IDS Case Study: Using OCR to Tally Survey Responses

By Keiter CPAs

IDS Case Study: Using OCR to Tally Survey Responses

How can machine learning help simplify business tasks?

Data Science can help you achieve your business goals with tailored advice specific to your organization. Learn more about how Keiter Data Solutions solved a similar problem for one of our clients in the below case study.

Challenge and Opportunity

A Keiter Technologies client conducted a survey over a few weeks that had several thousand responses sent in, primarily by mail. These were all then scanned which made the responses digitally available but without any direct way to extract the text from the PDFs. Without some sort of Machine Learning solution, the client would have to manually count all the responses and link them to the correct users in their database.

Normally, a problem like this might merit training a custom model to correctly extract all relevant text from each PDF. However, because the survey was only being conducted over a few weeks this means they would not get enough data to train the model until the model was no longer useful.


  • The Keiter Technologies team used an already trained Optical Character Recognition (OCR) model to read the PDF text.
  • They identified a pattern that allowed the OCR to recognize hand checked boxes.
  • The team sorted the PDFs into directories based on predictions and reviewed the data for discrepancies.


Using the OCR model saved many hours of manual data entry. The PDF sorting also made it easier to do any recounts that may be requested or needed.


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About the Author

Keiter CPAs

Keiter CPAs

Keiter CPAs is a certified public accounting firm serving the audittax, accounting and consulting needs of businesses and their owners located in Richmond and across Virginia. We focus on serving emerging growth businesses and companies in the financial servicesconstructionreal estatemanufacturingretail & distribution industries and nonprofits. We also provide business valuations and forensic accounting servicesfamily office services, and inbound international services.

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The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.


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