Sunday Feb 05, 2023

Ted on Tech: Upgrading your home office – Accounting Today


In a previous column, I described some great upgrades to your work-from-anywhere office. But that barely scratched the review pile. And with tax season nearing its end, there are a few other great and easy to install upgrades I’d like to share with you.

Scanners galore

One of the most useful pieces of equipment you can have in your office is a document scanner. Yes, you can capture documents with a smartphone or tablet and even perform optical character recognition (OCR) on them, but for productivity, nothing beats a good document scanner and ancillary software. I’ve got two new ones I’m going back and forth between.

The one that’s sitting on my desk at the moment, simply by virtue of its compact size and unique paper path, is a Fujitsu ScanSnap ix-1300. The ScanSnap ix-1300 is small — really, really small. With the automatic document feeder (ADF) folded down, it measures a scant 11.7 x 4.5 x 3.3 inches. What I really like about it is the unique U-shaped paper path. It pulls a sheet of paper into the scanner from the ADF, scans both sides, and instead of the paper exiting the bottom, it exits from the front top of the scanner. So, using it requires only a very few inches of desk space. You can also feed a page in from a slot at the bottom. The ix-1300 scans it and returns it through the same slot. Either way, it’s a hoot to watch. Of course, at $280 it has to be something more than just amusing. And it is. It’s very fast — up to 60 images per minute (ipm) or 30 double-sided sheets. Included with the scanner is a scan utility and ABBYY OCR software. Installing it was quick and easy. You can use Wi-Fi if you’re going to move it around, but I just used a USB cable since my dock is only a few inches from where the scanner is sitting.

The other scanner I really like has been around for about a year, but hasn’t lost its charm: the Epson RapidReceipt RR-600W. Like the Fujitsu, it’s wireless or can be connected via USB. And it’s pretty fast at 35 ipm in duplex mode. The ADF holds about 100 pages of documents or receipts. Technically, as with the Fujitsu, you can load the ADF with different sized documents in the same batch, but I really don’t recommend it. OCR software can de-skew an angled scan, but only so far. If you’re scanning paper tape receipts, it’s best if you can do them in a batch with only one size document so you can adjust the paper guides to feed the receipts straight into the paper feed. And, as with the SnapScan, it comes with really nice software, including Kofax OCR and Smart Organizer software that extracts and categorizes the data from your receipts and invoices and lets you send this data to Excel, QuickBooks or TurboTax.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never gotten this kind of software to work so reliably that I don’t spend as much time editing the output as I save scanning it. It’s probably me, and some small thing I’m doing wrong, but I just haven’t taken the time to find out exactly what I can do to gain the kind of accuracy where I feel comfortable directly importing it into a financial application.

Still, I have to admit that even if I can’…….


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