Some clients tick off every transaction on the bank statements, and add a few annotations or explanations as well. This threatens to spoil our optical character recognition system.
With just a few ticks, our blink comparator will highlight any numbers that may have been scanned wrongly, and we can fix them manually. With many more ticks, we have now upgraded our software to be able to deal with them to some degree.
Typically a number 123.45 followed by a tick and handwriting will be rendered as 123.45 V*f3#. Our software can pick out the leading well-formed number so it becomes 123.45. A trailing well-formed number can also be picked out. Where a number is buried among extraneous symbols, such as */= 123.45 vH+&, then leading non-numeric characters will be ignored, the well-formed number will be identified and the rest discarded. This will fail to work if some of the symbols resemble numbers, so ZB 123.45 vH+& cannot be scanned correctly as a leading number because of the leading 28, but it will still be identified correctly as a trailing number.
This system is an improvement but not perfect. The blink comparator will still highlight anything that looks wrong, and further tests on the running total are performed down the line. If we get a pile of bank statements with lots of ticks and annotations, our policy will be to try scanning the first five statements to see what it is like. If it is not good, then we will just type in the bank statements by the column, which we now expect to be a rare requirement.