Improving receipt capture

There are been a few ideas about how to improve receipt capture in the app. This thread is to capture and discuss those.

Ideas include:

  • When you take a photo, make it so you can zoom in to check the quality before attaching it
  • Option to make the receipts into a paper scan style
  • When taking a photo of a receipt, automatically crop the image to only capture the receipt
  • Allow bulk export of receipts (see here)
  • Ability to share receipts from other apps and then attach to transactions
  • Allow receipts to be emailed in to an email address that then appear in the app

Let us know which of these sound good, or any other ideas you have.

(Also see this thread for a bug where receipt images go black sometimes)

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@adamjgo as it is not currently possible to export receipts from Coconut then I am using the free version of Expensify. Have to say that I am really impressed in the way you can email, scan or upload a receipt or invoice and it is automatically categorised, the receipt captured in a usable format and the amount captured. I’m sure Concur does exactly the same and these are the gold standards to aim for.

Paul

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Thanks @Paul-B that’s really useful. On the subject of not being able to export receipts, it would be great to get your thoughts on that topic over here

I’d be keen to hear why exporting the receipts from the app is important to you - we have a tool to do this we just haven’t added it to the app yet, so wouldn’t be a massive job for us to add it in.

I think all the ideas in your list sound really useful. Especially cropping and checking the picture eligibility before saving, bulk export and allowing receipts to be emailed into the app. This last option would allow us to attach digital receipts easily, without having to snap a screenshot.

When you say ‘make the receipts into a paper scan style’ do you mean enhancing the picture to make text on the receipt clearer and take out picture noise?

The only reason I can personally think of to need to get my receipts is if I move bank or Coconut went away. In the later case I would assume you would provide the tooling and give notice.

With the Accountant Portal I can’t see any other reason to need access to the receipt images though.

Cropping the receipts doesn’t bother me, though it may help your disk usage and could improve upload success.

I can see how emailing receipts could seem useful. But I just take a picture of my computer screen if it is on there. Or screenshot my phone and then upload to Coconut as normal.

Feels like emailing receipts is more of a comfort blanket for people with existing mental models. Which is fair enough and probably worth supporting in some way. If/when people use such features, I would also suggest a little “Did you know?” tip, to drop the idea of taking photos of screens with receipts on them, or screenshots on phone.

For those of a technical bent, there are some good reasons for capturing high resolution text and cropped (i.e. background noise removed) receipt photos in terms of OCR efficacy, which is something we’d possibly look into. Having customers do some of the heavy lifting simplifies the algorithms needed to do a good job with that :slight_smile:

Yes that does make sense. You could also use edge detection to pre-set the crop area and let people change it only if they want (much like scanners do)

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Yup, edge detection, thresholding, dilation etc. are all good for OCR pipelines :slight_smile:

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