Using OCR Technology to Automate Brokerage Account Statement Scanning for Financial Advisors

July 11, 2024
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As a financial advisor or planner, your time is valuable. Yet, countless hours are often spent manually extracting data from client brokerage account statements—a task that can now be automated. Automation tools, particularly those utilizing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology, are transforming how advisors handle brokerage account statement scanning, making the process faster, more accurate, and more efficient. In this post, we'll explore how automation can benefit your practice and how to integrate these tools into your workflow.

What You Will Learn:

  • The challenges of manual data extraction and the benefits of automating this process.
  • How OCR technology works and its role in brokerage account statement scanning.
  • Best practices for choosing and integrating the right automation tool into your financial advisory practice.

Understanding the Current Challenges

Manual Data Extraction Process

Financial advisors often receive client brokerage account statements in various formats such as PDFs, images, or CSV files. To analyze these portfolios without automation, advisors need to manually extract the data by going through each line and copying the information into a spreadsheet. This process involves opening each document, identifying the relevant data, and carefully entering it into the appropriate fields.

Issues with Manual Data Extraction

This process isn’t ideal because:

  • It’s time-consuming: Reviewing and entering data from multiple documents can take hours, especially when dealing with complex portfolios.
  • There’s a high risk of human error: Manual entry increases the likelihood of mistakes, which can lead to inaccurate data and poor decision-making.
  • It drags on productivity: The time spent on data entry reduces the time available for client interactions and strategic planning, affecting overall productivity and client satisfaction.

Automating this process with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology can address these issues, making data extraction faster, more accurate, and efficient.

A comparison chart showing the benefits of automation vs manual data extraction

The Benefits of Automating Brokerage Account Statement Scanning

Time Efficiency

Automating the data extraction process with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology can dramatically reduce the time spent on this task. Instead of manually entering data line by line, OCR makes it possible to process multiple documents in minutes, allowing advisors to focus on more strategic activities. What once took several hours per week can now be accomplished in minutes.

Improved Accuracy

Automation tools like OCR PDF and PDF text recognition significantly reduce the risk of human error. These tools scan text from images and PDFs with high precision, ensuring that the extracted data is accurate and reliable. This leads to better decision-making and enhances the overall quality of service provided to clients.

Cost Savings

By saving time and improving accuracy, OCR automation translates into cost savings for financial advisory firms. Advisors can manage more clients without the need for additional staff, and the reduction in errors minimizes the need for costly corrections. Implementing brokerage account statement scanning software helps streamline operations and improve profitability.

In a nutshell, automating brokerage account statement scanning not only makes the process faster and more accurate but also frees up valuable time for financial advisors to engage more deeply with their clients and grow their business.

Automated document scanning process flow

How it Works

Overview of Automation Tools

Automation tools, particularly those utilizing OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology, are designed to scan and parse various file formats such as PDFs, images, and CSV files. Tools like Investipal offer specialized solutions that can efficiently convert these documents into usable data.

The Automation Process

The process of automating brokerage account statement scanning involves several key steps:

  1. Document Upload: Advisors upload client brokerage account statements in formats like PDFs, images, or CSV files into the automation tool.
  2. OCR Scanning: The tool uses OCR document scanning to recognize and extract text from the uploaded files. This includes scanning text from images and converting PDF text into a readable format.
  3. Data Parsing: The extracted text is then parsed and organized into structured data, making it easy to analyze and compare.
  4. Integration: The parsed data can be integrated directly into the advisor’s portfolio management software, allowing for seamless updates and analysis. This is how we do it at Investipal.

Automation tools not only enhance efficiency but also ensure that the data is accurate and ready for immediate use. With OCR automation, tasks that once took hours can be completed in minutes, transforming the workflow for financial advisors and planners.

A GIF demonstrating Investipal's account statement scanner tool

Choosing the Right Tool

Key Features to Look For

When selecting an automation tool for brokerage account statement scanning, consider the following features:

  • Multi-Format Support: The tool should handle various file formats, including PDFs, images, and CSV files.
  • High Accuracy: Look for OCR technology that ensures precise text recognition and minimizes errors.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The tool should be easy to use, with intuitive navigation and clear instructions.
  • Integration Capabilities: Ensure the tool can seamlessly integrate with your existing portfolio management software for smooth data transfer and analysis.

Evaluating Options

To find the best OCR/brokerage account statement scanning solution, consider if the software is a standalone tool or integrates seamlessly with your other workflows. Investipal, for instance, offers comprehensive features tailored for financial advisors, including integrations with the rest of our portfolio management suite making portfolio analysis, comparison and proposal generation easy.

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