Invoices were a nagging problem at an otherwise highly efficient hospital in Singapore. Like most hospitals there, it provided excellent care despite the country’s high ratio of citizens per doctor.
The hospital served a disproportionately large number of patients, which also meant a large number of vendor invoices. Its Accounts Payable department handled about 2,000 per day, or roughly half a million per year. As in most organizations, the AP process was monitored with particular scrutiny and had to meet demanding performance standards.
At first, clerks typed names, numbers, line items, and other essential invoice data by hand. This caused far too many errors and, as a result, delayed payments. Given the short deadlines—and potential fines for delay—the error rate was a significant business problem.
The facility engaged a local consultancy to find a high-tech way around low-efficiency manual steps. The answer proved to be accounts payable automation via OCR technology.
Since invoices were the sole document type in this initiative, ABBYY FlexiCapture for Invoices was the natural choice. Based on the same data capture technology as the renowned FlexiCapture application, the Invoices package is a turn-key accounts payable OCR solution that provides:
- Automatic classification and processing, with custom business logic
- Automatic matching of invoices to POs
- Self-teaching features to improve recognition even further with use
- Broad export and searchable storage options
To conquer the high invoice volume quickly, the following workflow was implemented for the hospital’s AP department:
Three Scanning Stations and two Verification Stations ensure consistent throughput. Today, even the verification process itself is primarily automatic, with human operators only confirming or quickly correcting a few, uncertain results.
As a direct outcome of the FlexiCapture for Invoices project, throughput skyrocketed to 700 invoices per hour. This enabled 2.5 FTEs to process one day’s invoices in 4 hours, whereas the same work previously took 6 FTEs an entire day!
OCR for AP reduces labor, which reduces the cost per invoice. And that cost drops even further as FlexiCapture eliminates the expensive delays caused by human input. This enables most of our clients to see a positive ROI on invoice automation projects in a matter of weeks (or even less, in some cases). Additionally, valuable AP resources can be reallocated from routine manual tasks to more valuable, strategic work.