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Apr 1, 2019,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Artificial intelligence: algorithms could make expense accounts easier to manage

A study carried out by a specialist firm could bring an end to the “collective nightmare” that is expense account management. Artificial intelligence enriched by machine learning may usher in faster, more reliable and cheaper procedures, which would mean one fewer headache for companies who have to manage the expenses of their employees when they are away on business.


Artificial intelligence (AI) could have a very useful role to play in the sometimes complex management of company expense accounts. A study conducted by SAP Concur, a company that has developed expense account management software, has revealed that there are significant improvements to be made in this area with the use of ever more efficient algorithms. These smart programmes can cut costs, reduce the risk of error, and speed up the whole expense account management process, as reported by Tom Travel.


A combination of humans and machine intelligence


In time, these improvements will lead to higher satisfaction levels among employees waiting for their business travel expenses to be repaid, explains the specialist site, all of which is beneficial for employers, who can make use of AI to implement complete or partial automation processes for managing expense accounts.

This development does not mean, however, that humans do not have a contribution to make. “Humans make machines more intelligent and AI makes humans more efficient,” states SAP Concur in its study. The more employees use AI programmes and submit data and new situations to them, the more AI learns from this information. That is the principle behind machine learning, which enables algorithms to improve with time and experience.


Data security a key issue


Digitisation has already made the process of managing expense account documents easier, thanks to the ability to scan documents and send them virtually. Systems could well evolve over the coming years and become even simpler, which would have a practical impact on the methods used. “The collective nightmare of managing expense accounts could soon become a distant memory,” adds SAP Concur.

One of the key factors when it comes to future innovation and developments will be employee confidence in artificial intelligence. In France, 76% of employees say they are familiar with the concept and 56% believe the technology can help them with business travel processes. The provision of automated management by an algorithm does raise the question, however, of data security and protection. There is one question in particular on the minds of employees and employers: the compliance of processes with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), applicable in all European Union countries since May 2018.


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