Getting Started

Smart Receipts was designed by a traveling consultant to make the process of tracking expenses and generating expense reports exceptionally easy. As more users have started using the app, it's feature set has been expanded to enable small businesses, accountants, and cost-minded individuals to better track their budgets. Smart Receipts is available on both Android (versions 2.2 and higher) and iOS (versions 7 and above), so you can get started by downloading the app.

Smart Receipts was built to give you complete control of your data, and it is highly customizable to ensure that you can access your data in the right way. Need something beyond what's offered in the app? Check out our White Labeling Services. If that isn't enough, the source code for both has been released under the AGPL license and can be found at the following locations:

One you have the app downloaded, be sure to visit the Creating a Report section to get started with your first report type.


Reports

Adding a report

Once you've installed the app, tap on the Smart Receipts icon to launch it. If this is your first time launch the app, you'll be treated to a blank background screen with no report line items. To create your first report, tap on the "+" (plus symbol) button, which is located in the bottom right corner of the app. This will pop open a dialog with some of the following options:

  • Name. The name of the report. All report names must be unique (and some special characters may not be allowed), so pick one like: "April 2017", "Consulting Project - Week 1", etc.
  • Start Date. The date upon which this report beings.
  • End Date. The date upon which this report commences. If your reports all occur over a standard interval (e.g. 3 days, 1 month, etc.), you can modify your settings to automatically set this value based on the end date.
  • Default Currency. This field determines which currency will be used by your receipt entries by default. You can change what appears as the default from within the settings menu (it will always start as the currency of your phone's current locale)
  • Comment. An option field, which can hold an arbitrary comment message for this report.

Managing Your Reports

After you click the "Create" button, a report line item will permanently appear on the home screen. Any time you tap on this report line item, a new screen will be opened in which different expenses (and other data types) may be recorded and categorized.

Different users have different approaches for how to manage varying reports. Some will create a unique report for each project on which they are working; others will create a unique report to track each month (e.g. June 2014, July 2014, ...). Experimenting with different structures will probably help you to best manage reports for your expenses.

Editing a Report

If at any point in the future you wish to alter this report in any way on your Android device, long-click (i.e. press and old) on the report line item. This will pop open a menu with the following options:

  • Edit Report. This option will allow you to alter any of the fields that were set when the report was first created.
  • Delete Report. This option will delete the report (along with all receipt data that is attached to it) from the system. This action cannot be undone.

For iOS users, you can tap on the Pencil icon (ie "Edit" button) to make the same set of changes


Receipts

Adding a Receipt

After you create a report, you can add receipts via the "Receipts" tab by clicking the plus (ie "+") button in the bottom right corner of the app and selecting one of the following:

  • Picture. Launches your camera app to take a photo of a receipt and enter receipt metadata
  • Import. Launches your gallery app to choose a photo/pdf of a receipt and enter receipt metadata
  • Text-Only. This pops open a dialog menu to add receipt metadata (e.g. price, date, etc.) without an image

Please note that Apple doesn't have the concept of a more general file browser/chooser (at least prior to iOS 11), so we don't have the ability afford an "Import PDF" option like we do on Android. Instead, you can open an Image/PDF and select the send/share icon (ie the one you'd use to attach it to an email) to add it to Smart Receipts.

Receipt Fields

By default, the app comes equipped with the following "fields" in which receipt data can be entered.

  • Name. Common usages for this include: Lunch, Starbucks, etc. When inputting data into this field, you may see a drop down list to "auto-complete" based on previous entries. If you happen to select an entry that has had the same price or category for multiple other entries, these will be automatically set as well. For example, if you always add a "NJ Transit" receipt that costs $10 and is categorized as "Train", both the price ($10) and category ("Train") will be set when you select the "NJ Transit" option from the drop-down.
  • Price. Enter the price for this receipt item. It will default to 0 if unset.
  • Currency. Enter the desired currency for this receipt item. By default, it will use the one set as the parent report's default.
  • Date. The date upon which this expense occurred. By default, it will be set to today's date, however if you change it, the next entry will default to the changed date (to simplify batch uploads).
  • Category. The category within which this receipt resides. By default, it will be based upon the current time of day (so morning will default to "Breakfast", afternoons to "Lunch", and evenings to "Dinner"). All categories can be modified or removed as desired.
  • Comment. A field in which an arbitrary comment can be entered (e.g. Dinner split with Mark and Tom).
  • Reimbursable. A checkbox to indicate whether or not this receipt is able to be reimbursed
  • Full-Page. A checkbox to indicate if this receipt image should take up an entire PDF report page (as opposed to appearing in a 2x2 grid)

