How to Use AI for Accounts Payable Invoice Automation

Using AI tools for automatisation of the accounts payable workflow is not a novelty anymore. It is a matter of staying efficient and competitive on today's market
October 28, 2023
4 minutes
How to Use AI for Accounts Payable Invoice Automation
How to Use AI for Accounts Payable Invoice Automation

Table of Contents

Are your accounts payable processes stuck in the past?  

Do you find yourself wishing you could process invoices without taking hours of precious time each week?  

Then you’re not alone.

According to a recent survey, the IFOL found that a staggering 68% of AP teams is still manually processing their invoices, with most spending over ten hours a week on processing and payment.  

If that sounds familiar, AI-powered AP invoice automation could be just the right tool for you.

Here’s why:

Problems With Traditional Invoice Processing

Traditional invoice processing methods have long been plagued by significant challenges that hinder efficiency and accuracy.  

These problems highlight the pressing need for a more advanced solution like AI-powered accounts payable invoice automation:

  • Resource Wastage: Manual data entry, paper-based workflows and the need for physical document handling contribute to lengthy processing cycles. That means your AP department has to dedicate significant hours to inputting data, cross-referencing information and ensuring compliance with company policies. The cumulative time spent on these tasks can lead to delays in payment processing which impact supplier relationships and cash flow.
  • Error-Prone: Introducing a human element into your invoice processing results in data entry mistakes, transcription errors and discrepancies in calculations. These errors not only lead to inefficiencies but can also result in incorrect payments, duplicate entries or missed invoices which results in needing extra time and effort for rectification.
  • Messy and Disorganised: Physical documents can be easily misplaced, lost or damaged, making it challenging to track and manage invoices effectively. Consequently, retrieving historical data or accessing specific invoices becomes difficult, causing inefficiencies and potential compliance issues.

Overall, traditional invoice processing methods lack the flexibility needed to adapt to changing business needs and evolving invoice formats.  

For example, basic OCR software, while providing some level of automation, often falls short of fully automating the end-to-end invoice processing workflow. Moreover, these tools still heavily rely on human intervention for verification, validation and exception handling – which defeats the purpose of full automation.  

This results in suboptimal efficiency gains and fails to deliver a substantial return on investment – something you won’t experience by leveraging AI.

Why AI is the Way Forward

The integration of AI is reshaping traditional accounts payable processes and paving the way for unparalleled efficiency, accuracy and strategic decision-making.  

At the forefront of this transformation are deep learning algorithms, particularly neural networks, which have revolutionised OCR capabilities by mirroring the intricate pattern recognition mechanisms of the human brain.  

Through rigorous training on vast troves of data, AI invoice automation solutions consistently deliver accurate captures even when confronted with intricate fonts, diverse layouts and images of varying quality.

Additionally, AI-driven accounts payable automation enables you to enjoy “touchless processing”, meaning you’re able to process invoices without any human intervention.

These features combine to offer a host of advantages over traditional solutions, including:  

  • Error Reduction: AI-powered systems excel at data extraction, automatically capturing details from electronic invoices or even paper documents photographed using a mobile device. This automation minimises errors and ensures accurate record-keeping.
  • Efficient Approval Workflows: AI automation empowers you to establish custom approval workflows where the solution seamlessly matches invoices with purchase orders and directs them to the appropriate approvers. However, it’s also possible to automate the complete Purchase-to-Pay lifecycle with the right solution.
  • Maximising Early Payment Discounts: Timely payments can unlock early-payment discounts, fostering goodwill and additional financial benefits. AI-driven accounts payable systems actively track early-payment opportunities and expedite the approval process, enabling you to meet payment deadlines and potentially save significant amounts over time.
  • Enhanced Security and Transparency: Trustworthy AP invoice solutions will store your private information in enterprise-grade databases for safekeeping. Not only does this ensure you keep client information safe, but it also gives you a complete audit trail for compliance needs.
  • Real-Time Cash Flow Insights: Traditional paper-based processing methods hinder real-time visibility into cash flow as they’re often significantly delayed. In contrast, AI-driven automation solutions can integrate seamlessly with accounting software, providing real-time insights into cash flow dynamics with every new invoice you process. This real-time tracking enables better financial decision-making, proactive problem-solving and comprehensive cash flow management.

All of this adds up to make AI-powered AP automation a must-have if you want to take efficiency, security, accuracy and decision-making to the next level.  

Who Should Use AI-Powered Invoice Processing Automation?

In general, medium to large enterprises will see the biggest benefit from invoice processing automation as they tend to handle a significant volume of invoices, making manual processing a cumbersome and error-prone task.  

However, AI-powered automation can streamline the entire invoice lifecycle, from data capture and matching to approval routing and reconciliation.  

This empowers finance teams in larger organisations to manage high volumes of invoices efficiently, reduce processing time and enhance accuracy.

In saying that, finance and accounting departments of all shapes and sizes can also find value in using AI-powered automation to optimise invoice processing. It enables these departments to ensure compliance with financial regulations, maintain accurate records and allocate resources strategically.

However, there are also valuable indirect use cases for:

  • Compliance and Auditing Teams: These teams rely on accurate financial data to ensure regulatory compliance and conduct thorough audits. AI-powered invoice processing automation provides transparent and traceable records which simplify the auditing process and reduce the risk of non-compliance.
  • Financial Controllers: Financial controllers oversee an organisation's financial activities and ensure adherence to internal controls and reporting standards. An AI solution can aid controllers in maintaining accurate financial records, tracking transactions and facilitating auditing processes.
  • Procurement Teams: Procurement teams play a critical role in managing vendor relationships, negotiating contracts and ensuring timely procurement of goods and services. AI automation simplifies the reconciliation of invoices with purchase orders and receipts to enhance procurement accuracy and efficiency.

As you can see, AI solutions for invoice automation not only play a direct role in improving the efficiency and accuracy of data capture and entry, but they also significantly enhance downstream processes which all companies can benefit from.  

Ready to Revolutionise Your AP Processes?

Take the first step towards efficient and accurate automated invoice processing with Affinda.

Affinda is our cutting-edge AI-powered AP solution, designed to transform the way you handle important AP documents.  

With unmatched accuracy and industry-leading features, Affinda’s suite offers:  

  • A user-friendly interface that enables a swift onboarding process, allowing your team to harness the power of AI without a steep learning curve.
  • AI that’s designed to tackle a variety of file and document types – whether it's invoices, receipts or credit notes.
  • Enterprise-grade data security measures to ensure your sensitive financial data is safe and adheres to rigorous compliance standards.
  • Batch processing workflows through multiple sources including APIs, emails and manual uploads.  
  • Automated validation and exception flagging powered by AI, allowing your team to focus on strategic, high-value tasks.  
  • Multi-language support for over 50 languages, making invoice processing a breeze no matter your location.

The best part? You don't have to take our word for it.

Discover how our solution can revolutionise your AP processes, streamline operations and reduce manual labour with a free trial of Affinda Accounts Payable AI

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The world’s most accurate AI data extraction for accounts payable.

Easily extract data from even the most complex invoices. Quickly and successfully process batch of invoices in PDFs, DOC, PNG, and JPG. Affinda Invoice Extractor recognises 50+ fields on the first go – and it only gets better from there.

Extract data from your receipts swiftly and with precision. Make reimbursement and expense tracking easy. Utilise an AI receipt scanning that understands formatting and layouts it has never been exposed to before.

Our team of skilled AI experts thrives on challenges. Feel free to send your unique document processing requirements our way and we can design a custom‑made solution for you.

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