Organize All Your Receipts With Lemon

If only there were a way to save all your receipts from getting washed, lost in your car or buried in the stacks of paper claiming most of the real estate on your desk — in a single, easily accessible place, right?

With the Lemon app — designed to complement the services of Lemon.com — you can scan all your receipts with your iPhone and store all their details online. Keep track of your spending, create expense reports and more. Want to see how it works? Hit the jump and I’ll show you.

Your Lemon Account

To get the most out of Lemon, sign up for a free account, either through the app or online at Lemon.com.

Signing up for a Lemon account is free, and the website and app are designed to complement each other.

Signing up for a Lemon account is free, and the website and app are designed to complement each other.

Even if you don’t register online, you’ll still be able to access your receipts using the app, but the convenience the online dashboard provides is pretty spiffy, as it can tell you things like the total number of receipts you’ve scanned that month, how much you’ve spent, how many of your receipts are being processed and more — all at a glance.

The Lemon.com dashboard provides a wealth of information all at a glance.

The Lemon.com dashboard provides a wealth of information all at a glance.

Lemon’s core service of converting your receipts to digital data and storing them in the cloud is free, however the company does offer premium services that have a monthly subscription fee.

Scanning Receipts

Scanning receipts is a snap. All you have to do is match the edges of your receipt to the on-screen box and then click the camera button to take a photo.

Lemon reads each receipt you scan in order to extract all the important information.

Lemon reads each receipt you scan in order to extract all the important information.

Once the receipt has been captured, Lemon extracts all the important pieces of information — store name, store’s contact info, the date and time, items purchased, the tax and total amount paid — and makes tags out of them, which can be searched later.

You have to confirm that all the information Lemon has pulled is accurate — which, it regularly is, provided you took a clear photo — but if the app returns something inaccurate, you’ll have to either take another snapshot (since the app doesn’t allow for manual editing of the info, unfortunately), or log onto Lemon.com, where you can edit the receipt you want by choosing it from your All Purchases section.

For each receipt scanned you can categorize the expenses, even choosing multiple categories, such as Personal, Business, Credit Card, Check and so on. Of course, you can also create your own customized categories, if you’re keeping track of expenses for an upcoming vacation for example, or if you need to keep track of your expenses per client or per project.

Assign your expenses to one of the given categories, or create your own.

Assign your expenses to one of the given categories, or create your own.

By the way, if you have a receipt that’s too long to easily fit in the shot for a single screen capture, Lemon offers the option to add snapshots, although it takes some hand-eye coordination. Line up the previous image with the next image you’d like to take of the receipt, then take the snapshot and Lemon will turn the receipt into one long, seamless image.

Emailing Receipts

“But what about when I shop online?” you ask. Well, Lemon has a way to deal with your e-receipts, too. When you registered with Lemon via the app or the service’s website, you created your own personal @lemon.com account.

Each time you purchase something online, forward your digital receipts to your @lemon.com email address. Once Lemon’s system has processed them to extract all the important details as per usual (this can take a few minutes), the receipts will then appear in your Purchases section. (Any reports you run will not include your email receipt information until they are processed and shown in your Purchases section.)

And you’ll still be able to access the information from your e-receipts on your iPhone, just the same as you would any receipts you scan.

Access from your iPhone all the details of your scanned receipts and e-receipts.

Access from your iPhone all the details of your scanned receipts and e-receipts.

Using the Data

And here it is, the reason you wanted this app in the first place: the ability to export your expenses and create reports.

To get started, simply log in to Lemon and head to the Reports section on your dashboard. Choose a date range (weekly, monthly or all dates) and the labels you want to filter by. Lemon will generate the information you’ve requested, providing a number of different chart views, and you’ll have the option to export your report to an .xls, .csv or .pdf file and have it sent to the email of your choice.

Lemon can generate reports based on your receipts and email them to anyone you want.

Lemon can generate reports based on your receipts and email them to anyone you want.

Ideal for when your accountant or boss needs facsimiles of your receipts, Lemon can even include in the email a URL for downloading all the images of your receipts.

Conclusion

This app does all the hard work for you — reading all the details of your receipts and keeping track of how much was spent on what — and convenience is worth a lot of points.

A few drawbacks include the inability to manually edit the receipt details directly from your iPhone (you have to go through Lemon.com), as well as the inability to add multiple users and the ads you occasionally have to deal with — although the latter two issues become non-issues if you’re a Lemon subscriber. (Visit the Lemon website to see pricing for the Business Premium account and other options.)

All in all, I think this app is very useful, highly accurate, and has the potential to save me a lot of time and headache (and maybe even cash!) in the long run. Are you already using it? Let us know what you think in the comments below.


Summary

The Lemon app lets you scan your paper receipts and keep track of your e-receipts so that they're all saved in one easily accessible place.

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