Does your finance team still manage your T&E with Excel? Process invoices manually? Randomly select 10% of your expense reports to audit?
If so, we understand if incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into your finance function may feel like a bit of an impossible leap. Change can be difficult, and yes, require a bit of time and resources and brainpower upfront. But for finance teams who are overextended, perpetually behind on processing invoices and expense reports, worried about fraud, and caught up in constant paper shuffling, AI can be a godsend — helping your company stay ahead of the curve, streamline processes, and detect fraud and errors at nominal cost.
Here are four ways AI can help:
1. Save time
“I have plenty of extra time to audit expense reports,” said no finance team, ever. Manual invoice and expense report audits are gnarly beasts, from squinting at line items to frustratingly cross-referencing receipt information with Google searches to double-checking for out-of-policy purchases to cross-checking invoices and contracts (which are never stored where you think they should be) and more. It’s no surprise that most businesses only audit a measly 2 to 10 percent of their invoices and expense reports. When you use AI, however, the audit process takes a fraction of the time — meaning it’s actually possible to audit 100% of spend (yes, really). AI flags only high-risk invoices for manual approval, saving time and preventing leakage.
2. Reduce manual errors
To err is human. To catch errors? AI. Artificial intelligence can easily and instantaneously detect mistakes like duplicate charges, which easily slip under the radar with human auditors. For example, if an employee (accidentally or on purpose) submits a duplicate expense report in April and June, catching that error would require the auditor to comb through months of past reports — which, needless to say, is an impossible expectation. But with AI, cross-checking is done instantaneously and automatically, and any duplicates will be flagged with the click of a button.
3. Streamline processes
With money constantly flowing in and out of your organization — to vendors, from customers, to and from employees — it can be a full-time job simply to keep track of it all, let alone analyze trends in order to reinforce or make changes to company policies. With AI, you can see at-a-glance reports to gain valuable insight into spend behavior that will inform policy change and cut back on leakage.
4. Mitigate legal risk
Anti-bribery and other anti-corruption laws are important but also often very nuanced, meaning that it’s not impossible for well-meaning companies to unwittingly find themselves in violation. AI can help make sure that your company doesn’t find itself in hot water on these or other rules — the consequences of which can be severe.
Want to learn more about how AI can help your finance team? Download our new ebook, Artificial Intelligence in Spend Auditing For Dummies to learn more.