Looking for quick ROI from automation?
The Accounts Payable function is often not a priority when it comes to digital transformation but the reality is that it's a perfect starting point for businesses to kick off a project.
For many firms, introducing remote working processes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant increasing their level of digitalisation. The 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey reported that of 4,200 IT leaders surveyed globally, nearly half felt that COVID-19 had accelerated their company’s digital transformation and adoption of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and AP automation.
Legacy and outdated processes, a huge variety of document types, significant manual effort and a lack of scalability in AP operations all contribute to an environment that's ripe for innovation. Modern AI-powered technologies transform the document-heavy back-office into a digitally-enabled function that is resilient, robust and set up for future growth and expansion.
Time to value
Another selling point is the time-to-value. Organisations accustomed to lengthy, strategic consulting-led projects are (pleasantly) surprised by just how quickly and easily the AP process can be transformed. Businesses can consume AI solutions through an API which typically only takes a matter of days to set up. In fact, one of our customers recently told us that he was extracting real value from the Sypht platform only an hour into setting it up!
Other organisations, who may have existing solutions and workflows in place, or who have a requirement to connect data from the AP process into an ERP for example, have found that these are not inhibitors when implementing AI solutions. Sypht customer BPAY Group uses SAP as its Finance platform and engaged with SAP solutions specialist DXC-Oxygen to implement Sypht.
Productivity gains were realised almost immediately, and the entire project was completed in under three weeks. "Everyone in the business was amazed how Sypht’s AI solution could be leveraged so quickly,’ says Oxana Barysheva, Head of Finance at BPAY Group. “Sypht simplifies our processes and reduces the time spent on manual data entry by 90%, and our efficiency has increased by more than 50%, not to mention a reduction in data entry mis-coding."
Preparing for the future
So time-to-value for current needs is clearly impressive. But what about the future state, when volumes of invoices may be expected to grow significantly in line with overall business growth? AI solutions adapt pretty quickly to this. The Sypht platform is purpose-built to scale as needed, so as volumes grow, so does capacity. A number of our customers have seen increased demand within a short timeframe - historically they would have dealt with this by hiring new headcount or bringing in additional resources - but now they can rest easy in the knowledge that Sypht is there to do the heavy lifting and they are able to contain costs whilst still supporting business expansion.
For many organisations, accuracy is a key driver in the decision to automate the AP process. For Financial Controllers and CFOs in particular, greater accuracy levels in the AP function provide more confidence around reporting and ultimately enable the business to make better decisions.
Working in tandem, AI solutions and humans can achieve the nirvana of 100% accuracy. Sypht, for example, extracts data to an average of 95%+ accuracy and then works with what we call ‘human-in-the loop’ validation to verify any exceptions that may have surfaced during the extraction process. The levels of human intervention and validation can be changed according to an organisation’s preferences and approval permissions which provide a high degree of flexibility and customisation for AP teams.
Also, the more data they consume, the better the Machine Learning models in the Sypht platform perform, so accuracy and productivity continue to improve over time. The models also learn to recognise new document types (such as a new invoice format), so it’s a hassle-free process to onboard new suppliers for example.
The Accounts Payable function represents a great starting place for organisations to cut their teeth with automation and use it as a launchpad for future digitisation and resilience planning projects.
For an informal chat on how we can help your business get started, and to hear how we have helped other companies just like yours, click here.