If anyone has been part of an AP Automation process before, they know the biggest pain was the identification and setup of vendor templates. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, a vendor template was needed for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to extract each critical piece of information from a vendor’s invoice. You can think of them as a plot map, where the data that was to be extracted was located in a given area, and coordinates were provided such that it can be found. If you started doing business with a new vendor or someone changed their invoice layout, then you had to create a new one. Sounds like a lot of fun, eh? Well not really. Not to mention it is costly and error-prone.
What Are My Options Now?
DynamicPoint recently did a webinar and posted previous blogs on the use of cloud-based OCR tools and how they can be used to extract key invoice data for AP Invoice Automation processing. These tools leverage machine learning and AI to recognize key invoice fields without the need to create a template for each invoice format. This makes the implementation of an invoice automation application much more obtainable, as a huge chunk of the professional services required just flew out the window. This is why at DynamicPoint we chose to leverage cloud-based OCR for our Office 365 based Invoice Automation product, EasyAP365.
How Well Does it Work?
Some of the old-timers out there will say these new methods are fancy and all, but not nearly as trusty as our friend vendor templates. Like most words of caution, there is SOME truth to them. What you are giving up with machine learning and cloud-based OCR tools is control. What if you are a paint company and you want to extract a color pigment from your vendor’s invoices? With vendor templates, you could do it. With multi-tenant OCR tools, this becomes more challenging as they are configured to recognize typical fields from invoices. Such things as amount, tax, vendor name, date, invoice number, etc., not paint color. Lack of control aside, for the company with a standard AP process, they work great. The best way to see if it works for you is to try it out. Test your own invoices directly from our product page: EasyAP365. Scroll down to the Frequently Asked Questions section and follow the link found in “How well does OCR work?”