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Three ways AI can improve your small business’s finances
AI

Three ways AI can improve your small business’s finances 

Many of us overlook the real ways that AI can be implemented to improve our everyday work lives, but business owners, leaders and decision-makers should explore the current opportunities offered by AI. The potential to improve business operations is massive. 

When scaling and growing a business, using AI will allow internal processes flow more smoothly. This is especially true within a team’s finance department, as in the past few years it has become easier for finance managers to track company spend. Advancements in AI have allowed businesses to explore new ways of solving finance challenges in areas such as expense report reliability, policy management and reducing fraud. And thanks to scalable cloud solutions, many of the opportunities afforded by AI are accessible to businesses of all sizes.

Increasing expense report reliability

For a team’s finance department, manually analyzing, organizing and processing finance documents is tedious and time-consuming. Canadian finance teams reported spending about 13.2 hours per week on manually processing expense reports, which equates to nearly eight full work days for a single employee each month. AI can reduce auditing time significantly by as much as 90 per cent and applies “human thinking” when automatically checking all expense reports to reduce expense reporting errors by 60 per cent

Implementing AI and automated expense and invoicing solutions into a business help finance teams spend less time on monotonous tasks so they spend more time focusing on actionable ways to improve the business. For small businesses, prioritizing employee time will help drive growth.   

Using data to manage policy changes

Today’s businesses demand data to make informed decisions. The ability of artificial intelligence to provide real-time data helps improve visibility into where and how money is being spent. Having the ability to quickly access reliable data allows the finance department to gain more control over a company’s cash flow.

With increased visibility, companies can better optimize which policies are working for the company. Data can help reveal if certain policy violations are justifiable. For example, using ride-share services such as Uber instead of taxis could potentially save the company money, suggesting an opportunity for updated policy procedures that align with employee habits. Using an AI application when gathering and summarizing numbers will help identify trends and keep things better organized, allowing small businesses can make data-driven decisions when it comes to changing policies.  

Pattern detection helps employees be compliant

With increased visibility, the risk of fraud and noncompliance decreases. AI can predict patterns that humans may overlook and is trained to detect a wide range of anomalies in expense reports. By detecting patterns, businesses are better equipped to tackle expense fraud from employees expensing things they shouldn’t be. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the average organization loses five per cent of its annual revenue to internal fraud. For a small business, this can be a significant loss. By leveraging AI, organizations can automatically detect expense violations such as disallowed or personal spend, unverifiable receipts, personal credit card usage, disallowed merchants and travel add-ons, to help reduce the impact of expense fraud. 

By Brian Veloso, Senior Director, SAP Concur Canada.

(Photo: Maxpixel)

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