Data capture solutions have been around for a long time and continue to be used extensively in many different industries. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is an example of a capture technology where data from scanned and digitized paper documents is captured for use by information management systems. OCR is widely used with positive results in industries such as health care and insurance. One reason OCR technology provides positive results in these industries lies in the fact that data is being extracted by the OCR engines from standardized documents, often forms, where important information is located in fixed positions. Additionally, companies in these industries often have the ability to control the quality of these documents, making their readability by OCR and data capture engines relatively easy and accurate.
By contrast, accounts payable applications, as well as other applications where companies must perform data capture from externally generated, non-standardized documents and forms present a different scenario. These documents provide a real challenge for OCR technology due to the non-standard and varying quality of the documents being digitized. While OCR based data capture systems have gotten better over the years and read rates and data accuracy have improved, many organizations are realizing that the cost of review, QA and data correction associated with OCR can be quite costly in accounts payable (AP) and other similar applications.
The good news for accounts payable (AP) departments is there are other more efficient and accurate solutions for the data capture dilemma. The first and perhaps most effective and cost efficient method is the use of web based invoice submission via a vendor portal or supplier portal:
- Web Form – vendor fills out standardized invoice web forms and submits;
- PO Flip – vendor enters PO number and vendor portal solution retrieves line items and populated invoice form;
- File Submit – vendor uploads standardized billing files.
These vendor self-service options make data capture easy, accurate and touch free. Captured data is fed to the appropriate ERP or information system.
Another technology that is specifically helpful in data capture processes where PDF and other file types are being submitted via email or other electronic document transfer methods is the Document Assembly Tool (DAT), a proprietary solution developed by ICG designed for these circumstances. This tool allows users to take files that contain multiple, unique documents and break out those files into the separate individual documents for data capture and processing.
The key to making the correct decisions regarding what technology mix is right for your organization involves understanding your vendor mix and the types of documents they are submitting. ICG Consulting can help with this vendor stratification process and assist in implementing the right mix of technologies, such as AP Automation, for your business. Contact ICG today for more information or to arrange a demo of ICG vendor portal and data capture solutions.