OCR for invoices with no templates?

Marcin Rojek
6 min readMar 31, 2020

Yes, that’s possible! In fact, it is a reality now. Meet brainello: AI-powered OCR for invoices that works off the shelf and does not require any templates.


Let me start by saying that sometimes I’m truly sad that certain things come to an end. But at the same time, I am really very happy because of what they were. And when it comes to the OCRs or RPA tools for invoices, they were the ultimate reasons why we created brainello at byteLAKE and decided to end the era of automation driven by the endless ocean of templates. So we can say it is probably the end of a decade but the start of an age. Long live the memory of templates. May this memory break our resistance to change and help us fully embrace the benefits of machine learning.

Meet: brainello. AI engine to accelerate and automate documents processing.

byteLAKE’s brainello (OCR for Invoices, no templates needed)

An effective bot (a software robot if you like, or a tool, RPA, application, software, plug-in, add-on… that can automate certain office tasks) works swiftly, seamlessly, knows how to learn and like a secret agent eliminates boring tasks holistically. And in the context of invoices processing, it not only eliminates the fabulous task of manual rewriting of invoices. It goes way beyond that. Such a robot will never force us to create countless templates or patterns in the first place.

I often meet with business owners and managers across various industries and we talk about the challenges of the so-called digital transformation. A great slogan and virtually every consulting company has published extensive studies about it. But what does the digital transformation really mean in practice for a company like yours? My answer is always: take the first step to see the possibilities. And believe it or not, no matter how many times my team at byteLAKE organized dedicated workshops to help partners understand the possibilities behind artificial intelligence (AI), we always concluded in one way: eliminate the boredom first.

We’ve listened to countless stories about how emerging piles of documents in the secretariats or at the front desks begin to cause anxiety, which inevitably travels through the corridors to finally find its way to accounting departments, finance, management staff… gruesome visions of losing miraculous moments in favor of rewriting, rewriting, and rewriting. Stress, lost dreams ;) and then, these lovely little creatures, residing somewhere in our computers, sometimes ironically called by the name of “tools”. Kind of simple and cool BUT. Well, BUT? If I want to automate the processing of 100 types of invoices, you only need to create… 100… well, let there be 90 templates :) Or a different story… your company has purchased a typical RPA tool that is really superb BUT. Another BUT? Aren’t the RPA tools supposed to be the Avengers of the digital transformation? Well, sometimes… not very often… supposedly… but at least in cases I’ve seen, they go somewhere along the lines of being completely inflexible and cannot be adapted to the ever-changing reality: document variants, new designs, etc. A sort of a thing of the decade we’ve just ended.

Unlike many of its predecessors, brainello is an engine that uses machine learning to accelerate and automate document processing. Therefore it completely eliminates the need for template or patterns creation.

No need for templates is one of those qualities that our clients value the most. Needless to say, brainello is fast.

brainello: AI processing invoices.

brainello, as an OCR for invoices can work from day 1. The deployment process is as simple as 1–2–3:

  1. your workflow / ERP system forwards subsequent invoices to brainello (can be scans, e-invoices, documents etc.)
  2. brainello quickly returns fields from invoices (although the speed depends on the configuration, we can say that in a typical environment it can process ca. 1800 invoices / hour)
  3. and these go directly back to the workflow / ERP system you have.

I’ll only add that brainello also returns the coordinates of each field as well as the associated confidence level. Based on these, it can decide whether it shall ask an operator for additional validation and, if necessary, display the relevant portion of the invoice.

And there’s more than just that.

brainello engine is designed to keep improving.

brainello’s roadmap has the option to analyze the operator’s behavior, can remember feedback, and learn to react also in new situations such as changing document formats, blurted or illegible parts of scans, etc. But what really makes brainello stand out from the crowd is its core. It is not based on rigidly configured base elements (drag&drop, RPA frameworks). Brainello is based on machine learning algorithms tailored for specific groups of scenarios. This gives much greater effectiveness and, above all, flexibility in terms of the possibilities for further product development. Therefore it can significantly augment the capabilities of any RPA solution or bot or whatever you call your software robots, becoming a framework for your company’s digital journey.

From brainello to brainello framework

Anyone looking for tools to automate document processing work (especially invoices) will surely appreciate the opportunities offered by brainello. Working with documents is tedious, boring, and can surely cause a headache. But above all, it takes our precious time whereas we could use it for much more creative tasks.

Imagine your company handling the invoices like this:

  1. Someone puts a stack of invoices on a scanner. Relatively, you receive scans or e-invoices via e-mail or any other communication system.
  2. Scans immediately land in designated places.
  3. brainello can pull such scans and distribute them to your company’s subsidiaries.
  4. As a next step, brainello reads fields from invoices and fills in the data directly in your workflow / ERP systems.
  5. Most of the data is entered with 95% confidence level (brainello can pre-verify them) but still, your operator can quickly validate and correct as needed (so that brainello can learn as well and eventually become better and better)
  6. brainello can help the operator by marking data with colors, indicating its confidence level (i.e. green: most likely OK, red: needs some attention) and as needed, display the parts of the documents.
  7. Last step would be to upload the invoice to your workflow, for further processing.
  8. And remember: you did not have to create any templates, at any point in time. Simply say never again to templates.

The main thing is that brainello is practically… imperceptible. It acts in the background like a secret agent, whose only task is to eliminate tedious and boring works and … to do it better and better every time. The following video illustrates such integration.

brainello integration

Sounds tempting? Yes? No? Not sure? Either way, if you would like to find out more or see the product demo, I recommend that you contact us via www.byteLAKE.com website or directly at: brainello@byteLAKE.com.

Request access to a free demo of brainello:

  • e-mail: brainello@byteLAKE.com
  • cell: +48 508 091 885



Marcin Rojek

Co Founder@byteLAKE | Turning Data Into Information for Manufacturing, Automotive, Paper,Chemical,Energy sectors | AI-accelerated CFD | Self-Checkout for Retail