IT for Donuts: four ways to use your smart phone camera at work

By: John McGarvey

Date: 31 October 2014

Smart phone camera{{}}IT for Donuts is our regular weekly feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT.

This week, that smart phone in your pocket probably has a really decent camera built in. So we reveal four ways it can be useful at work.

1. Scan your receipts

The humble shoebox is totally fine for storing receipts, as long as you don’t mind when you lose crucial paperwork or the print fades to be unreadable.

In the 21st century, there really is a better way. Whenever you make a business purchase, snap a photo of the receipt with your phone.

You can save these images to your computer or back them up to cloud storage like Google Drive.

Alternatively, you might prefer to use a service like Receipt Bank to automatically extract the data about each expense and import it into your accounting software. It can save you quite some time.

2. Store contact details

Nobody ever enters all the details off someone’s business card into their electronic address book, because doing so is boring and time-consuming.

You used to be able to automate the process with a business card scanner, but now there’s a plethora of apps to do the same thing. You could give CamCard or ABBYY Business Card Reader a try.

3. Keep a record of your gadgets

Using a smart phone to take photos of other gadgets sounds quite meta, but it can solve a real problem.

Hopefully you already have some way to keep track of valuable computer equipment and mobile devices in your business. But if you take a photo of each — ideally from an angle that shows the serial number — it can be easier to make an insurance claim in the future.

4. Create a record of brainstorms

Often, the most productive ideas come from brainstorming sessions. But what do you do with the inevitable whiteboard scrawls that result?

In the short term, it’s a good idea to take a photo of your scribbles and email it to everyone involved. That way you won’t be at the mercy of any over-eager whiteboard cleaners in your office.

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