Are You Up for an AP Challenge?
September 29, 2021
4 Minute Read
If you follow the blog, you read about the Automation Anywhere Bot Games 21 and Bot Wars. Didn’t see the article on the games? Here’s some background—and an opportunity to explore the event in case you haven’t heard about it.
Held during the month of August, the virtual Bot Games offered developers the chance to demonstrate their software bot-building skills for glory, cash prizes, and swag. It was divided into a hackathon and four weekly programs known as the Bot Wars.
The AP battleground
In the fourth week of the Bot Wars, thousands of developers took up the challenge of solving one of the most common issues in running a business: how to make accounts payable (AP) processes work better. AP is part of every organization’s finance function and often a top candidate for automation.
Some organizations handle up to 100,000 invoices a year. Even if your organization handles less, accelerating and making AP processes more efficient, cost-effective, and accurate can be a difficult task if you’re still employing a manual AP solution. Think about all the components and steps.
Invoices from multiple suppliers arrive in various formats and from different sources—delivered electronically and through the mail. Once the invoices are in an AP department, a series of tasks must be performed such as assigning purchase orders, invoice reconciliation, approvals, and payment authorizations. Those tasks are performed for each item or service procured by a company to verify the correct item was purchased, in the correct amount, and that funds are available and can be allocated for payment. Once verified, invoice data is entered into the AP system, and paper checks are printed and signed. Every step has the potential to slow down the process and create errors if done manually.
The task at hand
Intelligent automation offers a solution, as participants in the fourth week of the Bot Wars discovered. The challenge objective for the week? To create an intelligent automation software bot that could execute a task. Participants were judged on how long it took their bot to complete the task with no errors. And what was the task? To automate the entry of details from seven invoices. Simple?
“This was the most difficult challenge of the Bot Wars,” says Micah Smith, developer evangelist at Automation Anywhere and creator of the Bot Wars. “It required extracting data from various invoices to fill web form fields dynamically. What made the challenge especially difficult and unique was that each invoice to be processed had a different number of line items. So, participants had to create a bot that was flexible enough to capture and work with varying amounts of data.”
The arsenal to do battle
To complete the task, participants could turn to Automation Anywhere solutions. According to Micah, the goal of the games, and especially Bot Wars, was to introduce developers to new ways of solving common challenges. So, participants had the opportunity to experience built-in AAI solutions and packages from our Bot Store—including ones they may not have used in the past. One of the most popular solutions for the week was our tool for intelligent document processing (IDP).
As Alexander Tarasov, business process automation team lead at Rakuten, wrote. “It’s interesting because I tried something I’d read about but never got about to trying…IQ Bot™.”
“It was the first hands-on experience many of the participants had with IQ Bot, which is a testament to how the Bot Wars challenged participants to learn new things and how easy IQ Bot is to pick up, configure, and use,” said Micah.
Intelligent automation for all your invoices
Combining pre-trained and customer-trained artificial intelligence models, IQ Bot can handle unstructured data, processing invoices end-to-end at a speed, scale, and accuracy unmatched by any other IDP solution.
Put IQ Bot and other AAI solutions and your development skills to the test. The Bot Wars are still available on demand. Try the AP challenge and the other three challenges. See how you score. Then, share your results and advice about how to participate in the challenges to benefit other developers on social media.