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Everything You Need to Know About Invoice Scanning

Rachel Tilley Author: Rachel Tilley

As organisations are now predominately conducting business online, manual and paper finance processes will struggle to keep up.  Traditional ways of working no longer fit into fast paced, modern workplaces and organisations that don't adapt to new ways of working can be left behind. 

Finance teams deal with huge volumes of important documents, all of which need to be processed as accurately and efficiently as possible.  Invoice scanning technology is one such way that finance teams can stay head. 

What is Invoice Scanning?

Invoice scanning isn't about having a quick scan over this weeks invoices, but instead, using dedicated scanning software to accurately read and extract invoice data, ready for an import into an integrated ERP or finance system. 

Invoice scanning utilises data capture technology to extract the data from invoices.  Data extraction is used to automate accounts payable processes, such as invoice processing, which streamlines operations and reduces errors to maximise efficiency. 

Invoice Scanning and Document Management Software

Invoice scanning software has been part and parcel of our document management system for years, helping organisations to remove manual and time consuming data entry while speeding up the entire accounts payable process.  Our software leverages AI, Optical Character Recognition and machine learning to accurately capture important invoice data and push it into an integrated finance or ERP package.

Accurate invoice scanning is vital to kickstart the automation process involved with a document management system.  The entire journey can be automated, removing manual tasks such as PO and delivery note checks, supplier management, data entry and document approvals.

As a 28-year DocuWare partner, we are document management specialists, and have seen the benefits invoice scanning, document management and automated invoice processing brings to our clients.  Below we talk about our top five benefits of invoice scanning.

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5 Benefits of Automated Invoice Scanning

1. Improved Accuracy

It's an obvious one but by automating the invoice scanning process, the chances of human error are significantly reduced.  Even the most conscientious employee can make mistakes when manually processing hundreds of invoices.  If staff are cross-referencing information on invoices with purchase orders, manually typing invoice data into a finance package, or filing away hard copies of invoices, they could be making better use of their time.

Our document management software is designed to accurately read and extract data by scanning invoices, and the more invoices scanned, the more accurate the capture becomes.  DocuWare's Intelligent indexing service 'reads' an invoice, identifying the most important information on it and then populates index fields within the software.  You can see this in the image below.

Intelligent Indexing has picked up all the details flagged in green, such as the company name, invoice number, date, VAT and gross figures.  The user can check these then click store, to securely store the document into DocuWare.  If an index field is not captured, or DocuWare is unsure it has captured it correctly, the fields are marked in yellow or red for a member of staff to check and update. 

At this point, DocuWare's machine learning capabilities learn about the document's layout and collect the data more accurately the next time an invoice from the same supplier is processed.  Once stored, an invoice can follow any process, whether it's automatically matched to a PO or sent to a member of staff for approval.  Once the system has learnt the supplier invoices, very little, to no touch will be required by a staff member.

Intelligent Indexing_DocTech

Time-consuming and tedious tasks such as data entry and cross referencing can be performed by the document management software, enabling employees to get on with more high-value tasks.

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2. Cost Savings

Implementing automated invoice scanning will lead to cost savings for the organisation.  By streamlining operations and reducing the need for manual intervention, invoices are processed faster, and finance teams can handle a higher volume of documents in a shorter amount of time.  This means companies don’t need to hire extra staff to cope with high document volumes and they can take advantage of early repayment discounts.

It can lead to improved cash flow management and forecasting.  Decisions are made based on up-to-date financial information.  Also, by improving overall efficiency, there are less costly mistakes that take time to rectify.  Invoice scanning software means paper and printing costs are removed. 

Read our case study on how our client, CW Plant hire saved £60,000 on postage costs.

3. Enhanced Security

improving document securityManual handling of invoices can pose document security risks, such as misplaced or lost documents.  Automated invoice scanning software provides a secure environment for storing and managing sensitive financial data, reducing the risk of unauthorised access or data breaches.

Documents are available from anywhere with an internet connection, but only to those with authorised access.  Controls can be included on which documents different employees can store, retrieve, edit and export.  Restrictions can even be placed on system administrators for highly sensitive information.

All changes, downloads and document versions are tracked by the system, giving a full audit history of what has been changed, by who, and when.  Additionally, data is backed up and communication traffic is encrypted to protect against ransomware and natural disasters.

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4. Scalability

As organisations grow and expand, the volume of invoices and financial transactions will likely increase.  Without adequate processes or systems in place, businesses struggle to keep up, and there's potential for invoices to go unpaid and errors to be made.

Invoice scanning offers scalability as the software can easily handle larger workloads without compromising on accuracy or efficiency. This flexibility ensures that finance teams can adapt to changing business needs without any disruption to their operations.

Invoice scanning can be particularly beneficial when processing reoccurring invoices from the same supplier, as mentioned earlier.  They are not only processed efficiently, but they are stored efficiently too, ensuring they can be easily and quickly found.  No more searching multiple locations trying to hunt documents down!

5. Software IntegrationDocuWare Integrations_SAP_Sage

Manual invoice processes as we've covered, can be slow and error prone and rely on employees working in the same way: storing, linking and naming documents correctly. This is rarely problem free.

Paper invoices may be stored in various locations, and standalone systems that don't talk with one another can cause work to be duplicated and communication to break down. 

Invoice scanning software can integrate with a variety of other business applications to improve processes and ensure employees are working in a uniform way.  Enabling different business systems to act as one, such as a document management system and Sage, means the entire invoice process can be automated and streamlined from start to finish.

This reduces manual data entry, the reliance on IT and avoids processing bottlenecks.  Communication and transparency are improved as scanned invoices are stored and processed digitally, meaning they can be tracked throughout their lifecycle.

In summary, by leveraging the benefits of invoice scanning, finance teams can optimise their processes, improve accuracy, and enhance efficiency in today's fast-paced digital environment.  Get in touch with us about your invoice scanning needs or process challenges and learn how we can help.

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