As a small business owner, you know that keeping track of invoices (and other docs) is crucial and challenging at the same time. Data entry errors slow processes, lead to much back-and-forth and cause missed deadlines.
What can help you move past issues related to manual document processing is invoice scanning software that combines OCR (optical character recognition) and data extraction.
OCR uses object detection and text recognition techniques to turn image files into editable text. Invoice scanning software delivers the best results when paired with data extraction, which focuses on pulling selected information (fields) from documents automatically.
But with so many tools on the market, testing them all can give you a headache. That’s why we’ve tested seven tools for you and prepared a no-BS comparison of invoice scanning tools for you.
Why is that? Every tool has both pros and cons. You should consider what’s most important for you before investing in a specific tool. It may turn out that one tool is a great fit for you but not for another business person with different needs.
This comparison focuses on small and mid-sized companies. We’ll show you versatile tools that don’t cost a fortune or require a developer. Also, you won’t find free online tools here too – often, they’re not GDPR-compliant and offer poor levels of accuracy.
Keep reading to discover the key factors to consider when choosing the best OCR software for processing invoices in your business and how to compare data extraction tools.
What Factors You Have to Consider When Choosing Invoice Scanning Software
When choosing your next invoice scanning software, think about how important are these criteria for you.
Accuracy and Data Extraction Quality
Accuracy of your data extraction is probably one of the most important factors to evaluate. Depending on your use case, you’ll be trying to get more than 90% of the fields extracted properly.
Suppose your business deals with invoices in various formats, layouts, and languages. In that case, this may cause challenges for some tools. Another issue is the quality of documents. If you get distorted or stained docs, it can be more difficult for a tool to read data correctly.
On the other hand, if your docs have a transparent background and come in PDF formats, most tools can do the job. Suppose you plan to process documents other than invoices. In that case, it’s worth checking whether the OCR and extraction work well with this specific document.
The best approach here is just to test out the tool and see how it deals with your documents. You’ll check the tool’s accuracy and assess whether it’s enough for you to move forward.
Here, you can also test the tool’s support and whether the team is willing to help solve any issue. And if you wish to start by taking Alphamoon for a test run, sign up below.
Customization and Option for Data Validation
We all know how things are in small businesses. You’re often a jack-of-all-trades, and sometimes you need to change priorities, extract other data than usual, or process an entirely new set of documents.
Suppose that’s the case in your business. The tool should allow you to customize data extraction rules to suit your specific invoice templates and requirements.
Another thing is that most modern automation software follows a human-in-the-loop philosophy. You should be able to validate and verify extracted data against predefined rules or reference data.
See how it works in Alphamoon. You can re-assign words if a field wasn’t correctly extracted and accept properly extracted fields.
If the software you’re testing isn’t flexible enough to edit fields, you may face problems later on as you won’t be able to have a very accurate extraction.
What Document Formats the Tool Can Handle (Document Compatibility)
Another important thing to remember is the format of the documents you want to get data from. Usually, businesses send PDF files. But what if a partner sends you PNG formats or paper documents? You have to deal with them, too, right?
That’s why checking what formats your invoice scanning tool can handle is crucial. It would be great if it could process the most common formats so you don’t have to use online format converters.
Online format converters aren’t the best option as it takes time to change the digital format and you’re sending your docs to various websites that may not respect data privacy regulations.
Integration with Your Existing Tools
You’d often like to work with that extracted data, right? Thus, integrating your invoice scanning software with other tools will be critical to smoothen your workflows.
Whether it’s ERP, accounting software, product information software, or anything else, integrations allow for automatic data transfers and eliminate the need to move data manually. As a result, you save time and reduce the number of errors.
Check what type of integration the data extraction tool has or plans to include soon. Tools offer either native integrations or integrations via. Zapier or Make. If you’re technical, you can also use an API.
In Alphamoon, we have integration with Zapier (and some tutorials coming soon!) and plan to create native integrations with the most popular tools.
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing an Invoice Scanning Tool
Some other specific things you should take into account:
- Security and compliance: Invoice scanning software should give the option to stay GDPR compliant. Also, security matters are important. Thus, the tool should have security ISO 27001 certification and allow storing data in a specific location (e.g., EU citizens’ data in Europe)
- Pricing and value for money: Well, small businesses are price-sensitive. The tool should offer flexibility in terms of plans so it doesn’t turn out that the tool costs as much as hiring a new person to the team. A nice-to-have option is the pay-as-you-go tier, mainly if the volume of invoices differs between months
- Various language options in the interface. Depending on your operation’s character and scale, you might need to process documents in languages other than English. That’s why you’ll look at the languages processed by the platform and the localized version of the tool for maximum ease of use
- Trial or testing option. You should be able to test the full-featured version of the tool. The tool should offer a free trial or test out document processing for free
What Fields You Can Extract from Invoices
One reason invoices take so long is that companies use all kinds of templates. For older OCR technology, where the software operates on fixed positions of each field, the diversity of invoice templates causes serious issues.
That’s why modern AI-based OCR software for invoices deploys machine learning and deep learning to enable the software to improve continually.
