4 ways to enhance your accounting and payroll product with AI

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >4 ways to enhance your accounting and payroll product with AI</span>

AI is still shiny and new, but every software customer on the planet has come to expect, even demand, AI-infused tech.

For accounting and payroll product and development teams, it’s easy to get carried away by the hype. The real challenge is how to deploy AI to achieve two strategic goals: one, genuinely improve a product, and two, add real business value. Stuck for ideas? Take inspiration from these four real-world examples of AI-powered product features that are thriving right now.

1. Automate data entry

Wherever you can find a way to eliminate manual data entry, it will almost certainly put a smile on people’s faces. Xero’s accounting software for small businesses is leading the way in automated data entry by embracing text classification and entity recognition AI techniques. Manually entering new contacts or account codes to reconcile transactions is a time-consuming process that’s wide open to human error.

Xero’s bank reconciliation predictions use Machine Learning (ML) to correctly predict the contact and account code for transactions that cannot be automatically matched or memorised. The impact? Shortened processing time and fewer manual errors. For small business owners and accountants, it’s a win-win.

2. Take care of the details

Even making small changes to the user experience can add huge value to your accounting and payroll product. Take this example. AI is nothing new for accounting software firm FreeAgent. Since 2020, it’s deployed ML to automatically categorise and explain bank transactions. This might seem a small detail, but it’s made a huge difference to bookkeepers.

Pre-trained on millions of bank transactions, FreeAgent’s AI is taught how to determine and explain a transaction’s accounting category. This allows it to automatically categorise simple transactions, saving time and reducing errors. AI also flags more complex transactions which require specialist intervention from a trained professional.

It’s powerful yet relatively unsung AI deployments like this that can generate huge value for software vendors and their customers.

3. Enhance workflows and productivity

Workflow automations that save people time and effort, also save them money. Sage Copilot is a generative AI-powered assistant that helps streamline workflows and save time by automating complex tasks like invoicing, report generation, and payment chasing. A recent study revealed that Sage Copilot could potentially save businesses 6.1 hours per week (on average) on administrative tasks.

Boosting productivity through the automation of repetitive and time-consuming work is one thing. But Sage AI has taken things a step further. Copilot is capable of providing a real-time view of business performance together with detailed, actionable insights that support decision-making. Through report generation and visualisations, it even provides personalised advice and recommendations to enhance business performance.

4. Do more with your data

With so much data flowing in, your software has the potential to add real business value for customers. For example, QuickBooks Online Accountant has recently introduced ‘Business Performance Overview’, an AI-powered dashboard designed to offer accounting professionals a clearer and more comprehensive view of their clients’ financial health.

Data analytics and AI combine to equip accounting professionals with a visual tool for monitoring client performance, identifying growth opportunities, and enhancing their advisory capabilities with strategic advice that can help clients thrive.

AI leverages data from QuickBooks to present key financial metrics and performance indicators via a dashboard with two main panels:

  • Key Metrics offers a live snapshot of the numbers – income, expenses, and profit – compared with a previous period. It’s color coded with green and orange circles to indicate performance improvements or declines.
  • Trends showcases visual charts and graphs, allowing accountants to compare a client’s performance year-over-year, pinpointing areas that may need further analysis or improvement.

The AI-driven dashboard doesn’t stop at insights; it enables accountants to benchmark a client’s financial health against similar businesses in the same industry or location, offering a broader context to their financial status.

Fintechs light the way for AI

The race is on for product development teams to build AI-powered features. But there can be a price to pay for moving too fast. AI for the sake of it – or ill-thought-out deployment of AI – offers little to no value.

As an industry, fintech is synonymous with innovation and disruption. So it’s no wonder that software vendors in the accounting and payroll sector are the leading way when it comes to AI-powered product enhancements that can generate measurable business value for customers and end-users.

As each of these examples shows, when done right, AI is a powerful way to increase all-round value for your software, your customers, and your end users.

So, free up your developers' time for AI innovation instead of maintaining legacy features. Elevate your current expense management product with the Findity platform, and enhance your accounting or payroll software offering, without falling behind in the AI feature development race.