Evolving Accounts Payable through Automation
According to a recent article in Spend Matters, artificial intelligence (AI) has been responsible for not only making life much less difficult for many AP professionals, but also providing a major boost in efficiency. Many leading companies worldwide have implemented programs that can efficiently streamline the daily work of AP clerks via accounts payable automation. Accounts Payable works side-by-side with more efficient AP automation solutions, saving their organizations considerable money by reducing the invoice cycle time and alerting clerks of any suspicious invoices.
The one downside to all of this is that it may be causing some AP professionals to experience a heightened level of stress regarding their job security. Will AI and AP automation replace them someday? It’s a very common worry and not just among accounting professionals. People in many different industries worldwide are worried about the very same thing, from robots in hotels to drones that can analyze crop yields and algorithms that can write screenplays. In fact, IBM even has supercomputers that can diagnose diseases.
Does all this AI and sophisticated software mean that human beings will be replaced by machines anytime soon? History has shown that, although automation sometimes leads to a certain amount of lost jobs, in most cases, it creates new ones. In fact, according to a 2015 MIT study, new jobs making some old jobs obsolete causes a boost in output and productivity within companies. This boost then creates an increase in demand for skilled humans to perform those new tasks. New tasks, new jobs.
A good example of this would be the introduction of ATMs in the 70s. They didn’t eliminate bank tellers, but simply made their jobs evolve into what they are today. Thanks to ATMs, tellers now have more time for customer service and educating customers about other bank services.
Today workers often fear that they will lose their jobs to automation based upon the notion that their department could function as a fully automated entity. However, the more plausible scenario is one of partial automation instead, according to a 2017 McKinsey Global Institute report. And, the use of partial automation has already become a major game-changer in many sectors. Some of them were formerly thought of as industries where automation could never be implemented. AI machines are currently working closely with engineers, attorneys, doctors, and stock traders, as well as with top brass in the military.
So, even as intelligent machines redefine jobs in AP departments, they also free up your time for doing more to enhance productivity. Rather than replacing you, automation can give everybody additional freedom and who doesn’t love that? It’s a win-win for everybody involved when companies start using AP automation, e-invoicing, and AI.