Finance and technology is anything but static. Even though software is an abstraction of human creativity that consists of ones and zeros, it still behaves like a living, breathing thing that evolves over time, according to the needs and wishes of its users. Any system worth its money will start small and get better, more powerful and easier to use over time. At least that’s the vision.
The Parallels of Accounts Payable Technology and Plants
You can also think of technology as a row of seedlings in an experimental garden. They all start out with the promise of making our lives easier. Some technologies will grow fast yet run the risk of withering. Some are just weeds that threaten to take over the whole lot, while others grow a bit more slowly but still continuously add new leaves, branches or flowers.
They might even bear fruit -- save its users time and money, boost efficiency and productivity, as well as connect enterprises in a better, more meaningful way. Just like a gardener has to take stock of his or her plot, teams can and should select and nourish the technologies or individual pieces of software that help them do their job -- and even have some fun with it.
If you approach everyday technology from that “green thumb” vantage point, you stand to harvest far more satisfaction and bottom-line benefits than if you just work with a bunch of tools. Take a team working in Accounts Payable. AP clerks have for many years relied on a manual, heavily paper-based process, but they have also seen many new pieces of software sprout. Picking the right ones can prepare an organization for a lush digital future.
Optical character recognition (OCR), for instance, has facilitated data capture from invoices and purchase orders. Next came robotic process automation or RPA that lets little software bots go to work without human intervention, say automatically responding to an inquiry from a vendor or customer. The next promising sprout is machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence that enables software to mimic human smarts by understanding the concept of an invoice, its contents and the workflow it fits into, from GL coding to approvals and electronic payments.
Even better, the more submissions such systems are fed, the more intelligent they become. The larger their training set, in short, the steeper their learning curve is. AP clerks and managers will only have to step in to handle exceptions, for example to review items flagged as potentially fraudulent or to approve an invoice for payment that magically made its way to their screen. To stick with the gardening scene, such approvals can now be done outdoors, on a mobile device.
Let Yooz be the Gardner of your AP process
Now, not everyone has a green thumb, as we all know from painful experiences with dead potted plants. But since state of the art AP Automation platforms such as Yooz live in the cloud, they are in fact the gardener doing most of the work for you. They plant the seeds of new technologies, quickly weed out the less promising ones, water and tend to the innovative options, prune them back for optimum usability, graft and bend them the right way so you can get things done exactly the way you want to. And, most importantly, they make sure that what you work with keeps growing in terms of capabilities and reliability.
Like a living garden, AP Automation done right never stops evolving or bearing fruit. It will free your team from tedious, repetitive work and give them the much-deserved freedom to focus on value-added tasks like tending to the relationships with partners and suppliers. Success in this sense is all about planting the seeds, being patient and eventually having more time to smell the roses.