DocStar Invoice Automation

Hello,

The company I work for is currently investigating automating our AP process. Specifically invoice entry. We are looking at DocStar for this purpose. Can someone who currently uses DocStar for invoice entry give me a breakdown on how it works and what it can all do.

I envision this program reading all relevant information such as:
PO
Supplier
Invoice #
Invoice Date
Total Amount
Sub Total

It would enter all of this into the appropriate fields and create a new invoice entry for each invoice PDF. AP clerk would then go through the group created in Epicor and review each invoice:
GL codes
Pull in lines from the PO (I assume DocStar would not be able to accomplish this task?)
Correct taxes/any variance between PO and invoice

Need someone who has experience using DocStar (or any other type of OCR technology) to let me know if i’m way out to lunch on my expectations of invoice automation.

Thank you to everyone and anyone who can give me more insight into this.

The Epicor virtual summit had some good demos and detail on the use of Docstar.

Even though the Summit was last week the content is still available. I believe if you register here

https://onlinexperiences.com/scripts/Server.nxp?LASCmd=AI:4;F:QS!10100&ShowUUID=DC0F1B34-8EED-4EC2-B06F-2F103CE50BC0&GroupID=CustomerReg

You should be able to access the information.

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We’re not using DocStar (yet) but have had it demo’d and it’s more capable than it first sounds. The OCR looks very intelligent and works quite closely with Epicor, so it does more of the tying up between the records already on the system and the newly created data than I would have expected. The human intervention is needed only for elements where the workflow can’t be sure of anything, and the system also learns from those interventions for future documents. It’s clever enough to pick up on PO numbers if the invoice includes the right reference, I believe.

Only you know exactly what you’d need though, so definitely best to check the demo already linked, and I’d suggest asking for a demo specifically for your company too, where you can ask the questions you need answered. Epicor have been very helpful with our investigation. It isn’t a cheap solution so they’re well aware most customers need to see what they’d be getting.

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We are just getting started on our implementation, but I would echo @dhewi in that it looks like an awesome toolset.

We had a demo of AP Automation with our vendors invoices and without tweaking the IDC (Intelligent Data Capture) engine found the info needed to pull the PO from Epicor.

Here is a link to an online recorded presentation. You will have to enter contact info to see it.

I’ll throw in my 2 cents. The DocStar does some basic OCR. If you have the same type of docs coming in all the time driving the process, this should be enough. If the docs coming in are more complex or potentially changing - you need a smarter IDC\OCR like Ancora.

I implemented docStar with AP Automation really early on. Here is a few bits that I wrote to somebody who was wanting to do a reference visit to our site:

The docStar solution and the integration that’s available with E10 is great, and very flexible. I’ll explain how we’ve configured it, and you can assess whether it is relevant to your process.

• We raise a PO in E10 (using Buyer codes to control spend limits and approvals)
• Goods/services receipted in E10
• Invoice received, and presented to docStar (either by dropping pdf into correct folder, or scanning on a multi-function copier device which drops it into correct folder)
• docStar performs OCR on the document, picking up key fields such as Supplier, Invoice Num, Invoice Date, Subtotal, Tax, Amount
• Document enters docStar workflow – if it has a PO number, it goes into 1 workflow. (PO Invoices). If there is no PO number, then it goes into another workflow (Non-PO Invoices).
o If the sum of the receipt lines (and therefore the PO lines originally created) matches the PO subtotal, then the workflow pushes the invoice into E10 and is now complete. Requires no user interaction because everthing matches.
o If the sum of the receipt lines doesn’t match, then it is routed to the budget holder for approval.

All of the editing of lines / approval / validation happens within docStar. You end up with invoices in an AP Invoice Entry group in E10 (with the PDF as a linked attachment), ready to post. I actually spotted in the latest docStar version that they’ve added a couple more integrations (links), one of which was “PostAPGroup” - not that we want to do that, but if you did want them to post straight away it now looks to be possible.

You can basically do whatever you want in terms of checks/routing/workflow, it’s a great product!

Chris mentioned different OCR - docStar has a basic one built in, with no limit on pages. They also sell docAlpha as part of the suite if you need more IDC (Intelligent Data Capture). I pick and choose - for invoices, I use IDC which does need to be licensed for number of pages per annum. I use the basic one for our internal documents where I know where on the page to find a key field, such as Delivery Note No.

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Thank you all for your insights. This has been enormously helpful. I have scheduled a demo and am excited to see what it can do for us.

We saw a demo. It is really amazing. It also has Sales Order automation now with 10.2.400 and it works the same way and comes with the base license, I think. We are planning to use the SO part once on 10.2.400.

Vinay Kamboj

Hello, thanks for your reply.

We just recently had our demo of DocStar. It is quite impressive. It’s great that it automatically sends an invoice out for approval and you can set the workflow and it’s fully customizable. This must be fantastic in a perfect world.

I have some concerns when things don’t line up perfectly. The goal would be to have very few human interventions. So when it scans an invoice and a line does not match it will send it away for approval, great. Now what does that look like? Does the purchaser just click approved and then it comes back to me (AP) and i manually change the amount for that line? Can DocStar automatically change a line amount if it’s approved?

What about taxes? If there is a tax variance by .01, i’m assuming it would get sent for approval? Again if we click approved will it adjust the taxes to be good and put it in Epicor?

Last example is freight on things like shop supplies. It’s a misc charge for us, if it’s not on the PO or it doesn’t have a PO will DocStar add “Freight on Purchases” as a misc charge once it’s approved?

I’m a little disappointed that they did not record our demo so i could go back through it and watch more closely to a few aspects, I had asked prior to our demo date but never got a response.

IF you can, I would tell them to prove the concept to you before buying it if your process is not as straightforward as the demo. We were sold on the demo and ended up spending months with them when they tried to accommodate our workflow process which included misc charges. @jdewitt6029

@utaylor is right. Our installation did not go very smooth. We were way over promised in the beginning. Every question we asked we were told “yes, it can do that” only to find out they meant ‘theoretically’. Months dragged on as we waited for them to implement basic features already available in Epicor into Docstar (and we had to pay for it). Even then, some of our requests were sent to development only to be told it would be available in a future release. I don’t want to sound bitter (i know to late) but it was one of the worst experiences we have experienced with a software rollout.

Make sure you have an agreement on what you are expecting right out of the box if you differ from the demo in any way. Ask to see it.

Thanks for sharing,

These are exactly the type of things i am worried about and want to make sure I’ve done all the due diligence.

I am truly impressed with the product and how customizable it is and the integration to Epicor its really everything you could want out of AP Automation. Problem is getting it to work seamlessly in a real world environment. Hard to predict ahead of time how your process and invoices will work inside DocStar.

The point would be to free up your time entirely. Not to move your time from processing invoices to keeping DocStar moving.

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