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What AI AP automation can do that ERP can't do alone

Chances are you are using an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for financial processes. But, if you use it for the accounts payable process, you are missing out on the full potential of artificial intelligence and AP automation

While ERP systems are great at streamlining back-end operations, their capabilities in accounts payable lag behind. The distinct functionalities AI in AP automation brings to the table that ERP systems alone cannot provide are too great to miss out on. Let’s explore these functionalities and learn why creating a seamless connection between both solutions is likely what you want for ultimate ROI. 

AI accounts payable automation vs. ERP

Artificial intelligence plays a big role in the best accounts payable automation solutions on the market today. Savvy AP teams use AI-powered solutions to handle the repetitive and manual tasks involved in AP processing, including data entry, matching invoices to purchase orders and coding expenses to the right accounts. ERP systems also incorporate AI but are not specific to the AP process, leaving your team with partially automated or manual ways to organize AP functions. ERPs are generally not designed to cover invoice capture, data entry, matching invoices to purchase orders, coding expenses matching, error and duplication detection and more. However, evolving AI capabilities within accounts payable can significantly improve efficiencies, productivity and cost savings.

According to Ardent Partners, nearly three-quarters of all AP, P2P and finance leaders identified smarter systems as the new innovation that will drive their organizations to the next level of performance. Let’s see why:

One of the perks of AI-backed AP automation is its smart ability to extract and process data from invoices. Unlike ERP systems that struggle with unstructured data, AI-powered automation uses optical character recognition (OCR) and natural language processing (NLP) to precisely extract vital info from invoices. The power of AI is that it can also learn over time and adapt rules and invoice processing for better accuracy and efficiency in handling different invoice patterns and document types.

AI-powered AP automation goes beyond basic reporting capabilities in ERP systems, providing more advanced analytics for finance teams and CFOs. Machine learning algorithms analyze historical data to give you valuable insights into spending patterns, vendor performance and cost-saving opportunities. With real-time reports and insights on outstanding invoice liabilities, cash flow forecasts, early payment discounts and more, your finance leaders can make more informed decisions and optimize their financial strategies.

Fraud is a big deal in finance – and the numbers speak for themselves, with 95 percent of businesses reporting fraud in 2021. Spotting fraudulent activities and managing risks within accounts payable can save headaches and a lot of money. You can minimize risk and catch fraud before it happens with AI-powered AP automation tools, but not with an ERP alone. AP solutions use anomaly detection algorithms to catch suspicious patterns, odd transactions and possible duplicate invoices. AI functionalities like machine learning are vital in helping organizations reduce financial fraud risks and comply with regulations.

Unlike old-school ERP systems, AI-powered AP automation simplifies the approval workflow by automating repetitive tasks and routing invoices through predefined approval processes. With the help of machine learning algorithms, you can optimize and speed up the approval cycle by learning from historical approval patterns.

Benefits of AP automation integration with your ERP

There is no doubt ERPs are valuable to an organization for many reasons. Still, an AI-powered AP automation solution is the right choice to get the most from your accounts payable data and process. And, when ERP and AP come together, there are added benefits.

  • More accurate, efficient processes
    Combining AI AP automation and ERP creates a powerful synergy, giving you precise and efficient data processing that reduces errors and manual intervention. By integrating AP automation with ERP, the entire invoice approval process becomes streamlined. Real-time data from both systems helps route invoices for approvals automatically based on predefined rules and workflows. This significantly speeds up the approval cycle, reducing payment bottlenecks and delays. Plus, it helps you manage your cash flow better.
  • More money in the budget
    You can strategically allocate your resources by minimizing manual tasks and reallocating them to value-added activities. AP automation digitizes and accelerates the entire AP process, helping you save costs on paper, printing, storing, and shipping. It eliminates the need for manual data entry by digitizing invoices against ERP data, automatically uploading relevant data to the ERP system, and sending exceptions to the right approver.
  • Better visibility
    Integrating AI AP automation with ERP provides real-time visibility into financial data, empowering businesses to optimize cash flow and make informed decisions. With AP automation, you can easily retrieve invoices, gain insights into each process stage and access interactive reporting dashboards. All this information is accessible anytime, anywhere, ensuring your AP processes perform at their best.
  • Compliance, audit and risk management
    Combining ERP and AP Automation is a game-changer for compliance and risk management. AI functionalities mitigate risk and give you a complete audit trail of all AP activities, so you can easily show that you follow all the financial regulations. Plus, it reduces fraud and errors by automating manual tasks and giving you real-time visibility into your finances.

Integrate your ERP with Medius

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The strategic value of combining AI-powered AP Automation with ERP systems is huge. It's a crucial step towards digital transformation and operational excellence. By embracing this integration, businesses can streamline their financial processes, boost efficiency, and gain a competitive edge. And with Medius, this transformation is doable.

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