There's much more to OCR than just recognizing characters
We’re often asked about typical recognition rates of optical character recognition (OCR) solutions used for accounts payable automation. While this can be an interesting topic to discuss, there is much more to OCR than just recognition rates on characters and fields.
Using accounts payable invoice processing as the backdrop, the real objective when using OCR should focus on processing efficiency – the ease and speed by which personnel can validate and correct invoice data when needed – rather than focusing strictly on the capture rates.
Here are some of the key elements of high-efficiency OCR processing:
- While OCR solutions can leverage templates, intelligent capture solutions that don’t require templates are ideal for semi-structured documents like invoices.
- Paper-based invoices should be scanned using scanners certified to work with software like Kofax VirtualReScan (VRS) that perfects the images for the highest caliber read.
- Invoices received by email, fax server, or dropped into watched folders should be able to be read directly rather than requiring someone to print and scan those invoices.
- Header, footer, and line item data should be able to be captured – line-item data being a key element for automatic matching processing downstream.
- Data captured from the invoice should be validated against ERP data – valid PO number, valid lines on the PO, etc.
- Data should be augmented from ERP data – supplier associated with the PO, buyer associated with the PO for potential exception handling purposes, etc.
- Data should be easily captured and corrected through:
- Instant OCR through a single click on header and footer data;
- Instant OCR through roping the table headers for line-item data;
- Easy, rapid deletion of invalid data rows;
- Easily selecting line items from PO data to replace incorrect invoice data; and
- Easy, rapid editing of line-item data.
When considering OCR or intelligent capture as part of an AP automation initiative, implementing a solution that enables an efficient validation process is a critical success factor.