Use this simple method with any computer and any scanner to organize and manage paperless receipts in as little as 30 seconds.

Save Money

Not only will you save money instead of buying a special scanner just for receipts, you can keep your list of receipts right in any money management software like QuickBooks®, Quicken® and others. 

If you don't use money management software, this book shows you exactly how to save receipts so you can find them by date, store, item, amount, invoice number or any category you choose.

Maybe you don't like to read. You're reading this page! Do not let the page count of the book scare you. It contains a lot of screen shots. One screen shot can convey as much information as several paragraphs.

Organize More Than Just Receipts

Organizing receipts is the subject of the book but it contains much more like how to organize files, folders, letters, reconcile statements, track vehicle paperwork and other topics. This book is jam packed full of useful information to organize your computer once and for all.

The book also covers various computer skills in case you don't know how to copy and paste and perform other computer tasks.

The receipt trick is so simple, it may surprise you. Each time you enter a transaction in your register, you take a few seconds to index it so you can find the receipt later.

Or you can simply scan receipts without entering them in a register. This method works either way.

Works for Business or Personal Receipts

The best part is you follow a few simple rules that make sense for you or your business. I have used this method for many years for both business and personal receipts. It was developed for tax receipts in the Electric Distribution Construction Industry in 1998 and works the same for personal receipts. I know because I use it daily. It finds receipts scanned in 1998 just as quickly as those scanned yesterday.

OCR is Not Magic

Maybe you are curious about OCR. Most scanners already come with OCR (Optical Character Recognition). OCR is not new nor is it the magic tool it sounds like. Read some reviews on OCR and you will find out that it's often frustrating and requires frequent correction. I never use my scanner's OCR because I can type faster than I can scan a document and pour over it word by word correcting OCR mistakes.

Get More for Your Money

Why pay for a special scanner when you can buy a scanner that faxes, prints, copies and collates? Have you checked out the prices on scanners lately? Any scanner plus any computer plus this book saves you money and gets you organized at the same time.

Look at the prices of some of the multi-function scanners available today. Why not use a simple method with a scanner that doubles as fax machine and printer?

Besides, if you buy a special scanner just for receipts and it breaks or you decide to get a new one, what will you do with the receipts stored in the other scanner? Or what if you buy a new computer and your old scanner no longer works with the new operating system? Will you then have to buy a new scanner or upgrade? This method keeps receipts neat and organized indefinitely no matter how many times you replace your scanner or even your computer. That's because the method is in your head not in a machine.

30 Second Receipts: The Link Principle
Buy The Link Principle from Amazon

Use it alone for personal receipts or while bookkeeping for business receipts. Take just a few seconds on each bookkeeping entry and you can find the receipt for any transaction in seconds. Combine bookkeeping and record keeping in one step.

With PDF software that comes with many scanners, you can collect receipts and make a PDF book of them by store, vendor, item, customer, vehicle, employee or any categories you choose in seconds and in chronological order.

Unlike methods written by educators or how-to writers, this book evolved from the real needs of a real business.

You decide how much to store on the computer and how much to keep on paper using the rules you like and changing rules whenever you feel like it. When you use this method with money management software, you will know whether files are stored on the computer or not.

The IRS requires an index system for paperless records with safeguards to protect against deletion of entries. This books explains how to find files even if someone deletes the index entries.

If you own a business you may be interested to know that I use The Link Principle to manage receipts and other records for an average of 60 vehicles and pieces of equipment. The book explains how with screen shots, real life examples and detailed explanations.

This book communicates on a non-professional level to appeal to everyone but the information is just as valuable to professional bookkeepers.

If you own a business that uses unusual documents, the book explains how to create business-specific codes to organize them. You create your own system based on a few simple rules you are comfortable with.

By the way, my name is Annaliese Dell. I write articles and solutions for Experts Exchange, a global help system for technology experts. My articles have won Editor's Choice, Experts Exchange Approved and Community Pick awards. Editor's Choice is the highest accolade an article can receive.

You can see my profie page here:

Click on the Activity tab to see my solutions and notice they are all graded A.

The Link Principle includes tips from my award winning articles so you don't have to pay to get that information from my articles on Experts Exchange.

If you use QuickBooks®, you may have seen my QuickBooks® and QODBC site: where I give away VBA codes and downloadable databases like these:

Enough about me and back to the book!

Avoid This Mistake

Do not count on your computer to sort files by date. You may think it sorts by date but the dates computers use are no good for receipts. You will learn why computer dates don't work for receipts and better yet, you will learn how to save receipts and other files so you can force the computer to sort them by the right date.

Time-Tested and Proven

This method has been perfected through daily use for many years. Auditors praise me time and again for finding receipts and statements quickly.

Create Quick Histories

If you own a business with vehicles or even if you have personal vehicles, imagine creating a PDF book of receipts for repairs, insurance, licenses...all in seconds.

Scanners in Business

If you are in business, you need a way to link business receipts to transactions to comply with tax laws.

