New and Improved Optical Character Recognition in Odoo
25 October, 2021 by
Cory Speaker
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Document scanning is a capability that Odoo has incorporated for a couple of versions now to perhaps less than ideal results. With the launch of Odoo 15 in early October, they're looking to change that.

If you're interested in watching the full presentation from OXP 2021, jump on over here to youtube.com but if you just want the highlights, keep reading!

OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, allows the AI to essentially read a document and pull out the important information and create records based on that information. This is especially useful when needing to submit an expense receipt, a vendor bill, anything you want digitized for your records. Odoo will then pull the relevant data, matching things like invoice numbers, dates, names, even tax rates and apply that information from the original copy into an Odoo record.

While there is always the possibility of error, much like we get better the more we practice a new skill, the OCR integrated AI will learn over time and improve based on feedback and manual adjustments. The more people that use the functionality, the better it becomes at pulling information accurately. What do I mean by the AI learning? Did Will Smith teach us nothing in "I, Robot?" What I mean is, when you upload a PDF for a specific vendor, if you make any changes to the record, the AI will remember those changes and apply them the next time you upload another PDF from that vendor. 

As I mentioned, Odoo has had a version of this in place for a little while now. So what's new? Well, for one thing they have improved the detection of scanned document fields as we as improved the matching process between purchase orders and vendor bills. If you are uploading a bill that has a purchase order number on it for a record that exists in Odoo, the bill and the PO will be linked and product lines form the purchase order will be included on the bill. They have also made OCR+AI available to be used for customer invoices. 

Some other things of note are the ways in which bills can be sent to the Documents application, whether it be that the bills are emailed in using email aliases or by directly uploading them into the app. Also, OCR works with images and can create a record based on received images. Go out to lunch and need to expense it? Snap a picture of the receipt on your cellphone, upload it, and Odoo will pull from the image any company names, the amount spent and on what date. Not too shabby if you ask us. 

Odoo has really gone a long way to make this process as smooth and reliable as possible. 

If you are interested in trying it out yourself, head on over to www.odoo.com/ai where you can upload different PDF's to see just how smoothly it works. 
Cory Speaker
25 October, 2021
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