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Updated Apr 16, 2024

Neat Review

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Max Freedman, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst

Table of Contents

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Editors Score:8.5/10

Neat offers numerous ways to upload and organize accounts payable documents, plus its reports are highly customizable, filterable, clean and legible. We found it outstandingly useful for tracking and reporting on bills and receipts.

Plus Sign Pros
  • Neat is ideal for small businesses that need to store, track and organize a large number of bills and receipts.
  • The platform is easy to install and requires no extra training to start using immediately.
  • Neat fully integrates with QuickBooks and TurboTax for powerful expense management and identification of possible tax deductions.
Minus Sign Cons
  • You can’t pay bills in Neat despite the platform’s excellent receipt and bill storage, organization and tracking features.
  • Phone-based customer service costs extra money.
  • Neat is far from a full-scope accounting platform, even with its paid add-on that introduces additional invoicing and reporting features.

Looking for more options?

For more options, check out the rest of Business News Daily’s picks for the The Best Business Accounting Software Services of 2024.

Although the best accounting software covers every base, sometimes, you might be looking for a solution with a narrower focus. For example, if your goal is to organize your expenses, your accounting platform only needs tools for uploading, storing and tracking receipts and bills. 

We’ve identified Neat as the best accounting platform for exactly this need. For starters, Neat offers numerous upload formats and comes with plenty of folders. You can also add subfolders for further categorization and generate expense and tax reports quickly. We felt while testing Neat that it substantially expedited and improved our receipt management and ability to identify related tax deductions.

Neat Editor's Rating:

8.5 / 10

Affordable pricing
10/10
Free trial
10/10
Robust integrations
7.5/10
Invoicing and bill pay
5/10
Mobile app
10/10

Why Neat Is Best for Receipt and Bill Tracking

Neat offers all kinds of ways to upload your business receipts, bills and other documents. We especially liked the receipt photo uploads via Neat’s mobile app and the computer upload feature worked well too. Especially impressive was that Neat gave us a custom email address to which we could send items to upload. We have yet to encounter this feature on other accounting platforms.

From there, Neat offers tremendous organization features, with folders for bills, contacts, contracts, legal documents, office paperwork, purchases, quarterly tax forms and other important documents. When you add an expense manually using the “Create” button at the top right, you can move it to any of these folders. We also loved the number of options available from the “Create” drop-down, including bills, invoices and checks. 

Neat drop-down menu

The Neat “Create” drop-down shows the numerous document options supported in the platform. It’s easy to add these documents manually through this tool. Source: Neat

The Neat reporting suite was also a favorite of ours. We liked how much we could customize our reports and filter them by category and the reports themselves were clean and legible. We were also impressed that we could create sales tax reports too, though Neat competitor Xero’s sales tax reporting suite excited us more. Nevertheless, with Neat’s breadth of supported expense documents and upload options (and robust reporting suite), it’s our clear winner for receipt and bill tracking.

TipTip

For the most advanced sales tax reporting in accounting software, we recommend Xero. Read our Xero review to learn more.

Usability

Neat was among the most intuitively navigable accounting platforms we reviewed. As with our Melio review and Plooto review, this mostly comes down to Neat’s comparatively narrow suite of features. Given Neat’s focus almost exclusively on payment documents and a small number of reports, it would be virtually impossible for the app to be cluttered. As expected, Neat is clean, well organized and simple to move through, which elevated our experience.

When we logged into Neat, we immediately saw an overview of all our files and the total amount of money owed across them all. We could import or create documents easily using two buttons at the top, where we also saw a “Reports” button. On the left-hand side was our cabinet, which contained our folders categorized by document type. Everything we needed was always right within reach.

We also liked that the manual-add tools in the “Create” button are all supremely easy to use. For most of the information fields you’ll need to complete, Neat offers suggestions for you. These suggestions include expense categories, the customers you’ve stored in the app and the project to which the expense is connected. We found that these suggestions saved us several minutes on manual expense input as compared to other platforms.

