There are two tasks in business that are really tedious: Tracking your receipts for expenses and capturing business card data.
If you're lucky enough to have a secretary then you might be able to give them the odious job, but for most of us, that's not an option either because we don't have a secretary or because our secretary would make our lives miserable if we did.
If this sounds like your situation you might want to try Shoeboxed, a Web service that provides a collection point for all your receipts and business cards and, for premium accounts, enters the data for you into a useful format.
What's really clever is that when you sign up you get a shoeboxed.com address. Using that address for online purchases results in Shoeboxed handling the receipts, automatically parsing them into your account, and then forwarding them to the e-mail address you registered with.
The data in your account can then be sent to Quickbooks, Excel, PDF, Quicken, Freshbooks, Outright.com and Evernote while business card are formatted for Outlook, Address Book, Salesforce, LinkedIn, and Gmail.
With the free account you do your own scanning, uploading, and data entry but if you cough up for a premium account you can send your receipts by snail mail and Shoeboxed will process them.
There are three premium account levels: Lite for $9.95 per month, Classic for $19.95 per month, and Business for $49.95 per month (annual payment gets two months free) which allows for 50, 150, and 500 scans per month respectively. Annual plans also include a "catch up" feature that allows you to get started with that heap of old receipts and business cards you haven't got around to yet (the plans, respectively, allow for 250, 500, and 1,000 scans).
All accounts allow unlimited uploaded scans and e-mail receipts and all premium accounts except Lite provides prepaid envelopes. Finally, the Business account provides a quarterly backup CD.
In your account home page you can track your mailed-in receipt envelopes, get statistics on your spending, examine your business cards, and export account data in the various supported formats.
Shoeboxed also gets the wave of the future: They offer an API to developers. This allows for sites such as Outright, a "simple online bookkeeping" service to work its accounting magic. In fact, Outright has made a Ruby wrapper available for free for the Shoeboxed API.
While the real world receipt processing is interesting I doubt that the paid subscriptions are going to make Shoeboxed rich. I think that the automated processing and analysis of electronic receipts along with online accounting integration is going to be the key to Shoeboxed's future.
This story, "Shoeboxed: Making Business Life Less Tedious" was originally published by Network World.