The benefits that
The benefits that AP automation brings to organizations are well known – increased visibility, control and efficiencies; reduced costs, errors and processing times; and better use of staff time, among other things. But, when you add in the capabilities of machine learning on top of that – it takes automation, and the benefits that come along with it, to a whole new level.
As a type of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning uses data to teach itself.
The software runs on algorithms, finding patterns in data to continually learn and improve. Machine learning is prevalent across industries and has become a game changer in many ways, from furthering immunology research to fight cancer to protect animals from poachers and uncovering credit card fraud in real time, among other examples. And it’s no different for Accounts Payable (AP). In fact, there is a lot of structured data in the AP process that can be used for machine learning purposes. The same powerful machine learning capabilities that are enabling new insights and improvements in many other areas of business are also enabling heightened productivity, speed and accuracy in AP. AP, which for the most part is still bogged down with manual processes – or low-levels of automation at best – is a prime industry that can benefit from machine learning. According to recent research conducted by research and advisory firm, Levvel Research, 86% of MS Dynamics 365 users are using manual workflows for invoice receipt, 77% approve and route invoices manually, 76% rely on manual or low-level automation for PO
matching, and 79% still rely on manual reporting.
Any way you look at it, that’s a lot of manual work. Also, the time that’s spent and the costs that are incurred are significant. In an average organization, the costs of processing invoices
With low levels of automation are more than 20 times higher than in organizations with a high level of automation. Organizations with a low level of AP automation take an average
of five days just to move an invoice to the AP department from the date of receipt, and those without any automation take even longer. And, even once an invoice is in the AP
department, inconsistencies, complicated approval routing, and manual data entry can cause further delays – which can result in lost early discounts, and late payment fees, and
can negatively impact supplier relationships.
How Machine Learning is Transforming AP