Neat automatic categorization

Neat’s automatic categorization tool when adding expenses manually saves you substantial time. Source: Neat

We didn’t see options to customize the Neat dashboard, nor did we feel these were necessary since the platform is so simple and well organized. Although Neat was straightforward to learn, we appreciated having immediate access to its help center at the bottom left. We understood how the miscellaneous technical how-tos and video center there could help users struggling with setup or use. There are also direct support communication options.

Neat doesn’t have too many integrations, but it does connect seamlessly with QuickBooks. This integration pleased us since QuickBooks is the leading name in accounting software and our top pick for small businesses. We connected Neat with our QuickBooks trial account and found that the two worked powerfully in tandem for robust expense management. Between its integrations and the platform itself, Neat ranked near the top of the pack when it came to usability.

Did You Know?Did you know

QuickBooks’ breadth of features is only one reason it’s our top pick for small business accounting. Learn what else we love about this platform via our Intuit QuickBooks accounting software review.

Neat Features

Document upload options

Upload receipts via mobile app, your dedicated Neat email address, manual entry or desktop scanner.

Document organization

Store and organize documents in Neat’s preloaded folders and subfolders or add your own for more granular categorization.

QuickBooks and TurboTax integrations

Sync your expense records, reports and potential tax deductibles with two highly powerful Intuit platforms.

Tax reporting

Generate tax category reports to identify potential tax deductibles and create sales tax reports to streamline your remittance of sales taxes.

Expense reconciliation

View all your expenses across categories on one screen next to your bank feed for low-hassle reconciliation, with full sync to QuickBooks.

Neat’s variety of document upload options and organized structure earned the platform our recommendation as the best accounting software for receipt and bill tracking. Here are the core features underlying this recommendation as well as some other standouts.

Document Upload Options

We were impressed with how many options Neat offered for adding documents to its system. Our favorite was receipt scanning through the highly user-friendly Neat mobile app. In second place was our custom Neat email address to which we could forward documents for upload. Tied for the next-most convenient options were document upload and adding documents through a desktop scanner. 

In last place was the manual entry option and even this tool was powerful compared to other accounting platforms’ similar features. We appreciated the automatic suggestions that popped up in each category and we completed our manual additions in a few minutes each. No matter how we wanted to upload our receipts, bills and other expense documents, we felt that Neat streamlined the process.

Document Organization

Neat couples easy document addition with powerful organization tools. When you first create your Neat account, you’ll see folders for bills, contacts, contracts, important documents, legal, office, purchases and taxes automatically. You can add other folders and subfolders as you please — the Taxes folder comes preloaded with a subfolder for the current quarter. You’ll always see the option to choose a folder for your files when you upload them too.

We found Neat to boast one of the best document management systems within accounting software. From the folders’ visibility upon login to the ease of adding files to these folders, we were happy with the Neat experience.

Neat file folders

Neat arrives with highly useful file folders out of the box and its Taxes folder comes preloaded with a subfolder for the current quarter. Source: Neat

QuickBooks and TurboTax Integrations

Although Neat is comparatively lacking in its quantity of integrations, we did find arguably its two most important integrations to be quite effective. We linked Neat with our QuickBooks and TurboTax accounts and found the information sync across these platforms to be perfect. We also found that Neat’s excellent receipt and bill tracking improved our accounts payable management and identification of potential tax deductions. [Interested in the best small business tax software? Read our TurboTax review.]

Admittedly, we would love to see Neat integrate with other top accounting platforms, such as Zoho Books. However, given that QuickBooks is the most widely used accounting software, we were still overall happy to see this integration. (TurboTax isn’t the only business tax software with which Neat connects — there’s also an H&R Block integration.)

FYIDid you know

Zoho Books is our top accounting software for microbusinesses. Learn why via our Zoho Books review.

