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May 25, 2021

Can you trust AI to fulfill your Auditing?

Are existing AI options enough to fulfill audit functions given that many exceptions take place throughout the lifespan of a single shipment?

Chances are, you are a part of the 50,000 logistics companies that unknowingly lost millions of dollars by not auditing their invoices. A lot of discrepancies can happen when during the pre-arrival, arrival, and delivery of your shipment. In most cases, companies allow 10-15% of invoice discrepancies to pass through without proper review because it takes too much effort from their team. Those ignored charges add up, and in order for a business to stay competitive, it's high time to look into working smarter rather than harder.

Is Audit Automation necessary?

Freight bill auditors waste up to 40% of their time reviewing documents. Operators and agents face the challenge of evaluating thousands of documents and contracts, reviewing the implementation of regulatory changes, and undertaking investigations on ambiguous transactions. Because of the large volume of data and labor-intensive work, they rely on sampling a part of their documents for review using a checklist of SOPs.

Most companies aren’t able to review all available information and miss out on millions of dollars from unnecessary expenses that they weren’t even aware of.

Freight Forwarders are growing and getting more competitive. In order to keep up with digital freight forwarding companies like Flexport and Project 44, traditional businesses are looking to cut their audit budgets by automating more. With machine learning, teams can go beyond sampling and review all available information in an instant and allow operators to focus on tasks that are more suited to human cognition.

Artificial Intelligence reduces the effort and cost of data management. Most AI solutions can be suitable for counting line items, detecting patterns, and flagging discrepancies to a level that exceeds the requirements of a company. But, not all AI may be the right choice for some of the complex analysis of financial data. For example, many freight forwarding agents are still reluctant to adopt this tech out of fear that it won’t be enough to capture the endless issues that may occur in one shipment.

Do all AI solutions work?

AI is not a rule-based system, a true AI will audit this properly. There are several misconceptions about Artificial Intelligence. This is because many solutions pose as AI even when there isn’t even any intelligence involved in their process. Solutions like OCR and RPA are helpful but only to the extent to which they were programmed. A true AI will not need any templating and will only need minimal fine-tuning as they continue to learn. Supply chain leaders must always be wary and verify that the machine can do all its tasks in real-time.

Recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence have enabled companies to process larger volumes of data instantly. Eventually, automated freight auditing will surpass traditional Freight Bill Audit companies and shared service centers through “Deep Learning”. Deep Learning is a form of AI that can analyze unstructured data such as emails, social media posts, audio calls, and document files. This means that it can figure out any template on its own with minimal human intervention.

What does AI bring to the table?

The trend is that hypothetically it will solve most, if not all, the audit functions in the long term. Perhaps the tech might not be here for all the scenarios today. However, early adopters of AI will see many benefits in the long run. Existing AI setups could learn the different custom scenarios that a company would go through to provide further value.

Here are just a few use cases of how AI can vastly improve finance operations for any business:

  • Internal Company Auditing
  • Regulatory Compliance Auditing
  • Automatic Code Accounting Entry
  • Effortless Fraud Detection
  • Better Business Strategy
  • Contract Review
  • Rate Validation
  • Data Visibility
  • Instant Financial Accruals
  • Better Customer Service

In order to reap the benefits of AI, supply chain leaders need to understand that no one company, no one customer, and no one workflow are going to be the same all throughout. Through AI, it could learn the different scenarios it faces and adds to its knowledge database.

Here at Expedock, we push this forward is by using human-in-the-loop (HITL) to provide more value to our clients. Our AI does 90% of the work and then freight operators fill in the gaps if needed. With the HITL component, we improve the customer experience for the audit process by giving a complete end-to-end service. We achieve this by having our freight experts work on both true positives and false positives to make sure nothing gets overlooked. Over time, our freight experts will train the AI to cover more audit scenarios for all kinds of shipments.

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