Ever wonder how any small business owner is able to keep track of all the miscellaneous business cards, credit card receipts and papers that find their way into (or under) every desk in the office? If entropy is an inevitability, then at least The Neat Company is trying to help small to medium-size business (SMB) owners prolong the disarray.
The Philadelphia-based company markets a line of software-enhanced scanners that can digitize the mounds of paper cluttering you office. NeatDesk is a high-speed desktop scanner and digital filing system that scans receipts, business cards and documents all in one batch. It includes NeatWorksTM software that identifies and extracts important information and automatically organizes it for you. NeatDesk's removable input tray can scan both sides of up to 10 receipts, 10 business cards, and 10 documents at a time, as well as up to a 50-page document.
"We provide you with a digital filing cabinet," says Rafi Spero, co-founder and general manager of Neat Co. "It helps your business become more organized." Spero says his company has created "scanning for dummies," giving small businesses a simple way to deal with the constant problem of paper accumulation. "All you have to do is get the paper inside and from there we will scan it, automatically use the right brightness and contrast, auto-rotate, auto-crop it, and then classify the document automatically," he says. "From there, the software will intelligently read the specific text of a document, like figures on a receipt."
Optical Character Recognition (OCR), used by most scanning devices, is not a new technology. What makes this machine better than a glorified scanner, besides its compact, sleek design, is its ability to classify scanned items and distribute that information into whichever programs your business needs.
The company's NeatReceipts is a mobile scanner and digital filing system uses OCR and patented parsing technology to identify and capture key information from scanned documents. On receipts, it looks for the date, vendor, amount and sales tax, while on business cards, it captures all of the contact information: name, company, title, address, phone, e-mail, Web site and fax. The bundled software allows SMB owners to export that data to PDF, Excel, Quicken, QuickBooks and other accounting software. All scanned documents can also be searched by keyword.
With NeatScan To Office, companies can scan and capture information from printed documents directly inside Office applications, allowing SMBs to edit documents in Word, manage contacts in Outlook, create expense reports in Excel and add images or text to PowerPoint presentations. Neat Co. also offers a Mac-based version of NeatReceipts.
The company recently released a retooled version of their software, NeatWorks 4.0 featuring a streamlined user interface, Quick Scan Center and Filmstrip view for viewing multi-image items in the image viewer of each organizer. At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Spero says the company will announce a new version of its Mac-based software, along with a high-resolution imaging product, NeatScan.
Spero says the process of digitally converting your business documents is inevitable, in the same way digital music replaced hard media. "People want to get their paper digital as well," he says. "We help you do that. A common response from our customers is, -I can finally see my desk again.'"