Ask LH: How Should I Digitise My Payslips?

Ask LH: How Should I Digitise My Payslips?

Dear Lifehacker, What is the best way to digitise payslips? My employer is still sending giving me hard copies of my payslips and I thought it would be easier to keep track of them on the computer. It would be helpful if it were easy to search through them and bring up the relevant information as needed, and also to calculate the total number of hours worked too. Any advice? Thanks, Paying Off

Payslip picture from Shutterstock

Dear Lifehacker,

It’s definitely a good idea to digitise payslips if you only get them in physical form — it gives you a backup copy and means you don’t need to store the originals. The easiest option will be to use a physical scanner; check out our Hive Five list for some recommendations. You can also use a smartphone as a scanner, though this can be fiddlier depending on the physical size of your payslip.

Scanned documents should be searchable, provided you create them in PDF format or store them in a suitable service. One obvious option here is perennial Lifehacker favourite Evernote, which will automatically perform optical character recognition (OCR) on any documents stored in it.

What’s more challenging is your notion of automatically calculating hours worked. It’s not that this is impossible, but it’s a tricky programming task, and one that arguably isn’t worth it simply to process your own individual payslip, especially if you’re paid monthly. Typing the relevant details into a spreadsheet straight after you scan the digital copy would be a faster process, and that’s what we’d recommend. That also means you’ll actually check the contents of the payslip, which is sensible; errors happen!


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  • Mmmm this could be a new thing
    An open standard format for a payslip file that can be easily generated, crypto signed, easy to archive and plug into software that can let you do things like query how much you’ve worked since date X

    Probably not worth the effort yet, until most of the planet goes paper-free, but it would be cool

    • lol what. they’re hardly that confidential.. 99% of companies email them these days – it makes sense from all the big business areas (money, efficiency, they’re ALREADY digital then printed.. etc etc)

      • Yeah, I know, but when it’s a pdf, or whatever, it’s not in a format for some third party program to tally up and archive easily, and it’s annoying to dig through later on, that’s the main motivation for having an open readable format instead of static form. A bit to how .ical is really handy because it can be used in so many things.

        As for confidentiality, what if you don’t want people to know how much you make! Or WHO you work for! Finances should have security, even if it’s basically a receipt for work done.

  • Just chuck it through the work photocopier (that has scan to email function) then email it to yourself. Drag it to a folder labelled “payslips”.

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