NAV 2016 Feature Review – OCR Invoice Processing

Now that we’re past year end (almost), I’ve returned to the annual task of reviewing all of the new features in the new releases of software. One of the neat new features in Dynamics NAV 2016 is OCR invoice processing. Basically, Invoices Drawer Labelthe process works as follows:

  • Import a PDF file (or scan it and then import it) as an Incoming document
  • Send it to the OCR service (or let NAV Job Queue do it)
  • Receive it from the OCR service (or schedule it)
  • Review the results (if necessary)
  • Correct the OCR results and send feedback to the Lexmark ICS (Invoice Capture Service) to improve the results next time.
  • Automatically create an invoice or queue it for processing. The OCR recognizes text in the invoice to supply G/L account numbers for the lines on the invoice.

That’s wonderful functionality, but it leaves just a few questions unanswered:

  • You’ll have to have a Lexmark ICS account before you can use the feature. Sign up for the account here:
  • Once you sign up, you’ll get an email with the information you need to enter in OCR Setup in Dynamics NAV (account number, password, and key). The password here is not the same one you used when you set up your account for Lexmark ICS.
  • Workflow is also possible using Incoming Documents (such as invoice approvals, etc.). That will be in another post.
  • Lexmark ICS is available as a free service for up to 75 documents per month. After that you’ll pay per invoice (now $0.89 per document). There are also subscription services available for larger volume users.

Next I’ll record a few videos showing my adventures in using Lexmark ICS.

Productivity Improvement and ERP Software

Productivity and software go together for me. I’m not sure exactly why that is. Recently, I noticed that I was using the voice recognition of my iPhone more and more.  So I decided to try out Windows voice recognition.  Actually, I am using Windows voice recognition to create this blog post.

The last voice recognition software I used was Dragon Dictate.  I had to update my computer to make it fast enough to work with Dragon Dictate. Unfortunately, the 97% plus recognition the software promised turned out to mean that I had to correct virtually every phrase in every sentence. If you have a headset, it’s worth turning on the feature just to see how it works for you.

The process of learning to use voice recognition, like any new technology, is somewhat painful.  I am having to learn to pronounce my words distinctly.  It seems often slower than simply typing.  However, it also offers a vision of the future.

Enterprise resource planning, or ERP, is the same way.  It does require effort, and that often means pain.  The benefit in productivity to the organization can be substantial. If you’re still using a system just to perform accounting tasks, consider evaluating your business processes.  Software is often necessary to support efficient process.  In a similar way, voice recognition software forces me to consider the way I write.  In particular, it forces me to consider whether typing is the best way to accomplish my result.

Based on what I see from this test, I think I may have found a new best friend.  Microsoft’s version of the solution might not be the one I ultimately land on, but it gives me a no cost alternative to try.

Improving business productivity should be the primary goal of the implementing technology.  It is our primary goal in building software for our customers.

How People Read Websites — Eyeball Tracking

If you knew where people looked on your website, you’d probably put the most important stuff there, right?

There was a report from MarketingSherpa several years ago that used eyeball tracking to make recommendations for designing pages. Eyeball tracking actually measures where people look when they look at something (usually a computer screen).

Here’s an interesting (and useful) example of how people go about reading web pages.

I know this isn’t business software or ERP related, but it’s interesting. Hope you like and use!

Apple Backs Down on Windows Security Comparison

For years, we’ve been explaining to clients that the number of PCs in the market meant that there were more machines for hackers to target. The Mac tax (higher price of Apple products) assured that more homes would opt for lower priced PC based products; home systems are typically more vulnerable than corporate systems. It’s not that Apple products aren’t vulnerable; it’s simply that there are fewer of them to attack, so attackers have typically gone after Windows systems. The article in CRN news below suggests that perhaps Apple has discovered that they, too, are vulnerable.;jsessionid=+E89xIoXVMIXE-9G57R7oA**.ecappj03?cid=nl_alert

Ice Cream and Vegetables | Leading Results

I don’t often post about pure marketing, but this article seemed to deserve a post. Randy talks about the tendency to want marketing to give instant gratification. His example is Groupon promotions which often lead to a rush of business from new customers that never come back. The loss leader turns into just a loss.

