Ultimate Guide to OCR Invoice Scanning Software

You'd like to automate your AP processes, and you've heard OCR invoice scanning software is the way to go. Sound intimidating? As it turns out, implementation could hardly be easier.

AI-powered OCR invoice scanning software makes invoice processing a cinch
AI-powered OCR invoice scanning software makes invoice processing a cinch

Do you feel stuck in a never-ending tide of incoming invoices, all with due dates in the very near future? For many firms, manual data entry turns out to be the bottleneck. It takes time to input all the data from invoices into your accounting system; time that nobody has.

If you’ve dreamed about eliminating manual data entry and moving to an automated system, you’re in luck. There’s a robust solution already in place, ready for implementation: OCR invoice scanning software. OCR invoice scanning software is an API-driven solution you can incorporate right into your existing systems with a few lines of code. If you use Quickbooks, that code may be already written for you.

What Type of OCR Invoice Scanning Software Do You Need?

There’s OCR invoice scanning software, and there’s OCR invoice scanning software. OCR has been around for a while now, and there are legacy OCR invoice scanning software options that will do just that– OCR your invoices– and pretty much stop there. These OCR software options can be incredibly frustrating to use, and the check-and-double-check they require means they may not simplify your accounts payable at all.

But if you’re all about smooth, professional experience for your clients, you’ll want something smarter. AI driven, even.  Something that can take on any invoice, no matter what template was used to create it, and automagically fill the relevant fields in your accounting software.  An invoice automation tool that can handle a paper invoice,  a pdf invoice, emailed invoices or fax.

Great invoice data capture software will:

  • Use natural language processing (NLP) to get at the semantic meaning of the words on the page– no incorrect interpretations
  • Be flexible with any template format
  • Be able to handle custom fields and
  • Be easy to integrate with your existing systems
  • Have a built-in validation tool that allows you to check your invoice capture

Paper invoices are no problem for an OCR invoice scanning solution. Use a scanner to digitize the invoice, and the data extraction tool will transform the image into words on a page. Then it goes on to interpret those words and turn them into the structured data your accounting software works with.

How OCR Invoice Scanning Software Can Help You

Organizations worldwide are seeing an increase in revenue as they adopt AI into their workflow. It’s not hard to see why. AI takes the mind numbing routine work off your plate and lets you and your staff focus on the higher-order work that you do best. It allows you to set up a streamlined, efficient workflow that requires a very minimal amount of staff time to oversee– great news for chronically understaffed offices.

Automated invoice processing will help you eliminate bottlenecks in vendor invoice payment, but it'll do more than that.  Your staff will have time to focus on other jobs, the mood in the office will improve, and your cost per invoice will go straight down. You’ll be able to process invoices the day they come in, and take advantage of early bird discounts which can be as much as 10%.

Invoice processing software can also reduce your error rate significantly. Human error happens most often when people are working at boring, mind-numbing tasks.  Research shows that when ordinary, competent people are entering data into basic spreadsheets, the probability of human error will be between 18% and 40%.  That's for hardworking, thoughtful people who can copy data over at a 95-98% accuracy rate. Give them complicated spreadsheet, and you get a probability of error of more like 100%.   Everyone does their best, but by the time you've typed in the data from multiple invoices anyone's eyes will begin to glaze over.

OCR invoice scanning software can reduce the likelihood of human error
Human error can lead to costly mistakes

But invoice recognition software never gets tired, and validation checks can be built into your AP automation system. An intelligent AI system can also be trained to deal with any specific circumstances you might be likely to encounter. Once you've got your automation fully trained and setup, you'll be able to sit back and watch it run like clockwork.

How To Implement OCR Invoice Scanning Software

Step 1 – Try It Out

If you’re ready to try out an OCR invoice processing in your organisation, find an option that allows you to try it before you buy. Affinda offers a completely free, online version of the invoice extraction tool. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to test the invoice data extraction and see it in action. Head here to access it. We suggest that you upload at least 100+ invoices of various kinds. Check out the results in our validation tool and see what you think!

Step 2 – Apply For a Free API Trial

Get the most out of our invoice parser by signing up for an API that you can link to your accounting software to truly automate your invoice processing workflows. They offer a free trial of the API so you can see how well it integrates with your system. To set it up, all you need is a developer. Numerous client libraries are available to choose from,  so they just select the one they want to use and get it set up for you in no time.

Got questions? Get in touch with the friendly Affinda team today, and we’d be happy to answer them.

Affinda Knowledge Hub