Harnessing OCR’s Potential: A Comprehensive Accounts Payable Strategy


An accounts payable professional efficiently processing an invoice by harnessing the potential of OCR technology


In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, the transition from paper-based processes to digital workflows is essential for businesses who aim to remain competitive and grow their profits by reducing costs. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, when combined with document scanning, enables Accounts Payable (AP) teams to digitise paper documents and convert key data into machine-readable text, improving their ability to store, search, and analyse information.


In this article, we’ll explore how OCR technology can help businesses to bridge the digital divide and gain a competitive edge over their rivals.

Enhanced Searchability

Hunting for information in a busy Accounts Payable department is a poor use of time as it takes staff away from other important duties and impacts upon workflow efficiency. OCR technology streamlines searches by putting important information at your team’s fingertips. By scanning and converting printed or handwritten text into machine-readable characters, OCR enables documents to become searchable, so there will be no more time-consuming trawling through filing cabinets of paperwork.

Efficient Data Extraction

Manual data extraction and entry is laced with problems, most notably the risk of mistakes that are inevitable when human workers are fatigued, bored, or under pressure to meet demanding targets. A significant advantage of OCR is its ability to automatically extract data from documents, including invoice numbers, dates, and amounts due – even if each invoice is supplied in a different style or format. This results in fewer errors and faster data extraction, even if the volume of invoices increases with the growth of the business or during peak periods.

Seamless Integration

For optimum efficiency, it’s crucial that OCR tools integrate with other business software and systems to enhance data flow, minimise data silos, and reduce dependence on manual processing. OCR software seamlessly integrates with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, among others, which helps to improve the efficiency of AP workflows and ensures that suppliers are paid sooner, giving the business access to more favourable terms and early payment discounts.

A Digital-first Approach

By embracing OCR technology and transitioning to a digital-first approach, businesses can open doors to improved efficiency, productivity, and growth. Adopting automation isn’t simply about keeping up with changing times: it’s about helping your business to remain competitive by streamlining its workflows, reducing costs, and reassigning skilled AP staff to more valuable roles.

With OCR technology, your business will benefit from:

  • Efficiency – OCR eliminates the time-consuming manual handling of paper documents, allowing your team to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Accuracy – Human mistakes in data entry become a thing of the past, ensuring that your financial records are error-free.
  • Cost savings – Reduced paper usage, improved efficiency, and fewer errors translate into important cost savings.
  • Competitiveness – In a digital-first world, companies that adapt quickly to technological change gain a competitive edge through greater efficiency and productivity.
  • Scalability – As your business grows, OCR technology scales up with it to ensure that there is no backlog in invoices and that your team can ensure suppliers are paid on time, every time.

Book A Free Demonstration

To find out more about our OCR technology and the benefits for your Accounts Payable department, please book a free, no-obligation demonstration today.

SAP Invoice Automation Guide - Cogent Consulting

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