Intelligent Document Processing

A comprehensive guide on automated PDF document processing

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A comprehensive guide on automated PDF document processing

As a business, do you work with large quantities of PDF files? 

Do you have to collect data from pdf forms ensuring all the data is saved into the database unmodified/unaltered?

Another question - are doing it manually? 

If yes, only you can imagine how time-consuming and error-prone the whole process can be!

Limitations of Manual Data Extraction from PDF

Manual data entry, if used in a high-speed data processor environment makes the system inefficient and the built-in queue defeats the entire essence of process management to improve performance and system productivity. Here’s how manual PDF processing keeps your business to reach its full potential:-

1. Inaccuracy

The manual procedure is carried out by people who can't do routine activities unfailingly. It is most likely that the person might commit a mistake. These fat finger errors can mostly be classified into two categories:-

i) Transcription errors - These errors are usually associated with transcribing words that include typos, deletion, repetition, or spelling errors

ii) Transposition errors - These errors are usually associated with numerals when you input numerals in wrong order. For example, instead of 567, you input 576 by mistake.

With no verification layer, manual data entry can have an error rate as high as 4%. That means 400 errors in every 10,000 words. As you work with a larger data set, this error rate can increase to 5% or more.

2. Slower processing

A human cannot compete with the computer when it comes to processing time and accuracy. Concerning extracting data from PDFs involving millions of objects, the low-speed design of the manual processing is checked for the integrity and validation of data so that the data element that enters a system is accurate.

When processed manually, each document can take up to 10-15 minutes to accurately extract data, review, and store in a structured database. For larger pdf files, the processing time can easily go up to 45-60 minutes.

3. Additional cost

Slow manual processing makes the overall process too costly to sustain. Let’s say, you invest $20 per hour per person in manual document processing. If a person takes 10 minutes to process one single document, the cost to process a single document turns out to be $3.33. 

Add the cost of an additional verification layer to the whole process, and the cost goes even higher. 

4. Data Security

In a system, where data protection is a concern can be severely affected by manual data entry. Sensitive documents may grow legs and move, thus compromising the whole scheme. For businesses, confidentiality is their utmost priority. As high as 75.33 % of the data can be lost/leaked during manual pdf document processing which can put the company at risk. 

Scope of automated data extraction from PDF in different industries

Document processing is a crucial aspect of many businesses. Let’s have a look at these businesses and the list of documents they need to process on a regular basis:-

  • BFSI: Invoices, Bank statements, Contracts, Reports, KYC Documents
  • Healthcare: Price lists, Reports, Medical forms.
  • Education: Paystubs, Digital course materials.
  • Government and BPOs: Contracts, Bank statements, Bills.
  • Transportation and logistics: Shipping labels, Contracts, Invoices, Purchase orders.
RPA Market Share by different industries

These documents are often shared via email, in pdf or scanned image format. As the next step, the extraction of data can be done either manually or using automated processing methods. More and more businesses are gradually adopting automation in their data entry procedures, with the BFSI sector being the front runner. The BFSI sector dominated the Robotic Process Automation market share with more than 29% of global RPA revenue in 2019 as per the report published by Grand View Research.

The BFSI sector is closely followed by Pharma and Healthcare. If 2020 is any indication, the healthcare and logistics industries are going to all set to adopt automation at a much higher scale.

Taking into account the limitations of manual data extraction, businesses are now keen to employ automated PDF data extraction software to process and analyze data from PDF documents/scanned images with minimal human interference.

  • To automatically extract data from PDF form fields to Excel, you can build and customize rules and formulas. This reduces the time consumption for searching and extracting data. Not only this, automated data entry gives 99.98% of data accuracy and can help you focus on other sectors of your company.
  • With OCR engines integrated, you can remove data from photos without manually re-entering them. This decreases the likelihood of typos and other errors when removing.  Manual data extraction decreases the error rate by 95% and reduces the risk of data loss.
  • The whole extraction pipeline can be automated and run with numerous PDF files to extract the necessary details. This increases the productivity of the company and guarantees that the data is accessible when needed. An employee runs an average of 250 information searches to look for manual entries when they can do it in much less time with automated extractors.
  • The automated extraction also offers traceability. They keep a trail of your data and help you in times of audits. Companies using automated Data extraction have a success rate of 7% than those using manual extractions.

Limitations of automated PDF data extraction procedure

Extracting a portion of information from most other text formats such as JSON, XLS, or CSV is easy as these formats are built for data processing but extracting selected text from PDF is difficult. Here are some of the limitations of data extraction from PDFs:-

1. Vector and raster pdfs

The major drawback of automated extraction is its inability to read and collect data from raster pdfs. For example, you need to maximize the size of images above 1000 for high-resolution scans. Hence, vector pdfs are necessary for extraction. It requires more operator involvement and manual cleanups. Not only this, when raster pdf is run through software, the flat image will be converted into a tracing layer for manual work.

2. Table extractions

Analytics and tables help businesses by providing an overview of their performances. The insights provided by tables help companies to optimize their business and come up with efficient ways to make better decisions in the future. Unfortunately, automated pdfs show that the table data is invalid and require manual suggestions to correct them.

How to Automate PDF Data Extraction with Docsumo?

Docsumo provides a friendly and easy-to-understand interface for PDF data extraction.

Here are the steps to follow for data extraction from PDF successfully.

  • Upload PDF Document: Logging to the homepage of Docsumo, select the option of PDF conversion, and drag or upload the document in the given space you want to get it converted. Either you have a Microsoft file, Google document, or stored in cloud space, Docsumo reads it and takes the required action.

  • Field Validate: After uploading your document, you will be asked to wait for 30 seconds, the maximum time it takes to convert the document. 
  • Edit Fields: With the help of the review panel, check the details extracted. If any changes are required, you can edit and make changes before the conversion.
  • Review & Approve: After your selection, if any suggestions pop up from the software, decide as you wish by selecting or rejecting it.
  • Download your file: After the completion of the entire procedure, you’ll be asked to select the file format in which you want to download the output file. Select from these 4 options:-
    i) Download JSON
    ii) Download Excel
    iii) Download CSV
    iv) Download Text

Final Words

Enterprises need to handle several PDF files in a day. But sometimes mishap happens, particularly when translating scanned PDF documents into Excel. These restrictions are faced by various applications. 

For that, Docsumo has developed a data extractor that helps the user to extract data from pdf forms including scanned and unscanned pdf files by converting them into Excel and other formats.

With our free PDF data extraction tool, you can get your specified data converted within seconds. It’s user-friendly and the seamless experience has engaged many customers across the globe. If you are looking for a fine data extractor, Docsumo will be the right one for you.

Suggested Case Study
Automating Portfolio Management for Westland Real Estate Group
The portfolio includes 14,000 units across all divisions across Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Inland Empire.
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Pankaj Tripathi
Written by
Pankaj Tripathi

Helping enterprises capture data for analytics and decisioning

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