AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog
Making Accounts Payable Simpler and Faster with Amazon Textract-Based X·CELERATE Invoice
By Mahal Mohan, SVP, Products, Solutions and Global Partnerships – Xoriant
At Xoriant, an AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner and execution partner throughout the build, run, and transform lifecycle for companies creating technology products, we coined the term “Invoice Tornados” to describe a situation where a department has to deal with lots of invoices regularly.
To provide a solution to this, Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Xoriant are working together to offer a service that assists any firm with their invoicing needs through X·CELERATE Invoice and Amazon Textract.
This post covers the key steps of this system and how the collaboration between AWS and Xoriant is building better invoicing solutions for companies dealing with hundreds, if not thousands, of invoices each month. Learn why automated invoice processing (AIP) is important and how AWS and Xoriant are fueling innovation in AIP.
We’ll also discuss why it’s important to do this now, especially in our socially distanced world. Let’s dive into how it works and the long-term benefits.
X·CELERATE Invoice uses Amazon Textract as its optical character recognition (OCR) core in providing innovative automated invoicing solutions. It provides a valuable service to large companies that deal with massive numbers of invoices regularly.
Amazon Textract uses machine learning (ML) to read and process documents, accurately extracting text, handwriting, tables, and other data. X·CELERATE Invoice then leverages this data, powered by adaptive deep learning models, to improve accuracy over time, leading to increased productivity for any firm dealing with “invoice tornadoes.”
Better Invoicing Solutions
Some companies must deal with hundreds, if not thousands, of invoices every single day. From manufacturing to hotel chains, businesses with significant procurement operations all deal with a vast number of invoices daily. Add to this that every supplier likely has their own invoice format and style.
In the old days, one would normally have to sort through these invoices, catalog the details by hand, and then decide whom to share it with for approval before the final payment was to be made. This manual process doesn’t scale in the current fast-paced digital environment. Today’s organizations have to contend with the increasing number of suppliers, invoices, and formats.
X·CELERATE Invoice brings structure, streamlined workflows, and process automation to the invoicing process. It helps manage growth with the same number of employees, and can even lower staffing needs and reduce errors by matching accounts and amounts against enterprise resource planning (ERP) data.
How X·CELERATE Invoice Works
Let’s go through each step so it’s clear how this whole system works.
Step 1: Invoice is Uploaded and Imported to the System
The accounts payable team or accountant receives the invoices, either in hard copies or electronic, and those are imported into the system (invoices can be uploaded or scanned).
X·CELERATE Invoice accepts all types of file formats. The solution uses Amazon Textract’s OCR to extract relationships, structures, and text from these documents. It guides the OCR with spatial relationships customized to each invoice type, and validates the data against backend accounting and procurement systems.
Step 2: Data from the Invoices are Captured and Normalized
The next step is to capture data. There is often a lack of consistency in the structures and formats of the invoices coming in. Hundreds of different vendors and suppliers send in different shapes and sizes of invoices. Companies want to capture that data from diverse formats but put them in a normalized structure.
X·CELERATE Invoice extracts key details like company name, address, date, amount, and description of payment into a standardized structure. The normalization of the data is a critical step in this process. This data can be used in a multitude of ways for better reporting, planning, and decision making.
Step 3: Captured Data is Validated Against Existing ERP Records
The third step is validating the data. The invoice is received, and it often requires a payment to be made. In this step, X·CELERATE Invoice integrates the extracted information with the information already stored on the relevant supplier in the ERP and validates it. This enables large-scale companies to avoid duplicate payments or being overcharged.
This also speaks to the need for a review process and integration of procurement systems. In the old system, extracted data had to be given to an administrator who then manually validated it against their records. This was a time-consuming and complicated endeavor if one is working with hundreds or thousands of vendors.
The fact we are living in a world where social distancing has become a norm means many individuals are working remotely and thus receiving information from vendors virtually. This makes the X·CELERATE Invoice solution’s cloud-based system more critical than ever.
X·CELERATE Invoice using Amazon Textract means the API of that enterprise system is securely accessed, and the information is cross-checked and correlated by the system so you get a validated output. The fields are validated using configurable business rules and verified with the accounting, procurement, and ERP systems. In simple terms, it checks that these fields have the data you need, and then it extracts them into the database.
Step 4: Continuous Learning Through AI
The next step is to correct and learn. When the system starts to process the various invoice structures, X·CELERATE Invoice will find deviations and issues. This all depends on how the vendor has placed information on the invoices.
The system looks for certain patterns of data including name, address, date, amount, and description. This is based on what has already set up in advance, but deviations can happen.
When the system is unable to find the information needed, it needs the human touch. X·CELERATE Invoice guides the system where to look for the information needed for that field. The user then clicks the field to edit it and the system learns this for future invoice processing.
The pre-trained system learns from that variation. The data is then cross-checked and given a confidence score. A low confidence score drives automated workflow for human review.
X·CELERATE Invoice has this artificial intelligence (AI) built into the system as a key aspect of the solution. The system gets smarter over time. It also removes fatigue and drives efficiency by allowing employees to focus on the most critical review items.
Step 5: Automated Approval and Management
The fifth step is to approve and manage. The invoice is sent to the appropriate manager for review. They look at the invoice and move it forward for payment once approved. With this system, it’s easier for the manager to cross-check the information with other data of the supplier, previous payments, and what their standing is with Xoriant.
Step 6: Smart Reporting
The final stage is configuring and reporting. When a company is processing tens of thousands of invoices, this part of the process is vital.
You’ll be able to generate management views, which tell you how effectively the system is working. This will display and edit queues, assignments, and service-level agreement (SLA) metrics. It shows you the Amazon Textract accuracy metrics and helps assess the volume of manual corrections that will assist in configuring workflow and integrations.
Management will be able to see how valuable the system is and how well it’s doing and where it is learning. A lot of clients complained about backlogs before a system like this was implemented.
Figure 1 – Caption goes here.
We are facing a new workspace reality. The old problems still exist but they are now handed to us in a new way. Companies must have the freedom to allow staff to work from anywhere while remaining effective and productive.
Previously, the widespread problem was there was always a backlog of invoices, and data entry never happened quickly enough to ensure invoices were checked, approved, and paid on time. X·CELERATE invoice drives higher value from focusing staff on higher-value activities.
You can access, import, review, work with, and export invoicing data from anywhere. This leads to numerous advantages for large firms, including a higher rate of productivity, lower invoice processing costs, reduced errors and overpayment, and increased staff satisfaction.
Imagine happy suppliers, paid on time, wanting to continue to do business with you, and offering their best rates. Then imagine happy employees who are not encircled by “invoice tornados” and can act more productively.
X·CELERATE Invoice helps organizations reduce costs and errors while streamlining workflows and increasing efficiency in the accounts payable process.
The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.
Xoriant – AWS Partner Spotlight
Xoriant is an AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner that provides professional services, managed services, and solutions to accelerate your technology initiatives.