Critical Information at Your Fingertips: Tallie Expense Report Software 11.1 Release Notes

There’s been a mantra around the Tallie offices in the last few months — we’re on a mission to ensure a seamless expense report software management process for our client administrators. It’s a complex process to keep all your systems in sync, so we strive to keep it simple and functioning smoothly.

With that in mind, Tallie engineers have created a more robust export experience for our software release version 11.1 that provides you with more comprehensive status and historical information than ever before. Additionally, we’ve added a few enhancements to our integrations (particularly Intacct) and will begin sending out invoice and payment confirmation via email with the next billing cycle.

Export Status Tracking

Prior to exporting to any integrated system, Tallie has always run each expense report through a comprehensive validation process, where Tallie validates that all mapped entities on the report are active and properly linked to entities in the accounting system. If errors are found, the report will be placed in error state with specific steps towards remediation indicated. Once validation is complete, Tallie processes the expense data into a format appropriate for transmission to the target system and finally delivers the data. In version 11.1, we are now displaying to our users exactly which expenses and reports are validating or processing at any given time, before being transmitted. We hope this further transparency will help with troubleshooting and understanding of our process.

Tallie Expense Report Softaware - Status Tracking on Report Line Items

The status and destination of each expense is communicated in real time while the expense report is being exported.

What does Queued Status Mean?

If a report remains in queued state for a duration of time, Tallie is waiting to connect to the integrated system. QuickBooks Desktop customers can clear reports from queued state by signing in and connecting TallieConnect.

Expense Export History

Tallie’s powerful multi-destination export logic is capable of breaking apart a report and exporting it to a wide variety of destinations, including payroll files, practice management files, accounting systems and bill pay systems, all with the click of the Export button. With this power comes great responsibility, so we’re now appending an export history record to each individual expense on the export page. This history area will communicate to you where each expense has been exported and the most recent date/time of that export action.

Tallie Expense Report Software - Export History on Report Line Items

Once an expense has been exported, Tallie provides you with the destination and date/time of the export event.

Email Notifications for Subscription Billing

Tallie regularly bills our clients at the close of the month. We’ve made our invoices available in the Billing area of Settings for quite some time, but now we’re also going to send each system administrator an email with the full invoice prior to charging the credit card, and a follow-up receipt once the payment has gone through. We hope this helps you better track your Tallie costs. Please note that if you are on the Enterprise Plan, you may not receive these emails as regularly. Please refer to your signed agreement for your billing cadence.

Tallie Expense Report Software - Payment Receipt Confirmation

Invoice and payment receipt emails containing line item detail will be sent to company administrators.

Additional Feature Enhancements

  • Intacct Users: You can now mass update selection of export enterprise (Export Expenses To) on People page.
  • Intacct Users: We now provide Vendor on the line item when exporting to Accounts Payable.
  • Intacct Users: Your account can now be configured so that managers from Intacct are no longer assigned as approvers during sync. Please contact Support for system configuration.
  • New Currencies Added: MYR Malaysian Ringgit, EGP Egyptian Pound
  • Fixed: Archived expense categories are no longer being auto-mapped on iOS and Android apps.
  • Fixed Some customers had difficulty deleting credit card profiles.

Do these updates improve your process? Send us your thoughts on the latest version of Tallie expense report software – we love your feedback. You can reach out to our Product Expert team by email at support@usetallie.com or by calling 888-874-1118 Ext 2.

Tallie Expense Tracking – September Webinar Schedule

During the month of September, we are holding free weekly webinars on a variety of subjects to make sure that you get the most out of our expense tracking software.

These webinars provide free training for employees, managers, and accountants alike. Lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, each training session is packed with information ranging from product guidance to live Q&A with Tallie Product Experts.

Register for a free September webinar below!

TALLIE USER TRAINING

  1. Run through the creation of a Tallie expense report.
  2. Share the tips and tricks to create your expense report in a few minutes.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you might possibly have.

