The Top 5 Document Scanners for Small Businesses

If your small business is ready to go paperless, a document scanner can help you digitize all your receipts and documents. Here are our top 5 favorites!

If your small business is ready to go paperless, you’re going to need a powerful document scanner to take you from hard copy-zero to digitized hero.

Some of the best digital scanners available today are single-function scanners that are designed specifically to turn documents, receipts, and business cards into editable, exportable, searchable data.

If you’re serious about going paperless, one of those dinky, multi-function scanner/printer/fax hybrids just won’t cut it. Top scanners are able to:

  • Detect document size

  • Scan large stacks of documents at once

  • Scan multiple pages per minute

  • Digitize data into exportable formats

  • Scan to third party programs like Shoeboxed, QuickBooks, and Google Drive

Here are our top 5 document scanners for small businesses that are in need of some serious scanning power.

1. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i (pictured above) is Fujitsu’s smallest, lightest, most powerful multi-page mobile scanner. Weighing in at just under 5 pounds, this model is perfect for business travel and off-site projects that require the power and efficiency of a desktop scanner without the bulk.

Mac and PC users can scan color and grayscaled documents at lightning-fast speeds – up to a dozen double-sided pages per minute. The ScanSnap intuitively detects the size of your paper document, making it easy to scan everything from business cards to bank statements.

In addition to allowing you to create one-click, searchable PDF scans, the ScanSnap makes it easy to scan to a variety of different cloud-based programs, including Evernote, SugarSync, Dropbox, Google Docs, and Salesforce CRM.

2. Visioneer Strobe 500

The Visioneer Strobe 500 Mobile Duplex Color Scanner with Docking Station is a multi-function scanner that serves as a powerful desktop unit and a lightweight travel scanner.

When used within its docking station, the Visioneer Strobe rivals the most powerful desktop scanners in terms of scanning speed and document feeding. But when business travels calls, this 7-pound powerhouse can be easily ejected from its docking station and used on-the-go thanks to its USB functionality.

The Visioneer is slightly heavier than the ScanSnap, but with an extra 3 pounds of weight comes additional scanning power: the feeder holds up to 20 documents at once and can scan up to 30 images per minute.

Another great function of the Visioneer is its ingenious function settings. By adjusting the settings of each button on the scanner, you can instantly scan documents to pre-set locations such as email, a specific folder on your computer, or your favorite web publishing program.

3. Xerox DocuMate 3115

The Xerox DocuMate 3115 is one of the most flexible scanners on the market. Whether you’re digitizing business cards or oddly-shaped photos, or working in the office or on the road, the DocuMate has you covered.

Like the Visioneer, the DocuMate comes with a docking station that lets you easily convert the desktop scanner to a mobile scanner. Its extra USB cable makes it possible to power the scanner without an AC adapter, making it easy to scan from absolutely anywhere.

The DocuMate also comes with Visioneer OneTouch software, which makes exporting scanned documents a breeze. There are 6 settings preconfigured for popular applications, but each one can be easily customized.

The best part? The DocuMate is able to deliver digital scans to just about any application in existence, as well as any device – scan documents to your hard drive, a cloud-based app, your smartphone, or your tablet.

4. Kodak ScanMate i940

The Kodak ScanMate i940 scanner is lightweight, functional, and USB-powered. Although it’s meant to be primarily a desktop scanner, its weight (5 pounds) and USB capability make it another surefire bet for scanning off-site if need be.

The ScanMate specializes in scanning every shape and size document – even plastic ID cards, embossed cards, and over-sized paper.

SmartTouch and NewSoft Presto! Bizcard software make it easy to manage contacts and sync business card scans with existing contact records.

You can also edit scanned images with power that rivals top image editing software – rotate and crop photos, adjust contrast and brightness, and take advantage of Kodak’s Perfect Page software to perfect each and every scan.

