Upon hearing the words “Artificial Intelligence” most of us instantly assume some sort of an inhuman power dominating us all. Thanks to all the sci-fi movies such as Terminator and The Matrix who have time and again reminded us of the repercussions of depending upon artificial intelligence.

Even Elon Musk has expressed his concerns over AI.

But is it really that bad?

Well, in reality, no. (At least not yet.)

A world where a minor human error holds the power of tainting your credibility — it’s actually a thought worth your penny.

Simply put, AI is a computer’s ability to process data in progressively smarter ways.

AI is made of data, and the more of it you supply, the more the technology serves you. When fueled by real-time data from across the business, AI can automate procedural tasks while helping your team become an influential source of business intelligence — a role you’re probably being asked to fulfill already.

Let’s look at Julian for instance; He’s an accountant aka ‘The Number-Cruncher’ of his firm. He definitely looks like someone who’s at the top of his game! And he for sure knows his way around numbers and data. His job role is to document financial transactions and recommend financial actions by analyzing accounting options.

But what is it he really does?

Unfortunately, he spends 75% of his precious time checking the expense reports filed by the employees, running after them for receipts and manually entering all those into the company’s accounting software.

            This is exactly how we reacted to our findings! He’s just cuter.

 

Julian ends up needing to spend an inordinate amount of his time in just wrestling with this data. Very little of his time is then left to do his actual work.

Enter Artificial Intelligence, and the equation changes entirely!

Julian wouldn’t have to run after the employees for receipts — they’ll automatically be reminded of any policy violations in their expenses.

He wouldn’t have to manually enter all the details into the accounting software — They’ll be continuously exported to the software automatically.

He would have all the time to actually do the work he loves.

 

This is exactly what Volopay — an AI-based expense management software — has set out to do.

Why use AI? Let me ask you 2 questions before actually answering this.

First,

Which among the two would you consider ‘intelligent’? — one who learns and exercises all the tricks and procedures for a task and scores well or the one who has little information at hand, understands and learns from it and scores even better?

Second,

How did you learn cycling? Were you told a detailed process of sitting on the bicycle, pushing the pedal, handling your weight etc or did you just fell and learned from your mistakes and became better each day?

We all know the answers to the above questions. (In case you’re still wondering, it’s going to be the latter in both the cases.)

The parameters considered to answer both the scenarios are quite similar.

In both the cases, the person uses the information/data at hand, uses intuition to fill the gaps in that information, learns and applies it.

He/she uses intuition instead of well-defined procedures to do the task.

We can make computers act similarly by using Machine Learning (ML), a set of techniques that currently power basically every successful AI implementation.

It does the work of learning by itself, uses the data to find patterns in large bodies of data and has the ability to do your work better than you without even learning the basics of it. That’s the true power and potential of AI.

Thus, with the help of AI, it is also easier to identify the kinds of outliers that cause CFOs headaches. For example, 80% of T&E fraud is committed by 5% of employees. Intelligent algorithms can call out suspicious expensing behavior. If the algorithm gets the data in real time, it can do so before the fraud even has an impact.

In this scenario what’s even more amazing is how AI can help Julian save 95% of the time on this expense reporting part which would have otherwise taken him hours to do so.

Our tests reveal that on an average it takes 91 mins for one expense report to go through the entire process. Whereas an AI-based software such as Volopay can complete the entire process in under 5.5 mins.

As to answer your question of ‘Why use AI?’ let’s look at some other points related to AI as we have already seen its impact on expense management-

  1. NLP AND OCR
    “Natural language processing” is the computer’s ability to translate human
    language into commands it can understand. “Optical character recognition” reads printed text. Together, these technologies are able to review articles, contracts, complex research and lot more. At Volopay, these 2 help us by reading the receipts you click and automatically categorize and enter all the details so that you don’t have to do it all manually.
  2. Outlier Identification
    As discussed above, an AI-based software such as Volopay works well with data and Finding patterns in large bodies of data makes it easier to identify the outliers and prevent fraud.
  3. Predictive Analysis
    With its learning abilities, AI can also predict the upcoming tasks or fraud based on the data you provide it with(Hint: Minority Report). Thus, with Volopay at your disposal, you’ll be able to reduce fraud in your organization by 85% before it even happens.
  4. Complex Process Automation
    AI will soon be able to accurately remit payments on invoices, approve employee expense reimbursements, and communicate with customers in an AR capacity. These operations will need to remain under human supervision for the foreseeable future, but eventually, the software will be highly adept at even complex processes and your employees will be free to pursue other work.

AI has the potential to save your team valuable time and provide them support for more strategic work. The tasks it performs best are repetitive, data-heavy processes. The key to leveraging this revolutionary technology is to develop an AI strategy: to prepare for and implement AI in a way that lets the technology’s capabilities maximize your employees’ strengths. With the advent and increasing importance of AI, we are focused on using it to our advantage and helping people like Julian become efficient and productive at the work they love.

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