Register:

Tuesday 9/6 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 9/13 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 9/20 8:30 – 9:00 am PST **SPECIAL: How To Use Tallie Android & iOS Apps**

Tuesday 9/27 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ADMINISTRATOR TRAINING

  1. Walk through how to create custom policies and approval levels within Tallie.
  2. Show how Tallie streamlines your expense reporting workflow with multi-point data export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 9/1 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Thursday 9/22 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

APPROVER TRAINING

  1. Walk through the expense report approval process within Tallie.
  2. Show the expense report edit feature for specified approvers.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 9/15 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ACCOUNTANT TRAINING

  1. Run through a variety of expense tracking features that you may utilize in Tallie.
  2. Review customization and options of your account’s configuration.
  3. Show how Tallie streamlines your accounting workflow with 1-click multi-point export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  4. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 9/8 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Thursday 9/29 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

If you have any questions about Tallie’s expense reporting software between now and your chosen training webinar, please don’t hesitate to contact our Product Expert Team directly at support@usetallie.com or 888-874-1118 Ext 2. We hope to see you there!

Tallie Expense Tracking – August Webinar Schedule

Throughout the month of August, we are holding free weekly webinars on a range of subjects to make sure that you get the most out of our expense tracking software.

These webinars provide free training for employees, managers, and accountants alike. Lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, each training session is packed with information ranging from product guidance to live Q&A with Tallie Product Experts.

Register for a free August webinar below!

TALLIE USER TRAINING

  1. Run through the creation of a Tallie expense report.
  2. Share the tips and tricks to create your expense report in a few minutes.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you might possibly have.

Register:

Tuesday 8/2 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 8/9 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 8/16 8:30 – 9:00 am PST **SPECIAL: How To Use Tallie Android & iOS Apps**

Tuesday 8/23 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 8/30 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ADMINISTRATOR TRAINING

  1. Walk through how to create custom policies and approval levels within Tallie.
  2. Show how Tallie streamlines your expense reporting workflow with multi-point data export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 8/4 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Thursday 8/25 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

APPROVER TRAINING

  1. Walk through the expense report approval process within Tallie.
  2. Show the expense report edit feature for specified approvers.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 8/11 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ACCOUNTANT TRAINING

  1. Run through a variety of expense reporting features that you may utilize in Tallie.
  2. Review customization and options of your account’s configuration.
  3. Show how Tallie streamlines your accounting workflow with 1-click multi-point export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  4. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 8/18 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

If you have any questions about Tallie’s expense reporting software between now and your chosen training webinar, please don’t hesitate to contact our Product Expert Team directly at support@usetallie.com or 888-874-1118 Ext 2. We hope to see you there!

Executive Assistant & Better-Than-Ever Integrations: Tallie Expense Report Software 11.0 Release Notes

Tallie is consistently recognized for building the most robust accounting integrations in the industry. In order to maintain this standard, we focused the majority of our efforts on fixing as many imperfections as we could find in our integrations, as well as adding new functionality such as exporting merchant names to Bill.com and fine-tuning our CSV template generator to make them more powerful than ever.

In addition to the enhancements made to integrations and export, the highly anticipated Executive Assistant feature is now live in beta format for select customers! A user can be given the Executive Assistant permission and assigned to manage tasks for one or more executives.

Export corporate credit card merchants to your Vendor list via Bill.com

Knowing where you’ve spent your money is critical to running a business. However, it is often difficult to track expenses by vendor when exporting expense reports in bill format because the vendor is the payee on the bill (the employee or credit card), not the merchant from whom each item was purchased.

In this release, we introduced a new option to include merchant/vendor data in non-reimbursable exports to Bill.com. When exporting corporate card transactions as individual paid bills, admins now have the option to export merchant names to Bill.com Vendors list in addition to the default Credit Card Vendor option. This enables admins and accountants to export both reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses to Bill.com for approval and attachment purposes without sacrificing the ability to run a report on corporate credit card spend by merchant.

Tallie Expense Report Software Corporate Card Export Settings for Bill.com

Select “Individual Transaction Merchant” on the Export Settings page to use this feature.

