Basware announces Smart PDF Invoice processing

P2P provider Basware is launching a Smart PDF invoice capturing service in 2018 that will take advantage of the high percentage of machine-readable PDFs that do not require OCR.It will extract data from any machine-readable PDF, creating a touchless invoice automation process.

“With Smart PDF, we are taking the next step in helping our customers realise maximum efficiency and achieve touchless invoice processing. Suppliers simply email PDF invoices to Basware, and our customers receive invoices in their preferred format, without any need for a process change on the buyer or supplier side,” said Michael Pyliotis, Vice President – Asia Pacific, Basware.

“Suppliers can email PDF invoices directly from their ERP system. Basware handles the data extraction, content validation and augmentation process automatically by utilising a range of different technologies including deterministic algorithms, machine learning and optical character recognition,”

Basware says an analysis of the millions of transactions flowing through its existing system shows that 70% of PDF invoices are machine-readable, which means they can be processed automatically by extracting the invoice information directly from the PDF file without the need for optical character recognition (OCR) technology. The advantage over OCR is faster processing and less room for character interpretation that can lead to invoice exceptions and human intervention.

With machine-readable PDFs, the exact information from the supplier’s ERP system is transmitted directly into the buyers’ purchase-to-pay solution – meaning errors will become a thing of the past. In cases where the PDF is not machine-readable, the invoices are automatically routed to OCR process.

“There is an increasing need to address the wide gap between invoices received as structured data in EDI/XML format, and paper invoices that are processed using OCR. We have seen organisations focus on building complex EDI/XML connections with their strategic or high-volume suppliers and then settle for paper invoices and OCR to connect to their long tail,” said Pyliotis.

“We believe that a better, smarter way to process PDF invoices can address this gap. Sending PDF invoices via email is one of the most used invoicing methods around the world. With Smart PDF we can make it easy for both the buyer and supplier, while maximising automation and efficiency. Buyers can avoid late payments and optimise their DPO (Days Payables Outstanding) resulting in happier suppliers enjoying shorter DSO (Days Sales Outstanding).”

The Basware Smart PDF service will allow:

  • Buyers to connect to all their suppliers – large and small – including the long tail without changing anything on the supplier side;
  • This service can be used with machine-readable PDFs as well as invoice images;
  • Fast and accurate processing prevents late payments, which enables optimising the buyer DPO (Days Payables Outstanding) and minimising the supplier DSO (Days Sales Outstanding); and
  • The service is self-learning, which means Smart PDF learns from transactions as it goes for continuous improvement, increased automation rates and more efficiency.


“All of this results in significant savings opportunities to our clients by eliminating exceptions. One of our clients estimates a savings of nearly 20 euros per invoice,” Pyliotis adds.

The first version of Smart PDF will be available in 2018, with significant feature upgrades planned over the next year.