optical character recognition

AP / Payables Desktop Scanner

Accounts Payable – Good Scanning Guide

By | Accounts Payable, Best Practices, Business | No Comments

Choosing the Right Scanner

If you’ve decided to make the jump from having a purely paper based accounts payable solution to one where you are scanning and managing your accounts payable (often known as “purchase ledger”) in a workflow system, you’ll need to get yourself a decent scanner.

Choosing a scanner isn’t that easy, there is an enormous array of manufacturers and retailers. A consumer scanner might be great for scanning holiday snaps but might be pretty frustrating if you are processing dozens of documents per day. Take account of the following:

  • Your scanning volume – How many documents will you process each day?
  • Your budget – Get a good balance between price and functions
  • What software you need – Add on software can be expensive – do you need it?
  • Compatibility – Does your current PC have enough power?
  • Extendibility – Can you link to other software systems for greater efficiency? Do you need to?
  • Ease of use – Who will be using it, how technical are they, will it take long for them to learn?

A decent Scanner Needn’t Break the Bank

Each business is different, you can easily spend over £20,000 on a state of the art scanner that can handle tens of thousands of documents a month, but for any organisation with a medium-volume of incoming invoices should think seriously about investing in a good quality scanner of MFD – it will save lots of time in the long run and needn’t break the bank.

At Spendgate we use Kodak scanners for scanning the invoices of customers using our invoice management services. These are quick, reliable and easy to use and are perfect for our needs.

A good scanner with functions that might have cost thousands to buy a few years ago can now be bought for £300-£500. Get a duplex model with a sheet feeder unless you want to be turning each page manually – that will take hours!

What About Software?

Most high quality small business scanners will come with some bundled software that will suit the basic needs of most organisations. Unless you want to start complex indexing, optical character recognition (OCR) or batch scanning you can probably make do with the bundled software.

We’ve invested in more sophisticated software for scanning batches of invoices separated by bar-codes, an OCR engine extracts invoice data from accounts payable invoices electronically, this software has allowed us to process invoices extremely efficiently on behalf of our clients.

Best Image Format

Once you have setup and installed your scanner you need to get to work using it. The range of settings you need to configure in order to get up and running might be daunting at first but getting these right will probably save money in the long run.

You’ll need to choose an image format. For accounts payable invoices, pdf is the best format, with a resolution of between 100 and 200 dpi depending on whether you want to use OCR. Any less and the invoice might be unreadable, any more and your file sizes could be too large which will impact your file storage costs.

Spendgate will only accept pdf or tiff files up to 1MB in size, in case you are wondering, so no jpegs, Word or Excel files!

Spendgate Invoice Services

Of course, if you don’t want to invest in a scanner and all the associated software, we can handle all of your invoice scanning and management for you. Take a look at our services page for more information.


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