 

Tallie Expense Report Software Export Merchants to Bill.com

When configured, each bill will be exported from Tallie to Bill.com payable to the credit card transaction merchant.

[Beta] New Executive Assistant feature gives the ability to manage tasks for one or more executives

A select number of our customers and partners have been asked to beta-test our new Executive Assistant feature. When this feature is activated, users can be granted the executive assistant permission to access and manage other users’ accounts. This access can be configurable to date ranges and a specific subset of permissions.

When acting as an executive assistant, he/she will be able to create expenses, approve reports, export, and manage Tallie settings on behalf of the executive without receiving full access to the executive’s account. Additionally, they will be able to perform these executive assistant functions without needing to sign out of their personal Tallie account.

When a report is submitted to the executive for approval, both executive and delegate will receive a notification and can approve directly from it. The use of the Executive Assistant feature does not affect billing as active user is calculated based on expense owner, rather than the people creating expenses.

Tallie Expense Report Software Executive Assistant Beta Feature

When acting as an executive assistant for another user, you can access both your individual account and the executive’s account using your email and password.

This feature is currently in beta mode and will be released to our general user base after we receive feedback from our early evaluators and make further improvements. If you’re interested in being a part of the beta team, please contact our Product Experts and we will provide you with a beta program overview and help you configure the functionality for the needs of your company.

Product Enhancements & Fixes

  • For our customers with access to multiple Tallie accounts, the styling of the Identity Details page has been updated for more clarity.
  • We have placed more restrictions on syncing a single Tallie account with potentially conflicting accounting and/or bill pay systems.
  • The engine for creating .CSV export files has been updated significantly, with a great deal more options, additional export formats and the ability to search for the data fields.
  • We have added optional enhanced restrictions on Intacct sync, configurable by each dimension.
  • Added multiple foreign currencies: Bangladeshi Taka (BDT), Moldovan Leu (MDL), Botswana Pula (BWP), Namibian Dollar (NAD), Pakistani Rupee (PKR)
  • We’ve addressed the issue where expense mappings appeared to be erased when approvers edit expense reports, but reappeared upon page refresh.

Would you like to be a beta tester for our new Executive Assistant feature? Reach out to our Product Expert team at support@usetallie.com or by calling 888-874-1118 Ext 2.

Tallie Expense Reporting Software – July Webinar Schedule

Throughout the month of July, we are holding free weekly webinars on a variety of subjects to make sure that you get the most out of our expense reporting software.

These webinars provide free training for employees, managers, and accountants alike. Lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, each training session is packed with information ranging from product guidance to live Q&A with Tallie Product Experts.

Register for a free July webinar below!

TALLIE USER TRAINING

  1. Run through the creation of a Tallie expense report.
  2. Share the tips and tricks to create your expense report in a few minutes.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you might possibly have.

Register:

Tuesday 7/5 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 7/12 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 7/19 8:30 – 9:00 am PST **SPECIAL: How To Use Tallie Android & iOS Apps**

Tuesday 7/26 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ADMINISTRATOR TRAINING

  1. Walk through how to create custom policies and approval levels within Tallie.
  2. Show how Tallie streamlines your expense reporting workflow with multi-point data export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 7/7 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Thursday 7/28 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

APPROVER TRAINING

  1. Walk through the expense report approval process within Tallie.
  2. Show the expense report edit feature for specified approvers.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 7/21 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ACCOUNTANT TRAINING

  1. Run through a variety of expense reporting features that you may utilize in Tallie.
  2. Review customization and options of your account’s configuration.
  3. Show how Tallie streamlines your accounting workflow with 1-click multi-point export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  4. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 7/14 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

If you have any questions about Tallie’s expense reporting software between now and your chosen training webinar, please don’t hesitate to contact our Product Expert Team directly at support@usetallie.com or 888-874-1118 Ext 2. We hope to see you there!

