As a knowledge and technology powerhouse in the Nordics, more than 20,000 customers trust us to help them make smarter decisions and become more profitable. Obviously, they expect us to improve their businesses through the utilization of technology and automation in accounting and payroll.

Automation is a broad area in Azets. We have several initiatives involving the usage of both new and mature technology – as well as continuously adapting our organisation.

Here is an overview of what we do within the field of automation and technology, and how our customers are able to reap the benefits.

Automation in accounting: The enablers

True automation in accounting and payroll services requires data flows between interacting systems, suppliers and customers to be electronic. In Azets, we have been working actively for several years to increase the sharing of electronic communication between all parties. We have a dedicated unit specializing in electronic messages certified as a PEPPOL access point, and we continuously seek cooperation with all relevant parties.

In 2018 we increased the share of electronic invoices for our average customer from 32 to 43%, resulting in lower spending in invoice handling as well as improved cash flow.

Automation in accounting and payroll – the different levels

At Azets, we approach automation in accounting and payroll in several levels. Depending on the maturity of the systems involved in the bookkeeping and payroll processes, we use different methodologies to optimize the level of automation. We focus on automation not only to reduce time spent on manual processes, but also to increase the customer experience of using our systems.

Robotics (RPA) – what we do and 3 key benefits 

We see Robotics, often  referred to as RPA or robotic process automation, as the lowest level of automation. In Azets we use software robots from UI Path to automate manual tasks done in legacy systems to compensate for missing functionality or lack of integration possibilities. Azets has established a Nordic team of specialized robotics consultants as well as a monitoring team making sure that all tasks are done. We have automated several tasks like sending payslips, storing legal documentation and performing reconciliations.  

There are many benefits to reap from our work within robotics. The three most important ones for our customers are 1) higher accuracy, 2) faster deliveries and 3) competitive prices. 

Check out this video explaining RPA in Azets:

Want some inspiration on how to succeed with RPA in your business? Robotics for businesses: 8 lessons to help you succeed

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)

For quite some time now, we have been exploring how to utilize ML and AI to support our customers in becoming more efficient. In the customer portal CoZone we have about 6,300 managers approving approximately 55,000 time reports every month in the Nordic countries. These managers are often very busy, and approving time reports is not on the top on their priority list. Moreover, it is very natural for humans to make a few mistakes. Quite understandably, then, there are time reports with errors being approved incorrectly every now and then. This is obviously not desirable.

So we asked ourselves: What if we utilize ML to help these managers to identify errors in time reports – before they are approved? Luckily we managed to find a solution that worked. Read more about it here: How we use artificial intelligence to help 6,300 Nordic managers

This is another example of how we make use of ML:

Our coding suggestion engine in Azets Invoice suggested 300,000 accounts last year, with only 14% of the suggestions being changed. The main benefit for customers is the reduced time spent on administration.

Rule based automation

You will never be able to achieve a fully automated process without eliminating the need of quality assurance. We do not believe it is possible to achieve 100 % accuracy using AI and Machine learning on it’s own, at least not in the near future. Over the past five years, Azets has developed Azets AutoAccounting, a software custom made to efficiently set up rule based automation on invoice handling across companies, groups and industries. The tool requires manual work in the initial phase, but enables a fully automated process when running.

Operations in the cloud

Cloud services, the cloud, or cloud computing. They are all different names for IT services delivered through the internet.

Cloud computing enables innovation, dramatically reduces capital and operating costs, increases agility and significantly reduces the time a new product or service needs to reach the market. The cloud delivers benefits to both the business, through enablement, and IT, via operational improvements.

Actually, we are operating a growing part of our software in Amazon web services. Offering our services from a cloud platform has been the single most efficient automation project within IT operations. By offering services in the cloud we can offer scalable, automated and redundant solutions with a high level of security to our customers.    

Speaking of cloud: Read more about Azets’ next generation customer portal CoZone.

Processes and organisation

Utilizing different types of automation requires an organization that is structured for the purpose. Workloads needs to be split up in processes, and production teams needs to be organized in a way that enables parts of a workload to be done by a software without losing overview and control of the deliveries.

In Azets we have spent several years optimizing our organization for automation in accounting and payroll. We are fully organized in process teams with roles, quality systems and management optimized for the purpose.

In order to automate the task of governing all processes, teams and workloads, we have even developed a custom software overseeing all processes, whether being done by a software robot or a consultant. The tool enables Azets to maintain complete control of our deliveries.

Want to learn more about automation of accounting and payroll?

For both ourselves and, more importantly, our customers, technology is becoming an increasingly important business area. That is exactly why we are investing heavily in the development and utilization of new technology – to solve customer needs and create better customer experiences. Here is an overview of our services and software within technology:

EXPLORE TECHNOLOGY IN AZETS

Andreas Viljugrein

About Andreas Viljugrein

Andreas Viljugrein er IT-direktør i Azets. De siste 12 årene har han jobbet med automatisering av regnskap og lønn. I dag leder Andreas avdelinger innenfor automatisering, programvare IT-operasjoner og -konsulenter i Azets. Andreas Viljugrein is Director of IT in Azets. For the past 12 years, he has been working with automation of bookkeeping and payroll processes. Andreas is currently managing departments within automation, software development, IT operations and IT consulting.