Review – Document Capture – Process Purchase Documents inside NAV

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The world changes, the technique changes too. More and more the processes become digital. Documents, planning, your ERP system… everything is handled digitally. Also invoices are sent more by email than sent by post. How is that with your purchase invoices? Still having those heavy bookcases filled up with archives? The question is, wouldn’t it be easier to have those invoices in your ERP system? No lost hours while searching archives, but having the purchase invoice directly at your computerscreen inside Dynamics NAV.

That is possible with Document Capture, an add-on for Microsoft Dynamics NAV, created by Continia in Denmark. Document Capture makes it possible to scan and register documents and purchase invoices and process them in Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

This review only covers the standard Document Capture features.

Most important advantages:

  • Save time entering invoices as information is automatically detected on the invoices and read
  • Keep the invoice approval process under control
  • Archiving documents via drag & drop in the system
  • Quick access to documents in a digitized archive
  • The application is completely integrated inside NAV!

Setting expectations:

  • Document Capture is a nice tool to automate and digitize incoming invoices. But that does not mean that you can fire the financial department. There’s still the need for supervision and control on you purchase invoice flow. In general these tools are mainly for capturing and digitizing data and documents.

The Workflow

Your vendor will email a purchase invoice. Document Capture reads the mailbox, reads the document trough OCR and retrieves the purchase invoices into Dynamics NAV, where the invoice is recorded and created.

  1. Scanned invoices are displayed in a list and automatically linked to the vendor
  2. Document Capture reads the scanned invoice and associates the data with Dynamics NAV fields. It is also possible to choose to add additional fields such as freight charges or special handling fees and link them to G/L accounts.
  3. The scanned document is displayed in Dynamics NAV at the registration document list, but also on the purchase invoice. You can select the appropriate data on the scan data to be processed in Dynamics NAV with mousecliks.

Once all billing information is correctly filled in and attached, the scanned document can be registered. Document Capture automatically creates a purchase invoice with the recorded data. These data (which field contains what on the scan) is stored directly in a (vendor) template, so these fields are recognized automatically when a subsequent invoice is scanned from the same vendor.

In general there are two types of purchase invoices:

  • Costs invoices
  • Logistics invoices

Standard working with costs invoices is easy, the invoice is created with a post to a G/L account. For logistic invoices a more advanced approach is needed. Those invoices can be matched with purchase orders in the system. It is possible to match on total amount, on-line amount, on item no etc.

The Purchase Invoice

  1. The fields of the purchase invoice are automatically filled with the scanned data
  2. The scanned document is saved as a PDF file and you can open it from here. It is also possible to link more files via “drag & drop” over here.
  3. The invoice lines are instantly created, as defined in registering the document. It is also possible to match a purchase invoice lines with a purchase order
  4. The scanned invoice is also visible on the purchase invoice in Dynamics NAV
  5. Now the purchase invoice is registered and created an application can be done digitally for approval. The approver will receive an email notification. The invoice can be posted after approval (approval is optional).

Searching Documents

The scanned documents are linked to the purchase invoice and are easy to find through a search overview. You can search by name, description, but also on scanned text of the invoice itself.

All documents are stored electronically in PDF/A format (on your file system – NOT IN NAV), which you can easily access via Microsoft Dynamics NAV. You can bring an original invoice up on screen with just one click directly from the Navigate window. This means that no matter from which entry the invoice is associated to you can get instant access to the original document. Tight integration to interaction logs in the sales and marketing module allows access to all documents that related to a specific company or contact person.

Other Features

(Automatic) Matching of Purchase Orders
Continia Document Capture includes an advanced set of feature for matching purchase invoices with existing purchase orders. Matching can be manual or be configured to be performed automatically on a header level, or on a line-by-line level. You can also set up thresholds to accept smaller differences in cost prices.

Purchase Allocations
As part of the approval process an approver may choose to allocate the invoices to a specific dimensions value or maybe split the cost to two different G/L Accounts. Therefore approvals are done on un-posted documents. However, you still have the option to post an interim Purchase Allocation to the G/L, so that it reflects the total amount of invoices that are awaiting approval and not yet posted.


Continia provides some video’s to demonstrate the functionality. They are a bit outdated but give a nice impression about the features.

Short Introduction

This video gives a short overview of the Add-On

Video of Document Capture in Dynamics NAV 2009


Of course an Add-on costs money. As I’ve heard companies spent around EUR 50.000 to 80.000 for document scanning (for purchase documents) on systems that are syning with NAV. Compared to that Document Capture is relatively cheap. Of course, when you want to go further and scan more advanced documents you might need to do some programming in codeunits, but the basic costs are:

  • Purchase price of the software (which is EUR 3.800 up to 7.400 based on the size of your company) – See for more info about pricing this sheet.
  • About one week of implementation (in my experience that’s enough for implementing + training on basic use of Document Capture)

For more information about Document Capture go to the Continia website. Of course you can also contact me for more information.

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