into Filr.
On Android this is called Share With but the concepts are the same. Select Open In and from the list of Apps that comes up and choose Novell Filr. You then have to select where you want to save the receipts. Personally, I selecting a filing system based on a top level folder of @Expenses (the @ sign makes sure it shows up at the top of the list) and a month folder below that. When Filr loads, from the Select a destination at the bottom, choose My Files on the right and navigate to your Expenses folder – see image below. This is where the @ sign comes in handy since it will be at the top of the list. When you’re ready, simply choose Upload to save your receipts into Filr.
This, very conveniently, takes care of all of my paper based receipts. I get receipts that are emailed to me as well however. For those that come in as a PDF, it’s easy enough – simply save them to the appropriate receipt folder and the Filr desktop app will take care of uploading and synchronizing those with the other receipts. For those that come in as an email, on my Mac, print to PDF is built in. On Windows, I’ve been using PDF Creator which can be found on Sourceforge but there are dozens/hundreds of PDF conversion tools available. Simply check with Google if you don’t already have one.
Now that all of your receipts are in one location, when it comes time to actually file your receipts, simply open the receipt submission tool your company uses alongside the list of receipts in Filr for that period. Unfortunately, if you have to complete some kind of a form to get reimbursed for your expenses, this is not something that Filr can help you with. Rather than uploading multiple individual receipts, I use PDF Suite on my Mac of PDF Merge Tool on my PC to combine all the receipts for that period of time into a single PDF and attach it to my expense report. Again, these are tools that I have and that work for me but there are lots of others. I’ll let you Google that, or check Sourceforge on your own.
Thanks for your interest in Filr and hopefully you can find your own ways to incorporate Filr into your day to day activities.