By Saeed Gharnagh
Physical receipts can be a hassle. Between tracking purchases, correctly storing and sorting receipts, and finding them again can be a headache for many. Leaving an extended paper trail, whether you’re a small business owner or everyday individual, can make expenses more difficult to manage.
Small businesses usually store copies of their receipts and expenses for years at a time. This means filing cabinets packed full of endless invoices and small papers that are bound to get lost — and a pain to search through. Physically storing and tracking purchases can become even more of a hassle during tax season when you need to find that one specific receipt but end up drowning in years of paper. Keeping track of receipts can often be complicated by lack of education, filing techniques, and awareness of tools to help.
Tracking Receipts in a Digital World
The financial services industry has seen massive growth in digitalization over the years, especially surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology. With various evolutions of services after the financial crisis of 2008, financial technology providers have made it their goal to make tracking receipts easier. These services allow for more convenient tracking of documents, such as invoices and receipts that most businesses store over time.
AI and machine learning has played a critical role in development of the financial technology boom helping tackle issues surrounding budgeting and expense tracking. These allow for automation, segmentation, predictions and helping individuals and businesses focus on operations — not finding that receipt from three years ago.
Benefits of AI and Machine Learning
When we hear about AI and machine learning, some may be skeptical. These terms can be intimidating for those who aren’t familiar with how they work and what they do with your information. Instead of thinking of AI and machine learning as a technology overrunning the human process, it’s more accurate to see AI as a service that can help streamline lengthy tasks, lessen administrative hassle, and diminish time consuming inputs. These services allow for businesses and individuals to gain control of their finances through easier expense documentation.
AI technology such as Optical Character Recognition (OCR) allows for some of these platforms to read data from simple scans of written information on receipts. Not only does this allow for convenience, but also can result in more accurate data reading due to eliminating human error.
Tech giants such as Google are continuing to invest in these technologies in order to develop natural AI language processing that can read any type of document, invoice and/or article. Services like these are on the leading edge of providing utmost convenience to consumers, whether in a business setting or everyday life.
In addition to Google’s efforts, there are apps available in the marketplace and Apple store that allow for users to access these digitization services on their mobile devices, which ensures that business owners can have financial tracking and storage at their fingertips. These apps capture receipts through your phone camera and all you store them on your phone or share with other devices such as a laptop.
These apps, such as Qeepem, have been able to help business owners during the pandemic and beyond keep track of their financial footprint. Through tracking of online shopping and paper receipts, it makes documenting expenses easier as we navigate this new paperless world. Apps like this not only make spending and budgeting easier, but they can help users regain control of their finances.
With advances in application options, services now offer the ability to predict budget and spending trends based on previous activity. This allows for easier ability to track trends and become aware of where money is going. Overall, this allows for users to spend more time running their business or living everyday life instead of being glued to Excel spreadsheets.
Automated services may sound more daunting than paper tracking for some, but the longtime benefits are too cumbersome to ignore. As we shift towards this new world of digitization, business owners and individuals will continue to see improvements in financial tracking options.
About the Author
As Chief Executive Officer and President of Rules Cube, Saeed is a digital transformation expert and business process innovation champion. Throughout his career, Saeed has led 30+ successful Pega implementations by working at Pegasystems Inc., TD Bank, and RBC. Among his biggest accomplishments, Saeed has designed an internal system that currently supports over 300 process and 70,000 users at RBC using Pega Platform. Saeed has subsequently worked for 8 years as an executive consultant advising different Canadian financial institutions on their digital transformation strategy. In 2013, Saeed founded Rules Cube, a privately-held, global consulting business with the vision of bridging the gap between business and technology by guiding clients through their digital transformation journeys. Saeed is closely involved in the deployment of the company’s projects as part of his commitment to client success. With the new development of the AI and machine learning app, Qeepem, Saeed hopes to continue to give financial control back to consumers and streamline financial tracking.