Artificial intelligence has long been a staple of science fiction, but in 2020 it’s very much a reality. From entertainment to critical business functions, it’s found many applications across almost every aspect of life.
AI may not take the form of human-like robots, but it’s nonetheless a mature technology capable of handling complex tasks. For businesses, it introduces critical speed, efficiency, and precision when handling the vast amounts of data expected in a modern operation.
Accounts payable, with its emphasis on precision and need to move quickly, can benefit tremendously from the use of artificial intelligence. Read on to learn about the top capabilities for AI in accounting, and how it delivers laser accuracy and the ability to process invoices at warp speed.
The Top Capabilities of AI for Accounts Payable Processes
Artificial intelligence has come a long way in the past few years, and it’s finding applications in every part of life. According to McKinsey, at least 20 percent of companies outside of the tech industry are using AI to manage their core business functions – things like payroll, marketing, and customer service. Among those companies, the vast majority leverage machine learning to accelerate specific processes.
Whether through AI or machine learning, technology comes with many advantages for businesses. Among the most prominent include:
1. Data Extraction & Analytics
The need to handle the ever-increasing torrent of data – and leverage it to make rapid decisions – represents a primary factor driving the rise of AI in business. Companies are especially expected to handle higher quantities of unstructured data adeptly, but manually drawing insights or essential information from a constellation of points is laborious.
In contrast, artificial intelligence presents the opportunity to automate both data extraction and its analysis. For accounts payable processes, that means:
- Automatically extracting names, addresses, invoice amounts, or other important information that accountants need to process records
- Identifying patterns in sales histories to understand or prepare for supply and demand changes
- Populating fields to accelerate form creation and record submission
2. Automatic Notifications
Accounts payable processes rely on connectivity with other departments to maintain accurate records for a company. That means keeping track of numerous moving parts and disparate pieces of information. With AI, that’s much easier. An AI-powered management system can be “trained” to understand what records or pieces of information are needed to complete a process. It can be configured to send reminders, approve forms for the next step, and identify missing pieces of data automatically.
3. Smart Error Checking
With records arriving (or not being sent) from so many different departments and origins, keeping pace with them represents a challenge. Likewise, many tasks in accounts payable represent monotonous, rote exercises that create opportunities for the mind to switch onto autopilot. That means more chances for errors. Mistakes in accounts payable processes can mean money left on the table – literally.
When AI takes over, not only do these redundancies and time-consuming chores disappear, but so do the errors. Accounts payable is left free to focus their attention on activities that require human oversight.
How Using Artificial Intelligence for Accounts Payable Benefits Business
Increasingly, accountants aren’t the only hyper-accurate and precise professionals in the accounts payable department. Many software solutions designed for these processes take advantage of artificial intelligence. For accounts payable, its benefits include:
1. Faster Invoice Cycle Times
What once took weeks can now take days – hours, in some cases. By using automation combined with data extraction, an accountant can efficiently process receipts and invoices to send out payments faster than ever before.
2. Increased Early Payment Discounts
Many organizations offer slight discounts to companies that pay their bills on time or even early. Those represent savings for the company. However, if the accounts payable processes are slow, it’s a missed opportunity. With artificial intelligence, that opportunity gets seized every time.
3. Savings in Processing Costs
Efficient processes are also cost-effective. Leveraging AI is like bringing one more person into the office – except that person never needs to eat, sleep, or draw wages. Likewise, by reducing the amount of manual work that accounts payable must do, workers spend fewer hours in the office and less time hung up on errors.
Work Smarter, Not Harder with First Phase Data
Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a necessity for organizations that handle tremendous amounts of data and documents. AP processing is one area that stands to benefit immensely. By leveraging AI to undertake the most time-consuming and repetitive tasks, an accounts payable department eliminates redundancy and minimizes the chance for costly errors.
First Phase Data is thrilled to help accounts payable departments in every vertical access this incredible technology. Learn more about the many productivity solutions we offer to help your company achieve operational efficiency.
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