Artificial intelligence (AI) has begun to permeate every industry. From factory floors to hospital operating rooms, AI is performing advanced, sophisticated tasks—in most cases, with more speed and accuracy than humans.
The finance sector is no different. From reading invoices to approving payments to learning where businesses can save costs, we have only just begun to scratch the surface of AI’s endless potential.
Knock Out Tedious Processes
AI is unlocking new possibilities in accounting and finance, starting with one of the most manually intensive processes: accounts payable (AP). AI has already mastered invoice processing, slashing processing time by 80%.
How is this possible? Unlike rigid, rules-based solutions, AI algorithms intelligently learn from organizations’ historical data and existing processes, extract the right information and code the costs correctly, faster and more accurately than humans. Unlike rule-based solutions, it doesn’t need programming to handle a new invoice format or vendor, and when the AI is confident enough, it can even manage the whole AP process, including approving an invoice for payment, which means eliminating human touch.
By having accounts payable AI in the driver’s seat, invoice capacity per employee increases dramatically when time per invoice drops and can cut costs by 81%.
Improve Agility to Support Growth
The increased capacity AI brings also makes companies more agile than ever before. Imagine a business in an aggressive growth state, where invoices double yearly. Traditionally, that company would have to initiate a cumbersome hiring process for new AP clerks, which takes time and is very costly. In contrast, AI solutions can absorb that additional workload—no additional personnel required.
At the same time, accountants and clerks, once tied down to invoice processing, can instead rise to higher-level tasks and growth initiatives. Not to mention that eliminating mundane work positively impacts job satisfaction, which is especially important as companies face unprecedented employee retention challenges.
Eliminate Paying an Invoice Twice
AI also surpasses human accuracy, reaching up to 99% accuracy. That translates to fewer errors, equaling less time spent fixing errors and avoiding duplicate payments.
In fact, duplicate payments can represent up to 2% of total company spending. For a mid-size company with $50 million in annual spend, that’s equivalent to $1 million in revenue loss. With AI, paying an invoice twice can be almost eliminated as the system alerts the user and stops it from processing to payment.
Analyze Quickly, Spend Wisely
It doesn’t stop there, though. AI can also identify discrepancies in real-time and decipher how tasks can be executed more efficiently, identify process bottlenecks, and proactively recognize due dates to avoid late payments. Without AI, teams would catch these discrepancies after the fact, if they catch them at all, which is often too late to address the root causes.
With AI, these teams can also access valuable insights in spending data and buying patterns. This translates into real dollars saved.
At the cutting edge, AI is beginning to analyze and prescribe opportunities for cost savings. As the system becomes more intelligent, it can compare an organization’s costs among peers and competitors, identifying organization-specific cost optimization opportunities. Such AI solutions can fill a significant gap in finance departments’ decision-making capabilities to help them make proactive data-informed choices about their costs—including what they spend on specific vendors, subscriptions, consulting, advertising, legal services and more.
Embrace Artificial Intelligence
For today’s business leaders, who are always looking for ways to maximize every hour and every dollar, AI has become an essential business partner. AI is already pushing the boundaries of finance by helping organizations streamline their accounting, improve accuracy and efficiency, monitor accounts and cash flow, flag discrepancies and produce easily digestible reports. And this is just the beginning—AI will even help organizations track and monitor their carbon footprint to help them calculate and reduce their emissions.
With AI, organizations can accelerate their digital transformation, unlock intelligent financial management and achieve unprecedented efficiencies. It’s time to bring AI off the sidelines, and take full advantage of its potential in our finance departments.