The problem:

A big part of your job is managing vendors and costs. There are a lot of vendors charging a lot of different prices for a lot of different services. Some of the vendors are good, some are bad, and some are mixed. It’d be nice if you could keep track of both your prices and the vendor quality, but that sort of data entry would require a lot of time that you don’t have.

Potential solutions:

1) Shoeboxed: a service which promises that you can send them paper invoices or electronic invoices, and they’ll perform OCR for you. But this would only be a way of keeping track of costs, not vendor or product quality. Besides, the standard plan costs $40/month, and only allows you 150 docs/month.

2) Gatekeeper: a heavy duty vendor management software. It allows you to track vendors, manage them, and pay them all through the software. But it’s intense, and so expensive that they don’t even list their prices on their website.

My solution:

My free Google Sheets add-on walks you through how to easily process receipts and invoices yourself through OCR. Take a picture, use the OCR I recommend to process the picture, and use my add-on’s tools to quickly clean the scan. Then use my add-on to tag the line items using your own-self created categories. Finally, you can add your own reviews to both the vendors and the individual line items.

If you want to look back at your past receipts or invoices, they’re all there in Google Drive. Or, if you want to just look at your data from a certain vendor, from a certain time period, or regarding a certain item (like tomatoes or stuffed animals), you can do that as well using my add-on’s analysis tools. Or, if you want to look at and analyze your own past reviews for vendors and their offerings, it’s also easy to do straight in Google Drive.

It’s quicker than Shoeboxed and more lightweight than Gatekeeper. You can process an unlimited number of documents and all the data ends up in your spreadsheet, not in some third-party service. You can use my add-on’s tools to gain insight from the data, you can export the data to your accounting software, or anything else you want. It’s all your data to work with. Oh, and did I mention the add-on is free?