3 Tips for Finance and AP: Future-Proof, Streamline, and Visualize

Friday, March 1, 2019

5 minute read

3 Tips for Finance and AP: Future-Proof, Streamline, and Visualize

How will the roles in finance departments change with further integrations of advanced technologies?

One thing clear above all else is that the future of finance will center around advanced data analytics, especially when it comes to accounts payable and executive leadership. For the first time in human history, we have the ability via various source-to-pay technologies to quickly crunch billions and even trillions of data points — and then run analysis on those data points. This is a game changer that’s already transforming every aspect of the source-to-pay process and is set to upend it even further over the next year and decade.

Future-Proof Your Finance

Nowhere are leaps in technological progress more evident than in the areas of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The first generation of invoice processing required manual coding and matching, resulting in average costs of $15 per invoice and $25 per PO, as well as processing speeds of roughly 20,000 per FTE, with 80% completed on-time. More advanced invoice processing, by contrast, leverages machine learning, robotics, maximized matching, predictive analytics, and more. These technologies have enabled teams to automate their processes and get costs below $4 per invoice and $10 per PO, while getting more than 90,000 per FTE and 99% on-time. 

And those numbers don’t fully represent the true trailblazers in the industry, who are using a purchase-to-pay process that’s fully automated, resulting in even lower costs and faster speeds. One example of this in action is the use of Basware SmartPDF, which automatically extracts all data from readable PDFs and puts that data into an AP or ERP system. This eliminates manual work and the errors that stem from manually transferring data.

Streamline Your AP and AR

Accounts payable and accounts receivable departments have wrestled with robotic process automation (RPA) in AP tasks in recent years, only to find that it doesn’t standardize different formats (including Word documents, scanned images, and PDFs). Instead of RPA, the future will favor machine learning technology that handles exceptions and root cause analysis exceptions. This approach will finally open up the single, streamlined process that employees in accounts payable and accounts receivable have been looking for.

One example of this type of technology is Basware Smart Coding, which analyzes historical data and invoice coding templates to recommend general ledger coding of non-PO invoices — even when initially there’s no purchase order to match an invoice. In other words, employees no longer have to take the time and energy to manually code invoices. With Basware, it’s all automated. Best of all, since the technology is grounded in machine learning, it gets more efficient and more accurate as time goes on.

Visualize Your Data

Finally, the world of Finance is set to change in a big way for today’s finance executives, primarily when it comes to visibility. As companies gather more data, they increase their capacity to visualize that data — a feature that executives are hungry for, especially because 65% of procurement leaders claim that they have “limited or no visibility” beyond tier 1 suppliers, according to Deloitte. With full visibility and project dashboards, executives will be able to manage their Finance processes far more efficiently.

Specifically, finance executives should have direct visibility into at least four primary areas:

1. e-invoicing rate,

2. spend under control,

3. touchless invoice processing,

4. and payment time.

Being about to see the status on these typical KPIs gives leaders the ability to not only what’s going on before something goes off the rails, but it also gives them the ability to predict the future. If you’re waiting until the end of the quarter to see results, you’re likely too late.

Ready to Learn More?

Data is set to not only upend finance departments but also do wonders for them. Learn more about Basware Purchase to Pay and what innovations are available each step of the way. To learn more about how data will change the day in the life of Finance and AP professionals, download the 2019 trends reports below