Our customers actively partner with us to push the boundaries of what AI can do. At AppZen on Tour in Chicago, we continued the tradition of inspiring and educating one another during talks filled with transformational customer experiences, thought leadership sessions, and industry best practices. The day’s buzz centered around three themes: upskilling talent with AI, how the latest in generative AI technology has enabled new features our customers can't wait to get their hands on, and small changes that lead to huge time and cost savings.
“I would say be open to change. Just because the word ‘AI’ is so scary, it doesn’t mean that AI cannot be flexible or customizable. Keep an open mind. And don’t just say no right away because you’re scared of technology.” — AppZen on Tour attendee
Upskilling: “AI is empowering my team.”
When accountants first began moving from paper expense reports to digital spreadsheets, everyone worried that jobs would be lost. Instead, they learned new skills and created new job categories. In the same way, the latest AI tools are creating opportunities for upskilling your finance team, creating entire job roles specialized in AI-enabled functions.
According to our recent survey, only 15% of our customers are worried about losing their jobs to AI. Most are excited about how it can make their work easier. Strategic Customer Success leader, Asad Malik, outlined the ways AI is creating new Finance Operations positions for Travel & Expense and Accounts Payable. Here are some of the areas of FinOps where AI is creating jobs:
Automation of routine tasks
Enhanced accuracy and compliance
Data analysis and reporting
Customer service and support
AI implementation and management
Process improvement and optimization
Training and support
AI governance and compliance
Malik pointed out that forward-thinking accounting professionals today are rapidly becoming FinOps SMEs within their global corporations who can strategize and work on value-adding initiatives while AI handles “busy work.” Research from Goldman Sachs suggests that the widespread implementation of generative AI could raise global GDP by 7%. With AI handling the tedious work of line-by-line audits and data keying, our own customers often realize an exponential increase in spend reduction alongside greater finance team satisfaction.
How much can I save on expense audits?
With AI in their tech stacks, auditors have seen both business growth and the empowerment of company talent. It gives employees the ability to leverage the kinds of soft skills that no technology will ever be able to truly duplicate, like intuition, empathy, conflict resolution, leadership and motivation, cultural sensitivity, and effective communication in ambiguous situations. Our customers agreed.
“I’ve seen an increase in the intellectual curiosity to start playing around with more reports and analytics and get involved in things that will allow my team to utilize a different skill set that they were not able to optimize before because it’s just constant manual work.” — AppZen on Tour attendee
A finance AI journey: “Generative AI can enable us in exciting new ways.”
As a leader in the development of autonomous finance AI technology, AppZen has set the industry standard. Our co-founder and CTO, Kunal Verma, gave attendees a mountaintop view of our decades-long journey, bringing a full suite of AI-powered finance solutions to market. Especially inspiring was his outlining of the history of Transformer technology and the ways in which AppZen continues to incorporate Transformers and generative AI into the most capable finance AI tools on the market.
When asked which of our latest products they plan to use, now that they’ve seen what AppZen is capable of, generative AI communication features repeatedly rose to the top of our customers’ wants. There was widespread agreement that AppZen Inbox is our most exciting advancement. Spend Audit, Team Intelligence, and the enhancements of the Apps available in our AppStore were also on their wish lists.
A little goes a long way: “How can AppZen save me even more time and money?”
Our customers have seen how small changes can make a big difference. Have you heard the story of how Northwest Airlines saved $500K by slicing limes into 16 pieces instead of 10? Or how American Airlines saved $40k in one year by removing a single olive from salads served in First Class? In a similar way, the Apps in our AppStore can make changes to AppZen Expense Audit that seem small at first but can add up to thousands of dollars, as they scale to the complexity of your business needs. In their eye-opening Best Practices sessions, Venkata Gudugundla and Colton Durham from the Customer Success Team showed customers how to gain additional cost savings for their companies. Applying the Conflicting Expenses Check App, for example, can eliminate the “double dipping” of claiming both a per diem and an individual meal on an expense report.
Time is also a precious commodity. Customers have told us their busy managers want only key details when reviewing spend. “Tell me who to talk to and tell me what we need to talk about,” they say. Solutions Consultant, Katie Buttaro, showed attendees how to speed up the workflow while improving compliance using our Team Intelligence solution. This powerful tool provides managers with a broad overview of team spend data with details on anything high-risk, sent via automated, monthly emails. AppZen’s solution to this challenge is particularly valuable because it eliminates the need for management approval of low- and medium-risk spend, adding up to days or even months of time recovered.
Mapping out the next leg of the journey
Once our customers had a clear view of the roadmap over the mountains ahead, we asked them about their business goals. All of the stops we’ve already planned out will continue changing the landscape of finance operations. But what enhancements are they most looking forward to seeing in the future? Some of their proposals included: features within a mobile platform, AR efficiency enhancements, Apps for building and customizing report insights, the ability to recognize a check request and convert it into invoice data, and the ability to process multiple invoices at once from national accounts.
“If you have a particular challenge or issue, especially something arduous and time-consuming, I would love to know about it. Because we may be able to help.” — Andrew Foster, AppZen
AppZen’s VP of Consulting Services, Andrew Foster, reminded attendees of AppZen’s excitement about and commitment to spurring new research and development with ideas from our customers. “When we started AppZen, it was predominantly Expense Audit,” he said. “Then our customers started to ask about AP. ‘How could you use that kind of technology over here?’ I always think it’s worthwhile having a conversation with your CSM. If you have a particular challenge or issue, especially something arduous and time-consuming, I would love to know about it. Because we may be able to help.”
Get the latest in your inbox
Subscribe to the AppZen blog and never miss a post!