GreenBizCheck Blog


Using Technology To Improve Our Environmental Impact

18 July 2014

Paper receipts are one of those things that are both incredibly useful (when we need them and can find them), and at the same time, useless (as most of the time you don't actually need the paper receipt itself, you just need the information on them) and capable of being easily lost or tossed accidentally.

For tracking individual expenses, the details on the receipts are informative, whether it's for accounting purposes, planning purposes, or tax purposes. But managing and accounting for those receipts manually is kind of archaic, considering what we can do with technology these days, from scanners to servers to apps on our phones, which ought to be able to be leveraged to digitize and track them all.

Several years ago, I had what I thought was a bright idea, but I didn't do anything about it, other than a little brainstorming. I thought it was a worthy concept, but also knew that I didn't have either the skills or the time to bring it to light, so I dropped it. However, as validation that it was, and is, a great idea, today I learned about a different solution to the same problem, although much better than anything I envisioned.

At the time, I was trying to figure out how much money we as a family spent on certain grocery items per month and per year, and how much of each item did we buy (pounds of produce or dry goods, or individual items), in order to plan ahead for the next year. I thought that if I knew how many pounds of onions or potatoes or whatever we ate per year, I could try to plan the garden accordingly, as well as budget for the things we can't grow.

I would save the paper grocery receipts, and then copy the data for each item we bought (ie: bananas, 10 lb, $6.90) into a spreadsheet, which then added the columns together and gave me a running total for the time period, as well as an average price and weight for each item over time.

Like most systems which require daily input, the weakest part was the human one, and because I would forget and get so far behind on entering the data, I ended up just dropping it and never getting back to it. But if I, who only wanted to track the cost of bananas, felt it would be useful to have a system for digital receipt management that could track all of this information, easily and seamlessly, then surely there was a need for something like this in people who track every expense.

Obviously, I wasn't the only one who thought that way, and now there's a digital receipt management solution in the works, which promises to be a game changer in the world of commerce and expense tracking.

OBLOCO might be that solution that we've all been waiting for, capable of managing all of your paper receipts with a cloud-based system and app, in an organized format that's both searchable and exportable, as well as being accepted by merchants, accounting departments, and the IRS.

"OBLOCO puts you in control. Your spending data and analytics are protected with bank-level security while still conveniently accessible on any of your devices at a moment's notice. And, that's not all – you will also receive analytics regarding your spending habits, budgeting tools." – OBLOCO

To get receipts into the app, users can opt to have them emailed to a dedicated email address, or to instead take a picture of the receipt using the app (which is also designed to manage loyalty cards and coupons), where it will be uploaded to the OBLOCO server for storage. Eventually, OBLOCO aims to add other ways of importing the receipts, such as sending them wirelessly right to your smartphone from the register.

Not only does this new system have the potential to make managing receipts much easier, but it can also reduce the amount of paper waste involved in commerce, which is better for both the merchant and the environment.

If you'd like to see this digital receipt management solution make it to market, and fully developed into a complete system that is designed to be integrated into the shopping experience at all levels, from the enterprise to the retailer to the consumer, OBLOCO is currently seeking crowdfunding on Indiegogo. Backers at the $25 level receive Founder status, and at the $50 level will receive access to the beta version (and learn the secret handshake).


By Carolyn Wall, GreenBizCheck


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