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Tim Robertson

OCR Invoice Scanning Software for Netsuite
OCR Invoice Scanning Software for Netsuite 150 150 Tim Robertson
OCR invoice scanning software for NetSuite
OCR invoice scanning software for NetSuite captures supplier invoices in both paper and email formats

There are key differences between OCR invoice scanning technologies. The difference can mean having a solution that handles all formats (with a substantial increase in productivity) where intelligent software intuitively maps out the fields to be scanned, and then inputs the data to Netsuite – or investing in OCR technology that is limited in the formats it handles, has NetSuite integration issues or is user-unfriendly.

The most cost-efficient platforms offer a subscription where pricing is based on the number of invoices processed (as opposed to the number of users).

Look for a solution that gives you the most flexibility no matter what the format, as well as the option to have an approval workflow, PO matching, and other functionality.

Legacy OCR

Historically invoice data capture is performed in two ways: manually keying in data from paper invoices; or the invoices are scanned with OCR software and then manually mapped in order to capture essential information from relevant fields in the document. Here are some of the issues with simple OCR:

  • Time is spent on field-mapping: a staff member gives the OCR software instructions as to where data is located on an invoice
  • Time is also spent on data collection: a staff member manually selects the data zones
  • Integration and the lack of a workflow
Intelligent OCR

Intelligent OCR changes the playing field dramatically. It intuitively performs field mapping and data collection, freeing up time and making the entire process more efficient:

  • Automatically learns supplier invoices based on their respective layouts, intuitively mapping field data.
  • Allows the user to search typical values in any document, and tagging it using a built-in database.
  • 95% accuracy rates for paper invoices
  • 100% accuracy rates for electronic file formats that received in email, such as PDF, XML, CSV, HTML, Word, Excel and more.

Once the data is captured by Intelligent OCR the option is to have it sent directly to NetSuite or through an AP automation platform.

For more information on OCR invoice scanning visit Intelligent OCR, here.

With every capture solution you’ll need an automated approval workflow. Watch the video “How AP Automation for NetSuite Works”

 

 

 

AP Automation, The Business Case and That Missing $56,000
AP Automation, The Business Case and That Missing $56,000 150 150 Tim Robertson

“I just found a $56,000 invoice that wasn’t on the spreadsheet I sent you.”


It’s month end, and as a CFO, controller, plant manager, or accounting manager you need accurate, up-to-date data. Unfortunately you only have an estimate as to where your payables stand. Some important documents are missing for a large invoice that is overdue. And one of the large spreadsheets a manager sent you has some missing fields – making you wonder what else is out there you can’t see.

That could be the scenario for anyone who is working with business processes that are manual, lack a cohesive platform for digital workflows and invoice processing capabilities. Enter AP Automation technology – Stage Right!

There are many factors contributing to the proliferation of AP Automation solutions, some of them being:

Digital Transformation 

Companies the world over are transforming their operations to reflect a more digital approach, including SaaS software solutions and tools. The aim is to boost productivity, get more visibility, and reduce costs.

 AI and Automation  

Automation and AI technologies are used to help employees be more productive and do more high value work, rather than repetitive tasks that are prone to error.

Paper-based processes in the Finance Department

Finance may be one of the last places companies are looking to optimize, as organizations switch from legacy on-site ERPs to cloud-based solutions such as NetSuite,  SAP Business One, Oracle E Business Suite, and more.

Here is the business case for AP automation for organizations interested in augmenting the investment they have made in their ERP. There is plenty of evidence for positive ROI and success in taming the paper-based processes in finance.

The Business Case for AP Automation PDF Download

Also, see the video: “How AP Automation Works

 

OCR Invoice Scanning and Data Capture Update
OCR Invoice Scanning and Data Capture Update 150 150 Tim Robertson

ocr invoice scanning data capture


OCR Invoice Scanning and Data Capture – Faster, Easier

AP departments are investing in OCR invoice scanning and data capture to input both paper and emailed invoices which, according to PayStream Advisors, the data entry of invoices into an organization’s ERP is a big pain point for many organizations.

That’s because manual data entry has its limitations, and legacy OCR (older OCR technology) has both integration and throughput issues.

