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Xero teams up with OCR specialist Celaton

9th Jul 2013
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Celaton, an established supplier of scanning and optical character recognition (OCR) software has been adapted to feed data straight into the Xero cloud accounting system.

Celaton’s inSTREAM software has a 10-year track record for various paper-heavy functions, including within corporate accounts payable departments for around 10 years, explained Celaton sales and marketing director Michael Walsh at the recent Accountex event.

The online inSTREAM system can capture data received in emails, faxes or from scanned paper documents. Unlike many OCR programs, the software is not based on templates, but has a learning capacity. “Once it’s been taught 2-3 times about the characteristics of a particular document it will remember them and interpret similar invoices the same way,” Walsh said.

Like Xero, InStream is a web-based application, and is hosted on servers in London. During 2013, Celaton recognised that accountancy firms also have a lot of manual bookkeeping and accounts production processes that could benefit from automation, Walsh said. Having signed up a number of firms, Celaton began to look at software suppliers as potential partners.

The company has talked to several accounting software companies including Sage and Xero. Intuit and IRIS are also on Celaton’s target partner list, but Xero was the first to bite.

“They’re the new kids on the block and have a fresh approach. They saw us and were keen to recommend it,” Walsh said.

For Xero, UK managing director Gary Turner commented: “Every once in a while a technology comes along that you can see will genuinely transform the way accountants and bookkeepers work, and Celaton’s inSTREAM fits into that category. It will provide a significant advantage to those that use it.”

Replies (1)

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By Paul Scholes
10th Jul 2013 20:57

Brilliant but

I've visited the scant website and downloaded the Xero bookkeeping brochure, which is the ordinary bookkeeping brochure with Xero written on it, (by the way for next release; Accounts payable in Xero records Bills not Invoices) but can I get any detail of how it works in the real world or, more importantly, do I get any clue over what we might pay to take it on?  NO, or maybe there is but after 20 minutes I've given up.

You can understand this sort of marketing with a local high street facility, ie pop in to see how it works and how much it costs, but an online SAAS facility?  Even Xero gives us a 4 minute video of detailed content, publishes a price structure and lets you have a trial.

So whilst I might be excited at the prospect (and have Xero, and other, clients who would be more excited by the facilities inSTREAM promises), can I be bothered to call them up and organise a demo, only to then discover I've wasted my time?

PS Xero's acclaimed and most used add-on Receipt Bank seems to achieve the same end result as inSTREAM (and has an very informative website) so why should I pick inSTREAM over them?  But then I ask the same question of all the add-ons listed, but again no guidance.

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