Read the reviews and decide what scanner is right for you. Then learn the 30 Second Paperless Receipts system that you can:
  • use with any scanner and;
  • take with you into the future that will also work for your paperless records of the past

Shopping for a New Scanner

Ask yourself if you need to scan:

  • multiple page documents
  • wrinkled receipts
  • torn receipts
  • hand written receipts

  • Any flatbed scanner with a document feeder meets all these requirements.

    If you need a scanner, consider one that also scans quality photos and includes card readers for your camera. You can find a quality scanner, printer, fax combination with OCR for $200 to $400 to get more features for your money.

    PDF Software

    PDF software is available for less than $50 at the time of this writing that turns any document or photo into a PDF file. Many scanners already come with PDF software.


    The Link Principle lets you find receipts quickly and also finds the receipts linked to transactions on your books in seconds. Use it without linking simply to organize receipts and find them quickly.

    The method works with:
    • personal receipts
    • cash journal entries
    • credit card journal entries
    • check journal entries
    • register entries
    • any expense transaction on your books
    • memo entries
    • invoices
    • credit card charges and credits
    • bills
    • adjustments
    • deposits
    • virtually any paperless receipt

    Imagine opening any receipt related to any transaction on your books in seconds.

    IRS Says

    You can research what records to keep on Some helpful links on

    Kinds of Records to Keep:

    How Long to Keep Records:

    Keep good records and know what records to keep. Then use The Link Principle to organize receipts and link them to check, credit card and cash journal entries and register entries.

    Types of Receipts

    No matter what kind of records you keep:
    • reimbursed travel expenses
    • business expense receipts
    • work related expenses for tax deductions
    • reimbursement travel expenses
    • travel meals deductions
    • car expenses
    • travel expenses reimbursement
    • itemized receipts

    Paperless Receipts Index

    The Link Principle turns your bookkeeping software into a paperless records index. This lets you find scanned receipts for any transaction on your books in seconds. It creates a permanent link between the receipt and the transaction.

    30 Second Receipts: The Link Principle
    Buy The Link Principle from Amazon

    Do Twice the Work in Half the Time

    If you are a bookkeeper, use this method while you work and combine bookkeeping with record keeping in one simple step.

    You already know the importance of keeping tax records. You have to enter transactions anyway so you might as well link them to paperless receipts at the same time. This method adds only seconds to each entry.

    You can also link receipts after transactions are entered.

    Transient Files

    The book explains where and how to keep paperless receipts when you do not yet have transactions for them.

    For example, you make an online purchase and download the receipt but the transaction won't appear in your register until after your monthly credit card download. The book explains a simple technique to deal with this. This technique is worth many times the cost of the book for organizing computer files in general and for handling transient electronic files and was awarded Editor's Choice on Experts Exchange.


    The book contains over 80 screenshots that quickly communicate information that could take paragraphs to explain. They also help those who learn better through images.

    Do More with Less

    Scanning is only half the battle of keeping neat receipts for tax records. The Link Principle does more than save files; it:
    • links them to transactions
    • formats files so the computer sorts them chronologically
    • uses simple codes to track fleet records
    • lets you create to-do lists from file lists

    You will learn more than how to keep records. You will learn how to keep them so you can find them quickly.

    IRS and Electronic Records

    The IRS requires an index system such as a database or other application for organizing electronic records.

    Bookkeeping software like QuickBooks and Quicken are essentially databases for transactions. Why not use them to index scanned receipts and keep all your information in one place? See this IRS page to learn how the IRS encourages paperless record keeping:
    IRS Encourages Taxpayers to Safeguard Financial and Tax Records During Hurricane Preparedness Week:,,id=157643,00.html

    This is what they have to say about electronic records: "This method is an outstanding way to secure financial records."

    Decide for yourself if The Link Principle meets IRS electronic record keeping requirements. See for electronic record keeping rules, laws and regulations.

    See these other helpful IRS paragraphs on on the subject:

            1.15.6 Managing Electronic Records:

            Electronic Records:

    Types of PDF Documents

    Use caution with editable PDF receipts because paperless receipts must not be editable. In other words, you must not be able to change or edit them.

    Using OCR software to save electronic receipts in editable PDF format may not comply with tax law. Consult your accountant or tax attorney for details. Editable PDF and Image PDF are two different formats. You must use a format for scanned receipts that guarantees you cannot change or edit the receipt.

    This method lets you search for receipts in non-editable PDF format. Best of all, you decide the details that are right for you or your company based on a few simple rules.

    30 Second Receipts: The Link Principle
    Buy The Link Principle from Amazon

    Chronological Files

    This method forces your computer to sort files chronologically. You may think your computer already does this but you will learn:
    • the difference between file date and valid date
    • why you cannot rely on file dates to sort files chronologically
    • why you cannot depend on file dates to find files

    Includes tips from this Experts-Exchange article on file dates that was awarded Community Pick and Experts Exchange Approved. This is what the Editor had to say about it:

    Because of the value and quality of this article I've awarded it with an 'EE Approved' and 'Community Pick' designation.  Once again thank you for your efforts.

