Accounting
7 min read

The Best Receipt Scanner Apps for Small Business Owners [2024 Guide]

By Haley Davidson

Founder & Content Strategist, Gaia Content

If you're looking for a way to ditch that drawer full of paper receipts and *finally* get on top of your small business spending, a receipt scanning app can help. 🙌

Receipt scanner apps are exactly what they sound like: they let you digitize your paper receipts so that you can easily keep a copy for your bookkeeper, accountant, and yourself.

You can also use receipt scanning apps to manage employee expenses—these apps make it easier for your team to upload meal, travel, and other kinds of business receipts. That means you can spend less time chasing down receipts, and more time growing your business.

Ready to start using a receipt scanner app? Here’s a quick breakdown of the absolute best receipt scanner apps for small business owners: 

Receipt scanner app

Cost

Best for…

Zoho Expense

Free plan for small businesses, up to $9/user for larger businesses

Business owners who already use other Zoho apps and features

QuickBooks Online

$24 for initial “EasyStart” plan

Business owners looking to expand their QuickBooks usage and make the most out of their plan

Expensify

Free up to 25 scans, $4.99/month for small businesses otherwise

People who want receipt scanning to be the main feature of their platform

Wave

$8/month or save with a yearly plan for $72/year

Business owners looking for a mobile app with great capabilities and multiple features

Neat

$200/year

Those looking for an all-in-one platform that includes receipt scanning as a feature

Keep reading for a deep dive into each of these apps! 

What is a receipt scanner app?

A receipt scanner app is a mobile app for your phone that uses OCR technology to create digital receipts from the original paper receipts.

OCR stands for “Optical Character Recognition”. Essentially, the technology takes a picture of the text and makes it readable to machines, allowing you to search through the image’s text as if it were typed up in a Google Doc. 🤓

Receipt scanner apps are becoming more and more common among small business owners. Freelancers, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between are using this technology to stay on top of expenses and simplify bookkeeping.

How to use a receipt scanning app

When it comes to using receipt scanning apps, the process as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Get ready🚦

After paying for your item(s), collect your receipt. Make sure that it’s correct in terms of the date, payment amount, and merchant name.

Flatten out the receipt and make sure it’s on a clean, preferably dark background. 📏

2. Take a picture 📸

Give your receipt scanner app permission to access your camera before using it to take a photo of your receipt within the app. 📷

If you’re in a darker area, make sure to have the flash on so that the paper is illuminated. Follow the guidelines provided within the app to get all the necessary parts of the receipt in the picture. 🔦

Snap your photo and feel your worries melt away! 😊

3. File away! 🗃

Depending on the app you use, you may have the option to sort your receipt, label it, or tag it with a keyword to help you find it later. 🏷️

Everyone’s organizational preferences are different, so organize your receipts within your chosen app in a way that’s easy to remember for you.

How do receipt scanner apps simplify expense management? ✍️

Regardless if your receipts are digital or physical, it’s important to keep them.

By keeping your receipts organized, you’ll be better equipped to generate expense reports and see exactly where your money is going.

Additionally, if you’re ever audited or need help with accounting from a professional accountant, having valid records of your purchases will speed up the process. 📋

Receipts are also great for tax season. With organized and digitized receipts, it’ll be much easier to keep track of your write-offs, reimbursements, and tax deductions. 📝

There are many reasons to go digital with receipts too!

By digitizing your receipts, you’re less likely to lose them. Imagine leaving your binder or file of receipts somewhere while traveling - just like that, months of spending records are gone forever! 😣

Plus, cloud-based receipt scanner apps offer the additional bonus of not losing all of your records if you delete the app or lose your phone. ☁️

What makes a good receipt scanner app? 🤔

There are several features you should look out for when choosing a good receipt-scanning app. Let's take a closer look at each of them.

1. Ease of use 👍

The best receipt scanner apps are easy and simple to use. This element means different things to different people, so it’s recommended that you try out your app first before taking the plunge and uploading all of your past receipts at once.

The best apps combine functionality with aesthetics, making them easy to look at and use at the same time. If you can’t tell what all of the buttons or features mean or do, it may not be the right app for you.

2. Price 💲

The prices of these receipt scanner apps will vary. Keep in mind that sometimes, apps have a free plan—but the best features could be locked behind a paywall. Double-check that your app has the features you need at the price you want.

3. Cloud storage and other features ☁️

Features such as cloud storage, custom label creation, the ability to categorize, and integrations with accounting software depend on the app you use. Take some time to explore the different apps listed below and see which one offers the features you need.

4. Scanning capabilities 📱

The best apps for receipt digitizing can scan receipts efficiently and accurately. If you find that your app is constantly making mistakes or takes several minutes to upload one receipt at a time, it’s probably not the right fit.

Top 5 receipt scanner apps for small businesses in 2024 🏆

Ready to choose the best receipt scanner app for your small business? We've compiled a list of the top 5 receipt scanner apps in 2024 to make your search easier.

These apps have been reviewed based on their usability, price, additional features, and scanning capabilities. Read on to find the best choice for your unique needs and budget!

1. Zoho Expense 🧾

Zoho - The Best Receipt Scanner Apps for Small Business Owners - Relay

Zoho Expense is an all-encompassing app that can track mileage, organize your expenses, and capture receipts. With multiple plans depending on your business size, it’s one of the best receipt-tracking apps out there. It supports over a dozen languages other than English and currencies beyond USD.

