For those of you that run a small business, you know that keeping track of your finances is very important. You want to make sure that every penny is accounted for that goes out and that comes in. As someone that does the finances for my wife’s photography business, I am always searching for a way to keep track of receipts.
Over the past couple of years, I have tried to scan them in with a scanner and kept them in an envelope, but have found both methods to be average at best. There is nothing great about them, but something was still missing. I think I found what I was looking for when I started using Lemon, a web app that helps you keep track of receipts.
When you first sign up for Lemon you have the option of signing up for a free or premium account. My advice is to always sign up for the free account first, to make sure that you actually like the application, then get the premium version if you think it is worth it.
In order to get the most bang for your buck, so to speak, when using Lemon you are going to want to download the iPhone app. It can be used to scan your receipts and then upload them to the web. You can read more about the iPhone app over at iPhone.AppStorm.
When you first log into your account you will see a dashboard that has an overview of your receipts that have you entered into Lemon. It will tell you how much money you have spent in the last month as well as how many receipts you have submitted over the last two months. On the right hand side is where you will see all the different tabs that you can navigate through.
Under this tab you can manage all of the purchases that you have entered into Lemon as well as the ability to add a purchase manually. Here you can sort your receipts and search through them. When you click on a purchase you can see what you bought and anything else that Lemon was able to extract from the original receipt. They are able to extract lots of data from my receipt just by scanning it in using the iPhone app. It can tell me what items I purchased, the subtotal, tax and total, as well as information about the store itself, if that was on the receipt.
There are a few ways to add your purchases to Lemon. Like I had mentioned before you can use the iPhone app, as well as enter them manually here, but you can also email them too. For example, if I bought something from Amazon and they sent me a receipt by electronically, I can then email that receipt over to my special Lemon email that is given to me when I first sign up and the receipt and all of its information will get entered.
One of the things I like to do is see how we are spending our money on the business and where it is going. Lemon gives me this ability to see a variety of reports. On the Reports page, I can see all of my data in various ways. You can filter your data by specific time frame, merchants or labels and then Lemon will display a line graph of whatever you selected. Reports can also be emailed to you in XLS, CSV, or PDF formats.
Paying for Lemon
As I had mentioned before, Lemon’s basic version is free. You also have the option to buy a pro or premium account. To give you an idea of the features, everything that I have already mentioned in this review is included in the free account. For what it’s worth, the iPhone app is free and works with your free account on the web. So what do you get if you decide to pay for Lemon?
Well, with the pro account you will pay $10 a month for all the features mentioned, plus the ability to not have ads, better reporting, and multiple users per account. With a premium account you will pay $20 a month and get all of the features in the Free and Pro accounts as well as the ability to “capture purchase details”, which apparently lets you enter the exact items purchased and divide out your expenses.
As or right now you can only get a free or premium account. The website says that the pro account is “coming soon.” For what it is worth, I have used the free account for a couple of months now for my wife’s business and it has been exactly what I needed. I don’t need any more added on features.
Overall, I have to say that I really enjoy using Lemon. It is very intuitive and a great way to keep track of expenses, especially if you run a small business. If you have an iPhone, I would definitely suggest getting it and using it with the web app. The nice part is that they both sync together.
I am not too excited about the pricing, as it seems that is a little expensive for such a small amount of added features they give you. With that being said, Lemon does a great job of keeping track of your receipts and is great way to keep up on your expenses. Hopefully they’ll get a good mix of features between their free and paid accounts that’ll make it useful for a wide range of people, and still keep the business running for the long haul!