Automated Form Processing: Definition, Process, Use Cases & More

Learn more about what form processing is, how to automate it, the benefits of automating form processing, and how it can be used

 min. read
May 28, 2024
Automated Form Processing: Definition, Process, Use Cases & More

Forms are essential for any organization's operations. They help collect data from customers, job applicants, survey respondents, and more. However, handling these forms manually can be a hassle. It can take a lot of time, effort, and resources and lead to mistakes. That's why automated form processing is a great solution.

In this article, we will explain automated form processing, how it works, its benefits, and how you can use it for your business.

Automated form processing refers to software that handle the extraction, conversion, completion, submission, and maintenance of data created by forms, both digital and physical.

This makes it possible to put all of the data in a centralized database and handle it properly. Ultimately, it reduces repetitive and time-consuming data entry tasks while improving the overall quality of the data. Automated form processing can handle various types of forms, including applications, registration forms, statements, taxes, and votes.

The goal is to speed up input procedures and minimize the need for human involvement thereby reducing human errors. Automated form processing can also be coupled with other processes to ensure that the data is entered accurately and properly prepared for reporting and analysis.

Now that you know what automated form processing is, let’s talk about its benefits. Automated form processing offers a wide range of benefits for businesses looking to improve efficiency and streamline operations. Some of the key advantages of implementing automated form processing include:

Improved Accuracy

Limiting human error in form processing is crucial for businesses to ensure data input accuracy. Automated form processing applications can instantly identify relevant information, extract them, and convert them into structured format thereby eliminating or considerably minimizing human involvement.

Additionally, some automated form processing solutions leverage AI technologies like optical character recognition, machine learning, and even large language models like GPT-4 and the accuracy can be improved with more samples.

Better data quality leads to lower business risk, enhanced compliance, and more effective decision-making in areas such as finance, marketing, customer success, and even product development.

Shorter Processing Time

Processing forms automatically is significantly faster than manual processing. Once the program is configured and the templates or machine learning models are defined or trained, systems can evaluate and enter data from forms much more quickly.

This allows for round-the-clock data input, ensuring that teams can handle large volume of data for uninterrupted operations. Moreover, automated form processing enables users to explore, search, and find data more quickly, thanks to efficient database integration and reliable and up-to-date entries.

Additionally, studies have shown that automation can save workers an average of 3.6 hours per week, making a significant difference in time saved and overall productivity.

Cost Savings

Automated form processing help businesses reduce costs in several ways. Firstly, companies can utilize essential talent for other crucial duties since they no longer need to hire more people to process forms manually.

Moreover, decreased errors due to better accuracy offer additional cost savings. Streamlining procedures across departments, from human resources to marketing and accounting, becomes easier when data is in the correct fields for the correct account or customer records.

Automation saves labor costs by freeing up staff to work on other projects and facilitating user access to and processing of data for strategic purposes.

Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

Automated form processing allows employees to focus on higher-level work, boosting team morale and overall productivity by eliminating the manual entry of data and the risk of costly mistakes. Also, employees gain quicker and more accurate access to the information they need to perform their jobs effectively.

Replacing repetitive tasks with automation also positively impacts the bottom line, reducing turnover and improving employee satisfaction. Disengaged workers are shown to have 18% lower productivity and 15% poorer profitability, highlighting the importance of keeping employees engaged and motivated.

Creating Less Waste

Manual form processing often involves printing numerous forms, resulting in paper waste, ink consumption, postage expenses, and additional resources. In fact, paper waste accounts for about 70% of all workplace waste, and a significant portion of printed papers end up discarded at the end of the day.

Automated form processing can save a substantial amount of paper over time, benefiting both businesses and the environment. By transitioning to digital forms and cloud storage, businesses can reduce their ecological footprint and streamline document management processes.

1. Data Collection

The first step is to collect the forms, whether digital or physical, that have been filled out. The physical ones can first be scanned before the next step, which is data extraction.