Whether the company is experiencing growth, or paper processes are holding back the process of becoming more efficient, AP departments are loath to add to their headcount just to manually enter invoice data. As well, in spite of technologies such as EDI and network portals, the vast majority of supplier invoices are still sent in either email or paper formats.

An Intelligent Solution

Invoice data capture software that uses automation and some patented AI to capture either paper or emailed invoices delivers the optimum ROI.  The software identifies, categorizes, and extracts data from all the ways invoices are received, be it paper or electronic (i.e. PDF, XML, EDI, Word, Excel, TIFF, JPG).

The technology intuitively studies each invoice to know who it is from and which fields to gather data from, storing the information in a database. Invoices can have multiple pages: as an example, a 50 page invoice can be processed this way.

The accuracy rate for paper invoice scanning is 90%, and the accuracy rate for electronic invoice files is 100%.

Intelligent OCR & Intelligent Data Capture

The chart in the post below shows how different invoice data methods work, and the impact they have on both the organization and suppliers.

By using the best technology, invoices sent and processed in either electronic or paper format can be efficiently scanned and made ready for the ERP – without the supplier taking on extra costs for infrastructure or where the on-boarding rate is low.

EchoVera’s Intelligent OCR invoice capture solution solves many of the issues surrounding invoice capture and compatibility – it’s the optimal combination of both paper and electronic invoice scanning.

It’s available either on-premise or in the Cloud, and the I.T. involvement is minimal. There is no cost for suppliers, and it seamlessly integrates with popular ERPs. For more information about Intelligent OCR, click here.

Invoice Scanning and Intelligent Data Capture – A Guide
Invoice Scanning and Intelligent Data Capture – A Guide 150 150 Tim Robertson

invoice scanning


PayStream Advisors did a survey of corporate back offices and found that many organizations are struggling with high volumes of both email and paper invoices – without an efficient way to capture the information into their ERP through technology such as invoice scanning, using OCR, or other means.

With the plethora of invoice scanning options around this important issue, it’s easy to get confused. Even the different file formats are treated differently, so it’s a good idea to understand which technologies do what, exactly. Let’s start with the bigger picture.

Inputting Invoices To Your ERP

Overall, here are the issues growing organizations with large invoice volumes are dealing with:

  • Emailed invoices are received electronically, printed out and then keyed in manually (time consuming and resource intensive)
  • Many companies have some OCR software, but often it is outdated or has integration issues. Older OCR software requires a lot of manual effort (such as manual field mapping)
  • The PayStream report talks about efficient invoices, which are invoices that arrive for processing through EDI or a solution portal. The vast majority of invoices are not delivered this way, however, as most suppliers are sending emailed and/or paper format invoices to their customers

Five Ways To Process An Invoice in 2020

1. Digital PDF Suppliers output an invoice from their ERP as a digital PDF. The PDF is sent to a specific email address that uses automation and Artificial Intelligence to instantly recognize the vendor and read all of the field data.

The accuracy rate of 100% is achieved because it is a direct data transfer, since digital PDFs have a data layer that can be extracted by the software. Suppliers don’t need to change any of their technical structure or pay network fees, so on-boarding is rather painless.

2. Advanced OCR
For Paper Invoices – Paper invoices are scanned and advanced OCR recognizes the supplier and processes the invoice according to pre-set rules.

The software intuitively knows which fields to capture and stores the information in a database. Accuracy rates are high for this method as well: around 95%. Suppliers are already sending their invoices by post, so on-boarding is unnecessary.

For Invoices Sent In Email as Scanned Images – Sometimes suppliers will send a “picture” of the invoice (also known as a scanned image) by email. This type of file is processed by advanced OCR as well, with the same accuracy rate.

3. Invoice Portals
Suppliers enter invoice data into a supplier portal. Usually the data is manually keyed in, a time-consuming task. Low on-boarding rates (but usually good for smaller suppliers).

4. EDI or XML
The supplier sends an invoice in the XML or EDI format. Buyers who have an EDI system in place are happy, but suppliers have to justify the cost of installing and maintaining EDI. EDI and XML both have high accuracy rates, but the on-boarding rate is low, due to high cost.

5. Manual Data Entry
Keying in data from invoices manually, either from paper invoices or from emailed invoices that have been printed out to facilitate the process.

