In Part 1 of this three-part blog series, we began to explore the positive impact of AI on finance teams. We were reminded about how AI is already present and making things easier in our daily personal lives and in our business environments. And we became aware that when it comes to automating finance processes, we can address and eliminate many pain points, such as replacing tedious and mundane tasks with more value-added work and having clearer insight into the finance workflows.
In Part 2, we got a little more technical, understanding how technology advancements, such as cloud-computing powered by AI, are now accessible to and affordable for the small and mid-sized markets, where historically it had only been available to enterprise-level firms.
And the use of AI in financial and accounting systems is leading to real profits. AI-driven AP automation solutions are able to learn as fast and as accurately as an experienced human to:
- Identify and interact with suppliers
- Automatically intake, code, process and route invoices, using OCR (optical character recognition). Read our article, Debunking the Myths of OCR, for a comprehensive account about what it is, what it isn’t, how it works, and why it matters.
- Denote payment deadlines, approval workflows, and the approvers
All leading to dramatic reduction in processing cycle time and a corresponding savings in costs at every level.
PayStream’s, Guide to Payables Automation 2018 illustrates the different thresholds organizations typically reach based on their automation maturity, illustrating that significant improvements in processing times and cost savings follow technology implementation.2
|Average processing time from invoice receipt to approval||45 days||23 days||5 days|
|Average processing cost per invoice (combination of paper and electronic)||$15.00||$6.70||$2.36|
|Percentage of invoices received electronically||3%||9%||32%|
|Percentage of invoice terms discounts captured||18%||40%||75%|
“What used to take weeks now only takes about 2 ½ days,” says Bryan Schmidt, controller, UNITE HERE HEALTH and Yooz client and champion. “The improvements are due to capturing, automatically coding and storing invoices instead of handling paper or sending around PDF files. The system observes and learns from clerks’ keystrokes, continuously improves GL coding, and reduces errors.”
Finance teams will notice a positive transition from a task-driven approach to one of empowerment in which systems driven by AI are now in charge of low-value repetitive tasks—data entry, verifications, referrals, and fraud detection—and employees are freed to produce real added value with time for analysis, strategy, creative thinking, and decision-making.
In view of the spectacular progress of AI, this new world will be more familiar to you long before a self-driving mail truck will drop the last paper invoices in your office.
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.