As I went to the customer finance department, there is hardly any space to walk in. The table and corridor are full of paper. Is this a common scene in your department as well?
Some of the staff are busy looking at the paper and doing data entries into the accounts payable model for supplier invoices.
Can we do this better? The staff looks bored and tired of doing this every day.
I think we can have a better way to manage this. This can be done using optical character recognition and intelligence document extraction with a scanner
What is optical character recognition (OCR)?
OCR is to turn any images with text into digital text. An image is are pixels and you cannot copy out the text. When an image is OCR, it means that we put a digital layer of text on top of the image. The most common format is what is called a searchable pdf. Please note that there are non-searchable pdf, it is just an image in a pdf format. However, after OCR, and put into a searchable pdf. The information in the pdf is still not useable. The information needs to be in the right structure.
For example, you will need to know which text is the invoice number, which text is the date, etc.
This is where the intelligence document extractions come in.
What is intelligence document extraction?
Intelligence document extraction is to extract the text and classify them as invoice number, invoice date, supplier name, supplier address, invoice total, etc.
The most difficult part of intelligent extraction is that each supplier's invoices are of different formats.
Even if the format is similar, there are tables in the invoices. These tables can be a few rows too many rows and go to the second or third page.
In order to extract data from tables, intelligence document extraction uses a natural language process to understand its content.
Why do you need to do document diligence?
Will you process a supplier invoice with no letterhead? In Asia, this is the most basic diligence. We will also some times, check that there is a company stamp and the signature looks real.
However, to do this, you will need an image recognition trained to recognize different letterheads, stamps, and signature. Please make sure that this is available in your software before you purchase it.
So again what are the benefits:
Better employee motivation: Staff will be motivated if they do interesting work instead of doing the same data entry every day. This will also help you to retain the staff.
Better month-end closing: As you can process your supplier invoices faster, you can close the finance end of the month faster.
Save cost: Most OCR and intelligence document extraction are running at only a few cents per copy. This is much cheaper than human labor cost.
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