The Evolution of AP Automation: From OCR to a New Winning Combination

Future x Past creative sign with clouds as the background

The best finance departments have moved away from manual processes and outdated software solutions to cutting-edge technologies. Today we'll explore the evolution of AP Automation, from legacy OCR (Optical Character Recognition) approaches to the rising star: Learning technologies (including AI) and the Digital Supplier Network.

OCR: Once a pioneer now a legacy

In the early days of AP Automation, OCR played a major role in streamlining processes. OCR technology converts invoice images to digital formats. This automated solution reduced manual data entry and was a key part of AP automation years ago. However, OCR had its limitations and never fulfilled its promise. It worked well with standardized documents, but among other frustrations, handling variations in formats and layouts was a headache.

OCR Mapping Verification

To confirm that OCR results accurately represent the content of the original invoice, it is necessary to manually verify an invoice a minimum of 3 to 5 times. AI promised to improve this OCR requirement, but in the end the improvement was minimal. As a result, even in the best of circumstances, if your company does business with new suppliers on a regular basis, staffing for this technology flaw is never-ending.

Reviewing and Correcting Read Errors

Oh, the joys of processing 1,000 invoices with OCR – you get the special bonus of 33 extra hours of work for your AP team…simply to distinguish between “5’s” and “S’s” or “1’s” and “/’s”! And guess what? This workload is a never-ending gift that keeps on giving, in addition to the mapping verification process.

Resolving incomplete or errored invoices

Because there is no feedback loop with suppliers, the processing of 1,000 invoices with OCR gives you another gift: 166 hours of additional work for the AP team to sort out any surprises from suppliers or internal approvers. Any invoice that is incomplete or errored must be resolved by AP.

The Game-Changer: Learning Technology and a Digital Supplier Network

If you want to liberate your AP team from OCR and take advantage of modern technology to automate accounts payable, the solution is leveraging the combination of a digital supplier network and learning technology. By moving away from OCR and embracing this new technology and approach your company will take control of cash, process transactions with fewer people, and manage suppliers and supply chains more effectively. With Transcepta, for example, its platform learns and improves performance over time, meaning each invoice through the platform is more likely to straight-through process than the last.

The Benefits of Modern AP Automation

So, what's in it specifically for businesses that embrace modern approaches to AP Automation? Let's take a look at some of the key benefits:

  1. No read errors. With Transcepta, you achieve 100% accuracy rates from the first invoice to the last.
  2. No need for mapping verification. By drawing wisdom from the thriving customer-supplier bonds on the Transcepta Supplier Network, Transcepta boldly declares the end of mapping verification - forever!
  3. No more invoice exceptions. Transcepta empowers your suppliers to resolve invoice exceptions even before they have a chance to say hello to your AP team. Not only does this save valuable time for AP, suppliers appreciate the immediate feedback when an invoice isn’t correct.

Want to see it for yourself?

Get in touch today

The Future of AP Automation

As learning technology continues to evolve, we can expect even more exciting developments in AP automation. From advanced data analytics to cognitive capabilities, the possibilities are endless. This technology will not only streamline accounts payable processes but also pave the way for further automation in other areas of finance and beyond.

The evolution of AP automation from OCR to Transcepta has transformed how businesses manage their accounts payable. As the learning technology continues to advance, it promises an exciting future for AP departments.

So, stay tuned and keep an eye on the ever-evolving world of AP Automation!