Commercial Insights

Intelligent Automation Supercharges Straight-through Processing

Apr 10, 2023 (updated May 17, 2024) • 7 mins
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AP professionals (53%) cited reporting and analytics as their top priority.

With AI, tools become smarter as they learn business and customer rules and behaviors. As a result, you’ll have greater transparency and deeper insights on cash flow, fraud risks and compliance – critical areas of collaboration across the enterprise.

Intelligent automation is ideal for businesses with complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) and back-office systems.

Due to large economies of scale, middle market and large enterprise businesses with sophisticated payment processes and high transaction volumes are prime candidates for STP with intelligent automation.

  • ERP systems designed for check payments.
    Many organizations add unique procedures — for processing checks, ACH, and credit cards — based on internal systems that are limited to check payments. This introduces unnecessary complexity and inefficiencies to the accounts payable process. The same is true for AR applications. Customers want multiple payment choices, including checks, debit, and credit cards, virtual cards, ACH, wire, PayPal, and cryptocurrency. Intelligent automation can provide a single platform for all payment activity, consolidated for integration across all accounting and back-office tasks, regardless of the method of payment.

  • Staff spends considerable time correcting payment errors.
    AI-enabled STP not only eliminates the opportunity for human error but it also minimizes exceptions that would otherwise require staff intervention and trigger longer payment times.

  • The company has a remote workforce.
    In a remote environment, it’s simply not feasible to pass paper from desk to desk or to keep files in a single physical location. Digitalization optimizes offsite work processes.

  • Processing requires multiple paper forms.
    Consider all the different paper forms your business generates or receives. Whether the organization is the supplier or the buyer, these forms must be completed, checked, keyed, and reconciled to process. STP replaces physical and paper activities with digital ones.

  • Cross-border payments are required.
    Currency conversions can be complex for businesses that make cross-border payments. AI analyzes exchange rates and recommends the best payment timing and method to reduce fees. In addition, it can rapidly read, examine and interpret data for deeper insights on blockchain-based transactions to enhance payment security. Quantum computing and analysis based on voice or behavioral recognition can also be applied to transactions.

Although larger corporations are usually among the first to adapt intelligent automation, it is beneficial to any company that wants to streamline payments, as well as financial operations.

AR and AP teams can achieve significant results with payment processes that combine intelligent automation and AI.

“Payment technology advancements offer organizations more options for sending and receiving money than were available even a few years ago. But in most cases, these options have only complicated organizational processes around payments,” says Laura McGortey, Synovus commercial payments and fraud mitigation product group manager.

AI continues to simplify complex payment processes. For example, in AR, AI can automatically match open invoice data to payments received, regardless of the payment method. AI can also scan remittance data received through multiple channels, including paper documents and electronic messaging.

AR teams in a variety of industries have achieved noteworthy results using AI for payment processing.

  • A national grocery vendor overwhelmed with ACH payments that required multiple, cumbersome manual steps used AI to systematize its accounts receivable activities to 90% straight-through processing.

  • An automotive service company engaged AI in its straight-through AR processing and was able to reassign 25% of the team to more critical functions.

AP departments can also greatly benefit from intelligent automation. For example, AI can recommend methods for each payout instance. An insurance company implemented the technology to efficiently process end-to-end claims.

Payment technology is rapidly evolving. “Over time, we will see more data traveling with transactions (e.g., real-time payments), and this will help organizations choose the most effective money movement options. However, even with better transaction data, STP requires technology-supported strategies such as AI and RPA,” says McGortey.

To learn more about STP with intelligent automation, complete a short form and a Synovus Treasury & Payment Solutions Consultant will contact you with more details. You can also stop by one of our local branches.



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Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Ardent Partners, “Ardent Partners Accounts Payable Metrics that Matter in 2024,” February 2024 Back
  2. Ardent Partners, “The State of ePayables 2023: Paving the Way for a Smarter Future,” June 2023 Back
  3. Ardent Partners, “Ardent Partners Accounts Payable Metrics that Matter in 2024,” February 2024 Back
  4. Ibid Back
  5. Medius, “The Financial Professional Census: Q3 2022” Back
  6. Ardent Partners, “Ardent Partners Accounts Payable Metrics that Matter in 2024,” February 2024 Back