Our interview blog series discussing current trends and challenges in ERP and CRM.
We’re speaking with Russ McClendon, Founder and Partner at Trustantial. Russ, please tell us a little more about yourself.
Sure – I started out in accounting for the first fifteen years of my career and burned out as the Controller of a mortgage company. I often refer to myself as a recovering Accountant. So, I went looking for what else was out there and fell into the technology world and ERP consulting. I’ve been doing that for about 23 years now and love it! This is what I like to do – making people’s lives better. And that’s kind of what Trustantial is all about.
When did you start Trustantial?
Today our topic is Using AI for AP and Expense Management. Russ, how can Trustantial’s AI solutions help financial leaders like CFOs, VPs of Finance and Controllers and the like?
Finance leaders ask, “How’s it going to help my business?” The answer is that it makes expense management easy for the employees. They simply take a picture of the receipt and they’re halfway done. It eliminates the problems of losing receipts or not turning anything in. Also, it pushes the responsibility of data gathering back on the employee and their supervisors.
The biggest deal is accuracy and timeliness for reporting purposes. It makes the employees happier, both on the expense side – getting paid in days instead of weeks – as well as on the processing side, because a lot of their work is done by Artificial Intelligence or machine learning.
We’re going to free up staff from the daily processing of the expense reports and AP bills. The gathering of spreadsheets or physical paper and copies of receipts is gone. And likewise for AP, most of our bills come electronically now or we can download them, or even if they come in the mail we can scan them into a PDF.
Most of these solutions are cloud-based and they have the smarts within the technology to allow you to set up workflows so that when I send in an expense report or an AP bill, the solution knows where it’s going to go next based on my department or my supervisor. So, the machine does the walking, if you will, through the approval process.
That sounds really efficient. Talk to us about bank-level security.
Good question. You know we’re all used to working with banks, doing our banking online, using ATMs. These companies that have the cloud management solutions for Expense and AP processing – they have to adhere to the same levels of security. So, I don’t worry about that anymore with banking. At Trustantial we process our expense reports and AP through these workflows. It’s not as big a risk as at one time it was. They have to go through the same certification that the banks do.
Can you share any successes you’ve had with Trustantial’s AI solutions?
We have several clients on a multitude of these solutions. One that’s notable is a multi-store restaurant. They have roughly 400 employees, and are using both Expense Management and AP automation and they love it. It has allowed them to keep the same level of timeliness on their expense reporting and AP, but they’re actually down two staff people from when they started. They’ve had those kinds of economies of scale by using these applications. Through integration with their ERP, we’re able to make them a lot happier, along with reducing staff costs.