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AiThority Interview with Matthew Tillman, CEO and Co-founder at OpenEnvoy

Hello Matthew. Welcome to our Interview Series. Tell us more about your current position and the responsibilities you have within your organization. What led you to co-start OpenEnvoy?

With over two decades of experience developing cutting-edge software solutions, I’ve successfully developed a solution that matches payments with contracts across diverse industries such as Finance, Media, and Logistics. However, a pervasive challenge in these sectors is the increase of complex approval workflows often transferring the responsibility to teams outside of finance, resulting in a loss of control over the payment process.

This lack of control frequently leads to companies overpaying suppliers, resulting in significant financial losses. It’s not uncommon for businesses to spend the next six months tirelessly pursuing reimbursements, caught in a cycle of begging for a portion of their money back.

Fortunately, the recent advances in machine learning have opened doors to a revolutionary solution. By harnessing the power of machine learning algorithms, I’ve created game-changing technology eliminating overpayments and unnecessary manual work. Moreover, it empowers finance teams to regain complete control over their financials, facilitating better decision-making and enabling businesses to thrive.

Please tell us how OpenEnvoy utilizes AI in its real-time AP automation technology to identify discrepancies between invoices, contracts, and supporting documentation.

Auditing a single invoice against its supporting evidence, such as contracts and delivery reports, can be a complex task. However, with the right expertise, it’s possible to streamline the process. To completely eliminate wasted spend, it’s essential to digitize and reconcile every component of an invoice, contract, and delivery information. In the ‘OK to Pay’ process, we employ various types of AI technology.

OpenEnvoy is unique because we employ unsupervised machine learning to digitize documents. Unlike legacy OCR products, we don’t need customers to provide sample documents or templates. With this method, we accurately process new financial documents we haven’t seen before in less than 1 millisecond, with a 99.69 percent accuracy rate. We’ve removed humans from the loop of document digitization and indexing.

Once the digitization process is complete, we leverage a pre-trained deep neural network (DNN) for the accounts payable process. This DNN is capable of reconciling tasks such as quantity calculations, currency conversions, and matching natural language contracts with relevant downstream documentation, such as purchase orders (POs), warehouse receipts, customs filing forms, bills of lading, or campaign delivery reports. What sets our model apart is its ability to work with various types of documents by default, including first- and third-party data sources, with minimal retraining requirements.

Furthermore, our specialized deep neural network allows us to accurately assign general ledger accounts (customer GL Codes) to individual line items, without relying on pre-determined rules. By combining these processes, we eliminate the need for manual invoice approval processes, and retroactive scoring, and prevent cash flow leakage.

What specific AI techniques or technologies does OpenEnvoy employ to analyze and process large volumes of invoices, contracts, and supporting documents in real time? What are the main services or solutions that your company provides?

OpenEnvoy started by serving enterprise customers where high-volume, high-value invoices were common.

Scaling AI is a serious challenge, and our team successfully developed a solution processing up to 14,000 invoices per hour at our current capacity and automatically scales to maintain our accuracy, speed, and margin requirements as the company grows.

In what ways does the adoption of advanced AI in real-time AP help reduce staffing needs? How does it free up employees’ time to focus on strategic and meaningful work within the organization?

There’s a lot of chatter right now about how AI replaces people and while that’s true for some certain types of roles, the accounting and finance teams are already struggling to hire people in the existing labor market. For finance teams, AI advancements have arrived just in time. One of our customers has estimated they’re saving approximately 800 hours per month simply by transitioning from a traditional bill pay workflow solution to OpenEnvoy. This means they’ve effectively eliminated the need to recruit an additional five head count. 

What measures are in place to ensure the security and privacy of sensitive financial information when utilizing advanced AI in real-time AP? How do organizations address concerns related to data protection and compliance?

First, we use proprietary test and training data to mitigate any potential copyright concerns. Additionally, by eliminating humans from the loop and avoiding outsourcing to third-party subcontractors, we were able to streamline the process and achieve SOC2 compliance with ease. 

How does the implementation of real-time AP driven by advanced AI enhance the visibility and transparency of financial operations for organizations? How does this improved visibility contribute to better decision-making and cash flow management?

Traditionally, companies often depend on third-party Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms, high latency bill payment processes, and retroactive scoring models to determine if they have leakage. However, OpenEnvoy revolutionizes this process by performing a full audit in advance of the invoice even reaching their ERP. As a result, our customers gain unparalleled visibility and control, with real-time access to information in milliseconds, rather than waiting for a month.

By eliminating the reliance on BPOs and adopting a proactive approach, OpenEnvoy empowers companies to optimize their operations, mitigate risks, and prevent leakage promptly. Our advanced system provides immediate insights and actionable data, transforming the way businesses manage their invoices and ensuring they maintain complete control over their financial processes.

How do you envision the future of AI technology impacting the industry as a whole?

In the near term, finance teams are experiencing a reduction in size as AI adoption grants early adopters a competitive edge. Looking ahead, it’s anticipated finance teams will continue to diminish, and the concept of one-person companies will become increasingly prevalent. Remarkably, even today, OpenEnvoy autonomously manages billing, reconciliation, and payments for our clients, effectively covering its own costs. The era of machine-to-machine transactions has already arrived, revolutionizing the way business is conducted.

Thank you, Matthew! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

Matthew Tillman is CEO and co-founder of OpenEnvoy, the AI-powered accounts payable automation company maximizing cash flow and delivering significant cost savings. Matt spent the past two decades applying machine learning (AI) to finance, advertising, and logistics industries for the world’s largest brands.

OpenEnvoy uses enterprise-grade AI technology to provide finance teams with complete control over their payment processes. Our AP automation solution eliminates overpayments, controls fraud and errors, and maximizes cash flow, all with total visibility. Recently, Gartner named OpenEnvoy Reference Vendor for AI in AP. 

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