Anyone who has ever run a small business has experienced the tax-time nightmare of finding and organizing receipts. For every entrepreneurial dream, there's a pile of paper and electronic receipts to be sorted.
As small businesses become more mobile, so does bookkeeping. One solution is to use your smartphone to go paperless. A handful of receipt-tracking apps now offer new ways to track business expenses, allowing you to capture receipts and file them on the fly.
The apps fall into two categories: those from-third party providers such as Shoeboxed and OneReceipt, and others from the credit card issuers themselves. Chase's Jot app is designed to work with Ink business cards and ReceiptMatch is for American Express OPEN business cards. Both apps come in iPhone and Android versions that let you photograph receipts and tag them for tracking. They were developed in response to a common plight of small-business card holders: lack of time.
"Being tied to the back office has really become an issue for card members," says Doug Tabish, vice president and general manager of ReceiptMatch. "We wanted to make receipt-tracking as easy and flexible as possible."
Chase launched Jot in June 2013 to answer similar complaints. "One thing we hear from business owners consistently is that they hate being trapped in the back office," says Brent Reinhard, general manager of Ink at Chase. "Small businesses are becoming more and more mobile, and owners are out trying to grow their businesses -- meeting clients, making purchases. Jot was conceived as a way to allow small-business owners to get out of the back offices and really focus on growing their business."
Among other things, mobile receipt-tracking allows you to store receipts securely in the cloud. Small businesses are advised to keep business-related receipts for up to seven years for tax purposes. Having a good expense-tracking system in place not only helps with tax filing, it can also help you analyze and grow your business.
"A lot of small businesses grow quicker than expected," says Tabish. "Owners need to keep improving products and services and customer experience, but there's this record-keeping that becomes more and more stressful. They realize they can't do it all themselves. That's where we thought we could alleviate the burden."
Check out the slide show below for a look at how the tracking apps compare:
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