Cognitive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Machine Learning (ML), along with predictive analytics, have the potential to transform existing financial processes. These technologies are able to manage vast amounts of information faster and more intelligently than it is possible with human resources.
A recent report by SAPinsider indicates that around 50% of companies have already adopted some form of automation. For Accounts Payable (AP), the survey found that 71% of companies that are leaders in the adoption of automated technologies have employed AP-automated/RPA solutions. This automation has enabled them to achieve Straight Through Processing (STP) levels of >90%. While this automation rate is very impressive, the same survey shows that only 14% have adopted predictive analytics, and 12% have adopted ML and/or AI. Clearly, there is still lots of potential to increase process efficiency by leveraging the full range of cognitive technologies.
AI-enabled automation, in particular, can help companies move beyond simple rule-based RPA and achieve the next-level of automation. With self-learning algorithms that explore data connections, identify patterns and discover relationships, it can be used to speed up complex approval and exception handling workflows and enhance financial planning and forecasting. It helps save finance teams time and effort at each step of the process. Areas of finance that haven’t been able to take advantage of automation, can benefit from its more sophisticated processing capabilities. Even areas like AP, which have already benefited from using RPA, can use AI-enabled automation to deliver greater insights and process efficiency.
Gartner, Inc. Recognizes Growing Demand for APIA Solutions The additional value provided by intelligent automation is reflected in the fact that AI-based Accounts Payable (APIA) solutions were recently listed in the IT Market Clock for Procurement and Strategic Sourcing Applications 2020 report by Gartner, Inc. APIA appears in the Choice category of this report and Serrala was named as a representative vendor of APIA solutions*. The recently launched Serrala Alevate Accounts Payable solution is highly relevant in this regard.
This growing demand for APIA solutions is driven by the need for businesses to optimize their investments in digital transformation and AI technologies. Companies are looking for solutions that will go beyond basic automation and provide additional benefits. According to the Gartner report they are looking for “improved user experiences, better decision support, less errors and increased automation.”
APIA solutions can improve processes, even if there is already some degree of automation in place. They make it possible to accelerate and improve Accounts Payable processes by:
- Automating complex matching scenarios that previously would have required human intervention
- Detecting potentially fraudulent, duplicate or erroneous invoices
- Digitizing manual processes to increase the visibility of data, making it possible to do root cause analysis
The improved level of automation provided by APIA solutions also drives greater efficiency across the entire procure to pay process, because, according to Gartner, they can “significantly reduce the effort required to get an invoice tagged ‘OK to pay’”.
Certainly, Brian Shannon, SVP of Strategy and Operations Americas at Serrala agrees, „investing in automation and new technology never goes out of style. There is always a need to keep your organization fresh. What we see with the rapid change in tech – is that the capabilities of the solutions outdate even automation investments that were made only five years ago.”
Want to learn more about how to take advantage of AI-based solutions in your business?
- Download the SAPinsider Assessing Intelligent Automation in Finance report report today
- Gartner members can read the IT Market Clock for Procurement and Strategic Sourcing Applications 2020 report
- Speak to a Serrala expert directly. Contact us here.