What is Vic.ai and What Does It Actually Do?
It might be because we have a buzzword like “AI” in our company name, or because no one knows what “Vic” stands for. But let’s start with the most basic questions we get a lot: what is Vic.ai and what the heck do you guys do?
Vic.ai is an AI software as a service (SaaS) platform for accounting firms. Today, we automate the time-consuming, tedious process of accounts payable (AP) using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and reduce the human error factor along the way.
Vic.ai co-founders Alexander Hagerup and Kristoffer Roil at the QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose, California.
Our goal is to create the only platform that an accountant will ever need to log into. A platform that
- Ingests all accounting transactions and documents,
- Uses AI to predict accounting decisions,
- Interacts directly with the accounting system, and
- Provides both insight and foresight into the financials by analyzing and comparing patterns across thousands of companies.
Phew, that’s a lot!
What Do AI and ML Have to Do with the Future of Accounting?
It’s not the future - we’re already here. If you’re using Amazon’s Alexa, Facebook, Lyft, Netflix, or Uber, then you’ve already interacted with AI likely without even knowing it.
OK, so it’s already taken hold in consumer apps. But what about B2B?
Healthcare companies are using AI and ML to predict which drugs may treat COVID-19.
ECommerce giants use automated chatbots to engage with customers and respond to online queries.
Banks use ML to analyze their data and figure out what charges should be classified as fraudulent.
These are just a few examples that illustrate the power of AI to improve end-user experience and employee productivity.
The writing’s on the wall that any transaction processing - whether bank transactions, expense transactions, invoices, payroll, accruals, or adjustments for example - will ultimately be automated in some capacity, and the accounting industry will be just as impacted as any other.
Why Should Accounting Firms Use AI?
Your accounting firm, whether a small, scrappy startup or a well-oiled machine, is no different than other companies when it comes to one thing: needing a competitive advantage. The more you can differentiate from your peers, the more likely it is that your firm survives and thrives in the coming years.
Your clients have 24/7 expectations, but no accounting firm has CPAs working around the clock. And if your client has a question about the CARES Act at 2 a.m., your client will seek out an answer online.
How can you deliver more to your clients than the company across the street? As COVID-19 is forcing many companies to limit their staffing plans, stepping up your client services game can only happen if you improve your productivity, efficiency, and remote accounting process.
This is where AI and the idea of continuous accounting come in.
From Sporadic to Continuous Accounting
Today, every invoice is touched by humans in a series of manual steps. The invoices get retrieved from an inbox, data is keyed in, and the costs are assessed and categorized to the appropriate general ledger (GL) accounts and dimensions.
Often, a senior person reviews this work before it’s kicked into an approval process. Then someone else makes a judgment on when to execute the payment.
AI applications automate manual processes.
AI is constantly learning and growing smarter over time and eventually becomes self-sufficient. Vic.ai starts off by making invoice processing suggestions to accountants based on a confidence score.
Once trained, the AI makes accounting decisions automatically, ultimately reaching a point where there is little to no need for human oversight. Every day, Vic.ai’s accuracy and confidence scores go up, moving more work from augmentation to full automation.
Once the AI is up and running on its own, your accounting firm achieves a state of continuous accounting, where the AI is able to process transactions from anywhere in the world, any time of day, without human error.
So Really, Who is Vic?
In much the same way that music fans are often curious about song names that include a mysterious man’s or woman’s name, some may wonder: is there, or was there, a special person named Victor or Victoria in the lives of one of the founders?
That, we’ll actually have to leave for another blog post, but by now I hope we’ve been able to explain why accounting firms should turn to AI. At the end of the day, AI allows accountants to focus on their business and not on tasks, advise their clients and provide a broader set of services. And with these new accounting superpowers, your clients’ businesses can run better, grow faster, and become more profitable.
How will AI improve your business? Let us know in the comments.
And if you’re serious about taking your accounting practice to the next level, be sure to download our ebook “The Future of Accounting Technology.” (Preparing for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning).