OCR, or Optical Character Resources: an Imperfect Solution — Illumis recovery auditing services and business intelligence

OCR: An Imperfect Solution

Manual invoice processing is no doubt a leading pain point in accounts payable. Few tasks are as tedious as data entry.

Why OCR Alone is Not Enough

Manual invoice processing is no doubt a leading pain point in accounts payable. Few tasks are as tedious as data entry. Employee surveys show that manual data entry is among the most time-consuming tasks.  AP professionals are eager to implement automation solutions that can minimize tedious time spent on manual invoicing tasks.


As much as OCR (Optical Character Recognition) can make life easier, there is always a need to verify and validate.  Companies can automate workflow processes, automate the management process and quickly enter invoices into the system.  Overall, OCR makes the accounts payable faster, more efficient and effective.  

OCR Advantages

  • OCR can read information with a high degree of accuracy
  • Eliminates manual data entry
  • Input invoices faster
  • Higher productivity
  • Automatically assign general ledger (GL) codes 

Lower invoice processing costs

High Accuracy Rate Can Still Leave You Vulnerable

The accuracy of the data conversion is important, and most OCR software provides 98% to 99% accuracy.  For example, if 25% of the OCR errors are payment errors and your annual spend is $1,000,000,000, that equates to $5,000,000 in potential errors.  An amount and issue worth investigating.  


Errors need to be identified, reviewed and corrected and can often become a chore that gets overlooked. 

Automating Accounts Payables

Even a small error can result in overpaying or underpaying invoices, which can affect cash flow projections, impact financial decisions and hurt supplier relationships.  In either case, you’ll need to spend time fixing these issues and reassuring suppliers.

OCR Drawbacks and Disadvantages

  • OCR text only works efficiently with the printed text (handwritten text is learned by the PC) 
  • OCR systems can be expensive
  • There can be machine-caused errors
  • All documents need to be checked and manually corrected.
  • Not 100% accurate, there are likely to be some mistakes


OCR software allows you to extract key data while reducing the risk of human errors. However, it also creates a window for machine errors. You can set up rules that validate the data and flag any discrepancies. If any invoices have line items that are outside predicted values, you can automatically route them to a staff member for review. Nevertheless, there still needs to be some level of human review.

Not 100% Accurate - Validate Accuracy with a Third-Party Review

A second set of eyes combined with our IQ technology can reveal unknown overpayments as well as identify areas of opportunity to improve operational or financial processes.  A third-party review can also provide improvements to sourcing, procurement and the supplier relationship.

Benefits of an Illumis Review

  • A human review will validate payment accuracy of invoices 
  • Verify processes and workflows are operating as expected
  • Uncover areas of inefficiency
  • Potentially mitigate fraud
  • Identify overpayments 
  • Return profits 
  • Prevent future leakage and errors

Example: Illumis IQ technology Catching an OCR Error

Not only will you recover funds with Illumis, but we deliver “bright ideas for better profits.”  We will show you the root cause of the error and provide recommendations and suggestions that can prove valuable to uncovering your areas of vulnerability and improving processes and efficiencies. The goal is to avoid financial leakage before it happens and increase your business intelligence


Audit with Confidence.  

Tony Brush

President / CEO

Working for Illumis for 21 years, Brush has been instrumental in the growth of the company. Brush served as Vice President at Illumis before stepping into the role of President / CEO and has been involved in all aspects of the company’s business throughout his career.


Brush’s approach to his role centers on the motto of Illumis, Bright Ideas for Better Profits. Known for his loyalty, team building, and tough but fair expectations, he empowers employees to deliver, therefore fostering a company culture that ensures customers can count on people.