AI and Automation Trends in Invoicing & Accounting

AI and automation are undeniably on the rise, and this is just as true in the world of invoicing and accounting as it is anywhere else. Bernard Marr, writing for Forbes, invokes the words of accounting firm Accenture, who has stated that “automation, minibots, machine learning, and adaptive intelligence are becoming part of the finance team at lightning speed.”

As this trend ramps up, businesses of all types should be looking at how they can incorporate machine learning, automation, and AI into their daily operations. Derek Bang, CPA, CGMA, and the chief strategy and innovation officer at Chicago-based Crowe Horwath, agrees. He’s quoted in the Journal of Accountancy, in an article by Sarah Ovaska-Few.

“Now all firms, even small ones, should be thinking about how to adopt advanced technology like artificial intelligence (AI), whether it will be by contracting with specialized technology companies or building their own departments,” he said. He likens the rise of this technology to the rise of the world wide web, and our current dependence on it.

“The same will happen with AI, and it may become as common as the internet is now,” says Bang.

The professional financial world seems to agree. Nearly 85 percent of executives already believe AI grants businesses a competitive advantage, and 79 believe it will improve company productivity, according to a recent MIT-Boston Consulting Group survey of 3,000 plus business executives.

Invoicing and Accounting Automation is Already Here

Anybody wondering if Bang is right, and whether they should actually consider using software and automation in the invoicing and accounting realm, is already behind the curve. Multiple types of AI and machine learning are already here. We’re not talking about Rosie the Robot Maid but were are talking about things like Robotic Process Automation, for example.

“Robotic process automation (RPA) is defined as the use of software routines or agents to do work like filing corporate tax returns by applying software robotics to repeatable processes, from start to finish,” according to Villanova’s online resources, “and cognitive systems can communicate, learn, and reason in order to perform tasks traditionally performed by individual employees –such as analyzing a single line tax item like meal and entertainment expenses.”

This type of autonomous software is becoming increasingly popular. For example, CallRail’s invoicing software is bundled with autonomous tech which automatically calculates your client’s monthly invoices for you. Their site promises that you can “replace your current time-consuming and tedious invoicing tasks with automation.”

While the client side of payroll and invoicing can be complicated, employees payroll can be just as difficult, if not more so.  Beginning from the moment that they are hired, you’ll need to register your workers, take care of benefits like healthcare and retirement, figure out their tax information, etc.

All these elements might distract you from performing your core business tasks properly.

Because of that, you should automate as many payroll features as possible,” Mark Thomasson with Invoicebus writes. “Your task is only to enter your employees’ personal data and their payments. The software you choose will generate all the aforementioned details and keep them saved so that you can access them when necessary.”

There are multiple areas and even new types of tech that are intersecting with AI and automation in accounting and investing.

Future tech and tasks machines can do

In Bernard Marr’s Forbes piece, he writes that there are about seven different accounting tasks that machines can effectively automate:

  • Accounts payable/receivable processing: As seen above, this software streamlines the digital workflow by “learning” parameters and standards, client by client.
  • Supplier onboarding: Machine processes can vet new suppliers from an analytical standpoint and concentrate it for human review.
  • Procurement: Procurement includes tracking price changes between multiple suppliers — robots are perfect for this job.
  • Monthly/quarterly close process: By wrangling and calculating data sets almost instantaneously, companies have more time to strategize using the most accurate information.
  • Expense management: Automation can track expenses real time and alert users when problems arrive.
  • AI chatbots: Chatbots have essentially become a living FAQ of sorts, and are already being deployed in businesses around the world.

What Marr doesn’t mention is how the possibilities open up once AI integrates with other types of future tech. Blockchain technologies can facilitate smart contracts, for example, shoring up physical security while AI takes care of logistics.

While this technology is exciting, the one thing that people continue to fret over is whether or not they will be replaced by machines, and how they can prepare for what’s to come.

What will happen to the people? How do we prepare?

The good news is that AI likely won’t replace anybody for a long time.

“Just as in the healthcare field, accounting departments will still need humans to analyze reports, speculate about future outcomes, manage smart machinery, and intervene when they suspect faulty data,” write the experts at Maryville University. “Even when a machine collects and analyzes data, human intervention may permit forward-thinking solutions, regardless of the industry.”

Blake Oliver basically agrees, explaining that jobs aren’t going away, but rather that they are shifting. Sabrina Parsons explains Oliver’s position in her article via

“…in the case of a traditional bookkeeper, the employee’s general job function is transitioning into ‘information systems manager.’ This is someone with knowledge of decentralized, digital accounting, and the expertise to build systems around a constantly evolving ecosystem of new applications,” she writes. “In other words, an information systems manager exists to help their clients feel understood and in control of both their data and cash flow.”

The truth is that we must prepare for this new wave in invoicing and accounting with continued learning of new systems — and that’s true for any industry. Digital disruption isn’t going anywhere, and the only way to survive disruption is an adaptation.

Once professionals overcome any initial pause they might have and realize that AI and automation are good for both their clients and themselves, they’ll no doubt jump to adopt this revolutionary, new technology.


Remember to do research and decide if this type of technology is right for your firm — but also try to imagine what your business would be like without the internet. You might be able to get by for a while in a limited fashion, but the connectivity offered by the internet isn’t something most businesses can survive without in the modern world.

The same will soon be true of AI and automation, and times couldn’t be more exciting.

Devin Morrissey
Devin prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zigzag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.
Devin Morrissey

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