Scanning receipts to PDF : how to go Paperless ?

As a species, we’ve made some incredible technological leaps, yet we’re still using paper receipts. The state of environmentally unfriendly affairs got us thinking: What does the future of receipt technology look like?

Smart Receipts of the Future: Paperless

Every year, so-called “paperless” options become more and more prevalent. These days, the majority of people rely on paperless banking and bill paying, everything is more or less available as a PDF document. It’s rare for employers to distribute paper checks on payday. Direct deposit is now standard. Stores are also transitioning. In a growing number of places, you can get transaction records sent to you via email or text. Curiously, though, even when you opt for the digital receipt, the cash register still spits out a paper one.

But it only makes sense that the receipts of the future are paperless. According to studies, over nine million trees are cut down annually to fulfil our paper receipt addiction. As we search for ways to stem the impending climate crisis and prioritize sustainability, moving towards a paperless standard makes environmental sense.

Smart Receipts of the Future: Blockchain-Based

The decentralized nature of blockchain technology makes it an exciting option for a digital receipt platform. It would likely mitigate instances of system-wide shut downs and lower the barrier to entry for start-ups interested in exploring the space. Additionally, blockchain’s encryption capabilities are attractive because tomorrow's receipts must comply with digital privacy laws like the General Protection Data Rule.

Smart Receipts of the Future: Data-Packed

Moving to an e-receipt standard would allow for more data points. They could include warranty information and automated reminders about return deadlines. Moreover, if a receipt platform is tied to an app, the personal budgeting options are endless.

Smart Receipts of the Future: Routable

Taxes and receipts go hand in hand. We use them to calculate deductions, and, when audits loom, we use them to prove our tax calculations. As such, wouldn’t it be wonderful if, upon getting a receipt, we were able to automatically route it to a piece of software that catalogues the amount, files it, and automatically deducts qualified purchases from a running gross income calculation? Then, when tax time rolled around, things would likely go a lot smoother.

Watch this space. Over the next decade, the record keeping landscape is sure to evolve, and smart receipts will become as common as smartphones.