Accounts payable practitioners surveyed for the Institute of Finance and Management’s (IOFM) “2018 Future of Accounts Payable Study” rank artificial intelligence (AI) among the most important technologies to the future of their profession over the next three years. Here are five ways that accounts payable can benefit from data capture solutions that use AI.
- Significant labour savings: Data capture solutions with AI help keep staffing costs down by automatically classifying documents, extracting invoice data, matching invoices with purchase orders and/or proof-of-delivery documents, and posting and archiving approved invoices and data. According to Ardent Partners, best-in-class organisation can reduce their invoice processing costs by 82 percent compared to peers, in large part, by eliminating manual processes with data capture automation.
- Increased staff productivity: Data capture solutions with AI reduce menial, repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as invoice data-entry and invoice matching. With fewer workers needed for invoice data capture, accounts payable staff are freed to help analyse data on operational performance, working capital and corporate spending, and to help in budgeting, planning and forecasting.
- Faster invoice approval: Data capture solutions with AI streamline the most time consuming steps of processing invoices, including invoice validation, invoice data capture, matching of invoices and purchase orders, and the upload of approved invoices to an ERP system. AI also allows buyers to customise workflows to meet the specific needs of their business process.
- Fewer payment errors: Data capture solutions with AI boost accuracy without manual intervention by capturing invoice header and line-item data automatically and validating invoice data early in the process against information stored in systems of record. Manual invoice processes increase the chance of errors because of mis-keyed data, and no validation of data. And, detecting errors late in the processing cycle is a big reason for delayed approvals, resulting in late-payment penalties and missed early-payment discounts.
- More early payment discount opportunities: Data capture solutions with AI accelerate invoice approval cycle times which, in turn, enables organisations to capture more early payment discounts. Organisations with automation can process invoices in less than half the time of average companies and in less than one-third the time of laggards, PayStream Advisors reports. And eighty percent of suppliers offer discounts in exchange for faster payment; so the earlier the payment, the larger the discount on the invoice amount.