Which Extraction Method is right for me?

Which Extraction Method is right for me?

Lightyear offers 3 different ways to get your data out of your documents and into your Accountancy Software!
  1. Mapping
  2. Smart Extract
  3. Manual Entry
Depending on what data you need extracted, the file type of the document, scan quality, etc., some methods may be more suitable than others. 


A map is what Lightyear refers to as the template we create to pinpoint key pieces of information from your documents. Once a map is created and linked to a Supplier in your account, it will automatically apply the next time it's sent into Lightyear.

Our mapping technology extracts line item data accurately from the metadata of a system generated PDF i.e. a document generated via a system like an accounting or ERP software. This is based on our templating technology which can produce high levels of speed, accuracy and detail from bills, credit notes, purchase orders and statements.

Lightyear uses a shared template library, meaning if you share a supplier with another customer using Lightyear, we will suggest the map to you without the need to search.

When Should I Use A Map?

Maps are best suited to structured documents, i.e. when the information is clearly formatted in a way that's easy to read and pick apart the information. Even if your supplier has provided a scanned copy of the document, providing it is clearly scanned, we can extract your data using a map.

A map should be used when:
  1. You regularly get bills/credit notes from the Supplier
  2. The document layout doesn't change and is formatted in a clear, structured way
  3. You need certain pieces of data extracted that wouldn't be obvious e.g. if your PO Number isn't clearly labelled as a PO Number - Reference, Job Number, etc.
  4. You need something different extracted than what other customers may want e.g. you need a specific column/combination of columns mapped in your line items
  5. You need line item extraction of your data i.e. product code, description, quantity, etc.

Examples Of Documents That Can Use A Map

The below isn't an exhaustive list, but contains some examples of well structured documents that maps can easily be created on to extract your data accurately and consistently:
If you don't know whether a map can be created on a document, send a request into our team, or reach out on Support, we can advise what we can and can't do.

How Do I Find Or Request A Map?

For the full detailed steps on how to find a map or request one if it doesn't already exist, click here!

Smart Extract

Smart Extract is Lightyear's next generation AI technology that can extract data from bills/credit notes/receipts.

Smart Extract can extract your data in approx. 1 minute and is ideal for a number of document types where an accurate and reusable map typically cannot.

When Should I Use Smart Extract?

Smart Extract works best for unstructured documents i.e. when Word or Excel has been used to create the document, and the layout is susceptible to change.

Trigger Smart Extract on a document when:
  1. You need summary data from the document i.e. the tax and total
  2. The document is a one-off bill and you won't need a map again in the future
  3. A map doesn't already exist and you need instant extraction of data
  4. Your supplier has used Word or Excel to create the bill/credit note
  5. You only have a photo of a receipt, or a photo of the bill
  6. The document is handwritten
  7. The scanned document is at an angle, is rotated or otherwise difficult to read because of the quality

Examples Of Documents That Can Use Smart Extract

How Do I Trigger Smart Extract?

For full details on how to use Smart Extract, click here!

Manual Entry

If neither methods have extracted the data you need, you can always Manually Enter the data. With this, if you've used Smart Extract first and something is missing, you can go to the Manual Entry tab in Processing to fill in the blanks.

Manual Entry can be used when:
  1. A handwritten document is difficult to read
  2. Labels are missing on the document preventing us from pinpointing what specific data is
  3. Bad quality photos where it's difficult to interpret what the data is 

Examples Of Documents That Need Manual Entry 

How To Manually Enter

Click here to find out how to Manually Enter your data, and what's required for Manual Entry.


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