Tallie Expense Reporting Software – June Webinar Schedule

During the month of June, we are running free weekly webinars on a variety of subjects to make sure that you get the most out of our expense reporting software.

These webinars provide free training for employees, managers, and accountants alike. Lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, each training session is packed with information ranging from product guidance to live Q&A with Tallie Product Experts.

Register for a free June webinar below!

TALLIE USER TRAINING

  1. Run through the creation of a Tallie expense report.
  2. Share the tips and tricks to create your expense report in a few minutes.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you might possibly have.

Register:

Tuesday 6/7 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 6/14 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 6/21 8:30 – 9:00 am PST **SPECIAL: How To Use Tallie Android & iOS Apps**

Tuesday 6/28 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ADMINISTRATOR TRAINING

  1. Walk through how to create custom policies and approval levels within Tallie.
  2. Show how Tallie streamlines your expense reporting workflow with multi-point data export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 6/2 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Thursday 6/23 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

APPROVER TRAINING

  1. Walk through the expense report approval process within Tallie.
  2. Show the expense report edit feature for specified approvers.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 6/16 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ACCOUNTANT TRAINING

  1. Run through a variety of expense reporting features that you may utilize in Tallie.
  2. Review customization and options of your account’s configuration.
  3. Show how Tallie streamlines your accounting workflow with 1-click multi-point export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  4. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 6/9 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Thursday 6/30 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

If you have any questions about Tallie’s expense reporting software between now and your chosen training webinar, please don’t hesitate to contact our Product Expert Team directly at support@usetallie.com or 888-874-1118 Ext 2. We hope to see you there!

Tallie Expense Reporting Software – May Webinar Schedule

Throughout the month of May, we are holding free weekly webinars on a wide range of subjects to ensure that you get the most out of our expense reporting software.

These webinars provide free training for employees, managers, and accountants alike. Lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, each training session is packed with information ranging from product guidance to live Q&A with Tallie Product Experts.

Register for a free May webinar below!

TALLIE USER TRAINING

  1. Run through the creation of a Tallie expense report.
  2. Share the tips and tricks to create your expense report in a few minutes.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you might possibly have.

Register:

Tuesday 5/3 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 5/10 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 5/17 8:30 – 9:00 am PST **SPECIAL: How To Use Tallie Android & iOS Apps**

Tuesday 5/24 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 5/31 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ADMINISTRATOR TRAINING

  1. Walk through how to create custom policies and approval levels within Tallie.
  2. Show how Tallie streamlines your expense reporting workflow with multi-point data export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 5/12 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Thursday 5/26 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

APPROVER TRAINING

  1. Walk through the expense report approval process within Tallie.
  2. Show the expense report edit feature for specified approvers.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 5/19 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ACCOUNTANT TRAINING

  1. Run through a variety of expense reporting features that you may utilize in Tallie.
  2. Review customization and options of your account’s configuration.
  3. Show how Tallie streamlines your accounting workflow with 1-click multi-point export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  4. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 5/5 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

If you have any questions about Tallie’s expense reporting software between now and your chosen training webinar, please don’t hesitate to contact our Product Expert Team directly at support@usetallie.com or 888-874-1118 Ext 2. We hope to see you there!

Balancing Reliability with Innovation: Updates to the Core of our Expense Report Software

Today, we took Tallie expense report software offline for a major Saturday database maintenance window. I’d like to share with you what we did and the reasons why we did it.

Background

As an engineering team, we emphasize innovation. We seek to learn from the most cutting edge computer science techniques, adopting the appropriate ones for our size, underlying framework and functionality needs. At the same time, we are cognizant that even the most innovative financial technology must be stable and reliable for its customers. Tallie expense report software serves a critical business purpose — one we don’t take lightly.

Tallie’s stability and reliability is a commitment we stand behind; our consistently phenomenal uptime metrics are always available at status.tallie.com.

