UK finance leaders are recognising the need for automated solutions, with a recent study finding that 21% of CFOs view automation as their most important investment priority for the next five years.
Undertaken in November 2019 by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO, the study of over 200 CFOs and FDs also found that 87% of businesses have automated key processes in the last year.
However, many CFOs and financial directors deem AP automation to be too complex, expensive and difficult to implement.
A separate study undertaken by Invoiced found that out of the 450 finance executives questioned, finding vendors that meet requirements (40%), securing the necessary budget (38%) and making time for implementation (37%) were the three highest ranking challenges to adopting automation within their finance departments.
Yooz, an accounts payable automation software provider, is confident that it has developed a solution that is both affordable while employing the latest, most advanced technologies.
“With Yooz, AP automation becomes an easily achievable strategy for businesses to significantly boost efficiency and keep one step ahead of the market,” according to Magali Michel, director of Yooz. “Technology that used to be only available to big firms is now accessible for all.”
The Invoiced study also identified the greatest benefits of automation for finance executives. Improving productivity (55%) came out on top, with reducing human error (53%) and refocusing staff on strategic work (50%) in second and third.
What problem needs solving?
Before AI and automation, accounting teams manually created and processed invoices, purchase orders or delivery orders on paper documents. And before automating the AP workflow, suppliers had limited insight into payment timing details.
Since then, technology has advanced, but while the means to automate the accounts payable function have been in place for some time, many organisations have failed to invest in software powerful enough to drive opportunities.
This suggests that the feeling that automation software is too expensive, complex and difficult to integrate is getting the better of financial decision makers as they strive to adapt to the new digital industry, and therefore there are still many departments yet to adopt such technology.
In Yooz’s experience, finance executives also fear that the cost to train their workforce with new systems is too expensive, and that technology may be unsafe because of cyber security issues.
Innovation in automation has produced technology that can deliver accounts payable automation that is powerful, accessible and simple, allowing everyone the chance to embrace digital transformation.
Algorithms used by automation and AI have become more reliable, flexible and adaptable. In the case of AP functions, this enables solutions to automatically manage documents with variable structures, such as invoices.
Data is therefore automatically recognised and input in a reliable way on a scale that manual processes would take far longer, giving employees in finance departments more time to analyse the data and to focus on more high-value, strategic tasks.
Accounts payable automation software, such as Yooz, is also self-learning. Every invoice entered into the system globally gives it more data to learn from, and powerful insights can be gained. Through the application of AI and RPA, the system can detect patterns that inform where a company is allocating its resources.
These insights can play an important role in aiding corporate decision making, reducing costs and creating value in the long run for a company. In this way, CFOs can draw on their accounts payable managers to inform business strategy.
Such software also utilises the cloud to make it more accessible to an organisation, its suppliers and its customers. For example, Yooz requires no IT infrastructure, is covered by an all-inclusive monthly subscription and has a mobile application.
The technology enables closer relationship with supplier – a vitally important aspect of ensuring competitive advantage. It can identify and interact with suppliers, automatically intake, code, process, and route invoices, and denote payment deadlines, approval workflows, and the approvers.
Cloud solutions are also secure and simple to use. Yooz’s end-to-end service runs entirely on the cloud and covers the whole P2P process. Companies can therefore capture, manage and process financial documents without up-front investment.
“Simplicity, performance, affordability, mobility, speed, transparency, traceability, and security are the key words to describe Yooz’s unique offer,” said Michel.