Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

VIEWPOINT Using AI to automate AP processes Automation tools are revolutionising accounts payable departments by enhancing efficiency, reducing errors, optimising cash management and enabling strategic contributions Artificial intelligence-enabled accounts payable (AP) automation tools are redefining how businesses manage and process their invoices and payments. For example, AI technologies can accurately and swiftly extract and process data from invoices, significantly reducing manual data entry and associated errors while elevating efficiency. Additionally, it can analyse an organisation’s AP processes, automatically route invoices for approval, thus reducing processing times and enhancing staff productivity. Automation is also crucial for AP tasks like fraud detection and compliance. AI has improved an organisation’s ability to monitor its financial transactions and identify anomalies, inaccuracies or potentially fraudulent transactions. AI can revolutionise cash management processes too. For instance, AI-enabled AP automation capabilities can analyse payment terms, cash flow and other factors to optimise the timing of payments, helping organisations to avoid late fees and take advantage of early payment discounts. Also, AP Automation provides advanced analytics capabilities, enabling finance teams to forecast future cash flows more accurately and make informed decisions. Automation also brings enterprise-wide benefits. When the technology is used to take care of repetitive tasks, AP professionals can shift from transactional roles to carry out more strategic, value-added activities, such as spend analysis and supplier relationship management. Tactically, AP automation offers real-time analytics and reporting capabilities that enable AP teams to contribute valuable insights to the broader organisation. In conclusion, AI-enabled AP automation is significantly impacting the AP function by streamlining operations, reducing errors and enabling teams to focus on higher-value activities. As this technology continues to evolve, it is poised to become an even more integral component of the modern AP department, driving efficiency and previously unimaginable data-driven insights. Andy Birkey is marketing communications specialist for Metafile Information Systems ANDY BIRKEY: METAFILE 67