Simplify With Shoeboxed

You all know how much I preach about simplifying. I also know a good value when I see one. Some folks will look at Shoeboxed and say, “$30 a month? Ouch!”. I used to look at services that way also, but a good friend of mine, Jane Bozarth, likes to remind me about value over price, and breaking down services and products by how much you use them. In addition, I look at how much time, effort and/or stress a service saves me.

Shoeboxed is one of these services.

Shoeboxed Magic Envelope

Shoeboxed Magic Envelope

Here’s my process:

  1. Shoeboxed sends me Magic Envelopes.
  2. I stuff Magic Envelopes with papers and receipts and even kids’ artwork.
  3. I drop Magic Envelope into mail (they include prepaid shipping).
  4. Shoeboxed scans all my docs with OCR.
  5. Shoeboxed sends the docs back (alternatively, you can have them securely shred and recycle your papers).
  6. I access my files online, export expenses to Freshbooks or export everything to Evernote.

Not much to it. I have a ScanSnap document scanner. It works very well. But you know what I found? I never took the time to process all that paperwork. It takes a long time to scan files and organize them, even when scanning directly into Evernote. My time is very valuable to me. So $1 per day to have someone else send me Magic Envelopes and do all that work for me? Sounds like I’m ripping THEM off.

Here’s another use case: last year I was way behind on getting my taxes organized (shocking, I know). I had a bunch of receipt to scan, process, organize and import into my accounting tool, Freshbooks. I simply sent all my 2012 stuff to Shoeboxed, then exported to a CSV file and imported all of that into Freshbooks. That was easy.

We’re all “busy”. But I think we’d be less so if we let experts do things for us for reasonable prices. Delegate, people. It’s ok. You can thank me later. Try them out and let them help you catch up. You don’t have to pay for a full year, just sign up for a free month and send them as much as you can stuff in.


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Comments

  1. says

    Hi Brian – loving your blog entries lately.
    The magic envelope looks like it would work well here in this chaotic world I’m in the middle of.

    I’m interested from a technical angle – does all of your OCR’d stuff come out ok? or is it a case of you don’t really care? – I would be concerned that exporting OCR’d data straight into an accounts package could cause issues – for example if a 7 was miscounted as a 1 or some other abnormality?

    I’ve noticed uploading documents to Google Drive that sometimes it’s OCR will mess up even when converting a digital PDF into text – which is bizarre given the fact the actual text is in the document to be read out anyway.

    • says

      I haven’t had any issues, Paul. From an expense standpoint, I checked everything I exported last year and I don’t remember having any errors. It’s pretty easy to spot check stuff as well, either in Shoeboxed or in the CSV or in the accounting system you’re sending it to.

      I am more using it as a digital file cabinet that I can access whenever I need to for files or audits and less of an expense management/reporting tool. That being said, last year it was a huge time saver as I was playing catch up from the expense reporting side. Now I’m managing expenses more regularly through my accounting system and automatic account tracking.

      • says

        /me wonders if there is a UK equivalent.. – having the same issues as you with expenses.. I’m kind of hoping one day all my receipts can be digital – it’s a real pain having to key data into a computer, it makes me feel like a data entry monkey, when, in-fact I’m much more than that!

        Just a quicky, noticed I couldn’t comment on your other recent blog entry – did you switch commenting off on purpose?

        • says

          Have you looked at Expensify? Not sure if it’s US only, but I love it for quick scanning and mileage.

          I wrote that other post back in September, and just modified it and published it today – forgot to turn commenting on, but it’s on now.

          Thanks for stopping by!

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