In addition to the default fields, there are a number of others that can be added from the Settings menu, including:

  • Tax. If enabled, this field will appear next to the price field, enabling you to enter the tax for a given receipt. For countries with standard taxation laws (e.g. the EU), default tax percentages may be set.
  • Payment Methods. If enabled, this field will allow you to assign a payment method (e.g. Cash, Corporate Card, etc.) to a given expense.

Receipt Controls

After you've created a receipt, you can tap on it to perform the following actions:

  • Edit Receipt. Allows you to change any of the fields noted above
  • View Receipt Image. Opens a new window, which displays the receipt image (or rotate it)
  • Delete Receipt. Permanently deletes this receipt line item
  • Move/Copy. Allows you to move or copy the receipt to a different report (eg from March 2017 to April 2017
  • Swap Up. Changes the receipt ordering to allow you to move it up one
  • Swap Down. Changes the receipt ordering to allow you to move it down one

Generating Reports

Smart Receipts supports a few core report types, which can be created from your phone. You can find these by tabbing over to the "Generate" tab (ie after the "Receipts" and "Distance" ones) in the app:

  • Full PDF Report. Creates a PDF Report with a "header page", which contains a complete table of all your receipts and distance expenses. It will also include a tabulated list of all your receipt images.
  • PDF Report - No Table. Creates a report identical to the one above but without the header page. This is useful for companies that require their own header format.
  • CSV File. Creates a CSV (eg Excel) file for spreadsheet apps
  • ZIP - Stamped Images. Creates a ZIP file, containing all your images (and the receipt metadata below each)

Backups

Manual Backups

All users can create manual backups to ensure that their data is not lost in the event that anything happens to their device. Backup files are formatted as a 'SmartReceipts.SMR' file, which is a simply a normal ZIP file but with a different extension to associate it with Smart Receipts. Backups can be created as follows for Android users:

  • On Android, open the menu button (3 dots in the top right) and select the "Backups" menu.
  • Click the "Backup" button
  • Send the SmartReceipts.SMR file to your email, cloud storage, etc account for safe keeping

Or as follows for iOS users:

  • On iOS, select the gear icon in the top left and scroll to the "Backups" section
  • Select the "Backup" option under the "Make Backup" section
  • Send the SmartReceipts.SMR file to your email, cloud storage, etc account for safe keeping

To recover a backup file, you can either tap on the SMR file directly or send/share it with Smart Receipts. On Android, you can also select the "Import" button within the backups menu. In each of these cases, it'll launch a dialog menu that will prompt you about importing your old data with the option to 'Overwrite'. Please note that selecting the 'Overwrite' option will not delete all your existing data but will instead ensure that your imported data "wins" in the case of a conflict (eg the same receipt but with a different image).

Automatic Backups

Smart Receipts Plus subscribers can configure automatic backups to Google Drive (on Android - coming to iOS soon) as follows:

  • Open the menu button (3 dots in the top right) and selecting the "Backups" menu
  • Click on the "Tap to Configure" option and select Google Drive
  • Give permissions to your Google account, and it'll start backing things up (depending on if you allow the WiFi only rule or not). You'll start to see the little cloud icons after that, indicating that your backup is working.

If you ever need to recover a backup, you can visit the same "Backups" menu and select one from the list. You won't, however, be able to directly see your files in Google Drive, because:

  • All backups are sent to Google Drive, but we save them in the "hidden" app folder. Google Drive allows for each app to create its own hidden folder that only the app that created the folder can interact with. You can find it buried under your Google Drive settings. We were originally struggling with whether or not to make this folder public or not, but we ultimately decided to keep it private to prevent someone from losing data by deleting that particular file/folder. In order for automatic backups (or syncing to work) either the server (Google Drive) or the device (your phone) has to act as a trusted authority as to what receipts are uploaded, deleted, etc. Since the phone can be wiped, lost, etc (or even have something simple like device time set back in the past), it can't necessarily operate as the authoritative voice for the "state of the world", so it has to be the server. But if we let individuals edit the Google Drive (ie server) side, then it also cannot be the authority, so it makes it difficult to know what is right at any point. To account for this, we hid the Google Drive data, so it's always "right" (or as correct as your last network upload).