Things to Consider

For organizations looking to capture email, paper, and EDI or XML invoices digitally, it’s important to think about:

  • the time involved in set up
  • the I.T. resources needed
  • infrastructure costs
  • cost involved for the supplier
  • on-boarding rates

Intelligent OCR & Intelligent Data Capture
EchoVera’s Intelligent OCR & Data Capture solution handles all the above file formats, from paper, to email, PDF, EDI, and XML very efficiently, for more information click here.

Intelligent OCR integrates with over 50 popular ERPs like NetSuite and SAP Business One, read more about integration here.

PayStream Report: Invoice Approval Workflow Trends
PayStream Report: Invoice Approval Workflow Trends 150 150 Tim Robertson

invoice approval workflow

Paystream Advisors finds that a large percentage of organizations say manual data entry is one of their biggest issues. Companies currently receive invoices in EDI format, paper and email – paper and email (usually a PDF) being the most predominate format.

As a result, a lot of time is spent inputting, processing, and manually transporting supplier invoices. As a company grows, invoice volume puts pressure on staff and resources.

Other Invoice Pain Points
Routing issues, lost or missing invoices, and decentralized invoice receipt are other pain points PayStream uncovered. Exceptions have a tendency to bog down processing time as a result of rigid workflows or missing documents.

Solving Invoice Processing Issues With Invoice Workflow Automation
The report also reports on how invoice approval workflow automation (IWA) has provided the benefits to companies who have embraced it:

  • Lower processing costs
  • Improved visibility of liabilities
  • Shorter approval cycle times
  • More productive employees

Achieving Invoice Workflow Automation Success
The new report also provides advice on how to choose and deploy the right IWA solution for your business. Key deciding factors include:

  • types of invoices the organization deals with
  • invoice volumes
  • ERP integration
  • staffing levels
  • company growth

To download a copy of the report: PayStream Advisors Invoice Workflow Automation Report click here.

Intelligent Document Recognition – Making Invoices ERP Ready
Intelligent Document Recognition – Making Invoices ERP Ready 150 150 Tim Robertson


Intelligent document recognition (IDR) is an important technology for growing companies. With growth comes larger invoice volumes and a greater strain on resources.

A recent PayStream Advisors report highlights the fact that one of the biggest challenges facing both enterprise and SME organizations is the handling of large volumes of both paper and email invoices – the majority of which are not received as EDI or XML.

Because of this, many AP departments devote a large portion of their time to the manual input of invoice data into their ERP – a time-consuming and error-laden process at the best of times.

The good news is that most ERPs output invoices in PDF format, which is extremely compatible with the A.I. and automation currently available in intelligent document recognition technologies.

With respect to ERPs that produce invoices in other formats (such as XML, Excel, EDI, or JPG among others), the good news is that intelligent capture technology can handle these formats as well. 

How Intelligent Documentation Recognition Works

To classify an invoice, IDR uses information stored in a database to recognize documents according to their layout.

Once the document is recognized, IDR collects data from the data fields that have been mapped according to rules that apply to that vendor or organization. This data is then sent into a business process such as an invoice processing application, approval workflow or to the ERP.

Some IDR technologies are electronic only, in that they can only process electronic formats. Others can handle paper invoices as well by scanning the information and then mapping the data fields accordingly.

Intelligent OCR handles both paper and electronic formats seamlessly.

Paper invoices are scanned and intuitively recognized by the software, the field data is mapped and the invoice status is available in a central dashboard. Electronic invoices, in any format, are instantly recognized and processed in a similar fashion.

For companies that are looking to streamline their AP processes, Intelligent OCR combined with workflow creates a seamless process that reduces processing costs and speeds up approval cycle times.

Advanced IDR

Intelligent OCR uses both A.I. and capture automation to scan paper and electronic invoice documents, turning the information into useful data. The cloud-based software seamlessly integrates with popular ERPs and requires minimal  I.T. involvement. It seamlessly integrates with NetSuite,  SAP Business One, SAP ECC, Intaact, Dynamics, Infor, QAD and more

See more about Intelligent OCR here.

 

 

 

 

Accounts Payable Enters The Year 2018 With AP Automation
Accounts Payable Enters The Year 2018 With AP Automation 150 150 Tim Robertson

 

Accounts Payable in 1988 and 2018

In 1988 approximately 15% of US households had PCs (personal computers), there was no internet as we know it today (although there was Internet Relay Chat), Motorola was selling mobile phones (mostly for installation in cars) and a cloud was a “visible mass of condensed water vapour floating in the atmosphere, typically high above the ground”.

