I’ve been sick of all of the paper in my home office recently and instead of buying another filing cabinet for all of it I decided to scan it in and turn it all in PDF files. This is awesome because not only can I print copies at will, I can also organise them in a nice folder structure on my hard-drive and I can add things like tags to them if I do some clever stuff. If I had the time I’d OCR them all and allow the text inside each bill to be searchable.

And then I had an idea. Why not Web 2.0 it?

We’ve got Web 2.0 solutions for nearly everything else relating to bills and accounts – why not take it one step further? I could quite easily find a developer to build the backend for this system – and although it would cost me a fair amount of money, this is a service that I think could catch on like wildfire. Everyone has bills, and everyone hates them. There would also be a nice eco-friendly angle for marketing.

Features I would suggest:

  • The ability to upload any scanned format and convert to PDF (e.g. TIFF, PSD, JPEG, GIF, BMP)
  • The ability to OCR (read the text inside the bills) in order to make each file completely searchable
  • The option to ‘tag’ each bill with keywords
  • A folder structure for organising the bills by things like Payslip, Rent, Phonebill etc.
  • The ability to upload non-bills as ‘Letters’
  • The ability to download and print bulk-selected files
  • The option to email a file to someone
  • The ability to have sub-users in one account (e.g. husband and wife)
  • Power options for businesses
  • The ability to copy and paste new bills from online accounts)
  • Very strong encryption
  • Downloadable applications for OS X and Windows to ease the process

The domain name paperfreehome dot com is actually available at the moment and I’m very tempted by it. Ideally though I like to keep venture names comprising of two words, each with one syllable (e.g. YouTube, BaseCamp, HighRise)

Payment would be via a monthly subscription – with hierarchy levels for example:

  • Free – Allowed to upload 50 initial bills, then 10/month
  • Power – £5/month for 500 initial bills, then 50/month
  • Business – £20/month for unlimited bills