Since their release, Transformers have revolutionized many fields from Natural Language Understanding to Computer Vision. Document Understanding (DU) was not left behind with first Transformer based models for DU dating from late 2019. However, the computational complexity of the self-attention operation limits their capabilities to small sequences. In this paper we explore multiple strategies to apply Transformer based models to long multi-page documents. We introduce 2 new multi-modal (text + layout) long-range models for DU. They are based on efficient implementations of Transformers for long sequences. Long-range models can process whole documents at once effectively and are less impaired by the document's length. We compare them to LayoutLM, a classical Transformer adapted for DU and pre-trained on millions of documents. We further propose 2D relative attention bias to guide self-attention towards relevant tokens without harming model efficiency. We observe improvements on multi-page business documents on Information Retrieval for a small performance cost on smaller sequences. Relative 2D attention revealed to be effective on dense text for both normal and long-range models.
Transformer-based Language Models are widely used in Natural Language Processing related tasks. Thanks to their pre-training, they have been successfully adapted to Information Extraction in business documents. However, most pre-training tasks proposed in the literature for business documents are too generic and not sufficient to learn more complex structures. In this paper, we use LayoutLM, a language model pre-trained on a collection of business documents, and introduce two new pre-training tasks that further improve its capacity to extract relevant information. The first is aimed at better understanding the complex layout of documents, and the second focuses on numeric values and their order of magnitude. These tasks force the model to learn better-contextualized representations of the scanned documents. We further introduce a new post-processing algorithm to decode BIESO tags in Information Extraction that performs better with complex entities. Our method significantly improves extraction performance on both public (from 93.88 to 95.50 F1 score) and private (from 84.35 to 84.84 F1 score) datasets composed of expense receipts, invoices, and purchase orders.