Bookkeeping Resources

6 Apps to Help you Record your Receipts for Self-Assessment

You probably know by now that you need to keep your business receipts so you can record your expenses for your self-assessed tax return. However, you’ve got them all saved up in a drawer or shoebox and are not sure what you need to do with them. Here are 6 apps I have reviewed that might just help you sort out and organise all your receipts and invoices.

Pile of Expense Receipts on Receipt Spike

Help me I have so many receipts all over the place and I don’t know what to do with them!

An app might just be the thing you need. In general, they all work the same way. They take a photo of your receipt and by the magic of technology convert the information into a digital record that makes recording the data in your accounts a lot easier as there is less data entry. As a bonus, you can now put that receipt in the bin, as the digital photo record is sufficient for HMRC. You will still need to keep these digital records for the required period of time – at least 5 years after 31st January submission deadline for the relevant tax year, but they won’t take up as much space as physical ones.

I took a look at and trialled some of the receipt apps on offer and have written up my thoughts to help you decide if they might help you organise and record all those paper receipts you accumulate and are not sure what to do with. There are a lot more apps out there that I expected, so I have chosen 6 to look at.

I just need to say before we continue, that I am not sponsored by any of these apps and these are my own opinions from using them. All links are just that, there are no affiliate links. They are in no particular order, except the order I reviewed them in.

Expensify

Expensify was originally designed with employers in mind who have employees out and about spending the business’ money. It allows the employee to take a photo of the receipt the moment it’s in their hands and then emails the details to a manager. They have now expanded their service to include sole traders and individuals as well. The app includes many features including mileage and expense rules.

You can set the app up to email yourself or your bookkeeper, which means they get the information without needing to ask you for it. It has an accompanying web-based app to manage your records and allow you to create reports.

They offer a 14-day free trial but starts at £3 per month after that.

Expensify was easy to sign up, you just need your email address. It takes a while to scan each receipt but does this in the background so you can take several photos and wait for it to process them. I haven’t tested it on a huge pile of receipts, so don’t know how many it can process simultaneously.

The app has a wealth of integrations including QuickBooks, Sage and Xero.

HubDoc

Hubdoc is designed as an all in one document collation centre. It collects things like receipts and bank statements from different sources and puts them all in one place. It makes collaborating with a bookkeeper/ accountant easy as it can be set up for shared access, and should you wish to change bookkeepers, then you can easily change who has access and they can view all your historical documents easily. It also has an accompanying web-based app to help you manage and organise your documents. In addition, everything is stored in the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about backups either.

It is one of the pricier apps at $20 per month, but it does do a lot more too.

The receipts app was easy to use, it’s also very easy to connect your bank account and the app will import all your bank statements.

1Tap Receipts

1Tap Receipts is an app developed with HMRC’s self-assessment in mind. It is easy to set up and has an easy navigational tutorial. You can scan single, multiple and double sided receipts, which are submitted for human verification. It then automatically categorises the receipt into the appropriate expense section so that at the end of the financial year, you can easily transfer the information directly to your self-assessment. It also lists what you are able to claim as an expense in each category as well as answering FAQs and linking to other helpful places on the HMRC website. In addition to this, you can enter your bookkeeper/ accountant’s code to easily share the information with them.

The app has 3 pricing options starting at £14.99 for 100 scans per year, which equates to £1.25 per month.

For UK based sole traders, I feel this is probably the most useful app for recording receipts, especially if you are using spreadsheets rather than bookkeeping software.

Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed is a great little app. It’s easy to set up and easy to use. It also links with Gmail, so you don’t have to manually email your invoices to the app – it finds them for you! In addition to this, it also has a feature to scan business cards and store the information, so you’ll never lose your networking contacts again.

They have three plans ranging in price from $29 – $99 per month, and you can try all of them for free.

There’s a whole host of other software that Shoeboxed integrates with, including Xero, Quickbooks, and Wave. I use Wave for my business accounts, so I trialled this too. It was easy to connect the Shoeboxed account to Wave and it automatically imported all the relevant receipts for me to work my bookkeeping magic. I had to manually adjust some of the information, as being American, it imported dates in mm-dd-yyyy format.

IQ Boxy

IQ Boxy now redirects to Veryfi. I haven’t used Veryfi, so am not able to share any opinions on this software. I will review this in due course and let you know what I think when I have. In the meantime, here are my thoughts on IQ Boxy.

I felt IQ Boxy was aimed at the more knowledgeable business owners with larger businesses. It wasn’t the simplest to get started with and did not have any obvious guidance/ tutorial and didn’t show you around the app like some of the others do. It did have one example receipt, but if you’re just getting started with bookkeeping and what it all means, then one example is not enough to help you understand.

It photographs receipts and other documents, but this is under the not quite so obviously labelled button of ‘Collect’ and once it had processed the receipt I photographed, I needed to manually add all the data, which I felt defeated the object of an app to do it for you.

The app does give you a lot more control with expense reporting as it has a very comprehensive set of expense reporting and mileage reporting tools. It also integrates with Xero, Quickbooks, Dropbox, Slack and Office 365.

The pricing plans start at ‘Free with annoying ads’ up to $19.99 per month. You can try all of the options for free.

Wave

Wave is a free online accounting software and has its own receipts app. This is really simple to use and doesn’t need a tutorial to explain. You sign in and it takes you straight to photographing your receipts. 

It takes a little while for the receipts to be processed and if anything is incorrect, you can easily amend it. If you have already set yourself up with a Wave account, it links directly with your account so you can amend things in the web-based app too.

It allows you to have more than one business listed and you can easily swap between them. This is great if you have more than one you need to keep track of (or are a bookkeeper like me as it links to accounts I’m collaborating with on Wave too, so I can easily see my clients receipts and amend things on their behalf).

It’s also completely free.

Choosing a Receipts App for You

If you’re not sure which of these apps would work for you here are a few things to think about:

  • How are you currently storing your receipts?
  • How are you recording your receipts?
  • How long does it take you to complete your self-assessment each year?
  • What would make completing your self-assessment easier for you?
  • Give an app a go, they often have a free trial period.

Have you tried any apps that help you with your bookkeeping? I’d love to know what you think. Let me know in the comments below or email me.

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