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AP process automation, aka invoice processing automation, has steadily evolved and improved since the introduction of Electronic Data iInterchange EDI. Utilizing technologies such as eInvoicing, Intelligent Data Capture (IDC), and workflow, best-in-class AP departments have realized a significant decrease in invoice processing costs and increased throughput by successfully executing on these technologies.  

Engaging with Zia Consulting to implement hyperautomation solutions promises to drive invoice processing automation to greater levels of productivity and cost savings. The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) allows for increased automation through improvements in IDC, as well as less reliance on human intervention by using intelligent bots. Introducing AI and RPA to finance promises further automation and improvements in invoice processing operations.  Below are some examples of where the introduction of AI and RPA improves the AP processes.

Increased Productivity & Cost Reduction

Top-performing companies process invoices faster and with higher accuracy than their peers, driving down labor costs and reducing cost per invoice. Of the three top priorities cited by AP leaders – reduced processing costs, driving more value from data, and internal & external collaboration – reducing processing costs was a clear leader.

The introduction of AI and RPA to an already well-designed and high-performing AP operation will further streamline certain processes. Handling invoices received via email is an example. While the percentage of invoices received in paper format has sharply decreased, in most cases this was replaced by email. Vendors send invoices to a dedicated email inbox as a PDF attachment. Automating ingestion and handling of emails and attached invoices has proven to be a solid use case for RPA. Decreasing the number of exceptions requiring human intervention improves efficiency and drives down cost. The introduction of RPA to an already efficient process allows for faster processing, less errors, and fewer exceptions.

Straight Through Processing (STP) is perhaps the single largest contributor to an organization’s AP operations achieving best-in-class metrics. STP has largely been the sole domain of PO-based invoices dating back to the introduction of EDI. A few forward-thinking organizations have successfully leveraged technology, especially Intelligent Data Capture (IDC), to streamline the handling of non-PO invoices. However, processing these invoices requires manual user intervention. Introducing Machine Learning (ML), a branch of AI, allows these forward-thinking leaders to move closer to the goal of STP for a higher percentage of non-PO invoices.

ML improves the ability of the IDC platform to understand the general structure of an invoice and extract all the relevant data automatically, particularly line-item data extracted from highly variable tables. Using ML to improve extraction accuracy of line-item data that leverages an invoice’s overall structure is a critical improvement. The net result is higher levels of STP.

The introduction of RPA and AI to the AP process results in decreased cost per invoice. Using a hyperautomation approach also results in decreased dependency on a technology partner for IT support, both internal and external.

AP automation solutions already provide a critical benefit to the organization’s finance leaders, including improved visibility into outstanding payables. The introduction of AI improves visibility, as well as an opportunity for finance to derive more meaningful analytics around productivity, invoice status, KPIs, and cash management goals. Bottlenecks are identified and addressable in less time.

In conclusion, organizations leveraging AI and RPA as part of an AP hype automation strategy require one less FTE per $1B revenue and process 11,000 more invoices per AP clerk per year. These compelling results, along with all the others detailed above, are key to why 54% of organizations surveyed by PWC will be making investments in AI and RPA for their Accounts Payable operations.

Zia Consulting is your digital transformation and hyperautomation partner, with over two decades of experience implementing hyperautomation solutions. We have a 95% retention rate with customers, versus the industry average of 50%. This is because our methodology is thorough and includes you in every step of the process. We address your business problems sequentially, with ongoing communication along the way. Please reach out to us today to discuss how we can support your hyperautomation needs

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