Blog|3 min

The AI Opportunity in the Back Office

René Lacerte
BILL, CEO and Founder

It was 1984 when I first started thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI). Granted, it was in a movie theater where I was being introduced to Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator, and the last thing I was thinking about was how the technology could have a meaningful impact on how entrepreneurs run their businesses.  

The ways businesses can use the power of AI has opened the door for banks to provide even greater value for their clients--and generally lessened my fears of Skynet.

Automating Businesses

Today, AI serves as a chief technology in supporting business automation and can reduce manual processes and create more efficiency in the business environment. Today, 62 percent of businesses believe that automation can resolve three or more process inefficiencies they face1. Leveraging AI to drive that automation is an opportunity to not only decrease those manual tasks, reduce errors, and improve speed, but also to transform business operations as a whole.

AI plays an integral role in that transformation. Some of the most advanced platforms supporting back office automation are using machine learning to systematize the invoicing and payment processes for businesses by:

  • recognizing and intercepting human error; 

  • initiating approval processes; 

  • recognizing workflows; 

  • and automatically creating business rules on behalf of customers. 

These new workflows and processes mean time and cost savings for businesses: those using platforms that leverage AI have reported that they save on average 5.5 hours per week, which translates to more than 36 business days annually2.

Leveraging AI to Support Business Customers

So, where does that leave financial institutions? How can banks help their business customers save time and resources with AI? There are three strong possibilities for banks in the near term:

  1. Providing data-rich insights for products and services that help businesses detect customer patterns and habits, and uncover unmet needs where product enhancements or new products may be warranted. 

  2. Offering streamlined back office through automated invoicing and payment collection/reconciliation, as well as options to auto pay recurring bills.

  3. Enabling enhanced fraud monitoring by providing data and machine learning and anomaly detection to help ensure approval of every good transaction.

The AI Opportunity

While the benefits are numerous, AI adoption, particularly by small and medium businesses, has much room to grow. Today, only 8 percent of SMBs are using AI.  But nearly half of SMB leaders (46 percent) believe their businesses are ready to use AI and 32 percent have plans to implement AI in the future3.  

That’s why it’s a key topic that René Lacerte,’s CEO and Founder, will be addressing in a session at Money20/20. He’ll be joined by Stephen Markwell, Head of Treasury at JPMorgan Chase and Dean Henry, EVP at American Express to share their perspectives on the future of the back office. It’s an opportunity for banks to learn how they can leverage the newest platforms and strategies to serve customers in ways they have yet to imagine.

In addition, the Bank Team will be onsite at Money20/20, so let us know if you’d like to meet up to learn more about how our solutions leverage next-generation technology for your business customers. We will be hosting a private conference room so fill out the form to schedule a time for us to connect during this year’s event.

As I have aged (let’s go with ‘matured’) my perspective has changed a bit and I have been able to balance the spectre of The Terminator with the promise that AI brings.  I feel very lucky to be part of this positive impact, as well as helping many of our partners offering the same to their customers.

PS - One of my favorite parts of the Terminator was the small role by a young Bill Paxton.  If you don’t remember, check it out.


1 Formstack The State of Workflow Automation in 2018


3 2019 Salesforce Small & Medium Business Trends Report