Businesses are becoming more aware of tech-enabled solutions and prioritizing tools that can help them work smarter — and not harder. As part of that awareness, companies across all industries are realizing the strategic value of accounts payable (AP) automation and developing an understanding of emerging technology like artificial intelligence (AI) that plays a critical role in AP automation solutions.
FinTechs are helping these companies gain an understanding of these innovative solutions. AvidXchange Chief Growth Officer Dan Drees told PYMNTS in an interview that the company has many prospects and existing customers who are interested in some of the more advanced technologies. “They hear and read about” technologies like blockchain, AI and machine learning, he said, and they almost feel like they’re supposed to know everything about it, and that’s creating a little bit of anxiety.
The FinTech, however, aims to explain to them that they don’t need to be an expert in those topics. It is there to vet those technologies and apply them inside of their platforms. As a result, customers can harness them without even knowing about it. In every part of its discussions, whether a new customer is coming to the company or at a user conference where it is talking to existing customers, the company is continuously aiming to put new technology into its platform — so it is educating them along the way.
As an example, one of the clearest uses of these advanced technologies is machine learning. The company has a series of bots that Drees says, “help route payments and make payments in the most efficient way.” If they encounter a problem in making a payment, they can report back, make adjustments, and, in a way, cure themselves. Another use case involves invoice ingestion. The FinTech receives many different forms and types of invoices from the vendor base of its buyers.
Some of those come in electronically, but the company even accepts paper mail and has operations that will scan them. And the company harnesses techniques that image those invoices in a specific way, look for elements in a certain way and then learn. In one case, an invoice number might always appear in the upper right-hand corner. If the format slightly changes, the company uses machine learning to know that it is no longer there. The technology then knows that the information is nine characters and that it has to search for it on the page.
The next time it receives an invoice, it will know to look for that information at the new location. Overall, the company’s objective, Drees said, is to drive to 100 percent ePayment adoption. Its roadmap and investment are focused on creating value on both sides of the buyer and supplier transaction to help enable that to happen. And, with innovation and education, FinTechs such as AvidXchange are helping businesses tap into the latest accounts payable innovations as they become more aware of emerging technologies.