After years of lackluster performance, optical character recognition (OCR) for accounting has finally come of age. And it’s happened none too soon for accounts payable professionals, who have long been eager to automate the many time-consuming, labor-intensive tasks associated with their occupation.
Original A/P OCR and scanning applications were used primarily for back-end imaging and archiving.. This made retrieval easier and eliminated the cost, space, and effort associated with physical storage. Unfortunately, it didn’t offer much in the way of true productivity improvement, and the invoice receipt-to-pay cycle continued on its meandering (and manual) path.In the next evolution, imaging and data extraction moved to the front of the payment cycle, occurring when invoices were received. While this did offer real time and productivity gains, it also highlighted the need for improved scanning speed, image quality, and recognition capability.Today’s stellar crop of OCR A/P solutions are not only fast and reliable, they also automate functions that were little more than wishful thinking a few years ago. For instance, they can validate data; automate workflow by sorting and routing invoices to specific locations; and highlight exceptions that need review. Most OCR solutions come with standard reporting packages, and nearly all integrate with third-party applications like Business Objects and Crystal Reports for more robust reporting and analytics.Even better, there are definite financial rewards after implementation. Users say they capture more early payment discounts; reduce or eliminate processing backlogs and duplicate payments; and are able to reduce staff or reassign them to more strategic duties.If you haven’t checked out the latest A/P OCR applications, you’ll likely be surprised. They offer true savings in time, cost, and effort – not to mention spectacular gains in productivity.Read more in PayStream’s research on OCR and Imaging HERE >>>