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Legal / Accounts Payable

ABBYY software helps streamline a key business process for top London law firm

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Customer Overview

Name Eversheds
Industry Global legal services
Web
CHALLENGE
  • Eliminating manual conversion work
  • Accuracy is of paramount importance
SOLUTION

ABBYY FineReader OCR software to convert scanned documents and images to text

RESULTS
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Eversheds no longer has to manually correct the OCR results

Eversheds is one of the largest full service law firms in the world, acting for the public and private sector with offices across Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. The firm is known for its innovative approach to all areas of the business and in 2010, it was named “Most Innovative Law Firm in Europe” by the Financial Times and received the “Excellence in Innovation” award at the Law Society Excellence Awards. Recently the Finance Department at Eversheds tasked the IT team with finding a more efficient and productive way to manage supplier invoices.

Problem and Solution

At Eversheds all supplier invoices are received centrally by the Finance Department. They arrive either in paper form by post or electronic form (most often as a scanned TIFF image) as an email attachment. For Eversheds’ internal processes it is necessary for all data in each invoice to be inputted into a spreadsheet so that it can be uploaded to the firm’s financial software.

Previously an employee within the department had used an office scanner to digitise the supplier invoices and convert the images to text. In order to convert a scan to editable text the employee relied on the scanner’s embedded optical character recognition (OCR) software, but the quality of the output was insufficient for the firm’s needs and required a lot of manual intervention to correct the results. Furthermore, the responsibility for this task was appointed to one person in the Finance Department and as a result there were often bottlenecks when the volume of invoices increased or a breakdown in the process due to the limited resources available.

Eversheds decided to outsource some of the Finance functions to an external supplier and tasked Lead IT Project Manager Tim Connop with delivering the project. Tim knew that they would need a more powerful and full-featured OCR program that would remove the manual conversion work and one that would work on terminal servers so that multiple employees could access the software. He had three criteria on which he judged possible solutions: reliability, ease of use and accuracy.

After performing a search for OCR software and evaluating programs on the market Eversheds chose ABBYY FineReader Corporate Edition as a best-fit solution for their needs. Because eliminating manual conversion work was the goal, accuracy was of paramount importance.

“We looked at other OCR products but found that FineReader fitted our technical solution best and gave the most accurate results.”
Tim Connop, Lead IT Project Manager

In the new process all invoices received by post are gathered together and sent to a scanning service in the UK. The service provider scans the documents and forwards the digital files on to a team who take the images, convert them to text by using ABBYY FineReader and upload the content to their financial software. If the invoice is received in digital form it is forwarded directly to the team who follow the same procedure for converting the file and uploading the data.

Benefits

ABBYY FineReader OCR software gives Eversheds increased productivity and efficiency, allowing the firm to significantly speed up a critical process within the business. FineReader’s high level of accuracy nearly eliminates the quantity of errors in the converted data which means that the firm no longer has to manually correct the OCR results. Finally, the concurrent licenses offered by the Corporate Edition allow more employees to access the software which further speeds up the processing of their supplier invoices.

“This was the first time we were using an ABBYY product and FineReader has exceeded all of our expectations. It has enabled our department to achieve greater efficiencies in our day to day work, and helps us to better support our internal clients and their suppliers. We have been impressed with the accuracy and reliability of this forwardthinking product.”
Tim Connop, Lead IT Project Manager
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