What Are Our Daily Receipt Papers Made Of? 3 Common Types of Receipt Paper

Have you ever wondered what your receipts are made of? Did you know that some types of receipt paper might be harmful to your health and the environment?

In this post, we’ll go through the most common kinds of paper used for receipts and discuss the top health and environmental issues regarding these materials.

Let’s go!

3 common types of receipt paper 

What kind of paper is used to make receipts? 

There are three popular types of receipt paper currently on the market: thermal paper, wood-free paper, and carbonless paper. Let’s have a look at each type of receipt paper. 

1. Thermal paper 

Thermal paper is very different from the usual white paper we use to write or draw on. What makes thermal paper special is a chemical coating on the surface of one side (also called the thermal side). When exposed to heat, the coating turns black and imprints an image or text. In other words, thermal receipt paper doesn’t need ink, ribbons, or toners – it relies on the heat-sensitive pigments in the chemical coating to generate receipt details. That’s also why these papers are called ‘thermal’! 

Thermal papers have a bright and smooth coating layer, so you can tell if your receipt paper is thermal or not by touching its surface. Another tip to identify thermal receipt paper is to scratch your receipt’s printable side. If it leaves a dark mark on your receipt, it is thermal receipt paper. Scratching produces enough heat to cause a chemical reaction and generate an imprint.  

A heat source near a thermal receipt paper

Source: Wikipedia 

Thermal paper is the most widely used type of receipt paper. You likely come across it daily as debit and credit card machines, ATMs, and POS systems all issue thermal receipt papers. For businesses that still use fax machines, those use thermal paper too. Thermal paper is popular amongst businesses because it’s cost-effective. There’s no need to pay for expensive ink cartridges to print receipts.

See also:

2. Traditional bond paper (wood-free paper)

Traditional bond paper, also known as wood-free paper, is a must-have item at many offices. Take a look in your office’s printer tray – there’s a pretty high chance there’s some A4-size bond paper in there!

When comparing bond receipt paper to thermal receipt paper, it’s easy to see the significant difference. Neither side of the bond paper has a coating chemical layer, so its surface looks less bright and smooth than thermal paper. As a result, the method of printing text on bond paper is different too. The nozzles of the printer’s printhead release liquid ink onto particular places on the bond paper as it goes through the machine. The paper absorbs the ink to produce receipt text in those exact areas.

3. Carbonless paper

Another option for printing receipts is to use carbonless paper. Carbonless paper, sometimes also called “No Carbon Required” (NCR) paper, comes in many formats, depending on the number of copies you need. However, it typically contains two or three-ply, and the top copy often goes to customers while business owners keep the rest for documentation purposes. 

A carbonless receipt paper roll consists of three layers: coated on the back (CB), coated on the front (CF), and coated both back and front (CFB). Carbonless paper is coated with small chemical capsules that enable it to generate copies without a carbon paper sheet. There are two types of coats: the back coat and the front coat. When someone presses or writes on the back coat, it reacts using minute capsules of ink. The ink capsules explode when the page is pressed, leaving a mark on the page below. Because these capsules are so small, they generate an exact replica of the writing on the top sheet. The front coat is constructed of a reactive clay layer that interacts with the ink to leave a lasting imprint.

Source: NextDay Paper

Is receipt paper bad for your health and the environment? 

According to Chicago Health, approximately 93% of thermal paper receipts contain hormone-disrupting chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) or bisphenol S (BPS), which our bodies can absorb when we touch the receipts. The chemicals have been shown to be harmful to reproductive systems in humans and animals and are related to obesity and attention disorders. You can find more information in the following studies:

Additionally, to create paper receipts each year, the U.S. uses 12.4 million trees, 250 million gallons of oil, and 13 billion gallons of water. It generates 1.5 billion pounds of waste and 4 billion pounds of CO2, according to the non-profit organization Green America’s research Skip the Slip (2018). What makes thermal receipt papers more problematic to the environment is that they cannot technically be recycled, as their chemicals would contaminate other recyclable paper products. 

Let’s go paperless! 

What can you do to reduce your exposure to thermal receipt papers? An easy way is to go digital. If you can ask for an e-invoice through email, go for it! Otherwise, if the business only offers paper receipts, you can use the Shoeboxed receipt scanner app (for free) to digitize it within seconds. Then, you don’t have to keep and handle paper receipts anymore! All the important data you need from the receipts are securely stored on your devices, minimizing your contact with receipt paper. With many other great features, Shoeboxed can also help you organize receipts in the best way possible! 

