Invoice data capture software is AP automation software that allows you to process invoices without relying on manual data entry. Built on advances in artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP), it translates the semi-structured data on an invoice into structured data that accounting programs can understand.
Sound complicated? Think of a program that pulls all the information out of an invoice—- invoice number, the amount due, bank details, all the works—- and uses that data to populate a database or Excel document. Later, you’ll be able to use that extracted data to fulfil your invoices, balance your budget, and do anything else you might need to do.
The typical workflow for an AP department utilizing an invoice data capture solution looks something like this:
- Scan paper invoices, saving each invoice as a separate file
- Use OCR software to convert the scanned images into text
- Download emailed invoices and save in a central location
- Process both emailed and scanned invoices with invoice capture software, extracting all relevant data and saving in a format easy for machines to understand
- Process the extracted data using the accounting software or ERP system of your choice
Since invoice data capture involves turning raw invoices into something your accounting software can process and understand, it’s the keystone of accounts payable automation. Robust data extraction software may have OCR capabilities built-in, allowing you to process a scanned supplier invoice in one step.
Who Uses Invoice Data Capture Software?
Invoice data capture software is used by the big guys, by the little guys, and by everyone in between.
Large enterprises chose to automate their accounts payable departments in order to save on manpower and increase efficiency. Supplier invoices tend to come in at an alarming rate, and if you’re going to dedicate a staff member to manual data entry someone’s going to have a full-time job. But how many invoices can he process before his eyes glaze over?
Manual invoice processing leads to typos and mistakes that can lose your firm thousands or millions of dollars a year. Automating the data extraction process leads to accurate results you can trust, every time.
For small businesses, invoice data capture software can be a cost-effective way to cut down on errors and smooth out the AP workflow. In micro businesses where every employee has a half dozen hats to wear, this is especially important. Automating the invoice data extraction process eliminates one tiresome job and frees up your already stretched staff so they can do a better job on everything else they’ve got to do.
Integrating data extraction software into your existing setup turns out to be not as complicated as you might expect. If you go with a well-tested solution like Affinda’s invoice extractor, you’ll have most of your work done for you.
The API is built for easy integration, and there are plug-and-play options for oft-used accounting software like Quickbooks and Xero. Customer support staff are more than helpful, and they always sound like they’re glad for a chance to get one more AP department AI-powered and on the road to real efficiency.