5. Xerox Mobile Wi-Fi Scanner

The Xerox Mobile Wi-Fi Scanner is a wireless, cordless, battery-powered scanner and the quintessential device for business travel and mobile scanning.

At just 2.8 pounds, it’s the lightest scanner on our list, with a design that’s managed to retain a fair amount of power even when compared with the larger desktop scanners.

In addition to being completely wireless, the Xerox Mobile scanner is able to scan up to 6 full pages per minute. That’s not quite as powerful as the Visioneer in terms of speed, but what this model lacks in power it makes up for in portability.

You scan up to 300 documents on a single battery charge,  and use the included Eye-Fi memory card to instantly beam scanned documents to any device or cloud-based application.

The wireless technology allows you to sync up to 32 different networks with your device. Any time you’re within range of one of those networks, all of your scanned documents are instantly sent to the destination of your choice.

All 5 of these document scanners are fantastic choices for small businesses looking to go paperless and turn hard copies into digital data.

When deciding which scanner is right for your company, prioritize in terms of power and portability. Do you need to scan large stacks of documents quickly? Then the Visioneer Strobe 500, Xerox DocuMate 3115, or Kodak ScanMate i940 might be best for you.

Are you constantly on the go and need to scan documents remotely? Then the Xerox Mobile Wi-Fi Scanner or Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i might be best for your small business.

Which document scanner are you currently using in your office?

Image via Amazon

Affiliate Disclosure: Some links in the article above are referral links and we may receive compensation for sending you the way of these scanning companies.

5 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for April 15th

Make tax season less stressful by using our top 5 ways to quickly and easily prepare your small business for April 15th – tax day! – this year.

As a small business owner, chances are you’re not only juggling multiple projects at any given moment, you’re probably wearing multiple hats as well. Be honest, haven’t there been days where you’ve served as your company’s marketing director, customer service rep, accountant and PR department, all within a few hours?

Automation is the key to getting your taxes done faster and with less of a headache. Here are our top 5 ways to quickly and easily prepare your small business for tax day this year.

1. Scan your receipts

First thing’s first – you need to ditch that mound of paper clutter that’s been taking up space on your desk. If you’re already a Shoeboxed user, you’re one step ahead! If not, consider signing up for a 30-day free trial and let us take care of all those receipts for you.

Shoeboxed lets you toss all of your receipts, bank statements, and any other paperwork that needs to be scanned into one of our famous Magic Envelopes for processing. Just throw everything in the envelope, toss the envelope in the mail, and then watch as your account is magically populated with digital data– and images of your scanned receipts!

Not only are all of your receipts scanned and digitized, they’re also searchable, editable and exportable, meaning you can create one-click expense reports based on receipts in certain tax categories.

2. Revisit your write-offs

You may think you know what you can and can’t deduct, but tax laws change every year. Be sure you’re up to date by checking out the IRS website, and think outside the box.

Did you remember to include any business-related apps you purchased for your smartphone or tablet? What about health insurances premiums paid out for employees, or yourself?

By spending a few minutes brushing up on this year’s deductions, you’ll be able to reduce the amount owed to the IRS, and even end up with a refund.

3. Use accounting automation software

Even if you have an accountant or tax professional, you still need accounting software. We like GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping (formerly Outright) and QuickBooks Online because they’re super easy to use and save you tons of time doing mind-numbing calculations. Accounting software will also save you money because your accountant won’t have to spend hours calculating receipt totals.

4. Link your accounts

Once you have automation software in place, it’s a good idea to link all of your business financial accounts within the application. Accounting software technology is so advanced, it can tell which of your purchases are deductible expenses! When you purchase office supplies, for instance, the software will automatically categorize that expense in the appropriate tax category.

But it only works if you link all of your accounts, so take a few minutes to link everything from your business checking account to PayPal. This way, you’ll get a comprehensive overview of the financial health of your small business, and it’ll be much easier to generate reports come tax time.