Try Shoeboxed right now for free! 

Best Ways to Store Your Receipts and Keep Them Organized

Are you frustrated with the piles of receipts taking up your desk space? Have you ever felt stressed when you couldn’t find an important receipt? Or have you ever lost money just because you threw away your past receipts? It doesn’t have to be like this!

This article will share the best ways to store your receipts effectively, so you’ll never have to worry about them! 

Why should you store and organize your receipts?  

Do I really need to store my receipts? 

This question has probably popped up in your mind many times. You may think once a transaction is successful, there’s no reason to hang on to its receipt.  

But, the answer is yes! Here are the top three reasons why you should store your receipts and keep them organized: 

  1. To get ready for the tax season 

As a business owner, it’s in your best interest to lower your taxable income and increase your potential for a tax refund. The good news is most of your business expenses qualify as deductions with the IRS. However, the IRS will want to see receipts and other related documents to verify that your declared expenses were truly spent for business purposes. That means no receipt, no tax refund! 

See also: Understanding the IRS’s Tax Underpayment Penalty and How to Avoid It.

  1. To reimburse expenses correctly 

Often your employees have to use their own money to pay for something on behalf of your company. They then fill in an expense report to get reimbursement. How can you verify if their claims are genuine or not? Receipts can help you! They let you know exactly when and where the transaction took place. Most importantly, receipts tell you the exact amount you need to compensate. This prevents fraud and unwanted disputes in your workplace. 

  1. To stay on top of your spending 

Sticking to your budget is not an easy job. One effective way to do so is to accurately maintain records of every transaction. By doing this, you can have a clear vision of how much you have spent, what to cut out, and which expenses were not worth the money. Consequently, your overall cost and cash flow management will also become more efficient. 

Receipts are indispensable items to ensure your recordings are correct. They are solid supporting evidence for every bookkeeping entry, providing error-free financial reports and helping you stay in control of your expenses. 

See also: How To Track Business Expenses 15 Best Tips & Tools.

How do you store receipts? 

Now that you understand the importance of keeping your receipts, we will show you the best ways to store them. 

There are two common approaches to storing your receipts: traditional and digital. We will go through each method in detail, and hopefully, you will find the solution you are looking for! Let’s go! 

Storing your receipts traditionally 

Traditionally here means you want to collect and organize the paper copies of your original receipts. Here is what you may want to do: 

  1. Buy stationery organizers 

Buying stationery organizers to store your receipts is never a bad investment. File folders, storage cabinets, tab dividers, binders, sheet protectors, colored pens, etc., are all great tools to keep your paper receipts organized. 

A binder is the most suitable choice if you don’t have many receipts. Place sheet protectors in the binder, then slide the receipts into the protectors. If you have a lot of receipts to keep, get storage cabinets.

  1. Categorize your receipts 

Create a system to sort different kinds of receipts. It’s best to categorize based on the type of expense. For example, keep your utility receipts in one separate folder and office supplies in another. Inside your utility receipts folder, you can create subfolders like gas, electricity, water, etc. 

This will save you lots of time when filing taxes because your tax form breaks down the expenses section into different sub-categories, too. 

Consider adding numerical or colored codes to each receipt to classify expenses (e.g., using a prefix of 111 or using the color red to signify utility expenses). Placing the receipts in chronological order is also highly recommended! All these extra steps can quicken your process of categorizing and finding receipts.  

  1. Avoid piling up your receipts  

Schedule a convenient, regular time to sort your receipts. If you usually accumulate a large number of receipts every month, you may want to spend some time every Friday afternoon to go through your receipts. If you have a small volume of receipts, you can wait until the end of each month. 

Regardless, don’t put the task off and let your receipts pile up!

Storing your receipts digitally  

If you want to leverage technology to store your receipts, Shoeboxed is your best option. Shoeboxed stores your receipts and saves you valuable time. 

Just scan your paper receipts, and the Shoeboxed app will automatically extract all of the important data and categorize them. A team of data experts will verify your extracted data and make immediate corrections if there is an error. Your newly categorized receipt data is then available to check and search anytime, anywhere you want.  

