3 Key Takeaways from “Machine Learning in Practice – Towards a Touchless AP Automation” Webinar

The last session of our Autumn Webinar Series has finally come to a close. In it, Olav Maas, Director of AP Automation at Basware, and Kevin Kamau, Project Manager of Analytics at Basware, discussed how quality data arms your organisation with the information it needs to predict the future and achieve a fully touchless AP automation process. Here are the top 3 takeaways from the webinar and how you can continue pursuing growth amidst mature markets.

1. Ditch the paper – Gather the data.

Basware’s integrated suite of solutions automatically converts and delivers all invoices to you as true e-invoices,. The Basware Network is a key player in getting you there. Our network is the largest, open, global, business to business (B2B) network available. Through it, you can enable suppliers to go electronic and send and receive all invoices electronically using a variety of automated options such as:

e-invoicing: Suppliers send invoices electronically through the Basware Network directly to you. The Basware Network is free for suppliers and offers availability to over 1.5 million organisations and more than 220 global partner networks. You can send purchase orders and receive invoices electronically, manage your vendor data, connect and pay partners, and get in on discount programs and savings. The Basware Network also supports ALL invoice formats, meaning your suppliers don’t have to change the way they currently operate-- electronic, EDI/XML, PDF, etc. – covering direct, indirect, PO, Non-PO spending.

SmartPDF: This unique Basware technology eliminates the manual work and risk of errors associated with handling paper invoices. No printing, scanning, or re-entering of invoice information is required because the invoice data is extracted directly from the readable PDF. From there, it’s automatically put into your AP or ERP system. The process is simple. Suppliers send you the same PDF invoice by e-mail as they do today. Basware SmartPDF uses AI to determine if the PDF is a readable PDF or an image PDF. Readable PDFs are sent through the Basware Network, converting the attachment into an e-invoice in near real time, without OCR, data errors, or delay. The extracted invoice data is then delivered electronically into your AP or ERP system. 

2. Automate for a fully touchless AP.

Automated AP processes help reduce manual operations while cutting cycle times and overall costs. The more of these automated technologies you adopt, the closer you are to a fully touchless AP. There are a few ways that Basware help organisations go touchless.

Smart Coding: Automated coding is one way that Basware takes the manual effort out of the hands of the AP team and puts it into the hands of data recognition and machine learning (ML). Smart coding eliminates the need for your AP team to manually code invoices if there’s no purchase order (PO) created to match to that invoice. Using a machine learning algorithm, smart coding technology automatically searches and analyses historical data and invoice coding templates to recommend the proper general ledger (GL) coding of non-PO invoices. By leveraging and learning from company financial data, smart coding continuously improves the accuracy of its recommendations – increasing efficiency, productivity and accuracy of invoice handling.

Payment PlansPayment plans are a tool that enable AP teams to schedule automatic payments for recurring invoices. Payment plans can be configured in three ways:

1. Scheduled payments to automate recurring invoices that require payment at regular intervals

2. Budget-based to automate recurring invoices to a specific budget

3. Self-billing to automate recurring invoices for amounts that fall within certain ranges

Payment plans allow organisations to take AP automation a step further by extending digital processing to more invoice types. In the journey to touchless invoice processing, organisations apply best-fit matching capabilities, then layer on payment plans and leverage machine learning functionality like smart coding to process as many invoices as possible without human intervention.

3. Become strategic with advanced analytics.

Advanced analytics starts with getting good data into your system through automating your AP processes. Good data in equals good analytics out. Once you’ve automated your processes and gathered quality data in your system, the next step is utilising that information in the best way possible. With advanced analytics, you gain visibility into how you can continuously optimise your processes and your data for strategic decision making.

Advanced analytics empowers your organisation with the insight, oversight, and foresight needed to  

  • prevent late payments,

  • increase e-invoice rates,

  • resolve process bottlenecks, and

  • improve supplier relationships

Basware Analytics gives you the critical insight you need and empowers your company with actionable, easy-to-use, highly visual purchase-to-pay (P2P) reporting. Basware Analytics gives you insights into four strategic accounts payable KPIs. Using these KPIs, you can increase e-invoicing and matching rates while also improving efficiency, controlling spend, and drilling into details to reduce cycle times and analyse on-time payment performance.

Catch up on the webinar series.

If you missed out on this or any of the other webinars in our Autumn Webinar Series, check them all out on-demand.

Olav brings over 15 years experience of Product Management across the information technology and services industries. With a strong background in Finance and Automation, he has focused on Financial Control through Touchless Invoice Processing. Throughout his tenure at Basware, he has managed client projects using Business Process, Management, Project Portfolio Management, Outsourcing, and Business Intelligence skills.