Invoices, receipts, proof of purchase… Financial documents are an integral part of all businesses. Regardless of your industry, you inevitably encounter these types of documents whenever you purchase a product or use a service. To keep your account books up to date, you need to sort the documents, read them, and extract the relevant information. After that, you must classify this same information so that it is ready to be processed and then saved in your database or ERP software.
By the time each document takes to be processed, you end up with a new pile on the desk. Each document requires varying amounts of time and always represents a repetitive task, particularly current invoices. A good thing is that today’s technologies offer solutions to make workflows easier and faster.
Optical character recognition, or OCR, is a technology for reading and extracting information written on a document. This revolutionizes document processing and significantly improves the quality of said data extraction. Find out in detail what this technology is and what benefits you can get from it.
OCR: 3 letters for a big change
OCR is a popular technology for recognizing text on an image, such as scanned documents or photos. OCR technology is used to convert virtually any type of image containing written text (typed, handwritten, or printed) into machine-readable text data. But how exactly does this technology work? What are the advantages of OCR? Let’s shed some light on this subject!
How does it work?
First of all, you will need a device that supports OCR technology. For example, it could be your smartphone. Scan the document from which you wish to extract information useful to your activity. OCR technology analyzes your document in real-time. The information previously defined is extracted automatically. From this extraction, the OCR software then takes care of prioritizing and ordering the information.
OCR technology follows three steps:
- Scan the document from which you wish to extract information with your smartphone via your OCR application.
- Upon receipt by the app, the textual information present is extracted but not yet structured.
- Finally, the application structures the data and allows you to process it directly in your database.
Now that you have seen how OCR software works, here is a non-exhaustive list of advantages you will encounter from using this technology.
The Benefits of Using OCR
Automating data entry greatly improves the management and processing of your documents. Improve the speed and accuracy of your document processing by entrusting their processing to OCR software.
Improve speed and accuracy
By entrusting the management of your documents to OCR software, you ensure that you process them more quickly and with greater precision. Indeed, OCR works continuously. As for accuracy, OCR is constantly evolving, the software continually learns from the documents fed to it. Manual entry errors are removed.
Increase your efficiency
Increase your efficiency with the speed and accuracy of OCR. You can now process a maximum number of documents in much less time than with manual processing.
Optimize your time
OCR can analyze and extract information in seconds (usually between 2 to 5 seconds), while manually it easily takes several minutes of your time.
Thanks to OCR and the automation of your document processing, you will be able to process a much larger number and more quickly.
Before enjoying the benefits of OCR, taking stock of the situation is a good thing to do. For what ? To allow you to better understand your research and define your needs in advance.
Make a good inventory
Start by identifying your needs, your budget, the documents that will need to be processed, analyze the different suppliers… All this to justify your approach and make your task easier when it comes to choosing a supplier.
Here are some tips to help you implement automation within your business.
Definition of needs
Is the solution sought long or short-term? What tasks will be automated? For what types of documents? What budget will be allocated to this automation?
Ask your colleagues
What are the current processes in the company? Identify repetitive tasks and those that will be automated. Determine how much time is spent retrieving a document and when errors occur most.
OCR Vendor Benchmarking Study
At a glance on the internet, you will find an endless number of OCR software providers. Not all of them match your original query. Compare the different offers, prices, and solutions from each supplier. Schedule a free demo to get an idea of how the software works and how it can benefit your organization.
Calculate your return on investment
After your analysis, compare the 2-3 potential suppliers who seem to suit you best: base yourself on the prices and the solutions offered. How much time and money do you expect to save? Sellers will likely give you an estimate of these figures themselves. It’s even better to get an idea of the possible savings based on a demo or free trial. Compare these numbers to the solution costs and you can calculate the ROI for the first year of use and subsequent years. Which provider best suits your needs?
Testing and evaluation
After your ROI, you have selected a supplier who seems to meet your needs. Test the product and evaluate it after a few months. Are you getting the results you want? Do the savings meet your expectations? Also, pay attention to the quality of support provided by your supplier throughout the process.
Find your OCR provider
In short, a good supplier must meet your requirements. He must be able to provide a solution that meets your needs, respects your budget, and supports you throughout the process. Finding the right provider can take some time, but it’s important to make sure you have the right solution. Ultimately, OCR software should save you time and money, rather than taking up much of your attention that would be better spent elsewhere.