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10 Feb 2023

Practical Tips On Using AI OCR for English Invoices

AI OCR for English invoices automates the time-consuming process of importing data from scans of physical and digital invoices in English into internal ERP systems or spreadsheets.

Although automation has begun to sneak into everyday life thanks to the tools like ChatGPT, the AI revolution remains somewhere on the horizon. Companies and individuals who embrace this frontier and become trailblazers are guaranteed to jump ahead of the competition.

And while some of the AI visions may be unsettling – particularly those claiming that robots will take jobs from humans – the reality is that all AI software and tools are designed to assist humans. From astonishing medical developments to SaaS products changing the lives of businesses worldwide, AI is finally settling in.

In this article, we take one of such areas under the microscope – processing English invoices with OCR. You’ll gain:

  • A practical overview of how OCR for English invoices works
  • A warm feeling in your heart because we mention Microsoft Paint
  • Insights into how Alphamoon’s tool manages English invoices processing

How OCR for invoices works

Do you recall the movie Steve Jobs by Danny Boyle?

In the scene that concludes the clash between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the latter leaves saying that being decent and being gifted is not binary, meaning that Jobs chose to be gifted, but disrespected the people he worked with.


A binary system serves as the principle for OCR tools, too. Contrary to the quote, it’s both gifted at processing complex documents and decent (it won’t call you names or anything…).

Okay, jokes aside.

Without delving too much into the technical details, here’s a short OCR lesson for you. Every scan or photograph you take is a set of numbers based on the binary system. The most straightforward system – black and white – uses two digits – one and zero – to represent an image in a way that allows computers to process them. Take a look at the image below.

binary image
Source: Bbc.co.uk

That binary system can be expanded into four digits, where white, blue, green, and red are added to the mix. Now, this can be further expanded to capture the depth of colors – each combination equaling a different color.

The mystery of Microsoft Paint’s color picker is no more!

Microsoft Paint’s color picker
Source: Answers.microsoft.com

When augmented with artificial intelligence, OCR capabilities become free from template dependency. Older OCR systems were rule-based, which meant that they required a particular design of a document to understand it.

In other words – you’d need to create a template for every document to be processed in the future. Not the most efficient way of automation.

AI OCR brings computer vision to the next level, where the platform learns on each new dataset and expands its understanding. Consequently, with enough practice, the tool will always tell the difference between a paper receipt and a paper slip invoice, as well as a purchase order and an invoice.

AI OCR for English invoices: Alphamoon overview

Onto the nitty-gritty!

Alphamoon brings you cloud-based software for extracting data from English invoices. Our mission is to provide users with an intuitive tool for easy document automation, with no coding skills required. This section will show you the step-by-step process of how it works.

Step #1 Setting up your working space

After you get in touch with us and decide to take Alphamoon’s platform out for a spin, you’ll need to set up your account. For now, the platform enables you to set up the Invoice process (sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of each new document and feature we add) and decide on the fields you’d like to extract from your invoices.

invoice processing

As you can see, we’ve already set up a test account here to help you make the first steps too.

Step #2 Adding documents

Where Alphamoon differentiates itself from the rest of the available tools is a few tiny features that make a substantial difference.

  • Alphamoon provides an automatic division of pages within large PDFs (read more about page splitting feature here), which allows you to upload larger PDFs. One scan containing 60 invoices in English? Not a problem.
  • You can upload as many documents as you wish simultaneously.
  • You can tie several repositories with your Alphamoon process so that the tool will automatically upload documents and process them.

Below you can see a snap from the tool with a digital invoice.

digital invoice processing

The same happens with a photo of an invoice.


Step #3 Validation

Once processing is completed, you may need to review the extracted information. This may happen for a bunch of reasons:

  • The algorithm can’t find the particular piece of information
  • Certain fields are difficult to process and require user’s check
  • The specifics of the extracted information may need additional verification (e.g. buyer/seller address)

There are certain actions that the users can perform at this point.

After determining the extracted content, the user can approve the field if there are no adjustments or changes to be made. An invoice with no flagged fields becomes automatically approved, and shifts its status (the status is the label you see in the top left corner of the gif below).

validation: accepting fields

Another action is altering the extracted information per field. The user can click on the particular field and edit it – it comes in handy when the OCR’ed document does not contain information that you need in further processing.

editing fields

One last action that the user can perform within the validation phase is clicking on a piece of data that was not extracted at all and assign a label to it. That way, the platforms learns the specifics of the documents and increases its effectiveness.

validation: adding new fields

Step #4 Data Transfer

The processing ends with a ready-to-download CSV file that combines data from all your invoices. You can use this CSV file to populate data in your spreadsheets – Excel or Google – or an ERP system.

Here’s where this feature comes in handy:

  • Tax calculations
  • Financial analysis
  • Purchase Order matching

However, you may find the functionality useful in any other way.

Tip: We provide additional integrations upon request. Get in touch with the sales team to discuss the details. We’re eager to make the Alphamoon experience as seamless and valuable as possible!

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Get in touch with our sales team to discuss the project.

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