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Does AI dream of electronic invoices?

If you are evaluating accounts payable invoice automation (APIA) software for your business, chances are you have heard the terms “AI” and “ML”. They seem like terms more suited for a neon-clad science fiction movie with the eventual threat of robots destroying humanity. But fear not! When it comes to AP Automation, AI and ML are a lot less terrifying and more helpful than they sound. 

What the heck is AI and ML? 

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines Artificial intelligence (AI) as “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior,” and Machine Learning (ML) as “the process by which a computer is able to improve its own performance by continuously incorporating new data into an existing statistical model.” While this certainly sounds like sci-fi of the future, both terms have existed since the 1950s. 

Although often used together, the main difference is AI allows a machine to carry out tasks like a human would (think: processing invoices), whereas ML is subset of AI, where a machine functions by learning from data (think: providing coding suggestions based off previous input). 

Sounds complicated, why should I care? 

In the Gartner® guide “Market Guide for Accounts Payable Invoice Automation Solutions,” they state: “Clear trends are emerging across the APIA market for advanced capabilities. Invoice automation has several clear use cases for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to deliver concrete results across the process.”1

Simply put, AI and ML are here to stay. But that isn’t a bad thing. For most APIA solutions AI and ML capabilities run in the background without you even noticing. 

Will my business be taken over by robot overlords? 

Don’t quote us, but there is a 99% chance that won’t happen (we’re saving that 1% skepticism just in case). If anything, those AI and ML robot overlords will make your business run more smoothly! 

Medius AP Automation uses patent-pending invoice capture software to improve invoice quality and cut AP costs. The software relies on technology called Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and AI to intuitively extract relevant data from paper and digital invoices. All of this is done automatically without human intervention. 

Other benefits of AI and ML in the accounts payable world include:  

  • Accurate account coding suggestions 
  • Matching line items on a PO to an invoice 
  • Catching duplicate invoices based on content 
  • Detecting fraudulent activity 
  • Automatic routing of invoices for approval 
  • Determining the best supplier rates

The future (of AP Automation) is now 

New investments in technology such as AI and ML will only increase its presence in APIA software. According to the report, “Gartner forecasts that the spend on the APIA and supplier e-invoicing software markets will more than double over the next five years.”1 

APIA vendors are listening to their customers’ needs and preparing for government regulations by extending their functionalities. Look for AI and ML to be a huge component in increasing collaboration through supplier portal actions, enabling various payment capabilities including cross-border transactions, providing in-depth analytics, integrations with government regulations to ensure compliance, and more. 



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