Using camera to input receipts

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  • Idea
  • Updated 2 months ago
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Since the database can now be exported, and additional feature which would be useful would be to be able to attach an image(s) to a transaction, and to export this as well. This may be getting beyond the initial scope of the project, but it would be nice to be able to create an electronic image of the receipt at the time the transaction is done.

This could also be used for security purposes, as one could take a picture of the serial numbers of a high ticket item.
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Jim

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Posted 9 years ago

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John Vander Stel

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I was surprised and actually alarmed that some have requested automated OCR reading of smart phone pictures of receipts.

I too am deeply interested in Goodbudget's smart phone app offering the user the ability to take a picture of the receipt from within the app. However, it would be much more difficult for Goodbudget to use the results of an OCR reading. And, much more importantly, OCR reading of small receipt pictures taken with a smart phone in less than ideal settings would be very error prone.

Under those circumstances, OCR reading of those pictures could not provide the accuracy Goodbudget's users actually need, so it is my recommendation that the use of OCR reading of those pictures would actually be a hinderance and a liability to Goodbudget.

It would be a big plus for Goodbudget users to be able to actually view the actual pictures of receipts for the purposes of visually verifying accuracy, safeguarding those receipts from loss and providing efficient organization of those essencial records.

Just my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

John Vander Stel
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jbtibor

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Why are you alarmed of an optional feature? If you don't like it don't use it. I myself don't use many of the features but I don't have any problem others using it.

I agree that it would be foolish for GB to implement their own receipt scanning feature. However creating an expense from a picture of a receipt would be extremely useful. I.e. I go shopping, exit the shop, take the picture of receipt and later when using my laptop I enter the details using the picture of receipt what is attached to expense entry and is displayed when I edit the expense. I already take a picture of receipt with my phone but this doesn't create the expense in GB and it doesn't save the location of transaction.

GB wouldn't have to provide disk space either, there are so many free online storages they could link to (Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive and others).

Also it would be really useful if GB would open their API so that people can link receipt scanning apps to their GB account. I use expensemagic.com what isn't scanning but people are typing receipt details so it's almost 100% accurate (only almost because people make mistakes too). They have an API i.e. can save receipts to Dropbox and it would be really simple to create a service what automatically saves the receipts processed by expensemagic.com to Goodbudget (could even be an action on ifttt.com). We're in the age of computers it's silly that I have to type my receipts and bank statements into an app.

The sad reality is that there was no real development in Goodbudget for the past 2-3 years. There was this useless rebranding but no useful changes were made.
The biggest mistake is that the API is not open to public (it exists, the mobile apps are using it). API would allow other services to be integrated with GB making it even more useful. Plugins for website would be very useful too i.e. would allow more charts to be added by users.
GB looks like a project abandoned by its creators. Going open source could be a good idea too, I'm sure there are many GB users who are developers and would spend some time to fix bugs and add new features.
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Tim

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Taking a picture of a receipt, fine. But OCR? That'd be so frustrating to use due to inaccuracies that it's not even worth implementing. It needs to be 99.9% accurate or it's not good enough. And it solves for a problem that doesn't really exist. It takes the same amount of time to line up the camera on the receipt than it does to tap on the list of vendors (saved from previous location data), ensure the category is still correct, and enter the amount manually.
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jbtibor

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@Tim You might create one expense entry per receipt, but I usually do more and I'm sure many others do the same. I.e. a department store/supermarket receipt has entries from many different categories (envelopes) so if I'd add all to the same the reports would be skewed. I don't see what single envelope I could use for a receipt what has food, car items, clothes, gardening and who knows what other items. Same applies to petrol receipts, almost each time contains other items too (usually food) so if I'd add all to car envelope the car money envelope would become incorrect. And again, if something is frustrating for you don't use it is that simple. Might be useful for others.
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Dragons

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This could help with cashback sites like quidco where its only available for certain departments from stores or their websites
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Tim

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I completely agree with John V. And for what it's worth, I gave up on this concept when I decided to go essentially paperless with everything else. I'm using a Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 and AmazonBasics micro-shredder and both have been phenomenal. I throw the receipts in a box and do them en masse about once a quarter, which takes an hour or so. OCR takes longer than just looking at it with your eyes and entering it (it auto-categorizes anyway, etc).

With this, I don't have any filing cabinets, everything's backed up to the cloud (CrashPlan), and everything's in one place. I have no need to see a receipt from GoodBudget (I imagine most others don't either).. only a backup somewhere for future reference, and this system works great.
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misharim

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Goodbudget can partner with Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and the other offerings which have an API which you can link with the application and use for storage of the reciept image.

I think Evernote is particularly suitable for this task.
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Becky Huang, Official Rep

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Hi everyone,

We're definitely reading in on your conversation regarding receipt photo storage options here at Goodbudget HQ.

Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts--they're helpful for us as we consider the options. We don't have anything to share at this time, but will definitely update this thread when we do.
(Edited)
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Jon Morgan

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Hi Becky, just wondering if you've please got anything you can share regarding this feature yet?
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Becky Huang, Official Rep

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Hi Jon,

We don't have anything to announce regarding this feature right now. Feel free to check out our Roadmap to see what we're working on: https://goodbudget.com/roadmap/
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overclock

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This idea sounds great but the problems are:

1. Long receipts. Multiple pictures per receipt would be required.
2. Storage. There are several options already suggested.
3. More and more stores are doing email receipts. Emailed receipts are the wave of the future. This will make this feature obsolete.

Speaking of #3 I need to setup a separate gmail account to have receipts emailed to me.
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Becky Huang, Official Rep

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Good points! These are things we'd definitely have to keep in mind--thanks for sharing.
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Deauna

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I thought this would be a good option, but after reading some of the responses here, it would make more sense to use Evernote, Google Drive or Dropbox for saving and archiving receipts. I do that already with my taxes.

What I WOULD like to see is an option to mark items as cleared in the mobile app. Also, a more intuitive way to categorize charges.
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John Vander Stel

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Hi All,

I've had a change of heart about this subject.

In actual practice, pictures taken with an Android phone can vary widely in quality due to stability, lighting and other environmental factors, I have finally decided that taking a simple picture of receipts with a cell phone was not be adequate for me because it was impossible to read some of them.

I looked around on the net and found a simple battery operated form feed scanner that scans straight to a micro SD card in it's slot. It's called Magic InstaScan by VuPoint. I got it for less than $30 and it's been working like a charm!

I simply feed my receipts into it and it stores all of them safe and sound on it's removable SD card.

On the first of each month I simply rename that main folder in the format "DEC2014" and this offers all of the month's receipts in date time order. I then create the original folder again with the original name. This keeps all receipts orderly and easy to find. It works like a charm and is so easy. :-)

I've had my inexpensive, but very solidly made scanner for 4 months now in my living room on the end table next to my easy chair and I would never go back to storing physical receipts ever again. :-)

Just my 2 cents, for what it's worth....

John Vander Stel
Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Pat

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Well, I have not had a change of heart!  My company uses Concur for all expense reporting and find the camera capture incredibly easy and useful.

I enter the basic information, very similar to Good Budget, and then snap a picture of the receipt.  I'm done.  Everything is filed and stored together for eternity (well a long time anyway).

I don't have to hold on to the receipts and remember to scan them in at a later date.  The convenience is fantastic.

Patrick Connelly
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Tony

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I think that receipts SHOULD be attached via dropbox or other free service.  I also use my phone to take receipts and attach them to OneNote for business purposes.   The cell phone cameras are mostly pretty good these days, and should be adequate.
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Tony

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This is something that I've been looking for. Unfortunate that the comments are 2-3 years old without action.

I love goodbudget but the only thing that I would change for is a company that saves receipts too. You could even interface with Dropbox's API or copy.com or onenote or any of the thousands of free online storage places.
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Nate Duker

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Just wanted to second this idea of being able to attach a photo. I would like to take photos of high ticket items for possible return/warranty purposes. Also, I enter in loans where I bought something for someone else. A while down the road they may not remember or disagree on the price or something. Would be nice to have photo evidence. Also, for things like car maintenance, I would be able to have all the records right there with my expenses that I am already tracking.
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Tony

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I switched to mvelopes which has bank connection and matching and also has receipt capabilities. I like the interface of Goodbudget more, but mvelopes has much more functionality.
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Karisa Russell, Official Rep

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Hi Nate, 

Thanks for adding your voice and letting us know why this would be helpful for you. I've added your comments to our tracker. 

Unfortunately, this isn't something that we're working on at this time. But, I'll be happy to update this thread if and when we decide to work on this.

Thanks 
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Kimberly Rodgers

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Please work on this!
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randomoasis

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I just need to upvote this again. As someone who is an independent contractor, all of my receipts are very important, and I HATE paper. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make this feature.


You can imagine me literally on my knees begging if it will help.

(I mean, seriously guys, we’ve been asking for this for nearly a decade....)
(Edited)
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John Vander Stel

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The ability to record actual receipts would be great, whether it is stored on GoodBudget's servers or is stored somewhere else, but for tax purposes, receipts should be kept for a full 7 years. 

Currently, I am using a simple and very inexpensive scanner (VuPoint MAGIC Instascan portable scanner with a cheap 2G SD card for approximately $50) to scan all of my receipts at home.  It sits, indiscreetly on my end table in the living room without a cord, ready to quickly scan my receipts while I'm entering my purchases into GoodBiudget.  It works great and the date of the scan file allows a really easy way to quickly find and print the receipt I'm looking for if I ever need an actual copy.  A printed copy of a receipt is acceptable even for the IRS, so its efficient, inexpensive, high quality and simple.  

I no longer have to store boxes and boxes of actual receipts for 7 years since it is all safe and secure on a tiny SD card inside that inexpensive portable scanner. :-)

This is my suggested solution to the problem until GoodBudget actually offers an included way to take a picture of the receipt.  I've found that receipts scanned with a simple inexpensive portable scanner come out much more readable since any questionable quality of the lighting can be ruled out as an inherent risk to the quality of the picture.  Cheers!
(Edited)
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Chris Fischer

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Ironically this forum allows adding images to posts