The difference between autonomous invoice processing and invoice processing automation

 min read

Accounting automation shouldn’t be confused with autonomous accounting; this is the difference.

Large enterprises spend millions to tens of millions of dollars per year on financial transaction processing and classification. They do so either completely manually or using template-based so-called automation, with humans manually adding every exception and reviewing the results. The Vic.ai platform can completely replace both rules-and-template-based workflows and manual processing. In fact, when using Vic.ai’s autonomous AI solution, finance teams can save up to 80% of their time spent on invoice processing.

But let us back up and get to the bottom of the difference between autonomous invoice processing and invoice processing automation.

  • Invoice processing automation is a rule-based process that extracts data from an invoice and uses it to populate all the required information into the accounts payable system.

  • Autonomous invoice processing uses AI to run the accounting process from beginning to end. This includes invoice entry, classification, matching, and approvals. With AI technology, it can extract the number on an invoice, understand and classify the cost, send it to the right person for approval, or automatically approve it if it meets all the criteria.

Invoice processing has a technical challenge – every invoice looks different – ingesting and understanding all invoices can be complicated for a rule-based solution, as the pre-programmed templates limit it. A solution like Vic.ai is not limited to a set of templates, which means that it can handle any type of invoice that it’s never seen before.

 

Applying reasoning to the invoice data

With invoice processing, it’s not only about reading the invoice; it’s also about being able to classify a number on an invoice and the correct type of cost. Reading an invoice is “easy,” but classifying it correctly requires intelligence (either by a human or more efficiently by an AI solution like Vic.)

With autonomous processing, you can apply reasoning on top of the automating process, enabling it to adapt to many situations, unlike invoice processing automation confined by the rules set up. Template-based automation can be a challenge with invoices, in particular, since they all look different based on different templates. However, an autonomous solution uses reasoning to adapt to these variances. The AI can figure out what’s important on its own and gets more intelligent the longer it runs.

When defining autonomous accounting, our CEO Alexander Hagerup says:

 “Accounting automation shouldn’t be confused with autonomous accounting. The first is rule or template-based, pre-programmed, and therefore not adapting to the environment. When leveraging Artificial Intelligence, we can have the technology apply reason and strategize on the data, and that’s when you can achieve autonomous accounting. Autonomous systems do not require human input or supervision.”

Accounting tasks are an excellent fit for AI-based automation since it’s inherently number-based. Still, there are endless permutations and fine distinctions that, up until now, require trained accountants to make judgments. With Vic.ai, the AI algorithms can reason on behalf of accounting teams and adapt to new requirements making the accounting process autonomous.

If you think Vic.ai’s solution can be something for your company, we recommend scheduling a complimentary demo with one of our experts.

Image credit: Scott Graham

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