Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Oh, (Scan)Snap!

That's what my daughter tells me when someone has gotten the best of me (again). But in this case, I have gotten the best of something else. 15 years of paperwork! Collecting dust on my shelves, in boxes and overflowing filing cabinets. Poof! Gone. In 3 days. How?

I had emailed my tax person Ron last week and was going to invite him over for a bonfire and s'mores as I did away with years of paperwork. What else could I do with these papers? And then as luck and timing would have it, I had run across an ad on Evernote that spoke about a hardware/software bundle to relieve the burden of all the paperwork. And it spoke about the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. Oh. My. Gosh. I don't think I have really fallen for a piece of hardware like this before.

Of all the computer joints in all the towns in all the world, she was delivered into mine. By Fedex. She was small and sleek, black with faux chrome accents and a saucy blue LED that just lit up her face. She was demure, belying her speed and intelligence. But man, went she went to work, she went to town! I fell for her right there and then, fell hard. No way was I ever gonna let her go. She could manage my documents any time.

This little baby, combined with Paperless from Mariner Software, software to organize your scans, made doing (non)paperwork almost fun. Almost.

It's voracious, consuming pages of color and b/w documents via the sheet feeder, scanning, converting to text and saving. A ten page document is completed and saved in Paperless in about 30 seconds. You can setup the scanner with defaults, like scan to an application and scan and convert front and back. Once in Paperless, you can title your document, place it in a category, store it in a folder, etc. Plus the application reminds you to backup your resulting database of stored info which I do using my DropBox account, so I always have a version off site, in addition to my Time Machine and Cash Plan backups (you can never have too many backups).

What kind of documents can it scan? Pretty much anything you throw at it, from financial reports to the smallest of purchase receipts. And Paperless can usually identify the title, date, amount and even basic document type as well as remembering repeated document sources like the grocery or your investment reports! After using it for a couple of years, it has rarely eaten a document fed through the sheet feeder, no matter how crumpled or folded and the resulting scan is sometimes even better than the original. Searching become a breeze when the contents are all OCR’d and organized to your liking. Best of all, you can take those paper documents and toss them. My yearly tax folders are now half the size they used to be because I no longer have all those receipts in there.

Want to clean up your act? Get one of these. I got mine with Paperless, which you can purchase for a discounted fee through Mariner when you buy the iX500. The cost of the scanner is $450.00 which not only is well worth it, but tax deductible as a business expense. Bonus!