AP Automation

Accountants, Meet Your New Best Friend – AI Data Capture

August 4, 2021

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Every day, accounting teams receive a deluge of data – business documents, vendor details, and other insights – to make critical decisions and keep a business’ financial engine running. And because of the sheer amount of information, it’s not realistic to enter everything manually without mistyping or accidentally skipping important details.

Before COVID-19, accounting teams were spending up to a quarter of their workweek inputting data. What’s more, the stress of the pandemic has forced many businesses to offload even more responsibilities onto their AP teams.

Without introducing major operational shifts in accounting, could businesses struggle to attract and retain the right talent?

 

survey results
Continued technology investment is key to enhancing employee experience

AI: An accountant’s best ally

A new study of over 9,000 workers from 14 countries found that 97% of Gen Z employees are scared to manage their company’s finances and another 52% admit losing sleep thinking about budget and overall targets. With the changing priorities of millennial and Gen Z talent, there is an opportunity for firms to think outside of the box and adjust policies to entice new talent. We have the technology to make accounting faster, more accurate, and far more productive. It shouldn’t be a grind to enter data into the system, and it shouldn’t take a week to close the books.

To deal with the increased financial anxiety and pressure to perform at work, an increasing number of accountants are turning to artificial intelligence (AI). Almost 77% of business leaders say they trust AI to manage their organization’s finances, as opposed to manual methods.

Does this mean AI will replace accountants? Certainly not. The conundrum of whether AI will take over accountants assumes that both parties, AI and humans, have the same abilities – but they do not. However, combined together, the two can work in tandem to make the financial arm of a business more productive and efficient. AI-enabled systems remove repetitive work like data entry, so accountants can redirect their time to perform high-value, high-impact tasks. 

With the help of accounts payable (AP) automation software, such as Beanworks, companies can retire slow and monotonous data entry for good. Beanworks’ AI-powered technology extracts invoice information, so accountants can skip coding line item details including descriptions, unit costs and quantities. It provides more than 99% accuracy and reduces data entry time by over 80%.

DisperSol Technologies on Beanworks: “It’s cut our AP administrator’s workload in half”

DisperSol Technologies, a pharmaceutical company based in Austin, USA, was processing more than 300 invoices per month, assigning a large portion of the AP team’s time to data entry. “There was just a lot of back and forth between our team and the other departments,” says Connie Robertson, controller at DisperSol.

They implemented Beanworks AP automation to give their AP department more time for strategic tasks such as financial forecasting and budgeting. “It’s cut our AP administrator’s workload in half,” Robertson says. SmartCapture pulls invoice header information from electronic and physical copies, freeing the team from typing out information manually. “We love it! It automatically picks up data and uploads it into Beanworks,” she notes.

All aboard

Whether working virtually or navigating unprecedented business challenges, post-COVID-19 accounting teams require more than an aptitude for crunching numbers. To accomplish this, they are looking to break the system silos.

AI and machine learning (ML) can allow accounting teams to outmaneuver redundant processes and provide insights that influence decisions and generate data with greater value.

Curious to see how AI can simplify your accounts payable?

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* 64% of workers want access to better technology before they return to the office
*Millennial employees are nearly four times more likely than Baby Boomers to want to work for a company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to manage finance
*97% of Gen Z employees are scared to manage their company’s finances

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