No longer a ‘buzz word’, rather an increasing necessity – Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming life, and business, as we know it!

Across financial services AI is enabling the creation of new opportunities and personalization of products and services. It also improves risk and fraud management, ensures easier compliance and greater transparency as well as vast improvements in the automation of processes and reduction of costs. And, in the world of Accounts Payable, it is fast proving itself a notable game-changer.

Whilst some benefits are essential, others may be ‘nice to have’. To help navigate this new landscape, what exactly does one need to look for in AI powered Accounts Payable solutions?

Start at the beginning.

Ensure that the potential solution complements the functionality of your existing ERP system without duplicating it. Look for a solution that can enhance what you already have and is customizable without the need for any big redevelopment. Further, with the safeguarding of supplier relationships a key component of effective AP operations, make sure the chosen solution will have zero impact on your suppliers’ existing processes.

The non-negotiables.

  • A single interface – one version of the truth and everything at a glance, giving you complete control and visibility.
  • The multi-channel receipt of invoices and standardized receipt of all invoices from an email inbox that allows you to retain the link to the original email, segregate invoices from other attachments and assign to the correct recipient.
  • Data verification from a single interface. Ensure your chosen solution allows for the extraction of invoice data using AI, 3-way processing, automatic detection of duplicate invoices and any discrepancies. Further, its functionality should allow purchase order and delivery note data synchronization on demand or prescheduled.
  • 3-way matching – the ability to compare and ensure consistency between invoices, purchase orders and goods delivery notes. Your solution should allow you to check, and validate, all necessary information – discrepancies between documents, amounts that do not match, changes in banking details, etc., thereby improving your existing processes without changing them.
  • Standardized processing of all invoices via an ergonomic and centralized interface to facilitate any necessary inter-department collaboration to quickly and effectively obtain any information needed to manage supplier invoices.
  • The non-PO invoice. Ensure your chosen solution can manage all eventualities, including the non-PO invoice. Invoices for unquantifiable or unspecified amounts, such as repair services or travel and hotels, must still be part of your organisation’s AP workflow and validation process.
  • The ability to seamlessly synchronize with your ERP or accounting solution (SaaS or on-premise) via API (Application Programming Interfaces – a software intermediary that allows two applications to talk to each other) to ensure real time access and feedback.

Other additional advanced features can, and should, include timestamping and full traceability of all incoming invoices (from receipt to payment) and the ability to connect to all types of platforms, portals, or networks.


The benefits of artificial intelligence are significant!

  • Flexibility in a constantly changing business environment! This includes the ability to setup workflow approval on demand and to change it as and when needed; assign and delegate validation processes per branch, office, or AP group; address document tasks requests with non-ERP users and manage local and international invoices irrespective of language or currency.
  • Increased compliance with regulatory requirements and fraud prevention via a complete audit trail of chronological information related to each invoice and supporting documents, with full traceability from receipt thereof to payment. In addition, the ability to automatically verify any supplier information to help secure your processes and avoid fraud.
  • Quick and informed decision making. Applying specific validation rules to invoices enables you to define decision making patterns and quickly obtain approvals from the relevant parties. It also helps to minimise invoice processing errors, thereby reducing one’s administrative burden.

These are just some of the ways in which AI is transforming the Accounts Payable function. It is saving time and money – all the while upping efficiencies, transparency and security whilst further automating and streamlining the receipt, management, and processing of inbound invoices.

‘Tech-for-tech’ sake is never strategically sound. However, failure to embrace new technologies that will undoubtedly add enormous benefit and value to your organisation and the Accounts Payable function can ultimately see you left behind.