Invoice-in-a-box – 4 steps to success

Oct 04
2016

Invoices are one of the highest demanded documents to automate. Let’s talk a little about what it takes to be successful in invoice processing. Data Capture is the technology used for invoices. This is where you extract field-by-field the information you want from the invoice in field order. In order to automate invoices with the high accuracy and utilize a boxed invoice solution you need to do some preparation. Here are 4 MUST have steps:

1.)Separate your commercial invoices from any specialized invoice types such as legal, manufacturing, telecommunication, etc. The reason you do this is because the low hanging fruit when automating invoices is commercial invoices. Software packages have put the most amount of effort in these documents. By working with them first, you are ensuring your success on a large population of your invoices and then can tackle the remainder.

2.)Know how many vendors you have. Understanding the makeup of your invoices is very important. Your focus should be determined by those invoices that are easiest to automate and make up the greatest portion of your entire volume. So make a list of all your vendors and what paper volume percentage each makes up of the whole.

3.)Know if you want to collect line-item data or not. At first glance, majority of companies say they want line-items, only later to change their mind. Find that business process that mandates you collect line items. In your current process, are you having line items entered? What database of existing information will you use to support your line-item extraction? Most companies in the end choose against line-items or choose to extract them for limited critical vendors.

4.)Know how you are going to check the quality of extraction. Quality assurance happens with human review, and business rules. Know before hand how you want those to work. For example a business rule simply could be all line-items must add up to total amount, if they don’t you have someone, look at the entire invoice.

These four steps are not the end-all in proving you invoice processing accuracy, but they are necessary and all steps to consider before you look and purchasing a boxed invoice processing solution.

Chris Riley – About

Find much more about document technologies at www.cvisiontech.com.

Line-Items : Picking the correct field type

Feb 22
2016

Documents containing tables have the majority of information of the document printed thus the demand to collect this data is very high. In data capture organizations will choose three scenarios to collect data from these documents; ignore the table, get the header and footer and just a portion of table, or get it all. Ideally organizations prefer the last option, but there are some strategic decisions that have to be made prior to any integration using tables. One of those decisions is whether to capture the data in the table as a large body of individual fields or as a single table block. Lets explore the benefits and downside to both.

Why would you ever perform data capture of a table with a large collection of individual fields when you can collect it as a single table field? Accuracy. Theoretically it will always be more accurate to collect every cell of a table as it’s own individual field. The reason for this is because you will accurately located field, remove risk of partially collected cells or cells where the base line is cut, and remove white space or lines from fields. In some data capture solutions this is your only choice. Because of this many have made it very easy to duplicate fields and make small changes so the time it takes to create so many fields is faster. This is a great tool because the downside to tables as a collection of individual fields is in the time it takes to create all fields and maybe this is too great to justify the increase in accuracy.

If you have the ability in your data capture application to collect data as an individual table block, you are able to very quickly do the setup for any one document type. Table blocks require document analysis that can identify table structures in a document. The table block relies heavily on identified tables and then applies column names per the logic in your definition. This is what creates its simplicity but also its problems. Sometimes document analysis finds tables incorrectly, more often partially. This can cause missing columns, missing rows, and the worse case scenario rows where the text is split vertically between two cells or horizontally cutting columns in half.

There is a varying complexity in the tables out there, and this most often is the deciding factor of which approach to take. Also very often the accuracy required, and the amount of integration time to obtain that accuracy determines the approach. For organizations that want line-items, but they are not required, table blocks are ideal. For organizations needing high accuracy and processing high volume, individual fields are ideal. In any case, it’s something that needs to be decided prior to any integration work.

Chris Riley – About

Find much more about document technologies at www.cvisiontech.com.

Not that you want to pay that invoice any faster

Dec 09
2014

But you can, and you can with a lower cost, and perhaps take advantage of net discounts. With Data Capture and OCR technology you can automate the entry and routing of commercial invoices. The reality for organizations that receive many invoices a day is that the accounting department is paying high salaries and taking time a way from other activities to data enter paper invoices. Using recognition technology to replace this process has been a tremendous benefit to many organizations. There are a few keys to success.

Start out simple: don’t try to tackle the entire paper world with your solution, start out simple. First identify the process and where the opportunities for saving are. Usually the biggest opportunity is going to be in the entry of data into some accounting system. To automate this you will need data capture and scanning capabilities. Starting out simple does not mean to overlook all the possibilities but to find the technology that will fit all your wildest dreams of automation but start out slow with it. More specifically with invoices, first start by scanning, then by getting vendor, invoice number, and total due using recognition technology, etc.

Wait for an ROI before you make a major change: These technologies if implemented correctly can provide a great return on investment. Sometimes organizations make the mistake of not waiting until they get an ROI before making another major change. The change likely will have positive results, but requires another round of additional effort and could be problematic. This does not allow you to see when the value of the technology starts kicking in and could have you repeating effort. Wait until you succeed at a basic implementation before you seek even more cost savings. Saving money is addicting, but let each phase actualize itself.

Never forget your business process is boss: Organizations have processes that are set in stone. Staff understands how to execute them, technology is setup to facilitate them, and other processes are feeding or fed by them. Sometimes new technology is so exciting that it forces you to change what you are doing right when you acquire it. Often organizations don’t realize the upstream and downstream impact of dramatically changing business processes. A technology should give you the option to keep doing what you are doing only faster, or to change things if you choose. At first try to keep it as consistent with the already in place AP business processes, then look for process improvement later.

No maybe you don’t want to pay that invoice faster, but you do want to reduce the cost of working with it. With Data Capture and OCR you can save a ton as long as you prepare yourself and do your homework.

Chris Riley – About

Find much more about document technologies at www.cvisiontech.com.