These potential cross-purposes create an interesting set of checks and balances on our engineering approach. To rationalize these forces, we have adopted a “leading edge, not bleeding edge” strategy, which I outlined a couple of years ago on our blog: Advancing SaaS Best Practices for the Expense Report Industry. We follow the latest trends in computer science, allowing time and space for the most innovative techniques to be proven, and adopting the best ideas shortly thereafter.

Sometimes, adopting the leading edge techniques requires some radical restructuring of underlying technologies. This restructuring can’t always be done in small increments. In some cases, attempting to do so would incur too much technical debt. In such cases, it is better to make a large change up-front than many small changes over time. Taking on changes of this scale requires methodical development, diligent testing and careful conversion on deployment. Which brings me to our project today…

Our Latest Release

Over the past year, we realized that our normalized database structure was becoming more of a liability than an asset (accounting reference intended). In order to achieve better performance for our current users and plan future growth, we needed to move to a more flattened structure. I’ll do my best to explain normalized and flattened structures below.

First, let me familiarize you with databases. A database consists of a series of tables, which you can think of as spreadsheets. In the case of expense report software, you might have a table of all company accounts, another table of all users and a table of all expenses in the system. In each table, a row is a single entry of data (a company, a user or an expense) and each column represents an attribute of that data set (such as name or merchant). Also, each row contains a unique identifier that allows other tables to reference each other. For example, we know which users belong to which customer by referencing these identifiers in each database.

Now, imagine each database table as a book on the shelf in your home. Under a flattened structure, they’re just books in your home that you will reference as needed. But under a normalized structure, there’s an extra book that serves like a card catalog for those books, holding common data from each book in a centralized location. Imagine for a minute that you have a few family members looking up information about books in your card catalog every few minutes. No big deal, right? Well, now imagine you’ve invited your entire neighborhood to use your card catalog all at once.

There’s a fight to get in, elbows are being thrown, and some are left to wait outside. That’s a much bigger deal, and it’s exactly what happens in an engineering context.

While a normalized database provided many data integrity benefits and represents a well-respected approach to computer science, the downsides of requiring the central table to be in use each time a sub-table was needed became a barrier to Tallie growth. Reorganizing our database gives us a faster, cleaner experience and lays the groundwork for future regional database scalability with server clusters located in regions closest to our customers, yielding even better performance.

What Can You Expect?

The desired outcome from this type of project is smooth performance — today and well into the future. We’ve worked long hours to make sure our underlying changes don’t negatively affect our customers and provide better performance at peak hours. Given the large scope of underlying changes, if you notice anything odd or out of the ordinary, please reach out immediately to our Product Expert team so we can resolve the issue for you. You can reach our Product Experts via live chat, phone (888.774.1118 x2) or email (support@usetallie.com).

Does this engineering work sound interesting to you? The Tallie Engineering Team is hiring! Check out our postings for Senior Software Engineer: Sustaining Hero, QA Automation Software Engineer, Senior/Lead Software Engineer: Cloud Services, DevOps – IT Operations Engineer and Senior Director of Software Development.

Tallie Expense Reporting Software – April Webinar Schedule

During the month of April, we are conducting free weekly webinars on a wide variety of subjects to ensure you get the most out of our expense reporting software.

These webinars provide free training for employees, managers, and accountants alike. Lasting between 15 and 30 minutes, each training session is packed with information ranging from product guidance to live Q&A with Tallie Product Experts.

Register for a free April webinar below!

TALLIE USER TRAINING

  1. Run through the creation of a Tallie expense report.
  2. Share the tips and tricks to create your expense report in a few minutes.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you might possibly have.

Register:

Tuesday 4/5 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 4/12 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Tuesday 4/19 8:30 – 9:00 am PST **SPECIAL: How To Use Tallie Android & iOS Apps**

Tuesday 4/26 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ADMINISTRATOR TRAINING

  1. Walk through how to create custom policies and approval levels within Tallie.
  2. Show how Tallie streamlines your expense reporting workflow with multi-point data export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 4/7 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

Thursday 4/28 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

APPROVER TRAINING

  1. Walk through the expense report approval process within Tallie.
  2. Show the expense report edit feature for specified approvers.
  3. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 4/14 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

ACCOUNTANT TRAINING

  1. Run through a variety of features that you may utilize in Tallie.
  2. Review customization and options of your account’s configuration.
  3. Show how Tallie streamlines your accounting workflow with 1-click multi-point export and bi-directional accounting system integration.
  4. Answer any and every Tallie question you have.

