Optical character recognition (OCR) has been with us for a while. Sure, Entryless uses OCR to digitize your bills, but that alone would not be a very transformative technology. Unless that is, the date was 1975!

Optical character recognition, or OCR, is the technology that processes a document and transforms images of writing and text into machine-encoded formats, such as digital text or numbers in a table. While it’s easy to assume that OCR is a relatively new technology, it’s been around since the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, the famous inventor Emanuel Goldberg received a patent for OCR technology in 1931.

One of the important early uses for OCR was to help the blind and visually impaired to read printed text. While this was an important breakthrough, it was the development of omni-font OCR by Kurzweil Computer Products in the 1970s that catapulted this technology into the place of importance it has today.

There’s nothing new or terribly spectacular about OCR—at least not until it is given a purpose upon integration into a technology stack.

At Entryless, we use OCR to digitize and process bills, but it is our proprietary software that turns the recognized information into accurate accounting entries.

Early OCR efforts digitized many important collections of documents, such as the LexisNexis legal database. OCR has been used to digitize and make searchable many important texts. Both Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive have made great use of OCR to make important books and documents available to everybody. In fact, even Goldberg’s patent that we discussed earlier was processed and stored in a database using OCR.

Digitizing and processing documents means that it’s more and more possible for a business to work towards being paperless even when their suppliers and customers are not. Paper can enter the office, be processed by OCR, and be discarded. Clutter is reduced, processes are streamlined, and automation takes over.

OCR is an important tool for bridging the gap between old solutions and new technology, but it is just one tool in the Entryless toolbox. Modern businesses communicate digitally.

Alone, OCR just stacks words and numbers together.

That makes OCR just one small part of Entryless. We built upon the foundation of decades of work to make standard OCR rock solid. Then, we tuned and focused it our particular needs. Our OCR engine feeds Entryless great raw information, but that is just the beginning of Entryless’ value.

Within the Entryless core application, that information is intelligently categorized and delivered as truly valuable digital information.

You give us a paper bill, we give you actionable accounts payable and cash flow information.

We are proud to transform the lives of business owners and accountants with the Entryless platform. And when it comes to the innovation of bill automation, we’re just getting started.