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What does intelligent invoice processing mean?


Invoice processing is a straightforward process when you only have a few established suppliers. Accountants, as they learn to interpret the elements on invoices, set up several verification keys in their minds to ensure they have captured all necessary information and avoid revisiting to correct errors. 

However, when you begin to diversify your activity (or, if you run an accounting firm, expand your client portfolio with very different use cases), these verification keys become increasingly difficult to manage for the entire accounting team. Generally, memory is not the human brain’s strong suit. 

Intelligent invoice processing is a workflow based on artificial intelligence technologies, whereby the routine component of data collection, application of verification keys, and recording in the accounting system are fully automated 

The human mind is far more adaptable to new situations than software programs, but for repetitive processing tasks, software has exceptional speed and precision. 

Invoice processing always involves elements of novelty (new formats, new suppliers, new transactions, new items, variable quality of information) but should provide no surprises (invoices must be completely, correctly, and timely recorded). Artificial intelligence is a highly suitable solution for invoice processing, as it combines the adaptability of the human brain with the memory, precision, and speed of a software program to consistently record invoices with superior quality and productivity than humans. 

The use of Artificial Intelligence in the context of invoice processing  

What does the actual use of artificial intelligence in the context of invoice processing entail? It involves using three sets of complementary technologies to “mimic” the brain of an accountant on: 

  • Reading information from the invoice 
  • Understanding the information from an accountant’s viewpoint 
  • Applying financial accounting knowledge 

Extracting text from the invoice image via character recognition 

This technology, known as OCR (Optical Character Recognition), is a mature technology with very good results in understanding printed writing.  

What makes Profluo different?  

Profluo enhances OCR results with a series of post-processing algorithms specific to the typical context of an invoice, for example by correcting erroneous words and signs or by reading vertically oriented texts. 

Identifying and interpreting the extracted text as standard invoice elements 

And more than that. Validation also includes checks for compliance with various legislative or accounting requirements, arithmetic calculations, or business logic. 

What makes Profluo different? 

Profluo has developed its own classification engine for these invoice elements, which relies on both visual references and an extended financial-accounting vocabulary (both associated with a labeling system through which the system learns).  

Two features strongly differentiate us: competent reading of invoice line tables (and non-tabular line structures) and extremely rapid training of the labeling system (one-shot learning – from one invoice to the next). 

The automatic and detailed accounting of invoice elements, in preparation for their complete export to the desired accounting system 

What makes Profluo different? 

Well, basically everything.  

Profluo has created its own engine for automatic accounting predictions, which addresses the most complete and demanding accounting requirements, starting from inventory accounting, through financial accounting, and reaching managerial accounting. The engine has a unified logic, immediately adaptable to any accounting system. Training is done just as quickly (one-shot learning – from one invoice to the next), is customized to each company’s specifics, and high-quality training leads to remarkable precision. 

Would you like to see how Profluo’s three engines perform in real life, with your own invoices? Book a free demo! 


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