BuHa for FuHa

Accounting for lazy people

Egg, 3.12.2014: Last month, ArchivistaERP was significantly enhanced and presented in a lecture for linuxday.at on 22.11.2014 in Dornbirn (the new features can also be found in the corresponding script [in German]). The new creditor management system of ArchivistaBox is introduced in this blog. Although the new creditor management system is currently working only with Swiss payment slips (ESR), the concept can be expanded to work with any forms. In this sense, this blog is likely to be of interest to all those who process creditor vouchers in any way (even if only for their own household). To put it another way, this blog presents simple and cost-effective accounting for lazy people (BuHa for Fuha).

BuHa for FuHa — and how it came about

Those who follow the blogs on this website will have noted on several occasions that this blog contains pictures from all corners of Switzerland and bordering countries. Most of the pictures have been taken during hikes. That is where the term “Fuha” comes from. “Fuha” is code for “Fuule Hagel”, or “lazy people”, who explore the mountains with engines, rotors and all sorts of vehicles (including e-bikes) instead of on foot. As such, the original name was “fuule Chaib”. See here for meaning. To cut a long story short, “fuule Chaib” was too direct, and because children are sometimes very direct, “Fuha” is far more suitable. Now “BuHa for FuHa” means accounting for lazy people.

ArchivistaERP now saves a great deal of effort in compiling expenses and orders. From the creditors’ side, this was not previously the case because each payment had to be recorded in the system individually. For years now, there has been a form recognition system which can automatically classify and process any vouchers. The real challenge for this solution is the training of the forms. For smaller businesses, sometimes the effort to train and check each invoice for correct key data such as date, invoice and amount is not worthwhile.

Automatically compile ESR vouchers with ArchivistaDMS

This is where the new creditor management system of ArchivistaBox comes into its own. Those who receive invoices in Switzerland today can always expect them to be accompanied by a payment slip with a reference number (ESR). This voucher can be processed automatically with external reader devices. Good devices with a voucher reader (feeder) are available from approx. 1,200 to 1,500 francs. Affordable readers are available from about 150 francs, but each voucher must be recorded individually with a stylus. Guiding the stylus must be learned, and does not work without software for Windows or Mac.

This does not necessarily correspond to what is suitable for the ArchivistaBox or a web-based solution. The good device with feeder costs significantly more than the ArchivistaBox including document scanner. The affordable stylus solution is not faster than manual copying of the number code from the recognized text – especially since both solutions will not work with the web-based ArchivistaBox.

The recognition of the reference numbers functions almost identically to a text recognition process. Our previous text recognition of the ESR numbers was mostly error-free, but only mostly. Automatic posting into an ERP software was occasionally discussed, but ultimately not implemented because an 80 to 90 percent success rate is not really cause for celebration.

Some time ago, we enclosed the updated open source text recognition Tesseract OCR 3:04 with ArchivistaBox, see here. It was determined that the detection accuracy is very good now – and that Tesseract 3:04 can be trained. Our detailed script about open source text recognition (in German) on the ArchivistaBox provides information on how to implement this in broad terms. In brief: So that an ESR payment slip can be correctly detected, the character recognition on the OCRB character set must be trained – and that is exactly what took place for the ArchivistaBox recently.

Automatic posting of incoming and outgoing invoices

Meanwhile, ESR payment slips can be recorded automatically and quickly (at least much faster than with the expensive external reader, not to mention the stylus). The ESR line is copied directly into the Title field. For ArchivistaERP, automatic posting of invoices is currently in progress — and, to make BuHa for FuHa a reality, all creditor invoices (without bar codes!) can now be automatically transferred to ArchivistaERP (of course we are also happy to support every customer solution!)

The ArchivistaBox with ArchivistaERP and ArchivistaDMS is now capable of completely automated processing of both the outgoing invoices (ESR note with automatic posting of the ESR payment by email) and the incoming invoices (readout of ESR reference). There is no excuse for continuing to post manually. Anyone using the ArchivistaBox may very well be a BuHa-Fuha, but will ultimately find they have more time left for other activities – even if only for a hike in the mountains, without being a FuHa.

The “Record ESR vouchers” function will be in every ArchivistaBox as of 3.12.2014 (a new release number will only be assigned once the creditor invoices automatically end up in ArchivistaERP – this part is still being tested). About 15 to 20 vouchers per minute are currently being processed because the ESR vouchers are available via the OCR module (and therefore in the basic package of each ArchivistaBox). To activate the processing, the first (only!) language must be set to ‘numbers’ in the corresponding OCR definition. ESR notes can then be processed with the corresponding scan definition.

Another implementation can be realized at any time: the recognition of the ESR line itself requires about 0.1 to 0.2 seconds, so that ESR notes can be processed in any quantity- it remains to be seen who receives invoices in the upper thousands range on a daily basis. Of course, the ESR invoices concept can be carried over to any other forms. From this perspective, the days of the bar code (e.g. for outgoing delivery notes) are likely to be numbered.

OMR (Optical Marc Recognition) and associated matters

Also during last month, another two projects were implemented that fit well with every ERP solution (and also with ArchivistaERP!). Thanks to the new print button in the WebClient, invoices (including ESR notes) can be printed from the ArchivistaBox into the correct tray of th
e printer
(invoice tray 1, ESR voucher tray 2), whereby so-called OMR strokes can be additionally (optionally) added so that the printed invoices are later correctly collated with the packaging machine and packaged (collect invoice page 1, collect invoice page 2, collect ESR note, and then package).

In another project, the creditor vouchers are identified by means of an external unique document number and automatically annotated in ArchivistaDMS. The reverse case (the posting for this is created in the ERP solution), unfortunately did not work because the customer’s ERP solution cannot be addressed in batch mode (this would work in ArchivistaERP). Common to both projects is the fact that the cost of implementation was quite moderate, i.e. the return on investment was provided after just a short time.

As always, all new features are on every new ArchivistaBox – and each Archivista customer receives them at no cost. At this point, we are also happy to announce the OpenFriday offer. Visit us on a Friday morning (with a short registration!) and we will be delighted to show you what the ArchivistaBox has to offer.