3 Steps to Automating Your Receipt Organization in Real Estate (And an EPIC Bonus Section…)

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Last week I posted about how I have integrated Evernote into my real estate business and personal life to organize and automate some functions.  This makes my wife happier, my CPA happier, my business partners happier, you get the drift!

This week I’m going to give you a detailed hack that any real estate investor can use, no matter what type of real estate investor you are.  Heck, even if you haven’t gotten started and visit Home Depot on a regular basis you can use this hack.

Before we get started I want to let you know I HATE RECEIPTS!  You have to keep them for refunds, tax purposes, reimbursements, etc.  But they are the absolute worse thing to keep track of and organize.

How to Automate Your Receipt Organization

That is why I wanted to show you the hack I’ve come up with in terms of making my receipt tracking hassle free. Let’s get into it!

Step #1

When you buy something at HomeDepot get them to just email your receipt.   If you don’t use Home Depot, when you get the receipt, immediately have them email it to your business email.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 7.02.43 AM

Step #2

Hopefully you use Gmail, (and if you don’t start!). Set-up a filter for emails from Home Depot receipts.

Gmail Filter Screenshot

Step #3

If you are an Evernote power user like I am, you can have the filter forward them to your evernote email and to a receipt folder.

If you aren’t, no worries, just filter them into a receipts folder.  This way if a contractor, CPA or your spouse has questions about a receipt.

Receipt Filter

This is how you do it in Evernote:

1. Select a destination notebook for your email by adding @[notebook name]to the end of the subject line.

2. Add tags to your note by typing  #[tag name]at the end of the subject line. This feature works with existing tags in your account.

3. To designate a destination notebook and add tags, be sure to list the notebook name before the tags.

Related: Using Evernote to Automate your Real Estate Business

An example subject:

Fwd: Receipt from Home Depot @Receipt #taxes #realestate #businesspartnership1

So there you go with the steps above you can automate all your receipts, expenses, etc.

BONUS SECTION!!!!

If you really want to automate your real estate investing and you get a ton of phone calls, from sellers, tennants, contractors, buyers, et cetera, use this strategy:

Phone Calls to Evernote Screenshot

1. Get an account at IFTTT.com

Related: 5 Simple Strategies For Real Estate Acquisition Domination! (You are Going to LOVE #5!)

2. Get a Google Voice number

3. Get an Evernote account – if you don’t already have one.

4. Set-up the trigger in IFTTT between Google Voice and Evernote.

This way you have a data stored behind every call.  The best part of this strategy is when your business grows enough to support an assistant it is very easy to integrate an assistant and their calls using this strategy.

Summary

If you have any questions about the above strategies let me know in the comments.  Also, feel free to share any time-saving hacks of your own!

Be sure to leave your comments below!

 

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About Author

Jimmy Moncrief is a bank underwriter and real estate investor. He blogs at RealEstateFinanceHQ.com where he talks about all things real estate. He also is the creater of free evernote templates for BiggerPockets members to learn how to better organize and automate their real estate investing.

17 Comments

  1. Cool tips, Jimmy! Never thought of either of those. You could also, if you don’t have evernote, use IFTTT to send those Home Depot receipts to a Google Doc or something else to keep em organized. Very cool ideas :)

  2. Nice article, Jimmy! I really like IFTTT…use it to automate lots of stuff, like trolling craigslist for leads.

      • I use a pretty basic “recipe” that emails me results that match a targeted craigslist search – for instance, in a particular price range, or certain neighborhood keywords (or both). Once you’ve done the search on craigslist that matches what you’re looking for, you can just paste it into the recipe.

        Here’s the basic recipe that you can customize to be specific to your needs:

        https://ifttt.com/recipes/103160-email-me-new-results-in-a-craigslist-search

        I’m having to try to be more specific in my criteria, as even a targeted search can quickly give you quite a bit to wade through. On the positive side, you get notification pretty much as soon as things are posted, which is helpful when there’s actually a good deal to be had.

        Hope this helps!

  3. Bradley Benski on

    This is all good. For those places that cannot send receipts by email you can just take pictures with your smartphone camera and build an IFTTT to send the picture to evernote with the same tags as you suggest. You could even use a different camera application so that you don’t get your personal pictures showing up in your recipt notebook.

    For more info on using Evernote I’m using a system derived from doing a google search on “Evernote + the secret weapon”. The site appears to not be getting many updates lately and I am in no way affiliated with it, just found it awhile back and used their methodology.

  4. I am confused by this article. How does sending the receipts to Evernote help? Who categorizes and totals the receipts for each category? Does your accountant do all this work for you or do you pay someone else to do this? Please explain further.

    • The way I use Evernote I have just one Notebook for the year that I everything that goes to Evernote in. Then I have Tags for the property Address and also tags for the taxes year that are labeled “Taxes 2011″, “Taxes 2012″, “Taxes 2013″, “Taxes 2014″, etc.

      Then to find stuff during the year or at then end of the year I’ll do a search for the tags “Property Address” and “Taxes 2014″ and it will show me all receipts that are on that property and associated with taxes for 2014. Then it’s a matter of printing it out for my accountant.

      If my accountant were more tech savy I could create notebooks for each property and place the tax receipts into the appropriate notebook and then share that notebook with my accountant.

      In my opinion the best thing about Evernote is it’s search capability. After you learn how to use it you can find anything fast without having to know alot of details. Getting back to your original question I think it’s up to you regarding the work that’s put into it. Typically I put all the receipts together and identify what property they are associated with. My accountant is happy with that and totals them up from there.

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