Super easy, right? Quick, secure, and accurate; Shoeboxed definitely changes the game in how businesses store receipts. 

Final thoughts 

Storing receipts and keeping them organized is essential for business expense management. Whether you choose to use traditional or digital methods, make sure you always keep tabs on your receipts. 

And if you want to go digital and save time and hassle, click HERE to save 25% off all Shoeboxed plans for a limited time! 

What You Should Know about Operating Activities

Operating activities are the tasks and duties a business has to perform on an ongoing basis to earn an income. They are the core activities of a business and as a result, they affect the cash flow coming in and out, and determine the business’ net income. 

In today’s article, we’ll discuss the types of operating activities, what to include in operating activities, and how operating activities and the cash flow statement are related. 

What are the types of operating activities?

Operating activities are directly associated with a business’s various functions, such as manufacturing, selling, marketing, etc. Here are the types of operating activities:

Revenue-generating activities: Generating revenue is one of  the chief goals of a business; therefore, the majority of business activities are activities that produce income. There are two primary activities that bring revenue to the business: selling products and providing services.

Marketing and advertising activities: These types of activities refer to your business’ actions regarding the promotion and advertising of goods and services. For example, you could hire a graphic designer to create promotional labels or packages. Or, if you want to push the promotions of your products, you’d need to hire a digital marketer to run a new ad campaign. 

Administration activities: Administrative activities are tasks related to maintaining a business. These duties vary widely from workplace to workplace but most often include tasks such as purchasing materials, human resources, and basic accounting. 

Maintenance activities: Maintenance activities are carried out regularly in order to keep your office neat, tidy, and functional. These activities include cleaning, visual inspection, functional tests, lubrication, measurement of operating quantities, and oil tests. 

Customer service activities: Customer service is important to any business as it solidifies the relationship between you and your customers, which results in greater loyalty and more sales. Customer service activities include the support you provide via email, web, text message, and social media. 

What to include in operating activities?

Operating activities are directly associated with a business’ principal goal: to sell its products or services. Through operating activities, businesses are able to generate income and make a profit. Therefore, these activities relate to transactions that affect net income.

The operating activities that result in cash inflows are:

  • Cash receipts from sales
  • Sales of shares
  • Income earned from investment
  • Settlements of lawsuits and insurance claims
  • Collection of accounts receivable
  • Supplier refunds

The operating activities that result in cash outflows are:

  • Employee payments
  • Supplier payments
  • Tax payments
  • Refunds to customers
  • Settlements of fines and lawsuits
  • Interest to creditors
  • Equipment purchase
  • Interest payment on loans and dividends

Operating activities and the cash flow statement

The cash flows from operating activities are one of the most important elements of the cash flow statement. Cash from operating activities is the money generated from the business’ core operations. It is distinct from the cash flows derived from investing and financing activities. 

In contrast to cash from operating activities, cash from investing activities comes from sales and purchase of equipment and assets (tangible or intangible) and other capital expenditures. Cash from financing activities is the money your business gains from the procurement and repayment of short and long-term debt, issuance of equity, purchase/sale of treasury stock, payment of dividends, etc.

The cash flow can be either positive or negative. Having a positive cash flow is a good sign meaning that your business is thriving. On the other hand, having a negative cash flow might indicate that your business is facing trouble. To get an accurate picture of a company’s cash flow from operating activities, accountants add depreciation charges, losses, decreases in current assets, and increases in current liabilities to net income. 

Business managers, owners, and investors review a company’s cash flow from operating activities separately from the other two components of cash flow to see the true source of a company’s money. A positive cash flow from operating activities for a continuous period means the company is going in the right direction and thriving. This is more important than a positive cash flow from investing or financing activities, which are one-time gains from selling assets or stocks. 

Read also: What You Need to Know about Operating Cash Flow Ratio

The bottom line

Operating activities are the business’ core activities to generate income. Operating activities result in operating activities cash flow, the most important element of the cash flow statement.

If you’re interested in entrepreneurship stories, business tips, or productivity tools, find more posts like this on Shoeboxed. Shoeboxed is a cloud-based software that helps businesses turn their piles of paper receipts into digital data. With Shoeboxed, you can do many things such as scan, store and organize receipts; manage business expenses; store business cards and even track mileage for business travelers. It’s simple to install and easy to use.