There’s no doubting the clear benefits of Accounts Payable (AP) automation—especially in a time when automation is a key player in keeping business flowing. But beyond the obvious advantages including time savings, streamlined operations, capturing all spend data and improved supplier relationships, how do you move beyond the initial implementation to make sure you are making use of advanced technologies such as analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) and making the most of the Basware Network to give your organisation the tools it needs to reveal greater strategic benefits?
Achieve 100% Touchless AP Processing – using your own data and AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies can help optimise your operations to efficiently keep business moving. Using unique algorithms and advanced purchase-to-pay (P2P) technologies, all your organisations’ information such as purchase orders (POs) and invoices, are detected and not only processed quicker by your AP team, but your own data is fed back to you to reveal insights.
AI and ML technologies improve AP processes through its ability to mirror offline processes; including automatically notifying approvers, authorising steps, and matching POs; with fewer human interactions and fewer errors. These technologies also capture and serve up your invoice data in a single view so that you can identify efficiencies and areas to help your organisation achieve 100% touchless AP processing. In many circumstances, most of the manual processes are eliminated entirely – and in a time when getting into the office to process AP documents by hand is nearly impossible, these technologies play an even more important role.
How does artificial intelligence work for me?
Here are two ways AP departments can integrate AI and ML technologies to drive more value, identify new efficiencies and approach a state of touchless accounts payable operations.
- Payment plans to gain full spend control
100% managed spend or a ‘no-PO-no-Pay’ policy can be a real challenge for many organisations. Not every spend category is suited for the traditional requisition & order process. Some spend is recurrent by nature or linked to a budget, rather than bought off a contract. You could ask your business to create blanket POs for spend categories like leasing, rentals, maintenance contracts and utilities, but that leaves questions open as to when the spend will occur and what cash should be provisioned at what point in time.
Basware’s solution for these spend categories uses machine learning and pattern recognition to detect recurrences in invoices. We automatically create payment plans to make sure the downstream AP processes is automated, while at the same time giving you excellent spend control and cash forecasting visibility.
There are 3 different ways your organisation can implement payment plans.
Scheduled payments to automate recurring invoices that require payment at regular intervals (excellent for leasing, rental and utilities contracts)
Budget-based payments to automate recurring invoices to a specific budget (perfect for multi-supplier projects with pre-approved budgets)
Self-billing payments where the Basware solution will create the invoice on behalf of the supplier, and process it automatically (ideal for fixed small subcontractors or management holdings)
Taking the work out of AP’s hands and letting technology process payments straight-through, ensures that processes (and businesses) keep moving. Additionally, making sure suppliers get paid on time – every time – keeps cash flowing and supply chains active. It’s a win-win.
- Smart Coding
Automated coding through Smart coding is just one of the ways Basware eliminates the manual efforts of your organisation’s AP team. Smart coding uses data recognition and ML to free your AP department from the tedious task of manual coding in the instance that there’s no PO created to match an invoice.
Using ML, Smart coding technology automatically searches and analyses your transactional historical data and invoice coding templates to recommend the proper general ledger (GL) coding of non-PO invoices. These invoices would otherwise get trapped in a time-consuming, manual workflow, but Smart coding prevents that and therefore keeps your AP operations moving without waiting on human intervention.
Becoming more strategic with advanced analytics
Advanced analytics gives your organisation visibility to continuously optimise your processes and gain control of your data to inform business decisions and drive optimisations. It empowers your organisation with sophisticated data needed to prevent late payments, improve e-invoicing rates, resolve process bottlenecks, and capture more early payment discounts. Here’s how:
Prevent late payments: Built-in ML technology scans the historical trends of your payments and transactions to identify patterns – becoming more insightful overtime. From there, the technology aggregates the collected data into predictive analytics that calculates the probability of on-time or late payments. AP teams can then drill down and determine what actions need to be taken to prevent those identified as late payments. Keeping up with payments means suppliers get paid, cash remains flowing, and supply chains remain strong.
Improve e-invoice rates: Machine learning also strengthens your analytics by showing the arrival times and format of invoices, giving AP teams the ability to analyse invoice arrival trends and identify any delays. With this information, AP can reach out to suppliers about invoice formats and make a case for e-invoicing. With improved e-invoicing rates and more of your suppliers processing invoices electronically, transactions can be processed quicker, suppliers paid faster, and early pay discounts captured.
Resolve process bottlenecks: Advanced analytics can even provide the data needed to pinpoint process bottlenecks, understand why certain invoices take longer than others, have more exceptions than others, and have a higher likelihood for delay. With these insights, AP can quickly resolve bottlenecks, eliminating unnecessary downtime.
View this webinar to learn more
AP automation is so much more than just automation. Once in place, it’s about simplifying processes, understanding your data and saving time. Check out our webinar, “Machine learning in practice – towards a fully touchless AP automation process”, to see what lies beneath AP Automation.