As in other imaging disciplines, properly designed forms can make the imaging process work more effectively, especially in instances where some sort of optical character recognition can be used to streamline operations.
"Redesigning your internal documents comprises an essential - and frequently overlooked - component in converting your bank to check image processing technology and Courtesy Amount Recognition (CAR)," warns Tom Houston, president of Cabbage Mountain Image Consultants, Atlanta, GA.
"Evaluating your existing internal documents and determining whether there's a need for redesign plays a key role in determining the ongoing cost of check imaging in your bank," Houston says. "Making these documents more readable to the amount entry associates dramatically increases their hourly throughput, thereby decreasing the time needed to process images and lowering costs."
The following rules for VARs are taken from Tom Houston's book "Check Image for Community Banks":
Keep it simple. Do not print patterns or backgrounds on internal documents.
Keep the amount location consistent. Maintain one style for each internal document.
Select printers using ANSI specifications.
Define a clear area. Leave a "clear area" around the outer borders of an amount field. Avoid extraneous markings to avoid CAR rejects, substitutions, or data entry personnel passing them on. Use the "S" Symbol. The "$" sign can identify the amount.
Exempt no department in document redesign. All non-image-friendly documents need to be redesigned to ensure overall efficiency.
Designate an amount for machine-printed documents. Use a convenience amount box, similar to the boxes you see on checks.
Document redesign saves money in storage and time in transmission.
Banks must decide whether to redesign now and reap considerable benefits long term, or to stay pat. In other words, pay now or pay later.