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Why AP Departments are Moving their Invoice Data Capture to the Cloud

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If your AP department is like most others, automating invoice processing is a top priority. 

Seventy-one percent of AP departments have plans to automate, the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM) reports. In fact, 44 percent of AP leaders that describe their department as being “largely automated” expect to upgrade their technology. The sudden shift to remote working exposed and exacerbated the shortcomings with the way that most AP departments process invoices.

Consider data capture–the extraction of header and line-item from supplier invoices.

In a paper-based environment, invoices can remain untouched for days if no one is in the office to open the mail, key the invoice data, and match invoices to purchase orders or proof-of-delivery documents. What’s more, it’s difficult to physically route invoices for approval when staff work from home–to say nothing of trying to chase down the information required to resolve exceptions.

AP departments cite lots of reasons for not fully automating their invoice processing:
  • Insufficient capital budget

  • No IT resources

  • Competing priorities

  • No departmental resources to support a project

  • Lack of senior management support

  • Concerns that suppliers won’t adapt

  • Fear of change

But the invoice processing challenges created by the move to remote working trumps all this.

The Benefits of Cloud OCR for AP

Cloud OCR solutions make it easier for AP departments to automate in times like these. 

Cloud OCR solutions automatically extract all the data from invoices that suppliers send via e-mail or upload to a secure site. Data is extracted based on pre-configured business rules for the invoice and supplier. Once the invoice data is captured, the image and data is routed to the appropriate workflow. Invoice images and data are securely stored online and are immediately accessible to authorized users. No mail to open. No data to key. No paper to shuffle. Best-in-class cloud OCR solutions guarantee the level of accuracy and processing turnaround time that they will deliver. And the burden of verifying that data is captured correctly falls on the shoulders of the vendor. 

Accelerating the capture of invoice data and improving data capture accuracy provides big benefits:

  • Lower invoice processing costs

  • Improved AP staff productivity

  • More time for staff to focus on higher value activities

  • Less staff time wasted correcting mis-keyed invoice data

  • Fewer delayed payments to suppliers because of long exceptions resolution

  • Reduced phone calls and e-mails from suppliers regarding the status of invoices

Best of all, cloud OCR supports businesses of any size and of any invoice processing volume.

Cloud OCR clearly is a better alternative to the monotony of manually keying the header and line-item from invoices. It can process any type of invoice and any AP operation, including those that run multiple ERPs. But cloud solutions also are a step up from antiquated on-premises OCR systems. Compared to on-premises OCR systems, cloud OCR solutions are easier to cost justify, deploy, integrate, use, and maintain. Many cloud OCR solution solutions also use more advanced technology than on-premises systems. And cloud OCR solutions can be scaled and adapted to meet fluctuating volumes and changing business needs more easily than on-premises OCR systems. With leading cloud OCR solutions, AP departments only pay for what they use so there is no wasted expenses.    

Importantly, cloud OCR solutions are better suited for remote working than on-premises systems. 

Getting start with a cloud OCR solution is easy. There is no complicated software or pricey scanners to install.  There’s no need to spend months training the solution on what data needs to be captured from each invoice. And leading cloud OCR solutions seamlessly integrate with legacy accounting software and ERP.  Many AP departments are up and running with cloud OCR solutions in one day. 

All this means that AP departments can start getting payback on automation sooner.

If your AP department is planning to automate its invoice processing, cloud OCR may be for you.

 Learn more about how AP departments can automate with cloud OCR solutions. 

Join us for a free educational webinar, “Why Cloud OCR is a Game Changer for Accounts Payable“.

Picture of Mark Brousseau

Mark Brousseau

Over the past 26 years, Mark Brousseau has established himself as a thought leader on accounts payable, accounts receivable, payments and document automation. A popular speaker at industry conferences and on webinars and podcasts, Brousseau advises prominent end-users and solutions and services providers on how to use automation to improve document- and payments-driven business processes. Brousseau has chaired numerous educational conferences and has served on several industry committees and boards. He resides in Center City Philadelphia with his wife and three sons.


Mark Brousseau

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