3 Ways AI Can Improve Your AP Processes
Artificial intelligence, while once the stuff of science fiction now has a number of widely used applications, ranging from word processing software corrections and art generation to fraud prevention and autonomous vehicle development.
Artificial intelligence is a form of computing designed to perform tasks previously only thought to be possible for humans. These tasks include visual perception, speech recognition, and even decision-making. For many years, AI was only seen in digital transformation solutions at the enterprise-sized level. But the technology is quickly becoming affordable to small and mid-sized businesses, giving them a chance to capitalize on a powerful new tool.
One key place to consider implementing AI is your document capture process. Document Capture solutions are used to lift business-critical data from paper, PDF, and mediums unreadable to machines for use in other business applications. These uses include indexing documents in an ECM solution for easy searchability and updating financial data in an ERP solution from invoices and other Accounts Payable and Receivable documents.
A select few solution providers offer AI-powered capture packages, including Square 9 Softworks whose TransformAI solution is designed to further simplify the accounts payable process. Below are some of the most notable benefits of capturing documents with artificial intelligence.
With the assistance of AI, documents can be captured faster and more accurately. This is achieved because of AI’s ability to make decisions based on numerous factors. To capture a vendor name, for example, an AI solution may look for the most likely locations this field may appear on a page and correlate that data with keywords such as “vendor” and “name” among other factors.
For an invoice number, the solution may look for a specific amount of digits with only numeric characters in conjunction with its proximity to any variations of the term Invoice. But where AI capture differs from its counterparts is flexibility. Without AI, template-less capture is impossible. Each of these many data points must be manually programmed in an OCR template that’s typically bound to a set of hard rules. And it’s not a one size-fits-all situation either as invoices can vary greatly. As a result, it’s not uncommon for multiple templates to be required. AI solutions, however, carefully weigh a wide range of variables intelligently against each other to determine a match, just as a human would.
For example, if the solution sees text that looks exactly like a subtotal in terms of format and surrounding words, but that text is placed on an unlikely area of the page, the AI may disregard that placement in favor of all the other evidence that suggests it’s a subtotal.
This flexibility in decision-making ultimately yields far more accurate results than many other forms of capture.
As previously stated, to achieve a high level of accuracy, standard OCR solutions often had to rely on a set of templates. This method maps index fields to specific points on a page, requiring a unique template for each newly formatted document. This meant that an invoice coming from one company would need a different template than an invoice coming from another.
What’s more, these templates require the services of a solutions provider to create, often at additional costs. AI-assisted capture completely forgoes the use of these templates while providing the same, if not better, accuracy.
Say, for example, your company needs 50 invoice templates, a fairly standard amount for a company to start with. Let’s also say the provider of your capture solution can create 10 of these per day and charges $1750.00 for a day’s labor. In this scenario, using AI-assisted capture would save your company $8750.00 on professional service costs for these initial 50 templates alone.
And those costs can continue over time. Most companies will receive additional invoices, receipts, or other documents as new vendors are added. With each new vendor, more templates will be needed to accurately capture them.
By forgoing templates altogether in favor of AI-assisted capture, you can not only save a large amount of money getting started with your solution, but you can also avoid incurring future costs down the road.
More Hands Off
The less time employees need to spend handling documents, the more time they can spend on other tasks. So, as an added benefit to using an AI capture solution, the system may also reduce the number of times employees need to touch the captured documents.
With a higher degree of accuracy than other methods, AI assisted capture naturally results in less work when employees go to validate the data. In addition, some capture processes guide employees though the validation stage with interfaces designed for productivity
TransformAI by Square 9, for example, uses a workflow for its QuickBooks integration that presents employees with the captured information to check for accuracy. The information is then either transcribed to QuickBooks or corrected by the user in a streamlined interface.
By reducing the number of errors that need human correction and optimizing the validation process for the errors that still do, AI-assisted capture can save immense amounts of time.
By taking advantage of the unique decision-making capabilities of AI, capture solutions are capable of achieving high degrees of accuracy while forgoing the templated approach that often results in higher professional services costs. This accuracy may even free up more employee hours by reducing their time spent correcting data captured by less accurate, template based extraction methods
Square 9 is an end-to-end provider of digital transformation solutions with innovative approaches to document capture, enterprise content management, web forms, and workflow automation. To find out more about how AI-assisted capture can improve your accounts payable processes, contact us.