PDF Capture

PDF Capture Overview

SapphireOne’s PDF Capture function, found in the Workbook Mode under the General Tab, allows users to streamline daily accounting tasks. The PDF Capture function in SapphireOne can automatically read and process PDF Order Client Invoices (OCI) and Order Vendor Invoices (OVI) directly into SapphireOne without manually entering data. The users must calibrate the PDF Capture once for a specific vendors document, and it will be able to automatically process all their PDF Vendor Invoices and Order Vendor Invoices forever. Additional PDF capture functionality for different PDF forms can be easily integrated into SapphireOne, however these have been the only PDF types necessary for our clients.

Currently, not many Vendor Invoices and Order Vendor Invoices are processed through Electronic Data Interchange which means that majority of vendor invoices are still being sent out as scanned pdf documents or paper.

This makes the processing of capturing/entering the data from these types of PDF invoices slow and inefficient. Mistakes in classification and data entry may lead to late payments, missed discounts, deteriorating relationships with suppliers and cost overrides. To sum up, this means that someone has to read these pdf’s/documents, and manually enter the data from them, then scan them and then store the scanned pdf’s with the invoice.

With SapphireOne’s PDF capture feature these negative effects and inefficiencies can be easily avoided with automation.

PDF Capture Page

When the pdf capture function is first opened SapphireOne will display a list of pdf’s that have already been mapped.
The user will note that the screenshot is from Bondi Blue that at present has none setup.

Carefully consider and plan the names given to each mapped item when it is mapped.

Once the item has been mapped initially the user is strongly advised to save mapped items when the same pdf is entered into SapphireOne.
At a later date when a pdf arrives from the same Vendor, all that is required for the user is to select their saved Mapping procedure, and apply it to the new pdf. It will be applied to the pdf on screen and a transaction will be automatically created again with no further user intervention

To commence the pdf capture procedure select the Upload PDF button in the lower left hand corner of the screen.
Your workstation will open the standard search for a file pop up. Once the user has selected a pdf, SapphireOne will look at the pdf and from there several things will happen

  • It will check to see if it matches any pdf mapping already saved in SapphireOne. If it is mapped SapphireOne will immediately use the mapping to create the transaction in SapphireOne with no further user intervention!
  • If it does match, it will check to see if the pdf has already been entered and if so will generate a message to that affect. It will also check if there are any problems with the generation of a transaction in SapphireOne with the details in the pdf. Again an error message will be displayed to the user.
  • If no mapping appears to have been done for the pdf SapphireOne will display the Mapping not found message as seen below so hover the mouse over the line and select Create new mapping.
  • If editing of existing mapping is required click on the line that requires modification and select the Edit Mapping option.

New PDF Mapping Page

At present this function is limited to two Transaction Types, Accounts and Inventory. While SapphireOne defaults to a Transaction Type of Accounts the user must check this, as if set incorrectly the required transaction will be created incorrectly in Accounts rather than Inventory.

  • When a Vendor Invoice PDF is processed, and a Transaction Type Of Accounts is selected, (Default), SapphireOne will create a Vendor Invoice in Accounts mode with all data automatically entered into SapphireOne.
  • When a Order Vendor Invoice PDF is processed, and a Transaction Type of Inventory is selected, SapphireOne will create an Order Client Invoice OCI, in Inventory mode with all data automatically entered into SapphireOne.

Also be aware that both Internal and External numbers will be required for the conversion procedure so make certain that they exist on the pdf to be captured. The pdf capture will not be allowed to proceed unless they are both there.
Once the Create New Mapping option has been selected on the previous page the mapping screen will be displayed as seen above. The pdf is displayed to the left while the fields that are be linked to it are displayed on the right.

The pdf capture function once mapped correctly will immediately create a Vendor Invoice VI or a Order Client Invoice, within SapphireOne in Accounts or Inventory mode, and then attach the captured pdf to the newly created Vendor or Client transaction.
To start with, the user will have to enter data into three data entry fields across the top of the PDF Map screen. 

  • Title – Enter a title or name for this PDF Mapping record. Make certain that the name contains enough information so that you are able to identify which mapping record it is, as you will probably end up with a list that is a proportion of the size of your Vendor master records in SapphireOne. (Every Vendor will require mapping)
  • Vendor – Next enter in the vendor ID. This field has a light blue background so it is wildcard searchable. 
  • Expense – Next enter in a General Ledger Expense account so that SapphireOne knows which General Ledger account it is to use for the creation of this transaction. Again, it has light blue background so it is searchable for the correct General Ledger account. 

SapphireOne’s implementation of both Dictation (MacOS) and Speech to Text (Windows) is a game changer for data entry. Any data entry field you can type into using a keyboard can use this feature.

You can also use this functionality on all inquiry screens within SapphireOne. For example, the user is in a Contact within a Client. They may have made a phone call to that particular client using the Softphone technology. Consequently, this will automatically date and time stamp both the contact and the phone number you called.

As soon as the call is completed, the user has the ability to use Speech to Text (Windows) or Dictation (MacOS). They can dictate into the memo field of the CRM contact, adding as much description as they require.

Dictation and Speech to Text Procedure

This functionality applies across every single Data Entry screen. For example, the SapphireOne user is entering a Vendor Invoice (VI). Additionally, you may want to add a memo within the Vendor Invoice (VI). The user can utilise the tool and simply dictate the memo.

Another example is if the user wants to add additional lines to the General Ledger account, within each General Ledger account. When the user is completing data entry using a General Ledger, there’s always a unique memo field for each GL account line. The user can then utilise this feature to quickly add the information they need to add. Alternatively, you may have an interview with an employee. After the interview process is completed, the user can then make notes about the employee.

