Scanning/Adding Receipts: Why?

Hey YNAB Forum-ers (okay, that needs work...)!

A pretty common request that comes through the feedback & feature request channels is the ability to be able to scan/attach a picture of a receipt to a particular transaction. 

So we've been curious for more detail on what that would allow you to do or make easier for you. Is it strictly an organizing need? Tax reporting? Small-business use? Something else entirely?

Hearing more detail about how people want to use it would help contextualize this one—thanks!

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  • I'm sure this has been said before, but the thread is long for me to find something to upvote so I'll say it in my own words. Note that I am new to ynab. 

    Sometimes I make big shopping trips to places like Costco, where I make hundreds of dollars of purchases in wildly different categories. 

    Recently we moved, so in one trip we spent $700 on home furnishings and food. In other trips, I might buy both clothes groceries (enough for each to matter to my budget) from the same store. So what I want isn't receipt scanning and storage, but receipt parsing, like expensify, so I can seamlessly select a category for each item. Of course, I'd suggest using an API from a company like expensify for that, if possible, and probably charging extra for the features. 

  • If anyone from YNAB sees this, you guys should consider working with VeryFi's APIs to integrate their receipt scanning tech into YNAB somehow.  It's scary accurate and fast, and provides line-item itemization of receipts and invoices.  It's amazing. I moved my receipt scanning and archive from Expensify over to VeryFi and am very pleased with the improvement in performance and functionality.

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  • Look to Veryfi. It is amazing and works with QBO and Xero etc. for biz. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it could also sync with YNAB and I could use it with my personal side to get things organized! I love to dream :)

    But seriously YNAB Gods... get ahold of Veryfi and figure out how to make an integration. YNAB + Veryfi = LOVE!!

  • Attaching images of receipts is my most urgent "want." I'd use it for storing receipts connected to tax-deductible expenses on my personal tax return.

    Scanning wouldn't be necessary. All the transaction data (except for splits) already gets automatically imported into YNAB. Scanning would only be helpful if it automatically did splits for line-items, but I know that would be technically challenging.

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    1) Open YNAB to review expenses;

    2) See several Amazon purchases;

    3) Ask, "How should these be categorized?" (No idea at a glance, because only order number and amount are shown.)

    4) Search through email to connect charge with receipt;

    5) Categorize accordingly;

    6) Repeat for all Amazon purchases;

    7) Hate the tedium;

    8) Wonder, "Why can't I just forward receipts to YNAB for easy matching?"

  • For me, the biggest thing is healthcare related receipts.  Between FSAs and HSAs, saving receipts is a must (thats just one use case - there are plenty more in this 2 year long post  I would also align with).  Going to the local pharmacy to pick up a script along with some groceries (or just the Rx, doesn't matter) and having that in the app to refer back to for both categorizing and using for reimbursement to FSA or HSA (I have both) would be great (plus all the other reasons posted in the last 2 years).  Better than the shoe box I have right now anyway.

    I get the sense this is not a YNAB priority however (two year discussion with no real commitment either way).  If the hesitation is storage cost related, perhaps set a limit and then charge extra if you want more space (just like other cloud services).  

  • Receipts in a budget app? Seems like a bookkeeping thing, not budgeting. 

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    • Violet Zebra So does that mean you dont think it would be a good thing to have receipts in the app?

    • mjrudolphi In a bookkeeping app, of course. In a budgeting app, no. 

    • Violet Zebra Right I got that point  - receipts images are for bookkeeping apps not budget apps and since YNAB is not a bookkeeping app then the logical conclusion is there is no reason to keep receipts in YNAB.

      My question is for clarification of why you think that.  What do you consider a bookkeeping app?  Is it something like Quickbooks?  When I think of a bookkeeping app I think of a business accounting software.  Are you saying you only need to save receipts (in this manner) if you are running a business?  I dont think you are saying that but I dont know for sure.

      I'm just curious because you must feel strongly enough about your point (why else post it?).  Your statement basically says to everyone in this post who would like the ability to attach a receipt that they are using the wrong app.  Do you have a suggestion on what app everyone should be using?  Or are you saying they dont need to keep their receipts? 

      I'm just trying to understand your point because I think you are saying to everyone on this post - YNAB shouldnt have this ability because it would break some law of logic that somehow we have all missed while posting here.

      Maybe your point is that if YNAB did create this functionality you would find no use for it.

    • mjrudolphi I would prefer improvements to the core functionality before any thought of adding receipt storage. The number of times a receipt needs to be pulled up is dwarfed by other budgeting-oriented actions. In the meantime, there are numerous effective solutions for receipt capture already available.

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    • dakinemaui That's just your opinion on your priorities, not whether you would use a feature to scan and save receipts.  I mean I could say I prefer this improvement be prioritized over all others because that's my opinion on what they should prioritize.  

      I think YNAB is asking how you would use it if they did implement it (I assume to better understand how people would use it).  Considering this is 2 years old and no commitment has been made either way, I think your priorities aren't in any immediate danger.  But, IMO if they did prioritize it, I would be happy as it fit my priorities.

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