Tax Reporting

Neat only offers a few reports, but we were enthusiastic about its two tax reports. The tax category report generates a list of receipts by tax category and period, which we found useful for identifying likely tax deductions. The sales tax report does the same for all sales taxes you charge. This information is highly useful at all points in the year at which you must remit sales taxes.

We found that these reports took about a minute each to generate. All we had to do was choose the right category for each of the drop-down filters, which included the vendor, expense category and project. From there, we had all the information we needed, all neatly organized and instantly accessible from the Neat dashboard.

Neat reporting

Choose from the drop-down category options in the Neat reporting suite and you’ll have a clear, well-organized report before you know it. Source: Neat

Expense Reconciliation

Although bank reconciliation isn’t exactly Neat’s core feature, its quality stood out to us. You can only use it to reconcile outgoing, not incoming transactions, but it excels at managing this half of your cash flow. We loved that all our expenses, no matter their category or document format, appeared on one screen right next to our bank feed. This made expense reconciliation a total cakewalk, plus our reconciliations synced to our QuickBooks account too. We were happy with this feature and felt that it elevated Neat’s receipt and bill tracking experience.

Neat Costs

Neat offers only one pricing plan and we found this to simplify the decision-making process — most vendors offer many plans that differ in features. Neat costs a flat $200 per year or $16.66 per month, which is roughly what most full-scope accounting platforms’ lowest pricing packages cost. 

On one hand, this makes Neat comparatively costly given that you don’t get all that many features with it. However, when you combine this price with the lowest-cost full-scope accounting packages, the monthly total is still less than with, say, the best payroll software. The same is true when comparing Neat’s pricing to that of other business technologies, even those unrelated to finance. Neat thus offers a comparatively substantial return on investment.

For an additional $50 per year ($4.17 per month), you can add Neat’s VIP customer service. This add-oh includes one-on-one training, dedicated support and early access to new features. Additionally, there’s an automated insights add-on that costs $150 per year ($12.50 per month). Through this add-on, you can import your bank feed, auto-create accounting reports, send custom invoices, couple receipts with expenses and gather real-time trends and insights. 

We like that the automated insights add-on brings Neat closer to full-scope accounting functionality. With $200 + $150 = $350 per year, you still only pay $29.17 per month for the platform too. The add-on makes Neat a comparatively cost-effective way to manage your accounting, although we still recommend full-scope platforms overall. For example, in our FreshBooks review, we lay out this platform’s powerful estimating and quoting tools, as well as its user role and permissions features. Neat includes no such features.

There are no implementation costs or user caps with Neat and you get a 14-day free trial as well. We were concerned, though, that unlike with many accounting platforms, Neat requires you to add credit card information before starting your trial. This puts you in a position where you might accidentally be left paying for a platform you ultimately decide you don’t need. However, Neat does offer a 30-day full refund and cancellation period after your first payment.

Neat Setup

The Neat setup process was among the simplest we encountered in accounting software. We were simply asked to enter our email address, followed by our first name, last name, phone number and password. From there, we added our payment information and we were asked whether we were using Neat for personal expenses, business expenses or both. We like that Neat gives an example of each potential to lessen the learning curve for newcomers.

Neat usage categories

Neat makes it abundantly clear whether your usage falls into personal, business or both categories during setup. Source: Neat

Once we took this small number of steps, we were led right to the Neat dashboard, with folders already set up and all features within reach. All we had to do thereafter was add any subfolders we wanted and start uploading our documents. We found the setup experience to be among the easiest of any accounting software.

There are no add-on fees for setup and Neat’s help center offers numerous detailed guides on getting started. With the VIP service add-on, you get dedicated one-on-one training too. This level of service, combined with Neat’s strong (but not numerous) integrations and inherent ease of use and setup, makes employee onboarding a cakewalk

Neat Customer Service

You can file a support ticket directly through the Neat “Help & Support” tool at the bottom left of your dashboard. You can also live chat with Neat from here — this feature, ticketing and email comprise the core Neat support suite. Only VIP service customers can use “Help & Support” to schedule time to meet one-on-one with a Neat expert. 

