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Navigating the complex terrain of accruals in accounts payable

Screenshot 2024-03-16 at 8.52.09 PM

In accounting, the process of accruals is a crucial yet challenging task, especially within the Accounts Payable (AP) domain. Despite advancements in automation and financial software solutions, the accrual process often remains predominantly manual in many organizations, fraught with complexity and susceptibility to errors. This blog delves into the inherent challenges of managing accruals, spotlighting the manual efforts, error rates, and the pressing need for more refined solutions.

The essence of accruals

Accrual accounting is a fundamental principle that ensures expenses and revenues are recorded in the period they occur, irrespective of when cash transactions happen. This approach provides a more accurate financial picture, aiding stakeholders in making informed decisions. However, the execution of accruals, particularly in AP, is far from straightforward, encompassing various types:

  • Goods Received but Invoices Not Received (GRNINR)
  • Services Received but Invoices Not Received
  • Recurring Expenses without PO, GRN, or Invoices
  • Invoices Pending at Month-End

Each type requires meticulous identification and documentation, often demanding extensive coordination between the AP department and various business units.

The manual maze

A significant portion of accruals involves manually reaching out to different business teams to gather information about pending expenses. This process is not only time-consuming but also prone to human error. Accruals must be accurately recorded at the end of each month or other regular intervals, adding to the workload and stress of accounting teams.

The challenges in accruals

10%

Quantifying the challenges in accruals, consider the following insights:

  • Error rates: Studies suggest that manual accounting processes can have error rates as high as 5-10%, a significant figure when applied to the total number of transactions in large organizations.
  • Effort and time: It’s estimated that AP accountants may spend upwards of 15-20% of their time managing accruals and related adjustments, including the painstaking task of reversing or re-accruing expenses upon receiving the actual invoices.
  • The cost of corrections: Correcting accrual errors can be costly, not just in terms of time but also financial implications, potentially affecting a company’s bottom line and its financial reporting accuracy.

Pain points and implications

The manual nature of the accrual process introduces several pain points:

  • Coordination challenges: Ensuring timely and accurate communication between AP and various business units can be daunting, often leading to missed accruals.
  • Visibility and control: Lack of real-time visibility into expenses awaiting accrual complicates financial forecasting and budgeting.
  • Compliance and reporting risks: Errors in accruals can lead to compliance issues and inaccuracies in financial reporting, undermining stakeholder confidence.

Towards a solution

Automated Accrualing

Addressing the challenges associated with accruals demands a multifaceted approach. Embracing advanced AP automation and financial software that integrates seamlessly with procurement and expense management systems can significantly alleviate the manual burden. These solutions can offer:

  • Automated matching: Leveraging technology to match received goods and services with pending invoices.
  • Real-time dashboards: Providing visibility into pending accruals across the organization.
  • Predictive analytics: Utilizing AI and machine learning to predict recurring expenses and suggest accrual entries.

Conclusion

The process of managing accruals in accounts payable remains a complex and error-prone task, accentuated by manual processes and the need for constant coordination. The adoption of advanced AI automation technologies presents a promising avenue to streamline this process, reduce errors, and enhance the accuracy of financial reporting. As businesses continue to navigate these challenges, the role of AI becomes ever more crucial in transforming the landscape of accrual accounting.

How can Hyprbots help?

Are you ready to explore how AI-led Accruals can benefit your business? Contact us for personalized assessment and take the first step towards transforming accruals and other month-end tasks today.

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