AI Transforming Invoicing Beyond Recognition

Transforming How Shared Services Work Gets Done with Autonomous Finance

4 Min Reads

Emagia Staff

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the landscape of financial transactions, creating a “whole new world” of possibilities, according to Naomi Secor, Global Managing Director at the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON). Despite these advancements, many enterprises are still in the early stages of AI adoption and implementation, striving to harness the full potential of this groundbreaking technology.

In a recent episode of the Emagia AI For Finance podcast series, Secor discussed the transformative power of autonomous finance. The longtime SSON director highlighted how AI is reshaping shared services and identified significant areas for growth and optimization. Secor emphasized that while 85% of companies are actively investing in autonomous enterprise solutions, a significant number still struggle with outdated practices, such as receiving fewer than half of their orders electronically. The challenge for these companies is not only to adopt AI but to implement it in ways that maximize impact and unlock new efficiencies.

As financial leaders look to the future, the focus on integrating AI into order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, and record-to-report processes is becoming increasingly critical. This shift promises to elevate operational maturity and address common obstacles, such as data quality and talent scarcity, paving the way for a more agile and efficient financial ecosystem.

Transforming How Shared Services Work Gets Done with Autonomous Finance

(Order-to-) Cash Is King

Over the past five years, automation has primarily targeted order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, and record-to-report processes. Despite the increased focus on order-to-cash, 70% of leaders in this area consider their process maturity levels to be medium at best, with only a quarter rating themselves as advanced or expert. Moving forward, optimization will need to be a focus. About 80% of industry leaders view Generative AI (GenAI) as highly critical, yet adoption is lagging.

Several factors are impeding progress: companies are concentrated on use case analytics and insight generation, with significant attention on data management—emphasizing data quality, availability, and accuracy. Securing data experts and other trained personnel in autonomous finance is challenging. According to Secor, the scarcity of talent has slowed innovation, but this obstacle is not insurmountable.

A Commitment to ‘Upskilling’ with GenAI for a Better Tomorrow

Upskilling is crucial in autonomous finance. This process involves acquiring new skills and enhancing existing ones to remain relevant in the market. Secor noted that 44% of global business service companies are committed to establishing a GenAI-capable workforce.Training takes longer and the speed of advancement is less than hoped for, but Secor has found that the number of jobs has increased in the industry as people move up when acquiring skills in AI. Rather than being the “job killer” many financial professionals have said they worry about, GenAI appears to be a job-enhancer. Employers want their employees to know how to use autonomous finance technologies, Secor said. They want to recruit people who have those skills to make sure they are embedded in everyday practices. It is the leadership’s responsibility to ensure a strategy is in place to continue to enhance the skills of employees and move them up the value chain, according to Secor.

Statistics at a Glance

Stats at a Glance

  • 85% of companies are actively investing in autonomous enterprises.
  • 80% of industry leaders consider GenAI highly critical.
  • 44% of GBS companies are committed to establishing a GenAI workforce.
Top Use Cases for AI Automation

Top Use Cases for AI Automation

  • Order-to-Cash
  • Procured Pay
  • Record-to-Report

Early Wins the Early Adopter Wins the Race

“We are seeing early wins,” Secor said, among the adopters of AI technology. Within the realm of OTC, Secor sees the potential for revolutionizing invoice processing with GenAI. It reduces manual effort and errors as the system learns from patterns and inaccuracies over time. The technology minimizes delays and errors. Benchmarking results show that early adopters benefit from reduced cycle times and enhanced financial efficiency.

It is an exciting time for autonomous finance as companies move forward in exploring the transformative potential of AI in shared services and finance operations.


What Are Shared Services?

Often applied to information technology functions, shared services are a delivery model that companies use to consolidate similar business duties into a single unit that supports the entire enterprise. The unit delivers services to each department similar to a third-party vendor. The shared services unit is sometimes referred to as a shared services organization or center.

What is ‘Upskilling’?

Upskilling involves training personnel to acquire new skills and enhance existing ones so that a business can stay relevant in a market or industry. It can also refer to the process of growing a business or expanding its operations in terms of size of workforce, gaining new markets, and introducing new services. Having the right team members in place who can execute these strategies is important. They need to be capable of adapting to new technologies, trends, and customer needs. Upskilling also requires understanding the strategies of competitors and how to differentiate your business from theirs.

What is Generative AI (GenAI)?

Gen AI refers to software that incorporates large language models to generate high-quality text, images, and other content. Open AI’s chatbot ChatGPT made a splash on its release because of its ability to write poems and essays that looked like a human created them. GenAI can take raw data and create original new work based on natural language requests.

Consulting firms like Gartner, among many others, envision GenAI becoming a general-purpose technology similar to electricity and the internet. Benefits of GenAI in the enterprise include autonomous execution of processes, enhanced customer experience, and improved productivity.


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