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Speed Up Payments with AI-based Accounts Payable

23-04-2021 5 min read

Cognitive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Machine Learning, 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 is possible with human resources.

A recent report by SAPInsider indicates that around 50% of companies have already adopted some form of automation. As you see in our infographic, for Accounts Payable (AP), the survey found that 71% of leaders have employed AP-automated/RPA solutions and that 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.

sap insider AI automation finance graph

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 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.

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 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. I think what we see with the rapid change in tech – is that the capabilities of the solutions outdate even automation investments that were made five years ago.”

Want to learn more about how to take advantage of AI-based solutions in your business?


Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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