Paper and paper processes were king – meaning if paper is still central to your 21st century AP process your AP team is still working with leading edge, circa 1988 technology!

It’s How Invoices Are Paid That Counts

Your accounts payable team is responsible for processing and reviewing the invoice transactions between your company and your suppliers. On the surface the process is fairly straightforward. You buy something, with or without a PO, and then you have to pay for it. Your payment must meet the terms and conditions agreed upon at the time of purchase.

As is the case in most things – the devil is in the details. And it turns out that this “simple” process is actually quite involved. It’s how you pay your invoices that counts.

  • Are your people opening the mail and routing paper invoices – or are they printing e-mailed invoices and then sending the paper for approval?
  • Who is coding your invoices, and who approves each purchase?
  • Does the invoice, based upon the amount, need more than one authorization?
  • Who checks to be sure that the PO-based invoices match the actual PO and if this is not the case, what happens next?
  • How do you know when the goods/services are received and what happens when there is a discrepancy? Who reconciles?

In 1988 this process could take several days – sometimes weeks. There was no other way. But “it’s 2018” and our solution is doing the following for clients:

  • reducing approval cycle times by up to 70%
  • reducing processing costs by up to 40%
  • having an up to 20% increase in invoice volumes without adding staff

In 1988 you had no choice – take that piece of paper, put it in an envelope, have someone walk it up 3 floors and around the building, wait for it to come back…

Make A Choice

Today you do have a choice – stay loyal to your paper processes or advance to a cost effective, efficient automated AP technology that empowers everyone who touches the payment process.

To find out more about EchoVera’s AP Automation that has a 95% approval rating and requires minimal I.T. involvement, click here.

Scanning Invoices Into Accounts Payable with Artificial Intelligence
Scanning Invoices Into Accounts Payable with Artificial Intelligence 150 150 Tim Robertson

scanning images into accounts payable
In a new report issued by PayStream Advisors, one of the biggest back office challenges organizations face is the capture of both paper and emailed invoice data into their ERP. See PayStream Advisors: Invoice Approval Workflow Automation Report.

Unless the organization has invested heavily in EDI, many AP departments spend a lot of time and resources handling large invoice volumes from various suppliers – without an efficient way to get them into their ERP.

In most cases emailed invoices are printed out and then manually keyed in. Paper invoices are processed the same way. Manual errors are rampant and for companies that are growing this task can be a considerable challenge.

Trends in invoice scanning technology now make it possible to not only make emailed invoice input relatively painless, but much less arduous for paper invoices as well.

Emailed Invoices
Emailed invoices are sent in their various formats, which could be PDF, Excel, XML, Word, EDI, Tiff, or JPG to name a few. Intelligent capture technology uses A.I. and automation to identify who the supplier is, intuitively map the data fields, and make the data useful for input to the ERP. Once the system is set up, the supplier sends their invoice (in whichever format they choose) to an established email address. The technology processes the information and provides the data within minutes of receipt.

Paper Invoices
Paper invoices are scanned by Intelligent OCR that can extract all of the information necessary for invoice processing. The technology can detect who sent the invoice as well as capture all of the data fields that are essential for processing. The paper can be discarded and the invoice data is available for audits and archiving.

Scanning Invoices Into Accounts Payable – The New Age of Data Capture
Not only does technology exist to extract the essential data from both paper and emailed invoices, companies are taking advantage of the intelligence gathering abilities inherent in “line-level” invoice data. This means that organizations looking to improve their business processes can access data that can help them achieve measurable results.

Intelligent OCR seamlessly integrates with NetSuite, SAP Business One, SAP, Oracle E-Business Suite, Sage, Intacct, Dynamics, Infor, QAD and more.

To find out more about Intelligent OCR and Intelligent Capture with AI, click here.

Tackling Invoice Processing with “Line-Level” Invoice Data
Tackling Invoice Processing with “Line-Level” Invoice Data 150 150 Tim Robertson
invoice processingThe trend in invoice processing is to extract maximum value out of the information invoice data can provide. Line-level invoice data plays an essential role in business process improvement.

