Invoice Information extraction using OCR and Deep Learning

Document information extraction is considered a major challenge in computer vision and involves a combination of object classification and object localization within a scene. The advent of modern advances in deep learning has led to significant advances in object detection, with the majority of research focuses on designing increasingly more complex object detection networks for improved accuracies such as SSD, R-CNN, Mask R-CNN, and other extended variants of these networks. This project is mainly aimed to extract information from invoices using the latest deep learning techniques available for object detection. This deep convolutional neural network model will be introduced for embedded object detection.

Key Benefits

Reducing Cost: This helps the organization to cut down the cost of hiring man power for manual data extraction. Employees can be utilized for focusing on other productive job.

Reducing Error: Extracting information from invoices is difficult because of different formats. Also, human errors are another big problem, which leads to data loss and inaccuracy. OCR helps to reduce human error and make the extraction accurate.

Ready Availability: OCR does not required human intervention for the extraction and validation process, once the invoices is fed to the system it will extract the text out of it and push it to the inventory in the same flow.

Security: A complete automated extraction process provides data level security to the organization and the data is not easily visible to outside world.

Artificial Intelligence in billing and invoice processing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding its way into almost any aspect of work operations in a wide range of industries. Robots and Chatbots have become the norm. Machine learning has enabled computers to carry out heavy and complex tasks almost instantly. When it comes to business, AI has influenced many of its facets by automating many of the processes involved. Thankfully,  billing and invoice processing – one of the most burdensome and complicated tasks in business –  has seen some major changes since the introduction of AI.

All the accounting software comes with features that will automate most of the accounting work. It’s obvious that all the businesses must be exchanging some kind of invoices quite frequently. Managing this is a time-consuming and complicated job. Also, it is error-prone and open to misinterpretations. Therefore, highly skilled or specialized personnel should manage this whole process manually. However, not every organization can afford to shell out bucks to hire a professional for bookkeeping.

This is why billing software solutions have risen to such prominence in business enterprises. Artificial Intelligence has revolutionized the traditional way of billing and invoicing. Applying AI to accounting has huge potential as it can reduce a lot of calculations and manual operations.

AI in invoice processing

It is estimated that about 80% to 90% of invoices processed are paper-based. And most of this invoice processing is done manually or semi-automatically. Various AI-powered accounting software supports features such as invoice segregation, data extraction, invoice generation, etc. 

The AI-powered software scans and feeds to the system any invoice it receives if it’s on paper. If the invoices are electronic, the system just needs to analyze them by reading all the characters and numbers written on the invoice with the help of AI. So, automated invoice processing is the state of art in the fintech industry.

Extraction

Once invoices get lucid, the AI algorithm starts extracting and validating data fields. Generally, this doesn’t need any verification, but it is always better to be absolutely sure because one small mistake in the billing process can have unforgiving outcomes. So, to be on the safer side, having a supervisor to review wouldn’t hurt.

Invoice Generation

As stated earlier, most businesses generate invoices manually or semi-automatically. But AI can make this process fully automated. Accounting software can at least auto-fill some of the details on the invoice like amounts, organization’s details, date, product or service ID, tac codes, etc. Moreover, if vendors and buyers have an integrated system, then this could be done in an even quicker and easier way. 

Tweaking invoice processing through AI for optimal cash flow

Business owners always keep tabs on who pays early or on time and who delays it. However, just keeping track of who’s paying on time and who isn’t will not provide any actionable information. With AI-enabled invoice and billing software, you can get detailed reports of all your accounting history.

For instance, if an AI system has all your accounting records, it will generate data on the timeliness of payments, customer longevity, methods of payments used, and who made the payment. An individual, a group, or an organization. This will enable business owners to make data-driven decisions that will induce better-invoicing outcomes.

AI makes it easier to detect and prevent invoice frauds

Frauds always happen when money is in the center. So it’s obvious that fraudsters also target business enterprises. There are many ways to detect fraud. But with AI-powered billing softwareyou can go one step ahead and prevent fraud from occurring in the first place. Instead of being reactive, you can approach scams in a proactive way.

AI can check customer information, payment details, invoice details, and other relevant data before initiating a payment. AI can learn from looking at historical data of both valid and fraudulent invoices. And it can make decisions whether to commence the payment procedure or mark it for review. This could prove to be an effective way of preventing invoice fraud. 

AI streamlines incoming payments

In manual and many semi-automated billing processes, accounting personnel has the tedious task of matching invoices to customers’ payments. AI-enabled billing systems can consume data from historical records. They can learn how payments have been harmonized before so that they can predict how to match future invoices more relevantly. Not only this, but it can also assist you in finding any anomalies, inconsistencies, and disparities within the invoices.

Final thoughts

Invoice and bill processing, tweaking invoice process, detecting and preventing frauds, as well as streamlining incoming payments are just a few ways in which AI-powered accounting tools can drastically change accounting and bookkeeping for good. However, we should highlight that no matter how powerful or smart these AI tools become, there shouldn’t be any loss for humans. AI should function as an assistant to humans rather than a replacement. Therefore, even the most advanced accounting or billing software will hasten and ease up the tedious and time-consuming tasks so the accounting staff can focus on higher-level responsibilities.     

Why 85 Pct Of Companies Want AP Automation

During the fourth quarter of 2018, ACH Network volume saw more growth than it has in the last decade, according to the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), which noted same-day ACH payments also reached a new level.

Upwards of 5.9 billion ACH payments happened in Q4 last year, including 3.5 billion debits and about 2.4 billion credits. That’s an increase of 8.7 percent from a year ago and the highest growth rate in 11 years.

Same-day payments hit the 51.3 million mark, which is the first time that count has ever passed 50 million. Same-day ACH payment volume also increased by 46 percent over Q4 of 2017.

“The ACH Network is stronger than ever,” NACHA Chief Operating Officer Jane Larimer said. “There is robust growth across many ACH transaction types, and the numbers for Same Day ACH show it is being embraced by consumers, businesses, and financial institutions.”

Overall ACH Network volume increased by almost half of a billion transactions when compared to a year before. A lot of the gains were in specific transaction types — an 11.5 percent increase in business-to-business (B2B) payments, which equals 930 million; a 14.5 percent increase in transactions on the internet, equalling 1.6 billion; and an increase of 47 percent, to a total of 37.9 million, in person-to-person (P2P) payments.

In NovemberNACHA’s Payments Innovation Alliance released a report with details from its first formal in-person meeting of the Faster Payments Playbook Project Team.

Launched in June 2018, the Faster Payments Playbook Project Team is made up of nearly 60 volunteers comprising of a diverse set of participants that include financial institutions, technology providers, associations, networks, and businesses.

The meeting, which took place last month during the larger Alliance meeting in Washington, D.C., served as an opportunity for the team to provide reports on their work. The Faster Payments Playbook will give tools for financial institutions and business end-users that will enable them to have a better understanding of faster payments.