You should be able to extract any information (but not limited to):
- Seller/buyer name – official names of each party
- Seller/buyer address – used for postage
- Seller/buyer contact data – details including email address
- Document issue date – information on the time when the seller generated the invoice
- Document due date – deadline for the payment
- Document number – used for tracking purposes
- Line item tables – quantities of goods, descriptions of items, prices, tax value
- Tax ID – tax information
- Summaries – total values
- Signatures – handwritten pieces
- Logo – elements of branding
Comparison of 7 Best Invoice Scanning Software
Let’s jump to the essence of this article: the practical comparison.
We experienced using each of those platforms ourselves, as well as read hundreds of reviews available on Capterra, G2, GetApp, etc.
You’ll read each vendor’s description, pricing, and pros and cons. We also checked how the tools handle specific documents to see the UI and the results for yourself.
You can try all the vendors listed here for free, although each company has a different offering. If you see a source close to the opinion, it means it comes from an external website. If there is none, it’s our experience using a particular tool.
Alphamoon is an online intelligent document processing tool equipped with OCR and Zero-shot Learning to capture and accurately extract document data without prior training.
You can use it as an invoice scanning tool, but Alphamoon can handle any type of document. The tool helps you process docs quickly, with fewer errors and without increasing your headcount.
It’s GDPR-compliant and holds an ISO 27001 certificate.
It’s best for small businesses that want to eliminate manual invoice processing and speed up business processes. No matter if it’s 10 or hundreds of docs a month.
We have Zapier integration and will add new native integrations soon. Interface is available in English and Polish (with more languages like Spanish coming soon).
There are four options: pay-as-you-go (you get 50 docs for free), Starter, Standard, and Professional. If you have a fixed amount of invoices (or other docs) to process monthly, choosing a specific plan is better. If not, pay-as-you-go is the best option.
Alphamoon interface and invoice scanning results
Here’s the extraction of an exemplary document in Alphamoon Workspace.
Regarding invoice scanning capabilities, our tool reached, in this case, 95% accuracy (one wrongly extracted field out of 20 data fields). Two fields were pending to accept, but the values were correct. The table extraction was 100% accurate.
You can also do a pure OCR by marking the desired area and pressing the left-side icon to copy the content.
- Advanced OCR and invoice data extraction (fields + tables) with high accuracy
- Variety of document formats available: TIFF, PDF, JPEG, JPG, BMP and DOCX
- Recognizes most Latin languages
- No free versions
- A limited set of integrations (it will change soon)
- A limited number of ready-to-use templates – right now, there are eight templates (it will change soon)
Nanonets uses OCR and Deep Learning to extract relevant information from unstructured text and documents. With the tool, you can digitize documents, extract data fields, and integrate with your everyday apps via APIs.
Nanonets promises to eliminate manual processes and automate invoices, receipts, document reviews, etc.
There are three pricing tiers: pay-as-you-go with three starter models (limited to data extraction from three document types). The Pro plan costs $499 monthly per model (just for one document type).
Nanonets interface and invoice scanning results
Nanonets handled invoice PDF extraction properly. You can also do OCR within the platform by marking the specific field and copying the chosen text manually.
We experimented with other types of documents like marriage certificates. Before the extraction, we had to complete a manual data annotation task to teach the model.
- Flexible and adaptive tool that can extract various types of data from invoices
- Different invoice formats available: DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF, JPG, PS and TIF
- Pricing is reasonable (source)
- Not the best user experience and limited document templates (source)
- The price gets steep if you want to handle more document types
- The custom process requires the user to annotate data on at least 10 documents, which is time-consuming
Klippa is a document management and expense-tracking platform that simplifies paperless workflows. It uses OCR technology and allows users to scan and digitize receipts, invoices, and other documents effortlessly.
Klippa promises to save time, reduce paperwork, and improve efficiency and might be valuable for bigger companies looking to eliminate manual data entry.
Klippa offers separate pricing for invoice processing (a tool called Klippa SpendControl). They have three tiers: Effective plan with €95 a month, Premium with €245 a month, and custom pricing.
Although the pricing seems pretty affordable (especially the cheapest tier), the integrations (e.g., with a standard bookkeeping system) cost an additional €50 per month.
Klippa interface and invoice scanning results
Although the UI is pretty clean, Klippa’s interface could be more intuitive. You can’t modify the fields you want to extract or do OCR on the uploaded invoice. At the top right corner, you have the “Action” button to share, move or export the data.
- Offers a modern data extraction tool (source)
- Good documentation and customer service
- Mainly focused on helping accounts payable teams
- The software has limited customization options, which is an obstacle (source)
- There is no global monitoring of how well the model extracts data (source)
- The tool can only process receipts and invoices in the free trial version
Parsio is a cloud tool that offers email parser and data extraction tools for invoices and other documents. It has OCR that enables data extraction from templated documents. It’s suitable for SMBs and offers various integrations.
Parsio is trained to recognize handwritten and printed text in Latin and European languages. Although the tool can process any document in PDF, it’s challenging to extract data from images, which is a limitation (as you can receive docs in this format too).
