This is Neat – A Desktop Scanner and Comprehensive Filing System
What Is It? NeatDesk is a comprehensive digital filing system for all your paperwork that includes hardware and software, as well as cloud and mobile access. To begin with, NeatDesk is a desktop scanner with separate slots to feed documents, receipts, and business cards. Neat also makes a portable version, called NeatReceipts . And with NeatMobile you can use the camera on either an iOS or Android device to scan documents from wherever you may be and send them to the NeatCloud service. At the heart of the system is some pretty sophisticated software that culls information from whatever documents you feed into it and puts it into useful forms. In particular, it will allow you to assign any document or receipt not only into a folder, but even into a particular tax category, such as Schedule C Meals and Entertainment, as just one example. This alone could make it worth its price in reduced aggravation at tax time. It will also do the work of a dedicated business card scanner, such as the Dymo CardScan system. In addition, you can also use it to file documents and images that may already be elsewhere on your computer. The NeatDesk is available in both PC and Mac versions.
Is It Boomer Friendly? The NeatDesk desktop scanner is easy to use. Put the document, receipt, or business card into the appropriate slot and then either hit the button marked “Scan” or “PDF” if you want to save it in that format. The document will show up on the Desktop and then you can file it however you wish. The software is capable of doing a lot of work for you, but it will require some time and effort on your part to learn your way around it and set up your file folders in a way that makes sense for you, or your business. My only complaint about the hardware is that the on/off switch is in the back of the unit, which may make it awkward to reach if you believe in shutting things down when they are not in use.
Frustration Factor? We ran into some issues in trying to install the software. We needed to upgrade from the software version on the packaged CD to a fresher downloadable version. When we did that, the system required a new product code that had to be printed, then manually entered in the upgrade. The printed version was very difficult to read, and ultimately we had to turn to product support to get a key that we could cut and paste into the new program activation. Ultimately it worked, but getting there was not fun. Your experience could be quite different if your installation CD includes the latest version of the software, so don’t take our experience as the gospel. Getting the system to be fully functional did require some effort. The software is powerful, but complex, so getting it set up for your individual needs may not necessarily be frustrating, but it will be time consuming.
Is It Worth the Money? The Neat Desktop Scanner retails for just about $400. We’ve seen other document scanners in the market from about $260 to $500. But none has the comprehensive software filing ability of the NeatDesk, especially when coupled with the NeatCloud and Neat Mobile. The NeatCloud Service costs as little as $6.00 per month for an individual and ranges to $25.00 a month for a business. Yearly rates are $60 for an individual up to about $250 for a business.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are organized, and those who need to get organized. The NeatDesk will help both populations. And I, for one, have developed a new habit, whenever a bill, statement, or similar document shows up, I scan it into Neat, then dump the piece of paper into a box where I only hope I’ll never have to look at it again.