Paper bills, online bills… bane of my life

Tech journo Danny Gorog has written a good piece about new sheet-fed scanners that can scan in your bills (even double-sided ones) and save them as PDFs on your computer, eliminating the stacks of unsorted paper we all build up on our desks.

I’m going to have to look into getting one of these scanners. Paper is the absolute bane of my life. I grew up in the digital era and I simply don’t “do” paper very well. It just ends up piling up and getting extremely messy exactly where it -shouldn’t- be … like our dining table at home.

I’ve been wondering about a better way of dealing with it, because I simply never get round to filing it.

In a way, putting them on my computer as PDFs only half solves the problem because you still have to open all the PDFs to get the info out for your tax return expenses, but at least they’d be in the right order already presuming you used a consistent naming scheme. (And with the full version of Acrobat you could even combine an entire year’s worth of Optus bills, for example, into one PDF, which would be nice.)

I’d like to make more use of online bills, but whenever I’ve looked into it, the companies all say they’ll only keep your bills online for two or three years — not the seven years required by the ATO. What’s the point of having them online if you’re going to have to print them all out at some point!

Also, companies haven’t yet moved beyond the ‘represent each individual paper bill in an online format’ way of thinking. Sure, that’s good from an accounting simplicity perspective, but it still means you have to add the bloody things up at the end of the year come tax time.

It’d be great if, say, a telco could tell you your total mobile phone bills for FY07, what proportion of those bills were roaming charges (which you’d presumably already have claimed back from your company) etc.

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4 thoughts on “Paper bills, online bills… bane of my life

  1. Rod B

    Good find, Dan!

    I’ve started moving in the same direction, choosing online billing where possible. For archive purposes, can’t you just print to PDF?

  2. Rod B

    Good find, Dan!

    I’ve started moving in the same direction, choosing online billing where possible. For archive purposes, can’t you just print to PDF?

  3. Stuart

    Hi Dan,

    Have you checked out Westpac’s “e-statement” option? Westpac claims to turn off paper delivery and yet provide access of up to 7 years of account statements online.

    At least that’s paper from one less biller you have to worry about (so long as you bank with Westpac)!

    More information – http://westpac.com.au/estatements

    Stuart.

  4. Stuart

    Hi Dan,

    Have you checked out Westpac’s “e-statement” option? Westpac claims to turn off paper delivery and yet provide access of up to 7 years of account statements online.

    At least that’s paper from one less biller you have to worry about (so long as you bank with Westpac)!

    More information – http://westpac.com.au/estatements

    Stuart.

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