A single accountant can manually process an invoice in roughly 5-10 minutes but compare that to 8 seconds. That’s the difference between manual work and Tangoe’s groundbreaking new invoice automation system leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to rapidly capture, document, and verify key billing information.
Invoices are a cumbersome necessity for every business, particularly when companies must work through hundreds and thousands of documents formatted in different ways with different labels and different line-item charges. The big challenge in accelerating financial management and bill pay is the lack of standardization. When locating information on an invoice is a game of seek-n-find, it’s difficult to separate the requirement of an intelligent human from the work of invoice processing.
But thanks to machine learning and advanced analytics Tangoe is changing that, and in doing so, we’re leading the industry with invoice hyper-automation powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Our Operations Team is training our new AI engine how to “think” like an IT financial analyst and become an expert in understanding invoices.
Here’s how it works.
Invoice Innovation: Using AI to Move Beyond Robotic Process Automation
In February, Tangoe launched the AI engine, advancing the company’s existing approach, which has largely relied on robotic process automation (RPA). The engine was designed to solve the problems of datapoint extraction for paper-based, scanned invoices which account for a large percentage of our client work. While electronic, system-generated invoices allow RPA systems to easily navigate organized, structured data, scanned paper documents have semi-structured data that “confuses” the computer and therefore slows data processing. Semi-structured data doesn’t follow standard formatting and is presented in unconventional ways, which explains why AI is the best tool for evaluating it.
Using machine learning, Tangoe’s engine has made great strides in understanding semi-structured data. It’s getting smarter with time, learning based on its first 50,000 invoices. We’re training it to recognize different layouts, look for keywords, and know where information lives, so it can accurately scrape data for an infinite number of different invoice formats.
Invoices are dynamic; there will never be a standard format for them, especially as vendors continue to modify their content and layout. This is the core issue that AI is solving for Tangoe and its clients. With reinforcement training from our Operations Team, the AI engine is establishing a broad foundational knowledge base. This helps it navigate semi-structured data with ease. Plus, our AI engine is adjusting to new changes and teachings — just like a human. As a result, Tangoe has reduced the percentage of invoices requiring manual processing by more than two thirds (2/3).
Rapidly Navigating Complex Datasets with Accuracy
Specifically, the new AI platform has helped Tangoe:
- Overcome the limitations of rules-based robotic invoice processing
- Accommodate varying formats across the 370,000 invoices processed monthly, including navigating nested tables, broken indentation, and field duplication
- Decipher between redundant information and important charges within each invoice
- Accelerate validation processes, ensuring the sum of various line-item charges match the total amount billed
- Reduce invoice loading times to 8 seconds and decrease the need for human intervention by more than two thirds
What AI-Powered Invoice Processing Means for Clients
When data accuracy and invoice validation is the success factor behind the performance of your financial operations, every step in the cost management process that can be automated matters. After all, automation is what lowers the number of invoices requiring manual re-review by Tangoe employees and clients. That’s important, because it means both our clients and Tangoe can spend less time doing mundane billing tasks and spend more time on strategic priorities and core competencies.
This is just the beginning of our AI journey with invoices. We’re on the forefront of having the fastest invoice processing speeds, and that equates to faster time-to-insight and faster time-to-savings for our clients.
Learn more about invoice processing and payment services from Tangoe.