For any company dealing with a sizeable number of suppliers of any kind – from freelance contractors to companies providing services or raw materials – manual invoice processing can take up a considerable amount of time on a weekly or monthly basis. The task of manually inputting data as it comes in so that payments can be processed must by necessity fall to a member or members of staff, and so this also equates to additional money going out in the form of wages for payment processing duties.
But the amount of time taken by manual invoice processing is not the only issue. Human error is likely, such as a single keystroke being erroneously pressed, and these errors can lead to delays in payment, and in further time taken to identify and correct these inevitable mistakes as they occur. In addition to this, disorganised and poorly structured filing systems for invoices, and poor invoice management techniques, can lead to extra time spent locating and cross-checking records. If you have multiple payroll staff and a lack of checks or organisational discipline this is even more likely, and over time can result in your invoice records becoming pretty jumbled and inaccessible.
The thing you may notice that all these negative factors involved in invoice processing have in common is the human element. But today, the risks and downsides of this human element can be reduced significantly or even eliminated, through the use of optical character recognition, or OCR technology.
How to automate your invoice processing with OCR technology
It has of course been possible for a long time to scan your invoices into a database so that they can be stored in digital form. But by simply scanning them in you miss out on the powerful potential that the technology has to transform the way you work. This is because regular scanning creates only a static copy of the original – essentially a photographic image – which can no longer be altered. What’s more, because it is only an image, your computer system will not recognise the text and numbers contained within, meaning you can’t effectively search for the many scanned invoices that you have on file.
OCR technology works differently. Optical character recognition is named so because the software involved is actually able to decipher the textual content of the document scanned. What this means in practical terms is that you can search through these scanned images for text strings just as you would any other document, and even edit the text at a later date. This can be useful for:
- Locating specific invoices quickly, whether recent or historical
- Amending errors on invoices
Invoice processing with OCR technology
Changing your processes can sometimes be daunting, but switching to OCR invoice processing with Nuance’s OmniPage software is actually relatively simple and can pay off straight away. The process is broadly as follows:
- Scan documents into OmniPage either separately or in batch
- Perform the OCR function to generate editable text. At this point you can correct any errors or edit as needed using text editing.
- Save your completed invoices in the folder or network destination of your choice, and export to your payroll software.
Nuance’s OCR software makes it possible to fully search through all scanned invoices, and gives you the ability to access them at any time via the cloud.
One company which has successfully incorporated Nuance’s OCR technology into its processes is MDS Software. They were looking for a solution with which to power their popular MDS Explorer property management software, which could provide accurate and fast functionality for scanning invoices. Using OmniPage Server, they were able to provide their customers with the ability to scan invoices and directly populate their accounting software with the necessary fields before being sent for electronic approval.
Adam Friedberg, Vice President of MDS, commented that, “OmniPage is more saleable than our previous solution. As we add end users to our software, we’re able to ramp up our ability to process additional volume very easily with Nuance.”
Key benefits of OCR invoice processing
- Substantial financial savings from reduction/ elimination of data entry
- Avoid potential errors associated with data entry
- Speed up invoice processing times
Take a closer look at OmniPage to find out more about how it could benefit your business.