I’m trying to achieve the following:
- Take a picture of a receipt
- Have this scanned and OCR’d
- Vendor, date, price, etc. detected
- A guess at the category would be nice
- Ability to manually assign a category
As a retiree, this is all for my own organization. There is almost no ROI, no ability to write it off, therefore I can not justify anything but a moderately low expense. $50 up front or $100/year is way more than this is worth to me.
Does such an app exist? Or is there a workflow where I can handle the processing on the desktop outside of the initial photo capture?
But Hazel doesn’t do OCR or auto-detect and auto-categorize vendors. I’d like to avoid setting all that up manually. We’re on the road, so picture dozens of gas stations, propane vendors, RV parks, etc. nationwide…
Hazel will do the matching, renaming, file of the OCR’s receipts. I use Swiftscan on iOS, which does the OCR and automatically uploads to a dropbox folder that Hazel watches and moves files from there (At my desk, I use a Scansnap).
When it works, it’s magic. There is still more manual effort than I’d like, which is mostly due to the nature of OCR. After using this system for many years and trying to keep up with the manual part, I’ve come to realize the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. It’s easier to search for the files when I need them rather than fiddle around renaming what Hazel misses, unless it’s something important.
Same here. I help Hazel by using sub folders like Statements, Grocery, Gas, etc.
I see that Swiftscan is now $36/yr. I have found SimplyWise which also makes it easy to assign a broad category (receipt, invoice, etc.) and a narrow one (gas, groceries, etc.) which are customizable. It also detects vendor, price and date, fairly accurately. Only $20/year. I think it’s going to work for me.
I have Prizmo on my Mac dealing with OCR. One-off purchase or part of SetApp. Let it OCR a Hazel managed folder and build profiles for recurring receipts, bills and statements. Magic will happen. Only need to deal with one-off receipts that have not been indexed before.
Sounds good. Unfortunately 85% of the receipts I want to track are one-off.
I think Genius Scan + Hazel would do the trick for you. There is a one time upgrade price for OCR and other features but as of yet no subscription.
And I’ll add creating a detailed file name makes finding the file/receipt a breeze.
I’ve had for years, when it used to be ScanBot. I must be grandfathered in.
I guess Receipts app could be of use. It’s available on SetApp btw.
I’ve been considering switching from my Hazel setup for Receipts’ built-in OCR feature alone. Still haven’t made the jump, though.
It looks like Receipts uses Expensify’s SmartScan feature for extraction. This works for 25 receipts per month. After that Expensify requires a monthly subscription. I have a backlog, so would definitely need more than 25/mo for awhile. If I was a small business, Expensify looks very nice and free! Hate to set up a faux business just for that though…
SimplyWise follow-up - just exported existing scans. I received a zip of all scans as individual jpg, each named vendor-date-time.jpg - I also received a spreadsheet! This is a lot for a simple app w/ a reasonable subscription fee. I think I will stick with this one for now. [Caveat: the app is being aggressively updated but version numbering is still below 0.5 - and none of the app store links on their web site work. Also, their blog is all about retirement and social security, so it seems like a company that recently pivoted. So at least it works and has great export functionality. Not so sure about their future-proofing…]
I use Expensify for family expenses. $US5/mth.
On the business side, I use hubdoc which I get for the price of using Xero for the business. Hubdoc isn’t as good as Expensify, however its my bookkeeper who handles that.
Agreed. I don’t think there’s software that can do this perfectly without intervention – and the OP described a situation where a partial solution is no solution. But maybe things have improved a lot in the few years that have elapsed since I last tried to do this?
I use Hazel for everything the OP asked for, including automatic tagging. Of course, that requires me to set it up in the first place. But I only bother doing this for tax-related, recurring-more-than-once-a-year receipts. Everything else gets scanned or printed to pdf and dumped in a folder by year (one for business, one for personal). If I need to go looking for something, either Spotlight or HoudaSpot does it.
I track my expenses in Banktivity, where I can import credit card transactions and the categories are automatically applied. That’s what’s important to me (not tracking digital copies of receipts that I can easily search for in the rare case when it’s needed).
I use Scanner Pro from Readdle and Hazel for what you are asking.
SP has OCR and then have Hazel do the rest of the work. I have recently added DevonThink to the mix for sorting and organizing and such. But that shouldn’t be necessary.
Could you share a couple of the Hazel rules that do this sort of thing (renaming based on OCR, moving files, etc.). I scan receipts all the time and would love to use Hazel to help organize them automatically! thx
Sure, but NERD ALERT.
I have a folder called “process-business” for business-related receipts, documents, statements, bills, invoices. This helps Hazel differentiate between a receipt from Target for groceries vs. office supplies, which is reflected in the file name. Everything added to this folder gets tagged “Pending” by Hazel to show it has not been processed yet.
Here’s an example of our payroll statements from ADP. I want it named in my naming format, using the end date on the statement as part of the name. I want the Pending tag removed to show it’s been processed by Hazel. And I want a “Payable” tag added to show I have to deal with it in Quickbooks. I want it moved to my “Processed” folder, which is a giant bucket of stuff that is easily retrievable by search using the naming format.
EDIT/NOTE: I have another rule in this folder that fires whenever the Pending tag is removed (manually or by Hazel) that moves the given file to the Processed folder.
The complexity of set up here is worth it for me because I get that statement - in a reliable format, high quality PDF - every two weeks for the last 20 years. So it’s really nice to drag the email attachment to the folder, then all I have to do it catch for AP by looking at the Payable tag in Finder. Hazel does everything else. I remove the Payable tag when it’s paid on the accounting side.
For me, the level of complexity will vary by how reliable the document format is (will is always say “Period Ending Date:” followed by a date?) and how often I receive the document.
I could go on, but this hopefully gives you an idea of the potential. I can explain what any of the given conditions or actions do. Let me know.
Awesome, this is very helpful. All good on the ‘nerd alert’