Some call it the fourth industrial revolution. AI fascinates us, raises many questions, excites us, even scares us a little. (I’m still not sure I want to be on the same roads as self-driving cars!) But there is no denying that AI makes our daily lives so much easier than it was a few years ago, and much more than imagined. In this three-part blog series, we’ll explore the positive impact of AI on finance teams.
When we talk about AI, we immediately think about what we use every day, such as virtual assistants or chatbots (i.e., Siri or Cortana), smartphones that identify us through fingerprint or facial recognition, cars that are able to detect pedestrians and to park themselves (often better than humans do). We also think about computers that recognize and analyze documents automatically.
AI is also widely present in the business environment. There is evidence of this in:
- HR departments that more efficiently manage a selection process.
- Quality assurance departments anticipating and even preventing problems before they may occur.
- Marketers who predict customers’ needs and optimize interactions between brands and consumers.
And AI has made its way into finance departments. As a finance leader or accounting professional, you may ask,
How do these technologies impact finance functions and workflows? What transformations can be predicted? How will this technology shape tomorrow’s finance department?
A recent report by CFO, an Argyle company, explores the positive implications of AI on finance teams citing that AI and associated natural language interfaces have the potential to change the way that the finance team and other stakeholders interact with data. “As true partners in business development and identifying opportunities for growth and expansion, the CFO plays a key role in bringing emerging technologies such as AI to the business.”1
The concept of automating accounts payable processes first surfaced about twenty years ago. While earlier solutions had nothing to do with current approaches, especially in terms of performance and reliability, they did have the same objective: Automate a tedious and repetitive process to make AP personnel lives easier and optimize the efficiency of finance processes.
Before AI, accounting teams manually created and processed invoices, purchase orders, or delivery orders on paper documents. Those documents were then manually entered in computer systems, coded, and finally transmitted to the managers for approval and payment. In fact, manual processes are still prevalent today, even though, thanks to AI, there can be no more manual processes! The AP workflow process is automated by software which analyzes, recognizes, directs, and exports data into a company’s ERP/financial system.
Another of many pain points that comes with manual processes is that suppliers have little to no insight into payment timing details. By automating the AP workflow, you can have full access to this information in real time.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll talk about intelligent AP automation solutions of today that are leveraging AI to create business models that are accessible to small and mid-sized markets—exciting, because previously these solutions were only available on-premise to enterprise firms.The content for this three-part blog series is extracted from the Yooz whitepaper of the same name. For a comprehensive report on the impact of AI on finance teams, download the complete whitepaper.