In Part 1 of this blog series we spoke to the many AP professionals who feel trapped underneath the piles of paper invoices that they have to manually process with no way to escape.
And we cautioned you about (AP) automation solutions providers that might appear to be able to free you from all of that but actually will hold you and your data hostage by locking you into unreasonable contract terms.
In Part 1 we offered up two of three things to know before you commit to an AP automation provider: Look for a cloud-based solution and demand a no-risk subscription payment format. Here in Part 2 we present the third.
THREE: FIND A COMPLETE, END-TO-END, AP AUTOMATION SOLUTION and DON’T ALLOW THIRD-PARTY OUTSOURCING
We hear a lot about OCR (optical character recognition)—a technology that turns a picture into words—in AP automation. It is an important characteristic. Even more important is the next layer, smart data extraction, a technology that “understands” and processes the text from the OCR to transform it into relevant data. As many of you are exploring AP automation providers, you may ask, “Do you have OCR technology?” Good question. But what you really want to know is if the solution has a complete technology, combining OCR, smart data extraction, and machine learning.
Some providers might claim OCR, but then apply human extraction, outsourcing to a third party—also called third-party verification. OCR extraction that layers human verification uses people to put data read by the OCR into predefined fields. In this scenario data entry is done by an outsourced firm and takes time as the data is being populated by people, typically 24 to 72 business hours.
Kind of defeats the purpose of moving from a manual AP process to an automated process to save time, right?
Not only that, you could feel handcuffed to an outsourced company while you wait on them to manually enter data.
It gets worse. AP automation providers that outsource this part of the invoice processing workflow may not care about you and your invoice accuracy as much as they care about finding the cheapest data entry labor. One consequence of this is that you might see random drops in your invoice extraction accuracy; problematic when one significant benefit of the best and most technologically advanced AP automation solutions is a dramatic decrease in data entry errors.
A cloud-based AP automation solution like award-winning Yooz offers a complete end-to-end invoice and payment processing automation solution. That way, you’ll hold the key to freedom from tedious manual processes and have time to perform more strategic, value-added work.
For more about OCR and smart data extraction, read the Yooz blog series, How Smart Data Extraction Puts the Smart in AP Automation.