AI for Accounting and Finance Blog

How AI Understands Content and Context

Posted by Kristoffer Roil on Apr 17, 2019 8:01:00 AM
Kristoffer Roil
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How AI Understands Content and Context 

In addition to addressing your redundant tasks, your customer communications requirements, and future changes in technology, the AI (artificial intelligence) platform that you select needs to be able to process and understand your clients' documents.

As a starting point for building a productive workflow, the AI technology needs to understand what you're sending into the platform. Historically it’s been tough for a computer to understand documents because of the challenge of extracting relevant content and figuring out the context.

Previously, AI technology couldn’t comprehend context, but this has changed. This is a huge leap forward thanks to the rapid progress and the evolution of AI and machine learning.

Understands Document Types

Today, AI can interpret different kinds of documents and process the actionable ones on a large scale without any rules or document forms. When you combine this with a near-human level of understanding the documents it’s processing, combined with the speed of a machine, you gain tremendous efficiencies.

Invoices can be especially challenging. With some invoices, there may be no uniform means of submission, no standards for templates, bad fonts (invoices look like ransom notes), and either missing information or too much.

AI Processes Documents in 5-15 Seconds

When choosing an AI system, ask for a demonstration to provide proof that the feature works as advertised. An AI platform should grow and adapt with your business over time, especially when you consider:

  • Accounts receivable

  • Bank reconciliation

  • Cash flow prediction

  • Client communication

AI Technology Must Deliver High Accuracy

In choosing an AI system, it’s important that the AI platform understands the different document types while delivering high accuracy, accurately detecting the documents to process. Adapting to a new technology will always be easier when that new technology gives you efficiency gains from day one.

This is where we are today with AI. We’re happy that we're finally past the breaking point for this with AI implemented in accounting.

Consider Smartphone Voice Recognition

How many times each day do you speak to your mobile device? Your iPhone or Android smartphone transcribes your voice into words. But if it takes you longer to correct a message than typing it by hand, what’s the point in using the voice recognition technology?

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) vs. AI

Rules-based systems have been around for more than a decade. Yet these systems have low performance and do not adapt to changes. They are often paired with manual, cheaper labor. And you’re forced to spend more time double-checking or correcting the data than entering it in manually.

On the other hand, artificial intelligence understands context and can act quickly and accurately. It makes inferences, improves automatically over time, and communicates with accounting systems. AI also eliminates the need to double-check data due to a confidence score.

AI is the next generation after a rules-based system, because it learns from you.


Has your accounting, CPA, or bookkeeping firm addressed its redundant tasks with AI? Share your thoughts in the section for comments below.

To learn how CPAs and bookkeeping firms are transforming, watch the webinar recording on “AI Best Practices for CPAs and Bookkeepers (How Accounting and Bookkeeping Firms Can Grow with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning).”

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Best Practices for CPAs and Bookkeepers || How Accounting and Bookkeeping Firms Can Grow with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning [Watch the Recording]


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Topics: Accounting, Artificial Intelligence

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