To use Zoho Expense, simply take a picture of your receipt within the app. Zoho will use OCR software to scan the receipt and assign it to a related expense.

Average Rating: 4.8/5 (iOS here and Android here)

Cost: Free plan for small businesses, up to $9/user for larger businesses

Pros:

  • ✅ Receipt scanning automation

  • ✅ Accounting integration (for Zoho Books, Quickbooks Online, and Xero)

  • ✅ Cloud storage support

  • ✅ Email receipt forwarding

Cons:

  • ❌ Limit of three users with the free plan

  • ❌ 5GB receipt storage limit with the free plan

Overall: Zoho is a great choice for businesses of all sizes. Although the free plan is somewhat limited in terms of storage space, it’s still plenty for most self-employed freelancers or small business owners.

2. QuickBooks Online 🧾

Quickbooks - The Best Receipt Scanner Apps for Small Business Owners - Relay

QuickBooks Online has a built-in receipt scanning capability. You can use it to snap receipts and upload them automatically to your records. QuickBooks also has a feature where you can email any type of receipt for it to be added to your books.

To use QuickBooks’ receipt scanning feature, just download their mobile app. You’ll be able to scan your receipts at home or on the go and attach them to specific transactions later.

Average Rating: 4.6/5 (iOS here and Android here)

Cost: $24 for the EasyStart plan

Pros:

  • ✅ Manually upload receipts

  • ✅ Automatic expense sorting for tax purposes

  • ✅ Detail matching to existing expenses

Cons:

  • ❌ No free plan

  • ❌ Only one user for the basic plan

Overall: QuickBooks Online is a great option for those who are looking to have more than just receipt scanning software in one app, or for those who already use QuickBooks. If all you need is a receipt scanner, a different and less complex app may be better.

3. Expensify 🧾

Expensify - The Best Receipt Scanner Apps for Small Business Owners - Relay

Expensify uses a SmartScan feature to make scanning receipts super quick and simple. It works with 150 different currencies. Plus, this app will automatically generate an expense report at the end of any trip to be sent to any accountant or finance manager.

SmartScan is super easy to use. Open Expensify’s app while on the go and snap a photo of your receipt. Expensify will identify the merchant, expense date, and purchase amount then and there.

Average Rating: 4.55/5 (iOS here and Android here)

Cost: Free up to 25 SmartScans/month, $4.99 otherwise for small businesses

Pros:

  • ✅ Smart receipt scanning

  • ✅ Analytics and filters

  • ✅ Cloud-based storage and other app integrations

Cons:

  • ❌ Free plan has very limited features

Overall: Expensify is limited if you’re looking for a free app, but if you’re willing to pay a small fee per month, it has several different options for small businesses. Additionally, its many integrations with apps such as Intuit and Uber make it very attractive to many users.

4. Wave 🧾

Wave - The Best Receipt Scanner Apps for Small Business Owners - Relay

Wave’s app is multi-faceted, with the “Receipts” tab being incredibly fast and simple to use. If you’re looking for multiple features all in one app, Wave is a really good choice. Additionally, Wave supports mobile scanning, desktop uploads, and email receipts.

While in the app, you’ll be able to tap the “Receipts” tab and take a picture of your receipt. You have the option to either take a picture of a normal receipt or a “long receipt”, where you can link multiple images together for longer pieces of paper.

Average Rating: 4.05/5 (iOS here and Android here)

Cost: $8/month, $72/year

Pros:

  • ✅ Unlimited receipt scanning and bulk-imports

  • ✅ Email receipt forwarding

  • ✅ Both mobile and desktop support

Cons:

  • ❌ No free plan

  • ❌ Does not sync with transactions (creates new ones)

Overall: Wave’s app is very fast but lacks some of the features that more innovative apps have. Additionally, they don't offer a free plan or trial subscription.

5. Neat 🧾

Neat - The Best Receipt Scanner Apps for Small Business Owners - Relay

Neat offers an entire platform for keeping your finances organized, with receipts just being one of the platform’s many features. You can organize receipts by type, tax category, and more.

When using the Neat receipt scanner app, navigate to the “Receipts” section. Neat will open your camera and automatically scan your receipt, noting the vendor name, date, tax paid, total amount, and payment method. Neat will also go line-by-line to itemize data.

Average Rating: 4.05/5 (iOS here and Android here)

Cost: $200/year

Pros:

  • ✅ Integrations with companies like Intuit TurboTax, H&R Block, and QuickBooks

  • ✅ Line itemization

  • ✅ Ability to view trends and insights

Cons:

  • ❌ More pricey than other receipt scanner options

Overall: If you’re ready to commit to software with many features, Neat would be a great choice! However, its relatively high price point makes it less tempting for those with smaller business needs.

Stay on top of spending with Relay 💸

With Relay, you can manage your expenses even further! 💚

Relay allows you to open up to 20 bank accounts without fees, giving you the ultimate control over your business finances. 💪

You can also open a savings account with Relay, which keeps your small business prepared for emergencies, ready for tax season, and helps you earn interest. 💰

By combining receipt scanning apps with Relay banking technology, you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way as a small business owner! 🙌

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No account fees or minimum balances; 20 checking accounts; 50 virtual and physical debit cards. Open account 100% online.

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