Role of Human in Automated Accounting

Recently updated on March 8th, 2024 at 05:05 am

Imagine Nadia, a dedicated Accounts Payable (AP) staff member, sitting at her desk, surrounded by piles of receipts and invoices. Overwhelmed by the daunting task of managing the company’s expenses, she begins to wonder if there’s a better way. In this age of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, she ponders the future of accounting. Will machines take over the role of AP staff? Can technology truly replace the expertise, insights, and personal touch that human professionals bring to the table? Nadia discusses her thoughts with her long-time colleague and friend, Melissa, to see how she can change Nadia’s perspective and help her find a balance between technology and human expertise. 

Nadia: Hey, Melissa, you know, I’ve been thinking a lot about the advancements in automation lately. Do you ever wonder if it will eventually replace us in our jobs? 

Melissa: Huh, it has crossed my mind, but I think our expertise and personal touch are special. 

Nadia: Really? But how do we stay relevant with advancing automation? 

Melissa: We embrace technology as a tool, not a threat. Instead of competing with automation, we can collaborate with it. 

Nadia: You’re right, Melissa. It’s not about automation replacing us; it’s about how we harness its power to enhance our capabilities and deliver even greater value to our organization and stakeholders. 

Now, you might have an idea of the point I am trying to make here. As an accounts payable clerk or manager, you might have similar concerns as Nadia. Let’s embark on a visionary journey, exploring how accounts payable staff and automation can not only coexist but thrive in a harmonious partnership, ultimately driving greater results and success. 

Accounts Payable Department in the Age of AI 

The accounts payable landscape has undergone significant transformations with the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation. AP departments have evolved from primarily manual and paper-based processes to digital ecosystems powered by intelligent algorithms. This shift has brought greater efficiency and accuracy to financial workflows. Routine tasks, such as data entry, invoice processing, payment management, reconciliation, and report generation, can now be automated, freeing up the accounts payable staff to focus on higher-value activities. It also saves time, reduces costs, and minimizes errors. 

Despite these advancements, AP staff offer unique qualities that automation cannot replicate, including critical thinking, strategic decision-making, and the ability to interpret financial information within a broader business context. This combination of human expertise and technological support enables AP departments to operate at their best, delivering optimal results for the organization. 

The Symbiotic Relationship: Enabling Automation to Reach the Next Phase 

While automation brings efficiency to AP processes, human expertise plays a pivotal role in its success. Accounts payable staff, like Nadia, possess a deep understanding of complex vendor relationships, intricate payment terms, and the ability to navigate potential challenges with finesse. Their expertise allows them to identify discrepancies, negotiate favorable terms, and build strong vendor partnerships. Automation tools, combined with human expertise, can unlock the true potential for efficiency, accuracy, and strategic decision-making. 

Recent industry statistics reveal that businesses recognize the critical role of human accounts payable staff in managing complex vendor relationships and ensuring accuracy in financial transactions.

Moreover, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth for accountants from 2020 to 2030, driven by technological advancements. 

growth projection by bureau of labor

While automation streamlines processes, it is the nuanced understanding, adaptability, and problem-solving skills of human professionals that navigate intricate challenges, negotiate favorable terms, and build enduring vendor partnerships. 

Nadia and Melissa collaborate seamlessly with an automated system that intelligently processes invoices, ensuring accuracy and timeliness. The system detects anomalies and flags them for their attention, allowing them to exercise their expertise and judgment to resolve discrepancies. Nadia now harnesses the power of automation to optimize their AP workflow, reducing unnecessary human intervention and capitalizing on operational efficiency. They can now focus on things that matter – cutting down check payment costs, improving vendor relationships, and boosting cash flow. 

Preventing Obsolescence: The Evolving Role of AP Staff 

As automation advances, it is essential for AP staff to adapt and evolve. By embracing automation as an enabler rather than a threat, AP professionals can enhance their skill sets to process multiple invoices in just minutes and improve supplier relationships. This evolution ensures that their roles remain relevant and valuable in an increasingly automated environment. 

Automation offers unparalleled accuracy and consistency in AP processes. By automating routine tasks, AP staff can reduce the risk of manual errors and focus on activities that require human judgment and decision-making. Automation acts as a powerful tool that enables AP professionals to maintain data integrity, improve compliance, and ensure timely payments, ultimately enhancing the overall financial health of the organization. 

When AP staff and automation work together synergistically, the results are transformative. AP professionals can leverage automated tools to expedite invoice processing, reduce payment cycles, and gain valuable insights into cash flow management. This enhanced efficiency frees up time for AP staff to focus on building stronger vendor relationships, negotiating favorable terms, and identifying opportunities for cost savings. 

The collaborative efforts of AP staff and automation drive sustainable growth and position the organization for long-term success. 

Ready to experience the game-changing benefits of AP automation? Book a demo to revolutionize your AP process with PathQuest AP. 

Published on: 20 July 2023

john bugh author

John Bugh

John Bugh is Chief Revenue Officer for PathQuest, responsible for the strategic direction, planning, vision, growth, and performance of the company’s marketing, branding, and revenue streams.

As a seasoned professional with over 35 years of experience in executive sales, marketing, and operational leadership, John has worked to build high-performing leadership-teams that have a demonstrated track record of accelerating growth, increasing revenue, establishing sustainability, and improving profitability.

He is an avid life-long fan of the NY Yankees and loves to snow ski with his family whenever he has the opportunity!

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