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APPZEN Industry Solutions

AI-powered spend auditing in Professional Services

Be a master of efficiency. Keep knowledge workers productive. Prevent runaway costs. And keep your firm’s reputation clean. All with AI-powered spend auditing.

Professional Services firms need to control costs and stay productive

Professional Services firms have a unique challenge: They are all about people. Bringing in the right people. Making them productive. Focusing their attention on the right things. Keeping them happy. And getting the most out of them. Finance leaders in Professional Services have to strike a balance between keeping knowledge workers focused on the business at hand and instituting enough process to control spend and reduce risk. Talented employees such as lawyers, consultants, investment bankers, and agency directors may not have your expense policy or spend management process in the front of their minds on a day-to-day basis. Instead, they’re focused on winning business, serving clients’ needs, and getting work done as efficiently as possible.

When it comes to business spend in Professional Services, there are tons of opportunities for errors, waste, and fraud. Your firm probably has a high spend volume, both on the employee expense side as your knowledge workers travel to see, entertain, and build relationships with clients, as well as on the business side as you purchase supplies and employ contractors. As employees focus on generating business and serving clients, spend controls and regulatory compliance may not be top of mind for them.

However, just because business spending isn’t a focus for them doesn’t mean it can’t have a negative impact on your firm’s bottom line and reputation if you don’t keep an eye on it. Errors and waste can add up, especially for frequent travelers. People accidentally submit the same receipt twice, fat finger their expense report, and upgrade air travel, hotels, and car rentals even if the policy says not to. Even though fraud is rare, it can cost you when it happens. The Professional Services industry experiences the third highest in occupational fraud per person, after Communications and Publishing and Energy, with a median loss of $258,000 per scheme.

Even more important than spend leakage in your expense management process is keeping your firm’s knowledge workers happy and focused. Expense reports are notoriously burdensome, and the time it takes for them to create and submit expense reports, their managers to review them, and auditors to make sure they are compliant is too long! Unless they just won the lotto, chances are waiting to be reimbursed (especially when you’re carrying those expenses, on top of long hours and grueling travel) can wear them down. And because firms like yours depend on the best talent to compete in the marketplace, anything you can do to delight employees is a win.

8X

Enterprises that use AI to audit spend find 8x more regulatory violations than those that don’t.

4/5

REDUCTION IN REIMBURSEMENT TIME

Key use cases

Audit 100% of expenses and invoices before you pay

Use AI to audit 100% of expenses and invoices, all before you pay a cent. Auto-approve the low-risk stuff and flag risky spend for your real people.

Go beyond two- or three-way match with “Star Match”

Don’t just validate price and units. How about SLAs, volume discounts, delivery times, contractor work validation, and more? Match what matters using AI.

Shape employee spending behavior

Nobody’s reading the paper-based spend policy? Surprise, surprise. Instead, show people the way with AI-based auditing and automatic approvals.

Avoid duplicate spend and suss out all errors, waste, and fraud

Let AI do the detective work for you, finding duplicates even across AP systems and detecting mistakes, wasteful spending, and even the fraudsters.

Reimburse employees in record time

Take away managers’ rubber-stamp and auto-approve low-risk spend. Cut reimbursement from weeks to hours and employees will jump for joy!

Keep your company out of regulatory hot water

Need to keep an eye on anti-bribery and corruption in your expenses, contracts, and invoices? Suss it out with AI.

Make sure invoices comply with contract terms

Remember those contracts you negotiated? Are all of those volume discounts and payment terms showing up on your invoices? Be sure with AI.

Remember those contracts you negotiated? Are all of those volume discounts and payment terms showing up on your invoices? Be sure with AI.

On the accounts payable systems side, invoicing errors can drag down your firm’s profitability. Depending on your level of AP automation and centralization, you experience an invoice error rate of between 10 and 30 percent, according to the Institute of Finance and Management (IOFM). Many back-office systems catch simple errors like same-number invoice duplicates, but never see issues like double payments from system overrides or duplicates across invoices and expenses. Even harder to catch are the invoices that don’t comply with the contracts you went to such lengths to negotiate with vendors. Yet if you went through your invoices you’d find a fair number whose payment terms or volume discounts don’t match. God help you if you have multiple back-office systems that don’t talk to each other, because that really complicates the issue.

Another consideration beyond spend leakage is regulatory compliance. Fines and penalties from regulatory violations are bad for business, but what will really kill you is the loss of reputation from being named in regulatory authority actions because of a mistaken payment to a debarred vendors, a bribe paid to a foreign government official, or a business partnership with an organization that has been sanctioned for corruption or terrorism. Clues to regulatory violations like these are in your invoices, contracts, and spend management tools.

What is required is a spend audit process that covers 100 percent of your spend, auditing expense reports, invoices, and contracts across all of your AP systems. It should understand and keep track of your corporate policy and negotiated supplier contracts, as well as all spend-related laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and those governed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). And it needs to streamline your workflows so that you keep your knowledge workers productive and focused.

AI-powered spend auditing from AppZen is your go-to to get control of spend, keep your company’s reputation pristine when it comes to spend-related compliance, and cut steps from your spend approval and expense reimbursement processes so people and suppliers can get paid on time. Our platform is a must have for modern finance teams to reduce spend, comply with policy, and streamline process.

AppZen redirects auditors’ time to value-added activities.

Senior Director, Compliance,
Financial Services

Three of the top five high technology firms audit spend with AppZen.

Schedule a demo, today.

Key Chong

Enterprise Account Executive

Contact us to set up a demo of our platform with one of our friendly enterprise account executives.

Schedule a Demo

Key Chong

Enterprise Account Executive