AI Can Now Automate Your Expense Reports
A startup is developing the technology to help us leave the time-consuming act of expense reporting behind us
AppZen is a new platform that leverages a blend of natural language processing and machine learning to automate the expense reporting process, making managing company finances far less painful. It all starts with the Android or iOS app, which contextualizes employee spending based on synced calendars, itineraries and credit card charges to build out expense reports as they are created.
For instance, if you’re flying from New York to California with a layover in _____, and stop for Starbucks in the airport between flights, AppZen will include your purchase in the list of expenses accordingly.
The powerful data science technology that powers the platform works in real time, flagging suspicious behavior so employers and their finance teams don’t have to sort through a sea of audits themselves. And the fact that the platform can analyze receipts and tickets, credit card transactions, travel bookings and other documentation makes it an effective, accurate and safe method of figuring out the ‘who, where and why’ of every expense.
Kunal Verma, Co-Founder and CTO of AppZen says, “ultimately we think that something mundane like expense reporting will be taken over by artificial intelligence by as much as 80%. Of course, there does need to be human involvement of some sort to ensure there’s no mistakes, but most of the legwork can be automated, and that’s what we intend to do.”
As the brains behind the product development and engineering, technology architecture, and the IP development for AppZen’s AI capabilities, we’ll take his word for it. Not everything can be imported automatically, without assistance after all, which is where the natural language processing bit comes in, picking up on every nuance and word used such as flight, lunch, car rental, AmTrak, Yellow Cab and so on that you tell it. A simple conversation after the platform detects an expense will give it all the information it needs to store and track the expense prior to completing the auditing procedure—a lifesaver for employers that may be unaware of fraudulent spending within their company.
Indeed, AppZen is a powerful platform when it comes to understanding expenditure; it even audits for compliance, checking against company policy, IRS rules, and a list of industry-specific regulations to maintain the integrity of each report it files. To that end, the company offers a seamless integration with all major ERP and expense software, including Oracle, Concur and NetSuite, as it realizes that most businesses are deeply rooted in the software, and the goal here is to make expense reporting pain-free.
“Our ultimate vision is to make the sort of automation that everyone wants actually intelligent. We’re looking into backend automation solutions for the rest of a company’s financial suite, including invoicing, tax, accounting and things of that nature,” says Verma.
As artificial intelligence continues to spread throughout industry, its evident that automation is set to take the place of human intervention in many instances. While this may mean that the skills being replaced are subsequently less cherished by certain firms, it also means more time will be allotted to doing work that progresses the company and is actually fun. The ongoing proliferation of AI will soon reach every corner of a businesses financial crux, with AppZen leading the race as perhaps the only contender to offer backend automation.