In many industries there is a push for management information (MI) to help gain improvements in business processes. Invoice processing can play an important role, and line-level invoice data enables businesses to access the information that contributes to this process.

Line-level invoice data can help businesses understand patterns in purchasing, issues with supplies, what items are selling well, and more. This type of detailed data can provide insights into things such as what goods or services are most profitable, or which variables are influencing cost structures.”

Improving Business Processes
The benefit of improving business processes includes being less “reactionary”. As an example, a travel agent may block-book rooms. It is only when the invoice is received does the company see, at the line-level, what was booked and what took place. Did guests arrive? Did they check out early? Ask for other services? Stay longer than last year?

Without line-leave detail, organizations do not have the essential information necessary to make improvements.

One of the biggest barriers to digitalization and the extraction of line-level detail is the cost involved with traditional Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems. Not only is there a considerable capital cost to installing and adopting an EDI solution, once a system is in place it can become a constraint for the organization.

Suppliers can avoid the investment in this technology by taking advantage of PDF invoicing. That’s because a PDF invoice has data layers that can provide the line-level data we are talking about, as well as drastically lower implementation costs.

Data Mapping Technology
Data mapping technology takes the information from the PDF and sends it into an invoice processing system without any manual keying of the data. Because the data is taken straight from the invoice, 100% accuracy is achieved and manual data errors are avoided.

With PDF based invoicing, suppliers can be up and running within minutes. All they need is an email address that sends their invoices directly into the invoice processing system. This method of electronic invoicing has a substantial cost advantage over EDI, and a trend for business that is only going to accelerate over the next few years.

On-Boarding Of Suppliers Is Easier
PDF invoicing is a viable alternative for suppliers that want to adapt to their customer’s purchasing and payment workflow. It’s a convenient solution that is relatively painless to implement – something that’s not possible with traditional electronic invoice systems.

PDF Invoice Capture – Tapping Into Line-Level Data
PDF invoice capture provides faster processing, eliminates manual data entry and manual errors, and takes paper out of the process. As well as getting value out of every “yard line”.

For suppliers who are still sending paper invoices, Intelligent OCR can recognize the vendor, intuitively extract field data, and send the collected data to the invoice processing system.

For more information on how you can take advantage of line-level invoice data, take a look EchoVera’s AP Automation.

Automating the Request to Pay Process
Automating the Request to Pay Process 150 150 Tim Robertson

request to pay

 

Many of our customers struggle with their purchasing process.

This is because even though there are many stakeholders in the purchase cycle, actual responsibility and accountability can often be muddled.

This isn’t because the different roles in the organization are incompetent or at fault, but that in every organization and industry there is a real lack of transparency throughout various business processes. This is especially true in organizations that opt to use inefficient paper-based processes or when the company’s ERP is not capable of the flexibility required to support efficient workflows*

Whatever the case, organizations are looking to optimize the purchase process with a positive ROI and Request-to-Pay automation may be a great way to do just that.

The Request to Pay Process

With Request-to-Pay automation, everyone with a stake in the purchase is involved in the process, and the process is visible to everyone who plays a role. This high level of visibility actually supports accountability across all roles. Authorized stakeholders can actually see all relevant activity – changes made, when they took place and who made them.

Everyone from the person who makes the requests, to the approver who manages the budget, to the purchaser who makes the purchase, to the person who receives the goods, and to the accounts payable person who ensures payment – are part of the request to pay workflow.

This is what the automated Request to Pay looks like:
  1. The requester completes a purchase requisition, and it is automatically routed for approval.
  2. Once approved the system changes the requisition to a Purchase Order.
  3. The approved PO is sent to the buyer who can now place the order.
  4. Delivery of the product or service is made, and the goods or service receipt is recorded in the system.
  5. The vendor sends an invoice for the product or service, and the system automatically matches the invoice to the PO and the goods receipt.
  6. If there is an exception, it is automatically routed to the proper role for review and exception handling. The exception is in a complete information “packet” that holds an invoice image, the PO, the goods receipt, and notes.
  7. If there is no exception, the invoice is automatically sent to the ERP for payment.
  8. The vendor receives a payment and all of the payment details are recorded in the ERP.

Find out more about Request to Pay automation here.

*Most ERPs have rigid approval workflows, but not by design! (see “Invoice Approval Workflow Gets Flexible!“)