The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in Accounts Payable on Cloud

The key role of accounts payable (AP) is to pay off short-term debts. Additionally, it is also responsible for strategic tasks such as negotiating payment terms, catching early payment discounts, maintaining vendor relations, and preventing fraud.
Cloud migration and the use of AI and machine learning (ML) in accounts payable are helping to simplify these processes and are rapidly transforming the spend function into a profit-generating tool.

AI automates most manual tasks in accounting processes, such as data entry and invoice routing. This significantly shortens procure-to-pay cycles, minimises human intervention, and integrates multiple workflows into a seamless process.
However, the prime advantage of using AI in accounts payable is that it brings human-like intelligence to your accounting software with technologies such as ML, robotic process automation (RPA), and deep neural networks (DNN).

Here is how AI is revolutionising Accounts Payable on Cloud (APOC):

Complete workflow integration

Most mid-sized businesses have already automated a few AP workflows. However, the end-to-end AP process involves several steps, such as invoice processing, invoice routing, remittance, and auditing.

Legacy software lacks the features to switch seamlessly from one process to another, resulting in fragmented workflows, data silos, and a need for human intervention at every step. AI-based solutions deploy RPA to take over rules-based tasks and enable complete workflow integration.

Intelligent invoice processing

Machine learning algorithms in accounts payable software auto-learn your organisation’s invoice processing rules and effectively apply them to old and new vendors. It can automatically route invoices by recognising the keywords and vendor information present in them.
ML models can also code vendor invoices based on historical patterns without human assistance, allowing AP teams more time for strategic tasks.

Processing unstructured data  

Unstructured data in the form of PDF or paper receipts is a pain point for most AP departments because it costs time and effort to extract the information and key it manually into the relevant software systems. Using AI solutions in accounts payable makes it possible to extract and route data from multi-format invoices and contract agreements without human intervention.

Matching invoices with purchase orders (PO)

Matching invoices with POs and detecting irregularities before making payments is a crucial but labour-intensive task for AP teams. ML algorithms in AP automation solutions use optical character recognition (OCR) technology to extract information from invoices and POs, determine if the payment is valid, and flag exceptions for manual handling.

Compliance and audits 

AI tools automatically produce an audit trail of all the actions in the AP process and generate reports based on the organisation’s business model. Besides ensuring data accuracy, this significantly eases the AP employees’ audit workload during tax season and mitigates the risk of internal fraud.

Supplier onboarding and assessment

AI facilitates hassle-free supplier onboarding by screening new suppliers and automating the excessive data entry required for the onboarding process. Additionally, it can score approved vendors and suppliers based on the information gleaned from their historical and transactional data. AP departments can use this information to obtain strategic insights into vendor profiles.

Spend management

AI in accounts payable processes can assist spend management in several ways, such as –

  • Significantly reducing cost-per-invoice
  • Automating payments so that AP departments can avail of early payment discounts
  • Reducing new recruitment and training costs
  • Automating upgrades and maintenance, thereby reducing the costs of IT support
  • Identifying redundant suppliers
  • Driving operational efficiency and increased productivity

Fraud management

AI platforms centralise all accounts payable activity, thus increasing visibility into every step of the process. They come with inbuilt security features such as multifactor user authentication, positive pay files, data encryption tools, and anomaly detection software that mitigates the possibility of fraudulent transactions.

Additionally, ML solutions can read invoice data with OCR tools and identify duplicate invoices and other signs of fraud.

Specific use cases

AP automation services utilise intelligent automation (IA) tools to train AI models for specific use cases, such as long-tail spend management and straight-through processing for high-volume, trusted vendors.

For organisations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organisational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organisations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organisations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

How can Infosys BPM help?

The Infosys BPM SaaS platform is an intelligent and efficient solution built on deep domain expertise for all your accounts payable requirements. It transforms your invoice-to-pay process through next-generation technologies and AI/ML models that ensure real-time insights and an enhanced stakeholder experience.

The platform is enabled with Intelligent features such as automated invoice-PO matching, OCR, and multilingual support to help you drive significant savings on time and costs. Know more about Infosys BPM AP automation services.

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