Beyond these interactive options, you can access Neat’s help center at any time. We found this resource to be comparatively rife with easily understandable guides, although not as much so as the Xero help center. From written tutorials to how-to videos and webinars, we found that Neat gave us most of what we needed to succeed from the get-go.

What Neat didn’t give us was a clear customer service phone number. We assume that VIP service users get this number, but this add-on wasn’t part of our free trial. This disappointed us since, across business technologies, we always prefer vendors that make themselves reachable for phone support. However, we found Neat easy enough to use that minimal support was required in the first place.

Neat Drawbacks

Despite how well it tracks receipts and bills, Neat isn’t a payment platform and this disappointed us, although its integration with QuickBooks solves this problem. However, if you use a different full-scope accounting platform, you may find taking the extra step of initiating payment in that platform needless and redundant. 

Speaking of full-scope accounting platforms: One problem with Neat is that it doesn’t offer nearly all the essential accounting features. Sure, the automated insights add-on somewhat bridges the gap. Even with this add-on, however, you’re still left without bill pay tools, estimate and quote creation, time-tracking features and the like. In almost all cases, you’ll need to couple Neat with another accounting platform, such as the software detailed in our ZarMoney review.

We were also disappointed that some online Neat reviews on the Better Business Bureau’s website complain that the vendor regularly stops supporting certain features. In particular, we noticed a large number of user complaints that the ability to add documents via desktop scanner has unexpectedly stopped being supported. We appreciate that Neat has responded to these complaints but still don’t like that these problems exist in the first place.

Methodology

When we searched for the best accounting software for receipt and bill tracking, we sought the ability to quickly upload and categorize expense documents. Of particular importance were mobile app uploading and a low-hassle user interface. After weighing several excellent accounts payable options, such as Xero, Plooto and Melio, we chose Neat as the best option for receipt and bill tracking. 

The aforementioned similar platforms excel in areas related to receipt and bill tracking. However, after setting up and using our free Neat trial over several days, Neat emerged as the clear winner for tracking in particular. To fully research the product, we coupled our hands-on usage with research into Neat’s product pages and online customer reviews.

Neat FAQs

No. Although there was previously a desktop version of Neat, the company stopped supporting this technology in approximately 2016.

From the Neat dashboard, click the drop-down at the top right with a gear wheel next to your name. Choose “Billing” from this drop-down, then scroll down to “Manage Subscription.” In the first box, “Subscription,” you’ll see the option to cancel your subscription.

No. Neat is an entirely separate brand that operates independently of any larger corporation.

Overall Value

We recommend Neat for …

  • Small businesses that handle a large volume of receipts and bills.
  • Small businesses looking for a mobile expense management app that integrates with the Intuit properties QuickBooks and TurboTax.
  • Small businesses that need the cleanest possible interface for uploading, organizing and managing expense documents.

We don’t recommend Neat for …

  • Small businesses in need of full-scope accounting software.
  • Small businesses that need bill pay solutions alongside their tools for tracking bills and receipts.
  • Small businesses seeking phone-based customer support without paying extra for it.
author image
Max Freedman, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Max Freedman has spent nearly a decade providing entrepreneurs and business operators with actionable advice they can use to launch and grow their businesses. Max has direct experience helping run a small business, performs hands-on reviews and has real-world experience with the categories he covers, such as accounting software and digital payroll solutions, as well as leading small business lenders and employee retirement providers. Max has written hundreds of articles for Business News Daily on a range of valuable topics, including small business funding, time and attendance, marketing and human resources.

Looking for more options?

For more options, check out the rest of Business News Daily’s picks for the The Best Business Accounting Software Services of 2024.

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