I think this is also true of electronic marketing based on search engines, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Check out Randy’s article and let me (or him) know if you agree!

Ice Cream and Vegetables | Leading Results.

No Time Sheets; No Hourly Rates

Photo of a man who might be a CPA I was trained in Public Accounting, as a CPA. I’m not sure that’s a good thing; I’m pretty sure it’s not a bad thing. Before you ask, I don’t do tax returns and I know very little about IFRS other than the acronym and that it’s important.

I do know, however, that time was important in public accounting. We lived and died (not literally, but in our careers) by the billable hour. More was better; too few and you’d find yourself in the unemployment line or looking for another job.

For management, it was an easy way to judge our contribution. Clients often didn’t receive it very well, particularly when the invoice was more than the “estimate.”

As of March 1, 2012, the only billable hours at DGG will be those we have to track because of existing contracts. Those contracts will end sometime in the next 8 or 10 months, and we will offer fixed prices to all of those customers.

Net results? (a) We can focus on delivering quality rather than billable hours. (b) We will manage delivery of a high quality product on time and on budget rather than managing the number of hours. (c) Customers will know exactly what the invoice will be at the end of the work. No surprises.

So, the billable hour is dead at DGG. Time sheets are dead. Hourly rates are no more.

From now on, we’ll use the time we save to help customers get more profit out of their existing systems. That was how I got into this business in the first place, and it’s what DGG is best at.

Payroll (Social Security) Tax Holiday Extended

Our friends at Ford & Harrison, LLP (labor attorneys) forwarded their newest newsletter with the information that Congress passed the 2% Social Security tax extension bill without waiting until the last minute. Ford & Harrison’s newsletter reads:

Executive Summary: On February 18, 2012, the Senate passed a bill that extends the tax break on the employee portion of the Social Security Old-Age, Survivor and Disability Insurance tax (OASDI) through the end of 2012. The House of Representatives had passed the bill earlier in the week, and it is now awaiting signature by President Obama.

Last week, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extends, for the remainder of 2012, the 2% payroll tax cut that is otherwise scheduled to expire at the end of February. The bill has not yet been signed by President Obama, but he has said that he will sign it.

Thanks for the info, F&H. Very timely! I was concerned about doing another round of Payroll Tax updates to prepare for the end of the Social Security reduction only to go back in a week after they passed the bill and undo what we’d done.

As to Congress, maybe they are getting the idea that we’re tired of their shenanigans and posturing!

Business Update: The IRS Has an Official Email Address

The email address for the IRS isn’t Nor does the IRS have a website at address. I’m not pulling these from the air. They were actually in an email sent to me with From: IRS Tax Notification Department and Subject: Failure to file tax return on time.

The email body was gobbledygook about section this and subsection that. It indicated that I owed a $10,000 penalty which I could avoid by visiting the website.

If you get one of these, don’t fall for it.

IRS does not send notices via email. You get them in the mail.

And is the official website. Anything else is suspect.

Tax fraud is on the rise. Don’t be a victim!

Sad State of SEO – Search Engine Optimization

There is a cottage industry that offers to increase your results on the search engines. Some people think it works, but there are many companies out there selling what amounts to garbage for SEO.

The general concept is using the key word (say “accounting software”) on a web page or blog article. Some of the companies that sell SEO services generate pages that make no sense. Here’s an example: If you can figure this gobbledygook out, let me know.


GoDaddy Deception: This Hacks Me Off

Let’s face it, the IT industry has enough things going on to frustrate people. Viruses, SPAM, popups, phishing, and cyber attacks, just to name a few. And that’s not even to mention the possibility that your personal information, or lewd pictures that your underage daughter sent her boyfriend (or that your son sent his girlfriend, for that matter) wind up on suggestive sites.

Now we’ve got GoDaddy (the master of implying in SuperBowl ads that they’ve got something akin to porn if you’ll only visit their site: Danica Patrick and all) using their “create your own website” feature to place links back to their site. Check out this blog post on Yoast.