The digital workplace is here to stay, so if you haven’t already got onboard with digitization of your office, now is the time! Luckily, for you, this blog is about intelligent document processing, a transformative technology that is capable of streamlining heavy document-based processes, which are typical of any back-office. Data and documents form the crux of any business process. When it comes to the back-office, the paperwork is only amplified by the sheer amount of transaction documents that a business receives or generates everyday. Mission-critical back-office functions like AP invoice processing, sales order processing, processing of claims documents, payroll, mailroom operations, onboarding. etc. all deal with a lot of paperwork.
Manually accessing and managing large volumes of data on a regular basis is very difficult. Just take the case of invoice processing, which is a typical back-office task in accounts payable. On a typical day, an AP clerk will have to access vendor invoices that a company receives from different incoming channels including email, fax, scan, etc. Once the invoices are received, the clerk will have to sort the invoices and perform manual data entry to get all the relevant details into a company spreadsheet. Post data entry work, the details from each invoice will have to be checked for accuracy, meaning the clerk will have to perform several validation checks like 2-way/3-way matching to see if the invoice has a corresponding purchase order and if the details tally, arithmetic checks, checking to verify vendor information, and many other important cross-checks to make sure the invoices are authentic. Post data validation, the invoice is sent to a verification manager to get payment approval or to discuss a dispute concerning the invoice.
All these manual steps are time consuming and lengthy. In case of wrong data entry or missing validation checks, the entire invoice processing could end up becoming faulty. This could result in you overpaying or underpaying your vendors. The cost of bad data for companies could run into the hundreds and thousands, and potentially affect not just revenues and business, but also your relationship with vendors. In other words, working with bad data is risky, plain and simple!
Intelligent document processing helps mitigate this risk to a great extent by removing the one element that could cause errors and delays in document processing — manual effort. To err is human, but when it comes to mission critical processes in the back-office, errors could prove very costly for companies.
The idea is to have in place an automation system that can process and make available large volumes of data for business use in an efficient and cost-effective way. Cost control is an important consideration when automating critical business processes. If your automation system is not enforcing cost-effective measures or lowering the daily labor and operating costs, it is no good. With intelligent document processing, you have the "intelligence" that helps implement typical office duties like a human would, but without the costs and inefficiencies of human effort.
Common intelligent document processing software in the marketplace employ digital transformation technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, robotic process automation, business process automation, OCR/ICR and other recognition software, and intelligent data capture technology. What this does is it enables the automation system to operate routine, repetitive document-based jobs hands-free, with little to no human intervention. A common office task like data entry, for example, from say, invoice documents can take hours, when done manually. But with an intelligent automation software that is designed to perform straight-through document processing work, this task can be accomplished in minutes. Intelligent automation bots make use of built-in data capture and process automation logic to identify and extract data from common invoice documents. Apart from built-in logic, intelligent automation software can also "learn" and "emulate" human actions to perform the typical document-based tasks. This makes it very convenient for businesses to process a large number of invoice documents, of diverse types, with little to no human intervention. Automation also enables businesses to scale operations and process a lot more invoices in the least amount of time. The elimination of human labor and acceleration of processing times dramatically lower the costs of document processing work. Intelligent document processing can be accomplished with a combination of digital transformation technologies. Given the business requirements of a company, software embedded with intelligent document processing capabilities are also designed to be able to integrate with a diverse set of business applications, ERPs, document management systems, and many back-end systems. By providing a single platform for the acquisition, validation, and export of data from the moment it enters an organization to when it is exported to an ERP system, intelligent document processing software creates a single view of document flows within a company. Intelligent automation of document-based processes creates scope for the digitization of a vast number of back-office jobs in finance & accounting, human resources, customer service, insurance, healthcare, banking, transportation & logistics, supply chain and distribution, and even the education sector. Let’s understand some of the use cases of this technology:
processing vendor invoices on a daily basis is tedious and time-consuming, but very important for the sound management of accounts payable operations and cash flows. If invoice processing is done wrong, yoru business could incur losses in terms of re-processing costs, or over-or-underpayments to vendors. The primary task is to get data entry right. Beyond that, validation and verification can also be hastened without any errors in order to make timely payments to vendors and maybe, avail perks like early payment discounts. Intelligent document processing is the answer.
Order processing involves data entry, data validation and verification, and approval of that data, which initiates the process of packing, shipping, and delivering a product to the customer. All these steps can be automated with intelligent document processing software. This helps accelerate sales order processing and also deliver goods and services to the customer on time.timely processing of sales orders means timely fulfillment and happy customers. Sales order forms contain important particulars about each customer order. The data in an order form becomes very useful to quickly process the order and deliver it to the customer. This data must be accurate.
speedy and timely reimbursements to a client ensures long-term trust and loyalty. When it comes to processing medical claims forms, there can be any number of data entries, validation checks, cross-checking with different personnel to understand the authenticity and validity of a claim, and the all-important decision, whether to approve or reject a claim for reimbursement. All these steps require accurate claims document processing. Accurate data is extremely important to ensure you are not overcompensating or undercompensating, or even worse, paying a fraudulent claimant. Again, intelligent document processing, devoid of human errors and delays, becomes useful here.
Back-office tasks can be an everyday headache, unless you take the digital transformation route. With intelligent document processing, you have a chance to set in place a digitized back-office that ensures streamlined operations, accelerated business, and increased revenues.