5 Ways OCR Invoice Scanning Beats Manual Processing Every Time

OCR invoice scanning is touted as the best way to bring RPA and the digital age to your AP department, but is it really all it claims to be? Let's dive in.
November 3, 2022
5 minutes
5 Ways OCR Invoice Scanning Beats Manual Processing Every Ti

If you’re reading this article, the odds are that you’re sick of the grind of manually processing your invoices. You’re ready to take the leap into the future and find out how OCR invoice scanning software works. You wonder if it can save your AP department time and money, and the good news is:  It can!

How Does Invoice Scanning Software Work?

Optical character recognition (OCR for short) extracts data from paper invoices – most people know that much. A great concept, but let’s dive into how it works in practice!

Step 1: Scanning Invoices

The first step involves taking all of your paper invoices and scanning them to upload into the invoice recognition software. If you have pdf invoices that arrived by email, you can skip this step.

Step 2: Data Extraction

The text on scanned files cannot immediately be read by machines; it must now go through the OCR process. Thanks to recent developments in capture software like Affinda’s tool for processing invoices, this is easier than ever.

The OCR tool scans through each page, looking for certain shapes on the page in order to recognise these as specific numbers and letters. From there, it rebuilds the document in a digital format so it can now be searched and read by artificial intelligence tools.

Step 3: Categorising Data

Next, it’s time for the machine learning algorithm in the invoice capturing software to step in and sort out this data. It will review each piece of text and define which category it should be in; invoice number, invoice date, total amount, name of supplier.

Step 4: Accessing The Data

Now that the document is scanned, and the data has been extracted and sorted, it’s time for the end user to access the information. You can commonly download the information in an Excel spreadsheet for easy sorting and processing, or a JSON file if you wish to share that information with another software such as your accounting system.

5 Ways OCR Invoice Scanning Beats Manual Processing Every Time

Considering whether it’s better to stick with what you know and continue manually processing your invoices, or if it’s worth making the switch to OCR invoice scanning? This is the age-old question – will this new AP automation technology actually help or hinder my business? Below are 5 reasons why OCR tools beat manual processing every time!

Efficiency

There are many issues that can arise if you use manual data entry to process your invoices. One of the major problems is the sheer amount of time the AP team has to invest in it. Ten minutes per invoice to enter the data in your accounting system doesn’t sound like a strenuous workload, but if you’re processing hundreds of invoices a week, it adds up pretty quickly!

By contrast, invoice processing software can take just a couple of minutes to process each invoice – without any involvement from your staff, freeing them up to complete other tasks.

Accuracy

Another common complaint about manual processing is that unfortunately, human error can impact the accuracy of your data. As you know, even a missing zero or decimal point in the wrong place can wreak havoc on your accounting system. You can avoid this by using OCR to attain a much higher rate of accuracy.

Cost Savings

If you’re currently still relying on entering data from paper files, you may not realise that accounts payable automation is actually much cheaper than your current process.

While there is a cost involved in implementing and using the OCR technology required, with all the time you’re saving, you’ll still come out on top, cost-wise. Rather than paying one person to enter an invoice and another to double-check their work, you can switch to a simple software subscription.

Audit-Proofing Your Business

Going paperless can be a daunting process if you’re used to physical form processing. However, once you digitise and automate invoice processing, you will find you have far less need for physical files in your business. The huge benefit of this? You’ll be audit proofing your business – with all of your files stored securely online, you can far more easily find any information the auditors request of you.

Another benefit of intelligent OCR data capture is that you’ll have far more physical space in your office than ever before, as you can now ditch your filing cabinets altogether!

Easier Work = Happier Staff

Finally, the top reason that using AP automation software over manual processing is the right choice is that it will make the lives of your staff far easier. And we all know that a lighter workload = happier staff. Automate invoice processing to help your staff reduce their workload, lower stress, and give them more time to work on projects they are passionate about.

Which OCR Invoice Scanning Software Should You Choose?

Sure, when we say that you should choose Affinda as your provider for OCR invoice scanning, we may be slightly biased. But there is a reason that our hundreds of customers have chosen us as their OCR software provider of choice – we’re a cut above the rest. One Affinda customer commented that our data processing software offers "Ultra-high accuracy compared to alternatives".

Affinda's team is not only great at what they do they're also fun to work with.

Here at Affinda, we are also known for our flexibility and willingness to adapt to a customer’s unique use case. One customer said “Other vendors have a 'take it or leave it' attitude about their product. They didn't want feedback--or if they did, they didn't want it from a small company like mine. Affinda was just the opposite. When I had suggestions that they thought would improve their product overall and help their other customers as well, they were sometimes able to roll out new fields to production in as little as two weeks.”. We can even train our machine learning model on your specific invoices so that it can learn to read the specific type of data you need parsed.

If you’re interested in learning more about our OCR invoice processing solution, give us a call today!

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