AP » AI and AP: barriers to adoption

AI and AP: barriers to adoption

CFOs should educate their teams about the benefits of AI in AP processes and communicate how AI can streamline workflows, reduce workload, and improve accuracy

AI and AP: barriers to adoption

New research from Stampli has revealed AP teams are less likely to adopt AI within their function than other financial teams due to barriers to adoption.

In partnership with Probolsky Research, Stampli surveyed almost 250 financial processionals from organisations ranging in size from 25-15,000 employees.

The data revealed there is significant interest (85%) in the potential of AI for AP functions. This interest is particularly high among senior financial leaders (89%) but less pronounced among AP employees (68%).

This difference is even larger when examining “very interested” levels. Only 18% of AP employees were very interested in AI compared to 61% of C-suite (61%) and 56% of senior-level management.

According to Stampli, there is widespread debate about the use of AI with some concerns of a lack of human oversight. This was a concern among 41% of survey respondents, second only to concerns about data security and privacy (46%).

However, this concern may be mitigated as 63% indicated that they would be less hesitant to deploy AI if decisions made by AI had to be approved by a human.

Resistance to change

One of the primary barriers to AI adoption in AP is the natural resistance to change. Many businesses have long-established manual processes and may be hesitant to embrace new technologies.

This resistance often stems from a fear of disruption and the perceived complexity of implementing AI systems. CFOs need to address this resistance by highlighting the benefits of AI, such as increased efficiency and accuracy, and emphasising that the implementation process can be managed effectively.

Lack of understanding

Another significant barrier to AI adoption is a lack of understanding about the capabilities and benefits of AI in AP processes. Some businesses may not fully grasp how AI can streamline their workflows and improve their operations.

There is often a concern about AI replacing the jobs of humans. However, only 23% of C-suite respondents surveyed by Stampli indicated that reducing the number of staff was a benefit of AI integration in AP systems.

CFOs should invest in educating their teams about AI and its potential impact on AP, providing clear examples of how AI can automate mundane tasks, reduce manual errors, and free up employees to focus on higher-value activities.

Data security concerns

Data security is a top concern for businesses, especially in the face of increasing cyber threats. The fear of data breaches can make companies hesitant to adopt AI-powered AP automation, despite the fact that these systems often have robust security measures in place.

To address this concern, CFOs should prioritize selecting AI solutions that have strong data security protocols and provide reassurance to their teams about the security measures in place.

Cost Concerns

The perceived high cost of implementing AI solutions can also deter businesses from adopting AI in AP processes.

However, it’s important to consider the long-term benefits and cost savings that can be achieved through increased efficiency and reduced errors.

Stampli’s research revealed 38% of respondents saw cutting costs as a benefit to using AI. Additional benefits included improving financial system efficiency (38%), and refocusing humans on more valuable tasks (37%).

CFOs should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis to demonstrate the potential return on investment (ROI) of AI adoption, emphasizing the long-term benefits over short-term costs.

Benefits abound?

The top three benefits of using AI in AP were improving accuracy (51%), improving processing speeds (46%), and improving fraud detection (40%).

The integration of AI into the accounts payable sector is garnering significant attention within the industry.

Stampli’s research aligns with broader discussions in the AI realm, particularly concerns over privacy, security, and the apprehension regarding the absence of human supervision in AI-driven processes.

Nevertheless, the introduction of human validation within AI’s decision-making framework is emerging as a viable solution to mitigate these concerns about adoption.

This approach, however, necessitates a degree of educational outreach to financial leaders. A notable proportion of these professionals display uncertainty, hinting at a potential gap in understanding both AI technology and the role of human oversight in conjunction with AI systems.

In terms of receptiveness towards AI integration, a divergence in perspective is evident between financial leaders and accounts payable staff. Leadership circles generally exhibit a more comprehensive appreciation of AI’s benefits, in contrast to the cautious stance of AP employees.

This caution among AP staff may stem from insufficient clarity regarding AI’s advantages or uncertainties about how AI adoption might affect their roles. AP employees predominantly recognise benefits that directly enhance operational efficiency and day-to-day task management. Their focus is understandably on the immediate impacts on their daily work responsibilities.


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