Speech to Text or Dictation is an extremely powerful tool. It is something that we at SapphireOne, as well as our clients, utilise daily. It is a massive timesaver. 

Mapping the PDF

The user will note that there are seven primary fields which must be linked to fields or cells within the pdf, which will enable SapphireOne to correctly read the Vendor details from the pdf into the SapphireOne.
In addition there are another seven fields which are related the the Transaction Lines in a transaction and most of these must be mapped so that SapphireOne can enter the lines in the transaction correctly. This should be tested so use a copy of your data file)

Each of the mapping fields are colour coded so that the user may easily identify which field is mapped which data cell in the pdf.
First click on the mapping links in the right-hand column, and then click on the required location or cell in the pdf that the data is in. On clicking in the pdf, SapphireOne will draw a coloured box around the cell in the pdf it has been linked to. To get used to the idea click on the master link then click in various areas of the pdf and observe what happens. 

  • SapphireOne must be trained to recognise or separate invoices from various Vendors. To do this a unique area of the invoice must be selected for the Master Link. It must be unique to the invoice so an ABN would be a good place to start followed by a telephone number. Do not select any cell that will be used by the remaining links as only a single link may be made to any location or cell in the pdf. 
  • Proceed through and make the linkages from Internal Reference number to Line Project as required using the procedure documented above. 
  • To change a link select it again in the right-hand Column and select a new location or cell from the pdf.
  • Page Button – Many Invoices are multi page. The page button allow the user to select the First Page (Default), Last Page or all Pages. This is particularly important as Grand Totals are usually on the last page of an invoice.

The user has three options when quitting the function. 

  • Cancel – This button simply cancels the current mapping procedure without saving.
  • Save Mapping Only – This button would be selected for example, when the user has an old invoice and wants to store the mapping for planned future use.
  • Save Mapping & Create Transaction – This option would probably be the most used option. See the documentation immediately below.

The transaction created from the pdf is displayed below!

PDF Creator Automatically Mapped Transactions

Once SapphireOne recognises a scanned pdf it will automatically create the transaction immediately without any further user intervention. A list pop up will be displayed indicating what resulted when the pdf capture function was completed. On this screen the user has two options. Select the Close button or select the Upload PDF button to repeat the procedure with another pdf.

Once the user selects the Close button above they will be able to view the VI created by going to:
Accounts \ Payables \ Transaction Inquiry to view the Vendor Invoice created a VI.
Inventory \Sales \ Transactions Inquiry to view the Order Client Invoice created an OCI.

Differences Between a Real/Native PDF and a Scanned PDF 

The SapphireOne pdf capture function must have a real or native pdf to read the data into the SapphireOne. The differences between a real/native pdf are documented below. 

A PDF document (Portable Document Format) can be created from various sources and by different devices or software, but they are not always the same. A scanned PDF is a typical example, as it sometimes it looks like the normal PDF file. 

In reality a scanner is designed to convert a physical page or photograph into an electronic file. You are asked for the file format on saving, jpeg, tiff, png or some other type of electronic file. The scanner then reads what is placed into it as a single image and stores it in an electronic file, as the selected file type. 

It does exactly the same when a page of some type is placed into the scanner and the user asks it to save it as a pdf. The scanner scans the page and stores it as a single image and creates a file with the extension of pdf. Out of curiosity I had a scanned image here so I asked Paint Shop Pro to open the scanned pdf. It did open it and I was able to view it although with limited access to the file. 

If you receive a paper pdf of a file that is from a scanned document SapphireOne will unable to it import it into SapphireOne for the reasons as documented above. You will have to ask your suppliers if they can send you an electronic file of the invoice so that the SapphireOne pdf capture function may be used to import the invoice into SapphireOne. These are normally sent as attachment to emails. 

How to Check for Real vs Scanned 

Most accounting programs will export/save the document as an electronic pdf and it would be unusual if they were not native pdf’s. One way to check what you have is move your cursor over some text. The cursor will alter from the familiar arrow to an I or an I bar. The move it over an image and it will alter to a + symbol. 

To check move the mouse point across the pdf. Then click and try and draw a box. On a scanned pdf, the box will be random cutting across images and text. If the pdf is native, try drawing the box across some text. SapphireOne will draw the box along the text itself allowing easy selection of areas of text with the border of the box jumping to follow the lines of text. 

For this pdf import function to operate correctly these pdf’s must be a native pdf file in a location that is accessible by the SapphireOne. A native pdf has recognisable fields contained within them, and it is possible to instruct SapphireOne with some simple training to automatically read these fields. 

A specific folder should be created for this function and as each pdf is imported into SapphireOne it should either be deleted or moved to a holding folder.
When the pdf is saved, careful consideration should be given to the name for the pdf as you may have to identify it at a later date and if not correctly named you may not be able to find it. 

Why Mapping/Training is required 

When businesses send out invoices they rarely alter the basic layout of the invoice. In fact, for all documentation sent from businesses, they do not alter the format unless they have a particular reason to do so. That means that this pdf creator function usually only needs to be told once, how to find a unique identifier and then where everything is located on the pdf.
Once this has been completed, SapphireOne should be able to immediately create an invoice from all invoices from the same company from then on.
As documented above this Mapping, Training should only have to be done once for each Vendor Invoice. 

This PDF Capture item is also available from the Palette data entry menu at the very bottom of the list. 

You can review our Blog and YouTube channel for additional information and resources on SapphireOne ERP, CRM and Business Accounting software.

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