How accounting platform Pennylane integrated Klippa DocHorizon to extract data from invoices 

A talk with Thomas Cassou, Head of Data at Pennylane.
Financial & accounting
300+ employees
25,000+ clients

Pennylane is an innovative financial management platform for small and medium-sized companies and their accountants. Founded in 2020, the company experienced incredible growth, raised more than 80 million euros in funding, and now serves over 25,000 clients.

One of the key goals of any accounting software is to gain efficiency. Therefore, a good OCR and data extraction functionality are important, which Pennylane found in Klippa DocHorizon. Thomas Cassou, Head of Data at Pennylane, explains how and why they integrated Klippa’s software to extract data from invoices.

What does Pennylane do?  

Pennylane is an all-in-one accounting platform for business owners and accountants. It helps businesses to manage all their bookkeeping needs from invoicing and accounting to payment and expense management. 

“We like to describe what we do as an accounting and financial platform. We provide real-time access to reliable and actionable data to both business owners and their accountants”, explains Thomas, Pennylane’s Head of Data.  
The role of OCR
One of the features offered by Pennylane is automated data extraction. Through the use of Klippa’s OCR software, financial data is automatically extracted from documents (e.g. invoices and receipts) and pre-filled into the platform.

Thomas explains: “OCR and data extraction from invoices are basic things you need to have in place if you want to scale your accounting software. If you don’t have it, you won’t sell your product.”

For Pennylane, there are two important sources of information. The first one is a firm’s bank account, which keeps track of the transactions being received or sent. The second one consists of invoices sent to customers or received from suppliers. Klippa comes into play on the invoice side.

“We receive invoices in many different ways and file formats. As soon as we receive an invoice, we are able to extract all the relevant information from it and store the data in a structured way in our database. In this manner, we can start trying to understand which invoices are connected to which bank transactions and accountants can start the bookkeeping.”

Why work with a partner?
If you want to include OCR technology in an accounting software, you basically have two options: either you develop it yourself or integrate an existing solution into your software.

Building an OCR solution from scratch requires a lot of time for research and testing; funds for your crew and office space, and most of all, a change of focus from what your company normally does. So it’s rather expensive and complicated.

Instead, Pennylane searched for an already existing OCR solution, which could be integrated into their accounting platform. 

“If we wanted to insource and build our OCR software internally, it would have been a very high cost to pay and it would have slowed down our time to market. We knew that we had to find a reliable partner.” explains Cassou.

The search for an OCR software provider

Finding the right OCR solution isn’t easy and requires a lot of research, comparisons, and discussions.

Thomas explains how Pennylane started its search for an OCR provider: “There are many software providers on the market. Not every vendor provides exactly the same type of services and connectivity. At the time, we ran a benchmark with different file types, document types, levels of complexity, and languages, involving 5 providers. 

Some providers requested an initial data set to train specific machine learning models, but that takes weeks or even months. We wanted to have the plug-and-play experience. From a development perspective, that’s the best way to go to market quickly.”

Following the benchmark, Pennylane chose to implement Klippa’s OCR API, DocHorizon. Its functionalities, front end, and back end are integrated and adapted to Pennylane’s platform. It is a combination of the two software packages to meet the company’s needs as closely as possible.

With Klippa DocHorizon, Pennylane can fully benefit from the quality and adaptability of the OCR API without handing over control of its own app to an external party. 

“It was a no-brainer and we saved a lot of time there. And engineering time is quite costly.”

The reasons why Pennylane chose Klippa

Pennylane’s benchmark proved that Klippa was the best solution for their needs. But what are the keypoints? 

The choice to partner with Klippa was based on 4 distinguishing factors:

A true plug-and-play experience
Easy to integrate
Best-in-class performance
Great support and collaboration

A true plug-and-play experience
One of the decisive factors for choosing Klippa was that it’s a true plug-and-play solution. Klippa DocHorizon is a light-weight but powerful document scanning solution, requiring no training or expensive setup.

“Without high set-up costs and nothing specific to do, we could start sending invoices right away. It worked out of the box, which really shortened our time to market.” 

Easy to integrate
Another big plus for Pennylane was the ease of integration: “Nowadays, almost every company uses multiple software solutions. Services should be able to integrate with each other to be able to make the most out of it. The API solution works great for us. It was well documented so it was easy to integrate.”

Since Klippa was built by developers, for developers, we know the importance of good documentation. Both our API and SDK solutions have the right documentation to easily implement them in mobile and web applications.

Best-in-class performance
“The good trade-off between pure performance and ease of implementation was why we decided to go for Klippa”, says Thomas. “As the volume of the invoices we sent grew, everything kept running smoothly. Even when we send invoices to be parsed synchronously, we get the correct answer in a matter of seconds. That’s really fast!”

Klippa DocHorizon converts invoices and receipts into structured data and does it fast and accurately. For the greater part of our applications, the conversion speed is between 1 and 5 seconds per document. 

Great support and collaboration 
When selecting an OCR solution, you naturally want a future-proof solution that stays up to date with the latest developments. Or even better, a solution that gets better and better on your data as it goes along. 

And that’s exactly what Pennylane found in Klippa: “The few times we experience issues, for example with new, uncommon templates, we get a lot of help and usually it gets fixed quite quickly with a few tweaks to your systems. We also have a shared Slack channel with your team, which is a very convenient way to communicate.”

Final thoughts

All in all, Pennylane managed to easily integrate OCR technology into their accounting platform by making use of Klippa DocHorizon. This saved the company a lot of development time and money, and shortened their time-to-market. 

At the same time, users of the platform save a lot of time as they are freed from repetitive tasks and can spend their time on more valuable tasks.

This gives Pennylane a significant edge over their competitors, making them one of the most innovative platforms in the accounting space.

Why Pennylane decided to work with an OCR partner

No distractions from core operations
Shortens time-to-market
Reduces costs
Enables scalability

The desired solution

Pennylane was looking for an OCR solution to scale their accounting software. What did they need?

A solution that worked out of the box
Good and easy to integrate
No high set-up costs
Fast and reliable performance

Why Klippa DocHorizon?

Plug-and-play solution
Easy to integrate into existing software
Best-in-class performance
Great support and collaboration

The results

Reduced development time and costs
Quicker go to market
Enhanced user experience and satisfaction
Highly scalable platform
“Klippa provides the best solution for Pennylane. The good trade off between pure performance and easiness to implement was why we decided to go for Klippa.”
Thomas Cassou
Head of Data
Wondering what Klippa can do for your organization?
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