Of all the innovations that have made receipt submission a painless part of expense management, the ability to capture receipt images on a mobile phone and upload them directly into the expense solution is one of the greatest. Instead of having to take hard copies back to the office and scan them, users can simply snap and send an image of the receipt as soon as the transaction is made, then toss the receipt.
As time-saving as this process is, the real benefit to the traveller comes when optical character recognition (OCR) is added to the process. OCR enables the expense management system to extract all relevant data from the receipt image, which is then used to create an expense item, ready for submission. A process which previously took a considerable amount of time and manual labour can now be done in just a couple of clicks.
Related: 7 Steps to Expense Submission Nirvana
This is all great in theory, but if the expense solution’s OCR capabilities aren’t up to snuff, it can lead to a variety of errors that need to be manually edited before the expense can be submitted. In addition, if an OCR solution requires human intervention to ensure its accuracy, as some of our competitors’ offerings do, it can lead to considerable delays in the processing time, which means you can’t submit your expenses as quickly.
Here at Chrome River, we’ve always been proud of our expense and invoice management solutions’ OCR capabilities, and we’re even happier that they’ve just got even better. Chrome River EXPENSE now delivers unparalleled OCR capabilities, with faster (in seconds) and more accurate (up to 95 percent accuracy) processing of receipt images. This comes as standard for all Chrome River users, at no extra cost.
Our advanced image processing capabilities mean that when you submit a receipt (usually uploaded directly from your mobile phone or laptop via our web app, but also via email and even a scanner), it not only knows the date, merchant and amount, but also the category. A purchase at a restaurant is categorised as a meal, but even more clever is that our solution can read the time and work out what meal it is. Your receipt is timed at 7.45 a.m.? That will be categorised as breakfast. We can also tell who the merchant is, even if the receipt has a logo printed on it, instead of the merchant’s name, thanks to an algorithm which matches the image captured with images of vendor logos. If a purchase is made using a personal or corporate card that is linked to the users’ expense system, we will automatically match the receipt image and data with the card transaction notification, so there’s no need to manually attach receipts and card notifications.
Also, unlike some vendors which expect you to iron your receipts and photograph them under professional studio lights in order for them to be readable, Chrome River’s OCR solution can read crumpled receipts under less-than-ideal light.
As a result of these enhancements, our OCR data extraction is now more than 95 percent accurate, and the data will appear as a line item in a user’s expense report in seconds, not hours. If your team submits receipts internationally, they can relax knowing that Chrome River’s OCR works in English and a number of other European languages, and we’re always adding new language capabilities to make it even more global. And like every other aspect of Chrome River EXPENSE, our OCR solution’s capabilities are constantly improving as the Cloud Vision API becomes even more powerful, so it’s getting even quicker and more accurate each time you use it.
We also know that as great as these capabilities are, business travellers shouldn’t have to pay extra to benefit from them. Our advanced image processing OCR capabilities are available to every Chrome River user as part of their subscription – no added fees and no special app. Simply open the Chrome River EXPENSE web app on any connected device, upload the image, and we do the rest for you, so you can get on with the rest of your day.
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Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.