The Terminator and the Promise of AI
It was 1984 when I first started thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Granted, it was in a movie theater where I was being introduced to Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, and the last thing I was thinking about was how the technology could have a meaningful impact on how entrepreneurs run their businesses.
The ways businesses can use the power of AI has opened the door for banks to provide even greater value for their clients--and generally lessened my fears of Skynet.
Today, AI serves as a chief technology in supporting business automation and can reduce manual processes and create more efficiency in the business environment. Today, 62 percent of businesses believe that automation can resolve three or more process inefficiencies they face. Leveraging AI to drive that automation is an opportunity to not only decrease those manual tasks, reduce errors, and improve speed, but also to transform business operations as a whole.
AI plays an integral role in that transformation. Some of the most advanced platforms supporting back office automation are using machine learning to systematize the invoicing and payment processes for businesses by:
- recognizing and intercepting human error;
- initiating approval processes;
- recognizing workflows;
- and automatically creating business rules on behalf of customers.
These new workflows and processes mean time and cost savings for businesses: those using platforms that leverage AI have reported that they save on average 5.5 hours per week, which translates to more than 36 business days annually.
Leveraging AI to Support Business Customers
So, where does that leave financial institutions? How can banks help their business customers save time and resources with AI? There are three strong possibilities for banks in the near term:
- Providing data-rich insights for products and services that help businesses detect customer patterns and habits, and uncover unmet needs where product enhancements or new products may be warranted.
- Offering streamlined back office through automated invoicing and payment collection/reconciliation, as well as options to auto pay recurring bills.
- Enabling enhanced fraud monitoring by providing data and machine learning and anomaly detection to help ensure approval of every good transaction.
The AI Opportunity
While the benefits are numerous, AI adoption, particularly by small and medium businesses, has much room to grow. Today, only 8 percent of SMBs are using AI. But nearly half of SMB leaders (46 percent) believe their businesses are ready to use AI and 32 percent have plans to implement AI in the future.
As I have aged (let’s go with ‘matured’) my perspective has changed a bit and I have been able to balance the spectre of The Terminator with the promise that AI brings. I feel very lucky to be part of this positive impact, as well as helping many of our partners offering the same to their customers.
PS - One of my favorite parts of the Terminator was the small role by a young Bill Paxton. If you don’t remember, check it out.
This content was originally published here.
Bill.com is a leading provider of cloud-based software that simplifies, digitizes, and automates complex, back-office financial operations for small and midsize businesses. Customers use the Bill.com platform to manage end-to-end financial workflows and to process payments. The Bill.com AI-enabled, financial software platform creates connections between businesses and their suppliers and clients. It helps manage cash inflows and outflows. The company partners with several of the largest U.S. financial institutions, including the majority of the top 100 U.S. accounting firms, and popular accounting software providers. Bill.com has offices in Palo Alto, California and Houston, Texas. For more information, visit www.bill.com.
Randy Von Feldt is the Vice President Strategic Partners at Bill.com. Randy leads the way at Bill.com in ensuring partner success and growth through developing new strategic relationships and overseeing financial institution implementations and launches. Serving our innovative FI partners like Bank of America, PNC Bank and others, Von Feldt works with our teams to define a strong value proposition unique to each partner and enable them to provide the best in business payment innovation to their business clients. Prior to Bill.com, Randy had developed his deep financial and technology experience consulting for companies such PayPal, eBay, Intuit, Apple and others to transform internal processes, expand customer service capabilities, implement core technology and better communicate with customers. Randy is a noted connoisseur of fun socks and also holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.