5. Categorize your receipts

Just as accounting software categorizes each transaction, Shoeboxed categorizes your receipts. This is done automatically, but when you have a receipt that’s illegible, it’s important to log into your account and manually categorize it.

Take a few minutes per day during the months of February and March to categorize your receipts, and you’ll be good to go long before April 15 rolls around.

What are you doing to prepare for tax day?

50 Ways to Go Paperless

Paper is so passe! Go paperless with these easy-to-implement hacks. In 2013, it’s time to go green or go home!

Paper is so passe! Go paperless at home and at the office (and especially the home office) with these easy-to-implement hacks. In 2013, it’s time to go green or go home!

1. Always ask for a digital receipt before the cashier or sales associate rings up your order. Many retailers now offer emailed receipts, and with your unique Shoeboxed email address, you’ll never have to compromise your privacy.

2. Esign your documents without printing anything out. Simply visit HelloSign to get started, and create legally-binding signatures from your desktop or smartphone.

3. Remove paper clutter by scanning your receipts with the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker. Simply snap a photo of each receipt with your phone’s camera and voila – it will be instantly digitized and uploaded to your Shoeboxed account.

4. Eliminate huge stacks of paper clutter with the Fujitsu ScanSnap receipt scanner, which scans up to 25 documents at a time.

5. Change your magazine and newspaper subscriptions from home delivery to online access only.

6. Sign up for monthly paperless billing for all vendors that offer it, such as your Internet provider and power company.

go-paperless-b

7. Move beyond receipts and begin scanning everything – in your Shoeboxed account, you can digitize and organize everything from business cards to bank statements.

8. Collaborate with colleagues via Google Drive and prevent the marked up paper printout. You can see edits made in real time and always revert back to previous versions of the document.

9. Digitize your entire wallet and leave the plastic at home. Lemon Wallet stores your credit card and membership information, allowing you to keep your information safe and secure at home.

10. Pay your employees with Zen Payroll and skip the paper paycheck.

11. Send electronic faxes without ever hitting the print button with HelloFax.

12. Include your home and business addresses on as many Do Not Mail lists as possible.

13. Download the smartphone app for your airline, and skip the boarding pass print out when you travel. Most carriers now offer the option of simply scanning a barcode on your phone when checking in for your flight.

14. Instead of paper tickets, use Eventbrite’s online ticketing service to attend and create events. Imagine attending a completely paperless conference where thousands of people were able to check in and get a receipt, all without a single scrap of paper!

15. Replace the paper towels in your office with cloth towels.

16. Grab a tablet and skip the bookstore. Save trees and precious office space when you opt for the digital versions of your favorite books.

17. Double check that your paperless billing option is truly paperless – are you still getting those annoying “This is not a bill” statements each month? Contact your service provider and request that all correspondence be electronic only.

18. Replace Post-It notes with white boards.

19. Or, make notes to yourself using your smartphone’s notepad application.

20. If your Kindle just isn’t cutting it, go paperless by visiting your local library. You’ll get to enjoy the weight of a real book in your hands, while Mother Earth will enjoy a greener planet.

21. Toss receipts and paper clutter in the Shoeboxed Magic Envelope and watch as your office goes from “hot mess” to “no stress!”

22. Bring a travel scanner with you when working from the road, and prevent paper buildup right from your hotel room.

23. Skip the hard copy – you probably don’t need it. Unless we’re talking about the deed to your house or car, a digital copy of your document will almost always suffice, even when it comes to your income taxes.

24. Back up your data on an external hard drive so you always have an “extra copy” without having to print any documents or photos.

25. Go paperless by scanning old photos and paper memorabilia that are collecting dust in your closets or spare bedroom. You can keep the memories alive by using an online digital scrapbook.

26. When purchasing electronics, recycle the included paper manual and download a PDF manual from the manufacturer’s website.