Please note that automatic backups will only occur, while your Smart Receipts app is active (ie we don't wake the app up in the background to upload your data in order to save battery). So long as you are periodically using the app, while you have a network access, however, this should not pose any issues as it'll safely upload your receipts during your normal usage flows.


Smart Receipts Plus

Smart Receipts Plus vs Smart Receipts (Free)

The Plus version of the app is available as a yearly subscription. It is identical to free version except for the following benefits:

  • The paid version has no ads
  • The paid version supports automatic backups to Google Drive (Android only - coming to iOS soon)
  • The paid version automatically processes exchange rate conversions
  • The paid version allows you to edit/customize the pdf report footer (by default, it is "Report Generated with Smart Receipts")

We may add future capabilities to Plus users as well.

Automatic Backups

Smart Receipts Plus users can configure automatic backups by referring to this guide.

Exchange Rate Processing

As a 'Plus' user, you will also have the option to automatically fetch the current exchange rate any time you change the receipt's currency to be different from your default report currency. Upon changing the receipt currency in the app, a new "Exchange Rate" field should appear. If you have network availability, the app will attempt to immediately attempt to retrieve the current exchange rate from http://openexchangerates.org/. If we cannot determine the active exchange rate, you'll have the option to manually enter the desired exchange rate as well (you can also do this when editing a receipt to indicate the necessary exchange rate from a credit card statement, etc.).

If for whatever reason you're seeing odd behavior in your exchange rate processing, you should confirm that you have correctly defined your report currency:

  • Long tap (ie press and hold) on the desired report
  • Select the edit report option from the resultant dialog
  • Verify that your defined currency is correct

Please note that changing the currency will clear out your existing exchange rates.


Automatic Scans (OCR)

You can set up Automatic Scans (known more formally as Optical Character Recognition or OCR) as follows:

  1. Tap on the menu button (3 dots in the top right corner) and select the "Automatic Scans (OCR)" item
  2. When prompted, elect to log-in with an existing Smart Receipts account or create a new one
  3. Once completed, you'll have the option to purchase scans, which will automatically determine the following receipt fields: merchant name, price, tax, date, and currency. These fields are successfully parsed with greater than 82% accuracy, which will continue to improve as the dataset of scans grows.

The OCR process is a new feature offering for Smart Receipts, and it's only available on Android for the moment. Each OCR scan currently costs $0.10, since our OCR provider, https://taggun.io/, also charges on a per-scan model. We hope to hope to change this to a monthly/year fee in the future, but we wanted to get a baseline of usage patterns before scaling up. The actual process works as follows

  1. First, we upload the image, which gets converted into text (this is the OCR process)
  2. Next, we run the results through a machine-learning algorithm, which attempts to find the relevant fields (eg identifying the total field for the price)
  3. Finally, we deliver the results directly to you

Advanced Functionality & Settings

Formatting variables

Within the settings menu, you'll have the ability to edit the default email subject ("SmartReceipts - %REPORT_NAME%") and PDF Footer with your own text. We have reserved four special variables to allow for Report data to be automatically inserted:

  • %REPORT_NAME% Prints the report's name
  • %USER_ID% Prints your user id (if set)
  • %REPORT_START% Prints the report's start date
  • %REPORT_END% Prints the report's end date

Smart Receipts Web

The web page is currently under construction and only has limited functionality. At the moment, it effectively contains no functionality aside from tracking how many OCR scans you have available. All current application information is saved on your device (and Google Drive too if you've configured automatic backups), but it doesn't propagate to the web site. While we're working on adding this capability in the near future, it isn't present yet, so there's nothing there to really look at. Feel free to contact us directly for additional information about options and timelines here!