The Road to Touchless Processing

AP automation promises, and usually delivers, significant benefits to an organization. Automation speeds up invoice processing times, allowing companies to take better advantage of prompt payment discounts. Automation eliminates manual data entry, resulting in fewer errors and freeing up staff for more important projects. And AP Automation can help companies ferret out fraud which costs companies billions of dollars each year (just ask Google and Facebook whether invoice fraud is an issue).

That all sounds great. But it doesn’t happen by itself. There’s work involved, and truth be told, it is never quite finished. A lot of the work (both upfront and ongoing) is associated with tuning the OCR (optical character recognition) to recognize the relevant fields on an invoice. OCR has improved greatly, and it continues to improve. But companies still encounter truculent invoices that defy event the best OCR technology. And that’s where training comes in.

Training is the process by which the OCR learns how and where to read the relevant fields from problematic invoices. Depending on the OCR, the number of invoice formats, language and alphabets, etc., this can be a time-consuming process. The OCR needs to be instructed precisely where to look for certain values on an invoice, and what to do with the data when it finds it. Once the invoice is trained, future invoices in the identical format are automatically processed. However, even small changes to the format can stump even the best OCR and prompt a new round of training.

Training can really slow a high performing AP processor. The feeling is not unlike cruising 65 MPH down a highway only to hit a red light. It kills your momentum.

We recognized this problem early on, and that’s why we developed invoice “training-as-a-service.”

When users of AP Express encounter a new invoice format, they simply click on the “submit for training” button and the invoice is routed to our team of trainers. We train and test the invoice, then push the invoice back to you for continued processing. No need to slow down and no loss of momentum.

AP Express: The superhighway to touchless processing.