Saturday, July 03, 2010

Shoeboxed is Sensible Outsourcing

From Stock

Shoeboxed.com is undoubtedly the most useful outsource service I have found to date. In terms of value, Shoeboxed is one of the best investments a freelance/work at home person can make to keep track of finances. It would take me longer to do what they do; and, I would not earn money doing it.

I signed up for Shoeboxed.com around the turn of the year as a way of tracking my expenses for the new tax year. I have tried other ways of tracking expenses: by text message, by instant message, by voice message, by evernote, and you name it. They all fail me because I forget to use them.

I considered scanning my own receipts. So, I signed up for the free version where you scan and upload your receipts to the Shoeboxed website. This did not work out so well either. First, I haven't a self-feeding scanner that can scan skinny receipts. Secondly, I never made the time to scan the pile of receipts I gathered. In retrospect, if I were inclined to organize my records, I would do it daily, come hell or high water, never mind my paltry excuses. But I don't. So, when the end of the year comes around, I end up scrambling and breaking my head trying to organize my records.

A month ago, I got a call from Shoeboxed offering me a 1 month free trial of the service. Prior to this, I had considered the possibility of subscribing to the service. I came to accept that I could use a hand in scanning and organizing my receipts; but I only my business receipts, which are not quite as many as my personal receipts. However, I ran into a snag. The Lite version leaves it up to you to buy your own envelopes and stamps to mail your receipts to Shoeboxed. I spent time shopping for envelopes and stamps. I realized that for only $10 more per month, I could avoid the hassle. I emailed my Shoeboxed rep to up my trial subscription to the next level.

Within a few days, I received self addressed, prepaid envelopes to mail in receipts. I stuffed the first and sent away. Within days, they arrived and showed up in my Shoeboxed account, scanned, categorized, and organized. All I had to do was verify and adjust the few odd purchases. I can definitely do this.

So, for $20/month, all I have to do is dump receipts into an envelope I keep in the car, mail it in once a week, or so, and then categorize the few oddball purchases I made. The brunt of the work is done by Shoeboxed.

The amount of work I would have spent scanning, organizing, looking for stamps and envelopes is gone. Even if I only look at my account once per year, the time savings is well worth it. This is time that can be spent relaxing or working hard for the money. You've probably heard that you should work ON your business, not IN your business. Shoeboxed is what they're talking about. Outsource the administrative; focus on generating income.
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