The AP department is one of the busiest areas in most modern enterprises. Your office is likely to be humming with work from morning to night: processing invoices, preparing payroll stubs, checking and rechecking for errors.
If there’s one thing you don’t need to complicate life further it would be manual data entry. Taking the stacks of invoices that come in every day and inputting the data into your accounting software or ERP is nobody’s favourite job, but it has to be done. And the person doing it needs to stay alert and on top of things in order to do it 100% accurately at all times. There’s a reason for that free coffee.
In Search of a Solution to Bulk Invoice Processing
You’d think they would have invented something long ago that could take all those invoices, condense the data into an Excel file, and call it a day. They have automation for everything, from fine-tuning the thermostat to releasing everyone’s paycheck at the same moment. Why can’t someone take five minutes out of lunch break and code an invoice data entry program?
It turns out the problem is harder than you might think. For one, invoices don’t follow any set rules. Sure, the date is usually somewhere near the top, as is the invoice number, supplier address, and your firm’s data. Somewhere in the middle should be the purchase order, sales order, or else a few lines of prose explaining the purpose of the invoice. Then there’s the amount due, and somewhere—- end, most likely?— the payment method info you need to make that payment. All that can be scrambled up any which way, because there simply is no standard.
A basic five-line code isn’t going to get you anywhere. What you need is something more intelligent. AI based, even. You want a bot that is smart enough to get at the meeting of any invoice, no matter what invoice template was used, and to transform the unstructured info present on that individual invoice to structured data that can be easily manipulated by computer software in the future. You want the process to be entirely scalable, so you can run batch processing of however many different and widely varying invoices might come in one day.
But no worries. It’s no five-line code, but that AI bot does exist. It’s an invoice parser called Affinda, and it uses natural language processing and an extensive neural network to make sense of even the most disorganized vendor invoice your suppliers can throw at you. Here’s how Affinda can help solve your data entry problem.
Bulk Invoice Processing the Easy Way
Affinda is an invoice parser built on some cutting edge innovations in artificial intelligence and natural language processing. The developers used machine learning to build an engine that could get at the semantic meaning behind any invoice, and then trained this engine on thousands of real-life invoices till it became sniper-sure in parsing.
The developers of Affinda knew that something that ‘kind of works’ is never going to cut it in a payable automation setting. An inaccurate parser is worse than no parser at all. So they created something more accurate, even, than that hardworking data entry employee that is going for her third cup of free coffee. This parser never gets tired, and accuracy doesn’t drop off the faster invoices are processed. In fact, the more invoices Affinda processes the better it gets at what it is already so good at.
Affinda can be integrated into your ERP or accounting software to parse supplier invoices and automatically populate appropriate fields. Plug-and-play integrations exist for Quickbooks and Xero; if you use other software, you’ll need to ask your developer to do the integration. Once that’s done, your parser will be able to process scanned documents, pdfs, word documents, and pretty much any kind of bulk invoice you can give it.
Bulk Invoice Processing on Your Terms
But don’t take our word for it. The decision to switch from manual data entry to an AI-based batch invoice parser like Affinda isn’t a small one, and we want you to be fully confident before you take that step. That’s why we’ve put a bulk invoice parser online, 100% free for anyone who would like to try it. You can process batch invoices 25 at a time, and get the results as an Excel file.
Once you’re ready to try the API, contact us for a free API key and talk to one of our customer service representatives about getting Affinda’s automated invoice processing integrated seamlessly into your current setup. Our team is known worldwide for the way they go the extra mile to help our clients succeed, and you won’t be sorry you gave it a try. It’s time to let go of manual entry and take your AP team into the new year with AP automation done right.