FrontCollect Invoice is specialist software used by Document Options to provide invoice processing services to clients using SAP. The use of this software enables our clients to outsource mail room, post sorting and document scanning functions to a specialist document management bureau provider with proven SAP integration capabilities, accelerating processes and reducing costs.
Manual processing of supplier invoices can consume a lot of time and effort. Invoices arrive in the enterprise in different formats, are manually captured, checked and sent for payment authorisation. Valuable time is lost because invoices pass through several departments. In turn, discounts for early payments may be missed and some invoices may incur late payment penalties.
Automating invoice processing can add a great deal of value to most enterprises. Furthermore, tedious administration tasks become superfluous and forwarding paper from one department to the next is eliminated.
Our solution streamlines invoice processing
FrontCollect Invoice adds value to organisations by dramatically reducing administration tasks and processing times for supplier invoices. As a result, the entire invoice payment procedure becomes easier and faster. The software reads invoices, recognises suppliers, and creates a link to the order automatically, from capture to payment.
All invoices are initially captured using a document scanner at 300dpi. This higher resolution maximises invoice recognition rates.
The way invoices are structured differs from supplier to supplier. FrontCollect Invoice is able to accommodate different layouts, so that it can read invoices and credit notes – without complicated setup, configuration, or programming.
Unlike other OCR solutions and forms-based systems, the invoice reader does not have to be trained to recognise where each item of information is for each individual supplier. FrontCollect Invoice users don’t need to define these fields and link them with the supplier master data – a procedure which some other systems require before they even read the first invoice. This can be a very time-consuming and expensive exercise when handling several hundred or even thousands of suppliers.
Step by step: how the technology works
Incoming invoices are scanned, then FrontCollect Invoice begins processing with the first step, recognising the supplier.
(1) Supplier recognition
FrontCollect Invoice looks for information on a document in a similar manner to a human. The software compares the information on the document with data on the supplier master file from the ERP system. FrontCollect Invoice looks for typical features on the document such as VAT registration number, company name, address, telephone and fax number and bank details and compares the information found with the master data. In addition, this comparison is performed by an error-tolerant “fuzzy server”. The “fuzzy server” provides a result even if there is an incomplete match.
(2) Reading the data
In the next step of the processing FrontCollect Invoice uses its “intelligence”, rule-set and Knowledge Base to extract the relevant information from the invoice. This will typically include purchase order number, invoice number, date, total and net amount. Initially the system uses a rule-set to extract the data from the invoice. Additionally, if the system already “knows” the appearance and setup of invoices from a specific supplier, it extracts data using knowledge stored in its Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base becomes more robust with increasing number of supplier invoices from the same supplier, statistically determining the most likely co-ordinates fro each data field.
FrontCollect Invoice’s rule-set enables it to read previously unknown invoices immediately. It locates the required information using the structures and appearances of values, key words and calculation rules. FrontCollect Invoice recognises different spellings of key words (e.g. Invoice Number, Invoice No., Invoice Reference, Invoice Ref, etc) and rules for calculating amounts (Net + Value Added Tax = Gross). This means that invoices from a new supplier can be read immediately.
(3) Extending the Knowledge Base
FrontCollect Invoice reliably extracts information from unknown invoice layouts. IF FrontCollect Invoice cannot find a certain field, the document is forwarded for post processing where manual corrections are made. The invoice reader’s learning function analyses what information has undergone post processing and adds this information to its Knowledge Base. FrontCollect Invoice learns automatically “from experience” and can apply its new knowledge to the next transaction. When the rule-set has read a value correctly it is not changed in post processing. FrontCollect Invoice learns the positioning and appearance of this supplier’s values.
If a value is changed in post processing FrontCollect Invoice searches the document for this changed value and stores the correct field position and format information.
Reading invoices with and without order reference
However, it’s not enough just to read invoices. Different types of invoices – with and without order reference, with and without incoming goods – need different kinds of processing. In many enterprises most invoices refer to orders stored in the ERP system. Data now no longer has to be manually captured and entered. FrontCollect Invoice can compare invoices with order and incoming goods information (where available), automating the actual invoice verification processes.
For SAP users FrontCollect Invoice provides an additional module for integration into the SAP system – a highly automated, economical solution. FrontCollect Invoice exports invoice information that has been read in to SAP and automatically starts the appropriate process in SAP. FrontCollect Invoice uses supplier master data from SAP to recognise suppliers. Additionally, if an incoming invoice has an order reference, this information is compared with order and incoming goods information.
The system can be easily installed and quickly incorporated into production in SAP environments too.
Speeds up processes, reduces costs
FrontCollect Invoice saves you time due to the short introduction and learning timescales for your AP staff and the high recognition rates. In addition, the invoice reader can also process unfamiliar invoice layouts, it takes very little time and effort to set up and maintain the system in production.
FrontCollect Invoice frees your staff from time-consuming routine tasks. The time and effort involved in manual post processing and data capture is minimised, and the throughput rate is frequently increased by more than 200 percent.
Additional benefits of using FrontCollect Invoice include: Shortened throughput times, financial control optimisation and precise and punctual payment management.
Works with FIS/edc SAP workflow solution
FIS/edc (Electronic Document Center) is a fully SAP ERP integrated, modular-structured application for enhanced processing of scanned documents and EDI messages. Because this is primarily focussed on purchase invoice processing, the solution is used by many medium-sized to major international customers.
FIS/edc can be installed globally. The automation of incoming purchase invoices from FrontCollect or via EDI illustrates the advantages of the product.
The Caravan Club improve invoice processing automation levels with assistance from Document Options Capture Services and FIS / edc.
Oct 2014The Caravan Club have been established for more than a century and offer services and support to their members within the camping community – having close to 200 active sites within the UK.
Within their payables department, the Caravan Club did have issues with payments to suppliers. Increased document automation levels and invoice visibility were essential when processing at both the head office, in East Grinstead, and also at site level – which are managed by wardens.
The Caravan Club were approached by Document Options, an established FIS partner and document capture specialist, who suggested an enhanced invoice scanning service. Using FCI – invoice data reading software, Document Options would not only digitise the invoice but also provide the data-file with the invoice content.
Jon Laws, Financial Controller of The Caravan Club stated, “Removing the scanning and keying parts of the process and moving them to Document Options – who are equipped with the technology and scanning hardware – proved the best business fit for us. In addition, because FIS are one of SAP’s leading partners – their SAP expertise mitigated any risk with configuration and SAP integration.”
Liz Parish, Head of Accounts Payable added “We’ve already seen a marked increase in automatic booking rates and the reporting functions with FIS / edc. This ensures we have visibility of outstanding invoices – so we can avoid late payments. The initial reception of the new system within the business has been excellent.”
Burridge House Priestley Way Crawley West Sussex RH10 9NT
Tel: + 44 (0) 1293 426677
Fax: + 44 (0) 1293 403453
Tell us about you and your area/s of interest and we will send you a personalised information pack. Alternatively call for an informal conversation or advice.