How Automated Invoice Scanning Software Makes Invoice Processing Easier

Rob Southern
Jan 29, 2020 2:42:00 PM

So, you’ve already made the switch to automating your Accounts Payable process, which has been great for your AP team – there are so many benefits, most of which contribute to improving your invoice processing.  

Here’s how automated invoice scanning software can make invoice processing easier so you can have a smooth, seamless workflow and get your bills paid. 

 

Invoice scanning software  

What exactly is invoice scanning software and how can it improve your invoice processing? 

Today’s business processes are mostly digitized, and most incoming invoices are received in digital formats (PDFs, scanned images, photos, emails, etc.). Luckily, with AP automation, you don’t need to manually re-key invoice data from your digital files to your ERP system.     

Invoice scanning software is an automated data entry solution. It allows you to access and leverage the data in your invoices and easily turn them into structured data so they can be transferred to your ERP -- accounting or data analytics systems. 

For example, once your digital invoices are converted into something like an Excel spreadsheet, the data can easily be shared and reused in other applications.   

Invoice scanning software enables you to access all of the data in digital invoices so you can be more accurate and more efficient when processing your invoices.  

 

Invoice processing 

Invoice processing is the workflow your Accounts Payable team has in place to manage and handle invoices from procure to pay.  

When processing various different formats of invoices, the invoice data must either be scanned or manually entered into the ERP system. Next, the invoice amounts are coded to the correct account or project, and the invoice is distributed to the buyer or budget manager for review and invoice approval. With invoice scanning software, the entire invoice process can be digitized and automated for quicker and more efficient invoice processing.

Invoice scanning software can improve invoice processing using a few key technologies: enterprise content management to store, manage, and retrieve documents and document imaging and OCR (optical character recognition) to reduce speed, cost, and errors so your invoices can be scanned and processed and your suppliers/vendors can be paid on time.      

   

Steps of processing an invoice  

There is no step-by-step, one-size-fits-all invoice processing guide. However, most invoice processes are the same from receival to payment, though some companies may require additional steps. Regardless, you need to follow all of the steps your company has in place when it comes to invoice processing.

Your steps of processing an invoice may look something like this: 

  • Purchase order for goods/service 
  • Vendor/supplier releases goods/service and mails invoice 
  • Accounts Payable enters invoice on the purchase order 
  • Obtain approval from necessary parties 
  • Returns to Accounts Payable for final vendor payment (and reconciliation with the general ledger)

(Note: there are also occasional invoices that don’t have an associated request.)

Regardless of the specific path you take to get from procure to pay, there is always a way to make things easier, but how? 

 

How to make invoice processing easier 

As mentioned above, invoice scanning software involves a few key features in order to make invoice processing easier. OCR is the technology that allows invoice scanning software to interpret machine printed text on digital or scanned images.

Invoice scanning software uses OCR technology and page layout analysis to automatically identify the data elements of an invoice (vendor, data, amount, number, line item etc.), allowing you to capture more information. The more accurate data you can get from your invoices in an automated process, the better (and quicker) your cycle time is going to be.       

Whether you process a lot of invoices (1,000+) every month and are seeking a robust OCR invoice processing solution, or you are after a simple capture solution to digitize and store scanned invoices, invoice scanning software provides many benefits.  

 

Benefits of invoice scanning software  

Invoice scanning software replaces paper-based systems and manual AP workflows to increase efficiency and improve your invoice processing.

In fact, invoice scanning software like OCR and capture technology reduces manual data entry, which saves time and allows your AP staff to focus on more value-added tasks for your company.

Additional benefits of invoice scanning software:   

  • Speeds up invoice cycle time
  • Increases accuracy of invoice data
  • Eliminates late and duplicate payments
  • Decreases AP processing costs  
  • Reduces physical document storage costs  

Pro Tip: Integrate your invoice scanning software with your ERP so you don’t have to re-enter your data into various systems. Most invoice processing software allows you to customize your integration so your systems can work together seamlessly.  

Using invoice scanning software technologies like OCR and Accounts Payable automation to extract and leverage more accurate invoice data with a direct connection into your ERP makes invoice processing either.    

 

Ready to make your invoice processing easier? Consider Ascend.  

Consider an automated Accounts Payable solution from Ascend Software. Established in 1997, Ascend provides business process automation solutions known for AP performance, functionality, and seamless ERP integration.

SmartTouch AP™ uses proprietary advanced OCR software and invoice imaging to reliably and consistently scan, capture and extract information from both structured and unstructured documents with excellent recognition rates.

Designed to improve data capture rates, increase your processing capacity and extend your AP team with automated workflows, SmartTouch AP™ will also lower your operational costs, increase visibility and controls, and improve your invoice processing efficiency.

What about when vendors change their invoice layouts? Invoice scanning software technology like AIR will recognize those changes without any manual intervention, saving you time.  

A Workday Certified Partner, SmartTouch AP™ is distributed worldwide and is prominently used in healthcare, finance, hospitality, retail and more. It’s quick to deploy, easy to use and yields quick ROI so you can do more with fewer steps and smarter touches.

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