Future of Accounting

These AI Products Are Changing The Face Of Accounting – Which Ones Will You Adopt?

April 20, 2021

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s after midnight… you anxiously open your email to check if the long-pending expense report has been submitted so you can finally close the books the next morning.

For most accountants, this is a regular occurrence. A lot of their stressful working day is spent filing invoices, and following up with staff for receipts and documents. The slow pace of tech adoption in the industry hasn’t helped either.

But with automation tools enhancing everything in finance, the industry is finally getting the makeover it deserves – and artificial intelligence (AI) tools are at the helm of it.

Accountants that were once considered “number-crunchers” are starting to use AI for actionable, business-critical insights, and strategic planning. There’s a lot to uncover in this exciting space.

But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room

It’s a misconception that AI-powered tech will eliminate accounting jobs in the future. Instead of seeing it as a threat, businesses can combine AI with human intelligence to achieve innovative results.

This will help companies attract top talent too. In one survey, 76% of millennials said they would rather take a pay cut and work for a business where their skills were being put to better use.

And why not?

Competitive demands of the new ‘work-from-anywhere’ culture is setting new expectations for the future workforce. Now, finance specialists need to know how to strike a balance between surviving a crisis and investing in growth strategies. With the help of AI tools, such as machine learning (ML), they can improve efficiency and derive insights for financial progress. Here’s how AI-powered tech is changing accounting:

No seven-day workweek for me, thanks!

Accountants are overworked. One study claims that one in ten accountants work seven days a week, and most of those hours are spent on manual work like data entry.

An automated accounts payable (AP) software like Beanworks uses artificial intelligence to cut down data entry while offering over 99% accuracy.

Companies receive documents and data from multiple suppliers in different formats such as XML documents, PDFs, paper etc. Typing all of this information into spreadsheets, ERP systems, and other business software is tedious labor that drains resources, creating room for errors. It’s why most accountants aren’t fully confident in their numbers. They lose approximately 39 hours per week resolving issues like invoice exceptions and discrepancies.

Thanks to AI, they can reclaim most of that time and apply it to dynamic work like forecasting. An automated accounts payable (AP) software like Beanworks uses artificial intelligence to cut down data entry while offering over 99% accuracy. Its latest feature, SmartCapture, picks up invoice details including line items, header information, and the total amount – saving accountants a significant amount of time.

artificial intelligence in data entry with Beanworks AP automation
Beanworks’ AI-powered technology reduces time spent on data entry by more than 80%

Most of the numbers that you’d otherwise enter manually and copy across different systems, is automatically verified by Beanworks. Without technology, this exercise can take up to a quarter of the workweek.

Global accounting and consultancy firm EY has implemented over 250 automated processes into their advisory business and has reportedly saved about 2,000,000 human hours annually.

Give auditors a break from the data overload

Traditionally, auditors have devoted less than 25% of their time to risk analysis. Considering the role they play in helping identify risks, that’s not a lot. One of the biggest challenges that gets in the way is handling unstructured data. Auditors have to evaluate thousands of documents, review the implementation of regulatory changes, and investigate suspicious transactions.

Purpose-built platforms use machine learning and AI to audit a full scale of documents accurately and efficiently. It helps to optimize auditors’ time, enabling them to use their judgment to analyze a broader and deeper set of data.

One audit company used AI to dig into their client’s data, reviewing over 6.2 million transactions from a four-year period. They discovered USD $2.8 million in fraudulent dealings in a much shorter time span.

Leave no fraud behind

AI makes it possible to detect fraud attacks in real-time versus having to wait for weeks or the whole year until it’s flagged. It can support fraud detection and prevention by scrutinizing irregularities and monitoring documents as they come into the system. The discrepancies can then be forwarded to accountants to investigate.

Accountants that were once considered “number-crunchers” are starting to use AI for actionable, business-critical insights, and strategic planning.

Danske Bank was struggling with a low 40% fraud detection rate and managing up to 1,200 false positives per day. With AI, the bank was able to modernize how it uncovers fraud and increase recognition of misrepresentation by 50%.

Monitor non-compliance

Using an expense or invoice tool that has AI capabilities to gather and summarize numbers can help CFOs identify patterns and make data-driven recommendations. For example, the tech can scan documents to verify if a purchase was made outside of the company policy.

PwC and Microsoft recently launched a new technology that reviews documents in real-time to spot compliance risks. One global manufacturer’s procurement team is using the system to review contracts related to third-party payments. The dashboard flags payments to outlawed firms so the team can take preventive action.

Removing routine tasks can allow finance teams to get closer to business decision-making, helping them provide their expert opinion and advice. And CFOs are seeing the value in investing in tech-based solutions such as learning how to code. Companies are now turning to AI to attain greater levels of agility, speed, and insight into the different branches of accounting.

See how Beanworks simplifies invoice data entry using AI

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