Parsio pricing is clear and adjusted for small and mid-sized businesses. They also offer some credits to test the tool for the first time.
Parsio interface and document scanning results
We used a pre-trained Parsio model to extract data from invoices. When using templated docs, you can’t edit the extraction fields. You get extracted data in both text format and JSON format. There is no OCR here.
We also checked other parser types. The extraction from an unstructured document worked well, too. The tool didn’t handle receipts in other European languages (we tested Portuguese receipts). It said it was an empty document.
- Offers PDF parser, email parser, and field formatters
- Various integrations (through Zapier and Make), no native integrations
- Helpful support (source)
- Setting up complex templates might be hard (source)
- The post-processing requires a steep learning curve (source)
- The GPT-powered parser doesn’t have OCR for PDF documents
The company provides a document processing solution and data extraction tool. They specialize in the financial sector, automating data entry and analysis for lenders. They also offer classification and detection of suspicious activity within uploaded documents.
The company doesn’t offer OCR within uploaded documents. Ocrolus may provide APIs to integrate the tool with others in your stack.
They have a free 2-week trial (100 docs for free) and a hidden pricing plan. The hidden pricing indicates that the company targets enterprise-level companies from the financial sector and might not be the best option for SMBs.
Ocrolus interface and document scanning results
In the case of Ocrolus, there is no way to process typical docs like invoices or receipts. Instead, we had to test the tool on documents that had templates. Thus, you can see the extraction from a W-2 – American tax form here.
While the extraction went properly from such a document, it’s limited to processing just templated docs. Usually, every business will have some invoices, receipts, or other more typical documents to handle.
- Specialized in the financial niche (e.g., good for underwriters)
- Helps increase application processing speed (source)
- Good support (source)
- It is not suitable for small businesses that need to process typical docs like invoices and a variety of other documents
- No customization to what fields you can extract from documents
- Document processing takes a long in the software, which might be problematic at the end of the month or close to tax season
Docparser is a data extraction tool that handles Word, PDF, and image formats. They don’t niche down to one industry, offering solutions for manufacturing, e-commerce, the food industry, or logistics, to name a few.
They call their processes “Parsers,” you can choose from templated options like invoices, purchase orders, and bill of lading, or create your own. The company doesn’t offer OCR at all. You can customize parsing rules and adjust the tool to your needs.
They offer four pricing tiers without a pay-as-you-go option. The cheapest plan starts at $32 a month, allowing the creation of 15 different parsers (process 15 different doc types), exports, and integrations. Their plans seem to be suitable for SMBs.
Docparser interface and invoice scanning results
Docparser is the least intuitive tool we have used so far. A significant pain point with setting up the extraction is that you must create parsing rules to choose which fields to extract or go with what they suggest for templated docs, like invoices.
But the bigger problem here is that the window with extracted data doesn’t show you the document window, so you have to do much back-and-forth between “original file” and “parsed data.” Exporting this data can help see whether the extraction went well.
- Handles data extraction well with templated documents like invoices
- It saves time and helps businesses scale
- Integration capabilities, including native integrations and direct integrations
- Confusing workflow for creating parsing rules (often involves back-and-forth between screens)
- Parsing rules works well for the same document types only (e.g., invoice that has the same layout as others)
- It takes time to handle outputted data structures – steep learning curve (source)
Docsumo is a platform for automated data extraction and processing from various doc types. It works for invoices, tax forms, utility bills, to name a few. They also offer document categorization and classification.
Businesses use Docsumo to organize their document-based workflows and reduce manual data entry.
They have OCR and machine learning and can process various doc formats. Docsumo can be integrated with other tools – you need to export data in CSV, XLS, and JSON to your tools like CRM or payroll.
They have a 14-day free trial; the cheapest plan starts at $500/month. Considering this, Docsumo is for bigger businesses that can afford to pay that amount for the tool monthly.
Docsumo interface and invoice scanning results
The interface is intuitive and shows which fields were extracted from a document area that is comfortable to view. Docsumo hasn’t handled proper extraction from a French invoice. It leaves many fields to verify or correct by the user.
It didn’t recognize 30-day payment terms; the tax total is 20% instead of 270, etc. The tool has issues with identifying line items in invoices, too.
OCR works properly, and what’s cool is that you can see straight away what data is being OCRed.
- Excellent customer service team (source)
- There are many options for customization
- It offers many templates, and the tool is pretty intuitive to use
- The tool can get mixed up when trying to extract data from a wide variety of invoices (e.g., in French or Portuguese language)
- It can be costly for small and medium businesses (source)
- It may not be as effective with more complex or unstructured documents (source)
Choose the Best Invoice Capture Software for Your SMB
In conclusion, choosing the right solution for processing invoices for your business is an important decision that can save you time, money, and resources. Consider which factors are the most important and give tools that fit the requirements a try.
We hope that you find the comparison and our tests helpful. If Alphamoon Workspace is the tool you want to try for yourself, go ahead. The first 50 documents are free to process (whether it’s an invoice, passport, logistics doc, or anything you have in mind).