2. Data Extraction

Computers or software cannot understand the content of scanned images or PDF files as the information isn’t properly structured. Automated form processing must then leverage AI technologies to understand the content, identify relevant information, extract them, and convert them intro structured formats for further processing. Before extraction, some solutions may involve several image pre-processing processes to maximize the extraction accuracy.

3. Data Validation and Verification

After the data has been extracted, it must then be reviewed or verified to ensure data accuracy. Some data extraction tools may provide a portal for manual review or even automatically verify the extracted data to make the process more efficient and error-free.

Automated form processing, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), offers numerous advantages for organizations that deal with a high volume of paperwork. Here are some real-life use cases of this technology:

Accounting & Finance

Processing invoices, payments, and receipts can be time-consuming for billing departments. By automating this process, organizations can offload tedious labor and improve efficiency.

AI-powered document processing systems can accurately extract relevant information from various documents, such as invoice, receipt, and purchase order. This enables billing departments to handle a large volume of transactions seamlessly, reducing the risk of errors and enhancing overall productivity.

Customer Success

Customer support teams often deal with many open cases, requiring them to gather and store crucial client information quickly. Automated form processing can scan incoming forms, extract necessary data like ticket numbers, account information, or addresses, and store them in a centralized system.

This empowers customer support teams to handle more inquiries efficiently, providing a better customer experience with reduced manual data entry.

Healthcare

The healthcare industry is notorious for its extensive paperwork and red tape. Automated form processing can streamline the retrieval of data from insurance claims, patient medical records, and test findings.

This information can then be seamlessly integrated into electronic health record (EHR) systems or used for filing insurance claims. By automating these processes, healthcare facilities can improve accuracy, reduce administrative burdens, and ultimately enhance patient care.

Human Resource

Human resource departments across various industries often face challenges when it comes to handling monthly pay slips. The manual processing of pay slips not only increases a company's operating expenses but is also a laborious task.

Automated form processing can simplify this process by digitizing and automating the extraction of relevant data from pay slips. With AI-powered systems, HR staff can accurately extract employee information, earnings, deductions, and other relevant details.

Ultimately reducing the time and effort required for manual data entry. This makes the  payroll process easier and cuts down on mistakes, making sure that workers receive their salaries correctly and on time.

Insurance

The insurance industry is famous for using a lot of paper, which makes form handling a big problem for insurers. One notable example is the ACORD forms, widely used in the industry.

ACORD, a global non-profit organization, works to standardize insurance forms and eliminate redundancy. However, copying and inputting data from these forms can be tedious.

Automated form processing is essential in this context, as it enables insurers to streamline the process of capturing and processing data from ACORD forms. Automating data extraction can save time, reduce errors, and improve overall efficiency for insurers.

This frees up insurance workers so they can spend more time on customer service and making strategic decisions instead of entering data by hand.

Tax Returns

Tax season can be challenging for individuals and organizations, with a large volume of tax papers that need to be processed quickly. Manual data input is expensive and time-consuming, presenting a significant bottleneck during this critical period.

Intelligent document processing features offered by platforms like FormX.ai can significantly accelerate the processing of tax forms. By automating data extraction and validation, organizations can reduce the time and effort required to complete tax returns accurately.

This ensures compliance and allows tax professionals to focus on providing valuable advice and guidance to their clients.

Order Fulfillment

Any business that deals with incoming orders can benefit from automated form processing. Orders received digitally, via email or fax, can be seamlessly processed and integrated into other systems for inventory verification, label printing, and packing slip creation.

If companies automate this process, they can reduce order processing time, minimize errors, and improve overall order fulfillment efficiency.

FormX is a cutting-edge platform that uses advanced AI technologies such as OCR, ML, and LLM to help businesses across various industries automate their document digitization processes . This not only improves workflow efficiency but also enhances data management.

Our intelligent extractors can automatically analyze any type of document, regardless of its layout. Training a new data extraction ML model, or extractor as we call it, only requires as little as one sample and you don’t need to write a single line of code.

Get in touch with us today to learn more how FormX.ai can help you automate form processing!