In part one of my recent post about capturing invoices, I discussed scanning your invoices in-house. Today, let’s talk about outsourced (on-demand) scanning which includes what we call a digital mailroom.
With a digital mailroom your suppliers will send all of their invoices to a third-party for processing, scanning and OCR (Optical Character Recognition). Invoices can be sent via paper to a PO box, email (let’s say a PDF document) or fax. The digital mailroom provider collects the mail, scans the document (if it is a paper invoice), and captures the header and line invoice values via OCR software. In a perfect world, the provider also validates the OCR invoice data against the invoice image (often performed by a human) to maximize capture accuracy.
Why use a digital mailroom?
First, it puts you on a path to true paperless invoicing by outsourcing the receiving, opening, sorting, scanning and entering of invoices. That is a process that many solution providers (and some of the expertly) have figured out how to do really well at a cost that is very likely much lower than what the average AP department is spending. Elevate your organization by outsourcing paper shuffling and focusing more on strategic accounts payable.
Second, you’ll benefit from highly-accurate and up-to-date OCR technology to reduce the time & effort required to convert invoices into electronic format. Because of the high volume of invoice, digital mailroom providers invest heavily into technology and process optimization. That in turn reduces invoice cycle times and maximizes capture accuracy (the rate at which the extract invoice data matches the invoice image – with a goal of 100%). Which means faster and more automated matching and straight-through processing. Hello “touchless invoicing”!
Third, a digital mailroom eliminates the costly investment into scanning equipment and OCR software. And the associated IT staff that is typically required to maintain and upgrade both. Unless you are a scanning hardware or software vendor, you’ll probably rather focus on your mission and core competency.
Are you handling your invoice scanning in-house, or has your organization chosen to outsource your scanning? Share your experiences in the comments section below.