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How to Automate PDF Invoice Data Extraction with an Email Parser

Gone are the days of sending and receiving printed paper invoices by mail. Most, if not all, businesses today rely on digital invoices sent electronically through email. However, invoice data extraction and entry is still a time-consuming, manual process.

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Either you, the business owner, or a dedicated data entry employee, must go through every incoming invoice, identify the essential data within the invoice document, and then manually enter this information into your accounting or CRM software.

Since invoices are an essential part of a business, you can be easily overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and file formats that enter your email inbox. Invoice processing becomes a full-time job to fulfill the transactions and monitor the financial success of a business.

How much time and resources would you save by automating invoice data extraction? The answer: the sky is the limit! An email parsing solution like Parserr can automate invoice data processing and simplify your life.

Let’s look at how an automatic email parsing tool can help your business.

How Does Automatic PDF Invoice Parsing Solve Business Problems? 

There are four main challenges that every business faces when it comes to invoicing management.

1. Rising Costs Associated with Employee Payroll

Manual invoice data entry is expensive in terms of the number of person-hours it requires. If you choose to handle invoices yourself, it takes away from the time you would otherwise spend on other business activities.

A dedicated data entry employee requires a salary which may be an additional expense to the company. Automating invoice data extraction is ultimately more valuable for your business in the long run and helps you save time and save money too.

2. Manual Data Entry Errors

Human error is inevitable in our everyday lives, but mistakes in business accounting can cause serious consequences. It can lead to overcharging, undercharging, missed entries, and even worse, penalties from the taxman.

Invoice automation ensures that all the relevant data is captured accurately and exported straight to a CSV file, excel spreadsheet, or your favorite accounting software.

3. Unnecessary Bottlenecks & Workflow Disruptions

One error in dozens of invoices can stall every other business process. It’s a downright headache to manually search through all of your invoices to unclog bottlenecks in your books.

When using an automated invoice parser, you can extract and export all of your invoice data without missing a beat.

4. Multiple Invoice Formats 

What type of invoice format does your company receive? Do you receive multiple file formats in your emails? With automated data extraction software, you can program the tool to know what to look for – with greater accuracy and speed than any human data entry expert could ever do.

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What Types Of Data Does Automated PDF Invoice Extraction Use? 

The key to effective invoice data extraction is to identify the most important fields to capture with your invoice parsing software.

Common PDF Invoice Data Fields

The main data fields in a digital invoice include:

  • Invoice date & invoice number
  • Purchase order number
  • Supplier name and address
  • Supplier VAT identification number
  • Customer name and address
  • Customer VAT identification number
  • Shipping addresses
  • Line items, including a description of the goods or services rendered
  • Price with and without VAT
  • Total price

Of course, there are more details such as terms and conditions, repayment schemes, and other information that will be relevant to your industry. An invoice parsing software is highly customizable. So you can add as many necessary fields for data extraction as possible.

How to Use Parserr for Automatic PDF Invoice Data Extraction 

You can use Parserr’s invoice capture software to automate your pdf invoice data extraction in a few simple steps. Anyone can get started with automatic data extraction of a pdf file even if you have no programming background. Let’s jump in!

7 Steps to Extract Invoice Data from a PDF File

Step 1: Create Your Parserr Account 

A Parserr account is essentially a dedicated inbox for all your invoice emails. To start with, forward all your current invoice emails in bulk to your Parserr account. Once this is complete, you can automatically forward your incoming invoices from your Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, or other email clients.

Step 2: Create or Forward a Sample PDF Invoice 

Parserr allows you to create a basic invoice template to test your setup. However, it is best to choose any of your existing PDF invoices for this step to test whether your extraction settings capture the appropriate invoice data fields and then tweak your settings from there.

Step 3: Select Your Invoice Fields

Once your sample email is uploaded, the next step is to highlight the invoice data fields that you want to capture and extract. Select the invoice number, line items, prices, addresses, or any other relevant data. This process is all done from a user-friendly drop-down menu on the Parserr setup wizard.

Step 4: Choose Your Integrations 

Parserr works with hundreds of third-party integrations to match your preferences. The most popular integrations include Zapier and Microsoft Flow, where your parsed data can connect with hundreds of other online services and data applications.

If you choose to skip this step, your extracted data will be exported in the form of a document such as a CSV file, Excel Sheet, or Google Sheets document, which you can then download for future use.

Step 5: Set Your Email Parsing Rules 

Email parsing rules help you extract just the essential information you need from your invoice emails and weed out the rest. Parserr will automatically generate initial practices from your sample invoice email, such as invoice and transaction ID, subject lines, sender email, date, and attachments.

If you have more data fields that you would like to have extracted, simply add another parsing rule and specify the type and category. *Expert Tip – Always make sure to save your parsing rules as you go.

Step 6: Extract Your PDF Invoices into an Excel File

The ‘PDF Data Extraction Tool’ allows you to manually crop the area within your PDF invoice if you need a segment of text extracted. Select “Extract page text from PDF” to extract the text from an entire page, and then refine the data using other parsing rules. Next, select the “Export” option, choose the format such as Excel, and click on download.

Step 7: Send the Extracted PDF Data to Excel Online 

Some businesses prefer to have offline spreadsheets containing their invoice data. However, we recommend linking your Parserr account with Zapier to export your data directly to Excel Online. You can automatically add every incoming invoice as a new row in your online excel spreadsheet using our integration.

Instead of manually updating your parsed data offline or saving multiple documents on your computer, you only need one copy of the data hosted online.

Wrapping Up

As you can see, invoice extraction automation can take away the stress associated with manual data entry. Parserr is an intuitive text extraction tool that can improve your business efficiency at a fraction of the cost. To learn more about how Parserr can help grow your company, get in touch or send an email to support@parserr.com today.

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Home > Blog > Email Parser > How to Automate PDF Invoice Data Extraction with an Email Parser

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