    Avoid the most common file dating mistake where most people fail with self-created systems. This one rule is worth many times the cost of the book when it comes to organizing computer files.

    Unique Identifiers

    Avoid this common mistake: The IRS requires unique identifiers for electronic tax records.

    I do not give legal or tax advice but you can read for yourself about IRS requirements for electronic records on

    Part 1. Organization, Finance and Management
    Chapter 15. Records and Information Management
    Section 6. Managing Electronic Records (06-01-2010)
    Scope of the Documentation:
    Paragraph D:

    "At a minimum, the documentation should specify the key fields, including primary keys, used to uniquely identify each record in a file"

    Safeguard yourself against this potential mistake and make sure you use unique identifiers for each file.

    The book explains unique identifiers and how to create them quickly and easily. They are an essential part of any paperless record keeping system but easier to create than you may have thought possible.

    Deletion Protection

    An electronic record keeping system must use reasonable controls to protect against alteration or deletion of entries. This method ensures you can still find files if someone alters or deletes the links.

    A special format lets you find electronic receipts even if you completely delete the corresponding entries in your bookkeeping software. This also lets you find paperless receipts without opening your bookkeeping application. You can even use it to look up receipts and vendor information when QuickBooks® is closed.

    Think about it. What information do you need from a transaction that you cannot get from the receipt?

    This may sound too easy and it really is. It has been working since 1998.


    Auditors compliment me time and again on paperless record keeping and finding scanned receipts quickly and efficiently.

    Simplify audits. Keep good records and use The Link Principle as intended to store scanned receipts so you can find them quickly.

    Do not prolong audits because you stumble around your computer looking for receipts.

    Keeps Working and Working and Working

    I began bookkeeping and record keeping in the Electric Distribution Construction Industry in 1990. My first computer was a Commodore 64 that I programmed to calculate weekly payroll. The number 64 stood for 64K of RAM and virtually no ROM.

    Since then, computers and operating systems have changed dramatically but The Link Principle has remained the same and can still find the earliest records using the same method used today.

    256 Pages

    Most people can start linking receipts in minutes by skipping ahead to the chapter on creating links. The basic method may surprise you in its simplicity. But this book contains much more than how to save paperless receipts. It's jam packed full of organizational information.

    Some of what this book includes:





































    Scanners and Software

    Paper or Paperless

    Temporary Folders

    Vehicles and Equipment

    File Abbreviations

    Implementing Your Own System

    Added Bonus #1

    As an added bonus, the book includes an entire chapter on file abbreviations.

    This is in addition to The Link Principle and an entirely separate system used to organize computer documents other than receipts.

    This method lets you create lists of only letters or only faxes or only emails, insurance endorsements, etc.

    This method alone is worth the cost of the book.

    This is what the Experts-Exchange editor had to say about my article on file abbreviations:
    After some feedback from another Page Editor we feel this article deserves the Community Pick and EE Approved designations.  Once again thank you for your time and efforts.

    The method consists of basic rules that you use to create your own system that works best for you or your business.

    This method lets you sort documents by document type instead of file type and list only letters, only faxes, etc. no matter what application created the files.

    Added Bonus #2

    As a bonus for businesses with vehicle(s), The Link Principle explains how to record transactions and save receipts in a special way that lets you:

    • search for upcoming registrations and inspections coming due.
    • create repair and maintenance PDF books for any vehicle.

    The founding business has managed fleet records for over sixty vehicles and pieces of equipment for many years. Whether or not you report to IFTA or DOT, if you have more than one vehicle, you will find this information invaluable for keeping vehicle records and receipts.

    Yet it adds no more time to bookkeeping than The Link Principle and is used with The Link Principle as an added organizational tool.

    Just a few seconds lets you create organized, informational fleet records.

    QuickBooks® Users

    You may start a new QuickBooks® company file at some point but what about old transactions? QuickBooks® does not allow two company files open at the same time. But you may need information about an old transaction. Most of the information you need is on the receipt and this method lets you find and open receipts even when QuickBooks® is closed.

    The Link Principle lets you search for and list receipts by:

    • year
    • month
    • day
    • vendor
    • truck
    • repair
    • maintenance
    • registration
    • insurance change
    • item
    • invoice or reference number
    • other descriptive words of your choosing

    Why open the old QuickBooks® file when all the information you need is on the receipt?

    Missing Receipts

    Do you know how many receipts you are missing?

    This method lets you see at a glance whether you are missing scanned receipts.

    If you use QuickBooks®, you can memorize a report that shows you which transactions have computer receipts and which do not.

    Do not be caught off-guard by missing receipts. Use The Link Principle to organize receipts right in your bookkeeping application.

    You can benefit from many years of paperless record keeping experience by using The Link Principle to organize receipts better and faster for business receipts or as a receipt scanning alternative for personal receipts.