Register:

Thursday 4/21 8:30 – 9:00 am PST

If you have any questions about Tallie’s expense reporting software between now and your chosen training webinar, please don’t hesitate to contact our Product Expert Team directly at support@usetallie.com or 888-874-1118 Ext 2. We hope to see you there!

How OCR is Transforming Accounting

Optical Character Recognition or OCR is transforming accounting by reducing data entry for accountants. This tech tool can take on time consuming tasks, allowing professionals to focus on more value-add activities. But first things first:

What is Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?

Optical Character Recognition is a technology designed to extract text from an image and convert it into editable and searchable data. You can think of it as a scanner that has evolved far beyond photocopying. OCR can read and store printed or handwritten text, providing a huge benefit to accountants who spend time manually coding documents including receipts, checks and invoices. Hallelujah!

While OCR has only recently started to disrupt accounting, it is by no means a new technology. Some of the first computerized applications of OCR date back to the 1950s. In 1951 a Department of Defense engineer created an elementary scanner that could interpret Morse Code and read messages aloud. The US post office has used OCR for over thirty years to scan address labels. As digital cameras and processing software modernized over the past 10 years, the speed and accuracy of OCR has improved. As a result, the applications of OCR have expanded across industries.

While the benefits of OCR in accounting are transformative, enhancements can still be made to how accurate OCR converts data from both structured and unstructured documents.

Optical Character Recognition and Structured Documents

Structured documents, like checks, follow a static layout. The key data is always found in the same place. This standard format is ideal for Optical Character Recognition technology. You’re likely to be familiar with one particular use of OCR and structured documents: depositing checks using your mobile phone.

The efficient point-and-shoot method of depositing checks is a great first step for OCR. When you snap a picture of your check, OCR knows precisely where to look and what to look for. Checks even use the same block-like font, based on magnetic reader technology, for routing and account numbers.

Having this kind of structure in place dramatically improves the accuracy of OCR. However, even despite the uniformity of structured checks, banks still require the user to enter the total check amount, leaving part of the data entry on you.

Tallie Optical Character Recognition

Tallie Optical Character Recognition

Optical Character Recognition and Unstructured Documents

Documents that vary in formatting such as bills and receipts are considered unstructured documents. The variation makes these documents difficult for Optical Character Recognition to interpret. Fortunately we are witnessing a breakthrough moment for unstructured OCR.

Tech titans such as Google and Microsoft are investing heavily in OCR applications and we are beginning to see the gains. For example, Google Translate allows users to take a picture of foreign text, such as a traffic sign or a menu, and receive a translation on the spot.

To share these OCR developments with the broader tech community Google released Cloud Vision: a smart image analysis tool that gives startups access to OCR technology without having to build the software in-house. A win-win for consumers and businesses alike.

Even Oxford University has joined in on the fun, releasing a series of publications on text spotting. The renowned institution has developed a technology that can read words in non-standard fonts and handwritten text, and interpret the information much like our brains do.

 

OCR Tallie

Optical Character Recognition Map – Tallie

Optical Character Recognition isn’t perfect

As a result of the ongoing investment, computers are beginning to assume more and more data entry responsibilities for accountants. Automating this process will take a significant burden off of accountants, however, the primary obstacle for adoption in our profession is accuracy.

Today, we see OCR accuracy in the 80% to 90% range for unstructured documents and greater than 90% for structured documents. Although imperfect, accountants are beginning to leverage OCR to shift their time from data entry to data review. This phenomenon will have a lasting and transformative effect on the daily responsibilities of accounting teams.

After OCR, what’s next? In our next post, we’ll explore data science and its role from data review to external audit.