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.
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.
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.
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.