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July 23, 2021

What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?

By 
LeAnne Taylor

Every small business owner knows that month-end feeling. That feeling when payments are due, expense reports are waiting to be processed and a stack of paper is piling up. We've all experienced the dread that takes over at the thought of going line by line to manually enter data.

With Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, month-end doesn't have to be so bad. In fact, it doesn’t even have to involve typing - or typos. Not with OCR, that is.

Let's get into it.

What is OCR?

Optical Character Recognition, aka OCR, is the identification of printed characters using photoelectric devices and computer software.


But what does that really mean? In simpler terms, OCR technology extracts text from an image of a paper document and converts it to a digital format - like a PDF or Word document.

So, if you have a physical document (think bills, invoices, receipts or handwritten notes) that you need converted into an editable digital file - OCR will do the trick. All you have to do is snap a photo! And if the software is accurate - there should be little to no manual data entry required.

OCR Scanning and Corpay One

When it comes to business bill pay and expense reports, manual data entry is a significant drain on time and money for small businesses. To put it into perspective, it takes 20 minutes on average to manually complete an expense report.¹ Every 1 in 5 expense reports have errors and it costs about $52 to correct just one of them.¹ We don't even have to do the math for you - if your business is processing several reports each month, you already know how fast that adds up.

With Corpay One's OCR technology, you can eliminate 90% of manual data entry errors by letting our platform do the work for you.² And because our state-of-the-art engine runs at a 99% accuracy rate, you won't have to worry about missing line items or including typos in your financial data.²

Plus, it's easy. Scanning a receipt, bill or invoice into Corpay One can be done in seconds from your desk or on the go - with our desktop or mobile app. You can even have your vendors do it for you by attaching their invoices to an email every month, making the entire process hands-free. Click here for a quick step-by-step breakdown of how to scan documents with Corpay One.

Once a document is scanned, Corpay One detects the document type, automatically extracts the appropriate data and populates it in the bill record:

Corpay One will also remember specific details about the documents - so you don't have to:

  • Which platform the document was updated through (web, mobile, Send & Scan)
  • Which coworker uploaded the document
  • The department of the coworker who uploaded the document
  • Type of document submitted
  • Keywords from the document


The best part? It's free - that means no scanning charges or no subscription fees. Plus, you can upload and scan as many documents as you want, at no additional cost.


Simplify your business bill pay with Corpay One. Get started for free and make your first payment today.

Sources:
¹ How Much Do Expense Reports Really Cost? Survey by GBTA Foundation and HRS, October 2015.
² Using OCR: How Accurate is Your Data. TDWI, March 5, 2018*

*Standard OCR accuracy rates are 98-99%, per TDWI. Corpay One has a .34% error rate, putting us in the 99% accuracy range.

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