Unstructured Data: Using OCR to perfect Accounting Data Entry

No Line of Business (LOB) or Enterprise Resource Package (ERP) can live without its accounting and bookkeeping tools and packages. Yet, these software modules are some of the most archaic, monolithic, ugly systems in your business.

When dealing with bookkeepers and accountants, they want speed, but they also want accuracy. Accuracy usually means that they want checks and balances within checks and balances so that the data entered is not screwed up.

The software is slow to evolve because what we have "just works" and that blunts progress. Accounting departments have long understood the value of converting from paper to digital records, and searchable image archives; they are slower to embrace the OCR automation that would benefit them.

Despite the mass adoption of email and user-friendly portals that deliver information to consumers, the electronic interchange between businesses is still largely not used. There are many reasons for this: cost, complexity, laziness, lack of standards. Due to the limitation of implementing these interchange formats, every two out of three invoices are still sent through the mail, faxed, or sent as a PDF, HTML, or some other static format which creates an unstructured image of the data. Simply, data designed for eyes, not designed for import.

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NATHAN RECTOR

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