Moving to a fully automated invoicing process, like any major corporate project, may seem intimidating if you don't take the time early in the discussion to understand your business needs and objectives, and how invoice automation can help address them. We all know the famous quote from Benjamin Franklin, right? “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. In this blog, we look at what a fully automated invoice process is, how new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) can complement it, and what to think about to ensure a smooth implementation.
Trust issues? Are AI and machine learning able to do the job?
Think back to the first time you used something like a chatbot for your banking or shopping, Siri or Alexa? Whatever it was, it felt a bit strange communicating with a computer, but today we have voice-controlled TVs and smart devices that are trusted by millions. And they all have one thing in common - AI.
How can AI and robots help me process invoices?
Timely processing tasks, such as invoice entry, can be automated and even predicted in advance to over time give you speed, accuracy and maximum efficiency.
Today, 57% of accounts payable professionals still think invoice processing takes too long and it's repetitive tasks like invoice entry that are eating into your team's valuable time. The solution? AI powered tools, like our new Touchless Invoice Processing offering, they do the thinking for you.
Touchless Invoicing. A term that's thrown around as if everyone knows what it truly means, but the reality is every provider says it, but it does not mean the same thing for every solution. At Basware*, when we say ‘touchless invoice’ we mean from the time an invoice is sent to your company all the way to the initiation of the payment transaction.
Like any large-scale technology program implementation, it's as much about adoption and change management as it is about getting the solution live. Here we've listed what to watch out for as you begin your journey to touchless invoice processing.
*For a detailed description of Basware’s definition of touchless invoice processing, check out this blog: “What a touchless invoice really is and how you achieve it in Accounts Payable”.
What to think about to ensure a smooth implementation
Identify your challenges – what are the challenges you are trying to overcome? Is your invoice process inefficient, overly manual, full of interventions and work arounds, and open to error? Be it speed, visibility or efficiency – be clear about what you want an automated invoice processing solution to achieve.
Research, research, research – do your homework. Identify your exact problem. Is your entire invoicing process broken, or would a small tweak here or there provide the desired impact? Picture your ideal scenario and outcome and understand how you might achieve it with technology.
Speak to solution providers early – industry experts can bust common myths and help you build the all-important case for an investment in change. There is a big difference between going fully touchless and having only some elements of automation.
Achieving "buy-in" – you'll need a strong case to get buy-in across the organizational teams, including finance, procurement, technology and executive leadership. We can demonstrate how an implementation can be tracked against key metrics to prove actual ROI. This is specifically helpful in the planning phase so all internal stakeholders can agree on terms upfront, set expectations and instil confidence to critical teams.
Pick the right partner for you – at Basware, we’re known for being collaborative and working closely with our clients. We listen to your unique set of circumstances and desired outcomes. We know one size does not fit all.
Tailor it to you – to unleash AI’s full capabilities, you must make sure that it works for your specific requirements. Are you processing hundreds or thousands of small value invoices or fewer invoices with much higher values? What does your process look like now and where can AI do some of the heavy lifting?
You have to trust it – we’ve talked about trust already, but to get the best out of your solution , you need to believe in the long-term goals and act on the recommendations the tool provides. The proof of its effectiveness should be visible and obvious through the business insights and dashboards supplied.
Don’t rush it – understand that optimizing your solution for the desired outcome takes time. When using AI and ML, it’s called machine learning for a reason. The more invoices it processes, the more it learns, and the better it gets at the job at hand.
Monitor it – it is an engine and it needs to be monitored, modified and fine-tuned over the course of time to make sure that it does exactly what you need it to do.
Measure it – keep tabs on performance. You’ll see the benefits on dashboards and reports, but you’ll feel the benefits through less manual processing. You can share these outcomes with the supporting teams to show the ROI and tangible benefits of automation.
Celebrate it – share successes. Use the time saved to focus on the more strategic and value-add initiatives of high performing finance teams.
Fear not. Yes, there are things to watch out for, but a carefully planned, tailored, and implemented invoice processing solution with AI capabilities can transform and elevate your finance department.
Achieve greatness without lifting a finger
Say goodbye to time consuming tasks and manual workarounds. Say hello to fully automated processes with zero deviations or workarounds. Explore Touchless Invoice Processing to discover the fastest, most accurate and transparent way to automate your invoice processing and payables.
Get in touch or book a demo now to find out more.