27. Use Dropbox to store and share documents online.

28. Opt out of prescreened credit card offers by visiting OptOutPrescreen.com

29. Shred old documents that may contain personal information, then be sure to recycle the paper leftovers.

30. Use a service like BackBlaze to backup your online data. This helps you go paperless by allowing you to store more of your documents in the cloud as opposed to your computer’s desktop or your actual desktop.

31. Purchase recycled toilet tissue for your office bathroom.

32. Use cloth towels instead of paper towels in the office break room and bathroom.

go-paperless-c

33. If you’re thinking of doing a direct mail marketing campaign, opt for an email blast instead. You can still create the design effect of an old-fashioned postcard without going through the hassle and expense of a paper printout.

34. Instead of printing, go paperless by creating a PDF document and storing it on your hard drive (or in the cloud!).

35. Store your medical records online with services like Microsoft HealthVault. Manage your records and those of your family without having to search for paper records or locate them within your home.

36. Convert your old journals, diaries and idea-filled notebooks into a blog or digital documents. You can scan each page and hire a freelance transcriber to type everything up. Once you’ve created this digital diary, you can add to it at sites like Live Journal or WordPress.

37. Use Wunderlist to manage your monster to-do list, and skip the legal pad. You can create themed lists and categories, and it’s really fun to check off each item and see it move to the bottom of the page within the application – you feel like you’re getting a lot done (and you are!).

38. Connect all of your cloud-based accounts with Glide for iOS. Convert files to different formats, sync all of your accounts and make sure you have access to files while you’re on the go. Glide helps you go paperless by making it incredibly easy to work within the cloud.

39. If you’re a Microsoft user, Skydrive allows you to save all of your documents within a single application, and work with Excel, Word or PowerPoint right from your smartphone.

40. Choose the print to PDF option when you find yourself wanting to print or save emails. You can also simply star the emails you’d like to save, label them, and/or archive them.

41. If you have sensitive documents that you’d like to store online, you can create an encrypted document that is password protected. Open source software like TrueCrypt allows you to do this without the need for printing or storing your documents locally.

42. Go paperless in every department – even the accounting department – with Xero. If you’re a small business owner, Xero’s easy interface makes sharing your finances with your accountant a breeze. Connect all of your bank accounts, allow your employees and clients to see real time updates, manage payments and invoices, and create gorgeous financial reports.

43. Part of going paperless is getting organized, and Manilla lets you do just that. Instead of logging in to account after account, checking balances and updating information, Manila lets you access everything in your life within a single dashboard.

44. Use Nitro to edit PDF documents and convert PDFs to other file formats. PDFs are the last frontier in the fight to go paperless – make your changes online and skip the print out!

45. Use the Shoeboxed Receipt and Mileage Tracker for iOS or Android to stay paperless on the go. When you launch the application, your phone’s camera will be poised and ready to snap a picture of your receipt. From there, your document is instantly beamed to your Shoeboxed account, where it is digitized, categorized and ready to be edited if need be.

46. Remove all pens and pencils from your workspace, and while you’re at it, remove all notebooks and pads as well! If there is no paper around, you’ll be forced to jot down notes, appointments and ideas within the online application of your choice.

47. When in doubt, take a picture – if you’re unsure about whether or not to save a receipt, photo or personal memento, snap a photo of both sides before tossing it in the recycle bin. If the item is financial in nature, you’ll have an IRS-approved digital document ready to go. If it’s personal, you’ll still be able to enjoy the memory without contributing to paper clutter.

48. Replace waiting room magazines and newspapers with eReaders and tablets.

49. Use electronic business cards, and digitize your existing paper business cards.

50. Use CardFlick to share and store contact information with colleagues and business associates. Once you’re connected to a contact within the application, you can call, email or message them directly without having to scroll through your phonebook. The incredible design features let each CardFlick user create a personalized, branded contact card that doubles as an electronic business card.

How will your office go paperless this summer?

photo credits: www.essexalliance.org, pdfscanner.org, www.apartmenttherapy.com