Oracle Netsuite has announced NetSuite AP Automation, a banking solution designed to make it easier for businesses to process bills and pay vendors.
The new solution, launched at the company's annual SuiteWorld conference, provides firms with a full cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that automatically captures and processes vendor bills.
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Using AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) object detection, the system is able to capture bills in a faster and more accurate manner than manual entry, and from sources including emails. Captured bills are converted into digital text.
NetSuite AP Automation also automatically creates bill records, with accurate filled fields for vendor details pulled in the capture process, and matches bills to ensure payment details are accurate. Bill matching is fully integrated with SuiteApprovals for a seamless oversight, review and approval process, with bills routed to relevant employees.
Through the use of optical character recognition, the NetSuite AP Automation is also able to accurately capture cheque payments, an important feature for the 81% of US businesses that still use this as a B2B payment method.
Many companies are already finding that automation is a powerful tool for increasing both efficiency and employee productivity, with back office automation freeing up workers to tackle more complex duties. In a landscape increasingly led by digital transformation, Oracle NetSuite is attempting to target those companies that lack the resources to build whole systems from scratch, and need easily deployable, pre-packaged solutions.
On transactions, Oracle NetSuite is continuing with its HSBC partnership, working with the bank to facilitate automated ACH, cheque or virtual credit card payments through NetSuite AP Automation. Customers can use their own current account to fund payments or the HSBC virtual credit card, which provides security for payments by generating single-use card numbers. The SuiteBanking Center will act as a dashboard for HSBC online checking and credit card accounts, and allows users control over transactions and payment statuses.
Greater integration between HSBC and the automated system also provides benefits when it comes to payment reconciliation, with NetSuite AP Automation’s “intelligent rules engine” used to flag irregularities for review, and automatically creating bank fee entries. Users are encouraged to set their own parameters during setup, for example allowing a degree of discrepancy between payment totals.
HSBC hopes that the efficiency of the new system would in and of itself drive businesses to adopt its virtual credit card system. Other benefits include the increased security of its single-use numbers, and the decreased time it takes for the bank to verify payments through the method in comparison to mediums such as physical cheque.
In contrast to simple filtering scripts, which can automatically action corrections to common mistakes such as typos, Automation AP's ML elements learn what to flag and what to change over time. For example, if a typo is flagged as appearing in the 'company name' field of a bill, a user with appropriate authority will be prompted to select which company the bill actually references. Future instances of this typo will result in the system automatically sorting through the problem on its own.
Similarly, the system will learn from a company’s finances in order to prompt alerts for any anomalous payments, as well as to anticipate regular payments without the need for developers to manually assign each one.
As part of future updates, Oracle NetSuite is working on a framework to allow companies better control over the rules that AP Automation learns. For example, under the current system it is possible that the system might take on a one-off payment as a ‘rule’ for future payments, and while this can be manually rejected by the firm, Oracle NetSuite has indicated that future releases will give more transparency over AP Automation’s decision-making process.
“Accounts payable plays an important role in helping organisations manage cash flow, control costs and maintain strong relationships with vendors, but all too often the process is slow, tedious, and error-prone,” said Evan Goldberg, founder and EVP, Oracle NetSuite.
“By simplifying and automating the entire bill payment process – from data capture to payment and reconciliation – NetSuite AP Automation eliminates these challenges. This helps businesses streamline and improve a key operation, empowering AP teams to operate more efficiently and ultimately reduce costs.”
NetSuite AP Automation is available now in the US, and the first 1,000 companies to purchase it will receive a 50% subscription discount, free implementation and bill scanning at no charge.
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