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A Case Study in Using RPA and AI in Accounts Receivable

As Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) quickly become part of the nomenclature for Shared Services, almost every conference topic or vendor pitch includes mention of the terms.  While the world is exploding with excitement, the reality of penetration rates continues to lag far behind the hype.  How do you sort through the sales pitches and get started on a path that will quickly yield success?  An important first step is to understand the candid experiences of peers in an environment that prohibits vendors and consultants, with discussions that are private and confidential.  This paper gives you some highlights, with all the details available to companies who have a Peeriosity membership.

A recent PeercastTM in the Accounts Receivable (O2C) research area featured a company with over $50B in annual revenue and operations in over 70 countries around the globe.   In the middle of a four-year journey to transition Accounts Receivable from a country-by-country model to Shared Services, they now have the opportunity to leverage a common design for each regional center, where the complexities of trying to get approval or buy-in at the country level are no longer an issue.  Our feature company used RPA and proven industry solutions to standardize and automate work processes as part of the transition to a Shared Services delivery model.   

As described by the featured company, RPA automates routine processes, similar to a sophisticated Excel Macro, by adding the capability to work between multiple systems as a part of the automated sequence of tasks that were previously performed by a human operator.  For the featured company, the simplest approach was to use RPA to automate process steps as they currently exist; however, with different processes by country, the better option was to standardize and leverage proven industry best practices and then automate the new and improved process flow. 

In the area of Artificial Intelligence (AI) the goal was to use AI to discover patterns and trends in dispute data to help prioritize efforts to review and resolve disputes.  In an environment where over 90% of the time no correction is required, AI gives an edge in predicting if a claim from a customer is valid or not, which allows AR Analysts to more effectively prioritize their work by focusing on claims that have the greatest promise.  For this project, they hired a small data science company to review large datasets that included valid and invalid disputes that included nineteen different variables.  The program then created its own logic and algorithms for suspicious transactions based on attributes of the data.  

Attending the Peercast was a unique opportunity for members to gain insights without having to filter out any hype or spin, or fend off the flurry of follow-up calls from vendors intent on meeting monthly sales targets.  Because Peercasts are professionally-facilitated discussions between peers who are each practitioners working as employees of large companies across a wide range of industries, the only motivation of presenters or member attendees is to get to the truth as quickly and painlessly as possible.  To attend a Peercast, your company must have a membership with Peeriosity, and consultants and vendors are specifically excluded from membership. 

A related iPollingTM question looked at the current status of member companies with respect to utilizing RPA and AI in Accounts Receivable.  The results indicate that 13% of the responding companies have implemented, with 7% indicating they have received approval, but have not yet implemented.  The vast majority of companies, at 80%, are either currently evaluating the opportunity, or have not yet considered it.

Here are the details:

iPolling: current status of utilizing RPA & AI in the accounts receivable area at your company

Clearly, for the Accounts Receivable process, companies are in the early stages of adopting RPA and AI technologies, with many likely to do so if early adopters continue to experience successful implementations.

The second poll question asked member companies to comment on the amount of effort they expect to focus on RPA and IA in Accounts Receivable in the next two years.  41% of respondents expect significant emphasis, with 28% predicting moderate emphasis.  To complete the picture, 24% expect limited emphasis, with the remaining 7% having no plans. 

iPolling: emphasis do you expect to place on RPA & AI in the next 1-2 years

What is the status at your company with respect to utilizing RPA and AI in Accounts Receivable?  How are you filtering through all of the hype so that you can truly understand the size of the opportunity with some hints for what is the right path for Shared Services at your company?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?


“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participated in iPolling.

Peeriosity members are invited to log into to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

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