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Finance and the Frictionless Enterprise

Lee Beardmore, Divya Turner, Mahalakshmi Ramakrishnan, Robert Piotrowski

Lee Beardmore: Welcome Divya, Maha, Robert. I’d like to talk about the AI-enabled solutions that make up our Frictionless Finance offer. Divya, let’s start with order-to-cash (O2C). Could you outline the changing face of customer experience within cash and collections?

Divya Turner: Yes, absolutely. The way organizations interact with their customers across business sectors has changed over time. The way a product is sold or payment is collected can influence customers’ buying habits.

Customers now expect these interactions to be frictionless. If you get it wrong the organizations risk alienating their customers. But if you get it right, your customers will buy more, pay quicker and be more satisfied, enhancing the overall experience.

New technologies are putting increased focus on the effectiveness of touchless processing, one-click buy-and-pay applications, and digital interactions. For example, how do organizations resolve issues and disputes quickly to enable the timely collection of cash? How do they ensure that the collection function is scalable, future proof, and contributes to an increase in working capital?

To stay ahead of the competition in O2C, organizations need to eliminate friction from their processes, reduce cost and lost sales, and improve speed to market.

How can organizations unlock value from their cash and collections by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI)?

This is where it gets interesting. Capgemini’s AI.Receivables solution integrates with our clients’ corporate systems, infusing AI into their cash and collections process to deliver next-generation frictionless order-to-cash. This transforms our clients’ finance functions to drive frictionless enterprise-level outcomes, enhanced efficiency, and topline growth to the business.

As part of Capgemini’s Frictionless Finance offer, our AI.Receivables solution is underpinned by a digital framework of enablers that leverages an AI-augmented workforce, an AI-driven business operating model, and a partnership philosophy for driving frictionless processes.

This helps organizations to streamline their operations, reduce the number of exceptions, and improve billing, collection, and account strategies. It can also predict which customers are likely to default, recommending proactive measures to prevent it from happening.

That’s fascinating. Maha, turning to you for a minute. What are some of the key challenges in the field of purchase-to-pay (P2P)?

Mahalakshmi Ramakrishnan: Thanks Lee. Organizations have access to more data than ever before. Data received from procurement and accounts payables (AP) comes in multiple formats, with multiple compliance requirements, and needs to be digitized. A lack of organizational discipline can lead to the lack of adoption of purchase orders (PO) and the tools that support conversion of external into corporate data.

This results in organizations failing to realize the benefit of investment in procurement technology, resulting in low contract compliance and control, a lack of transparency on spend, and low productivity. Some even suffer from a poor reputation and low engagement with their suppliers, resulting in lost saving opportunities.

Just like with O2C, organizations need to eliminate friction in their invoicing and AP processing, enabling the seamless flow of information across their business ecosystem.

How can an organization unlock value from their payables with AI?

Again, Capgemini’s AI.Payables solution integrates with our clients’ corporate systems, infusing AI into AP processes to deliver next-generation, frictionless purchase-to-pay. Just like with AI.Receivables, this transforms an organization’s finance function to drive enhanced efficiency, growth, and frictionless outcomes.

The solution is also underpinned by a digital framework of enablers, which provides an end-to-end transactional service. This delivers insight into sourcing strategy, efficient buying execution via the right channels, support to establish internal policies, optimized payment strategies, and an enhanced reputation among an organization’s vendors.

Robert, moving on to the record-to-analyze (R2A) function, what are the challenges of the traditional period-end close, reporting, and controllership?

Robert Piotrowski: Hello Lee. Finance departments are operating under constant pressure from internal and external parties. Internally, they are obliged to deliver an increasing number of insights to support business decisions. Externally, they are operating in an increasingly complex environment. On top of this, finance is coming under increasing pressure from tax authorities. All these factors mean they struggle to deliver at the desired pace and quality – we cannot compromise on compliance, which is a key component of R2A.

Traditionally finance departments operate according to monthly cycles with the effort concentrated on a few working days at the end of month, which leaves no time for analysis and insight generation. The challenge for the finance community is moving away from the traditional “once-a-month” mindset and delivering outcomes through a continuous accounting, analytics and reporting approach, and real-time access to reliable data.

To respond successfully to business needs it’s paramount for the record to analyze function while re-engineering the entire cycle of the accounting close and reporting processes. Finance must finally evolve from simply being a number crunching function to a strategic business advisor.

How can a business unlock value from its R2A function by leveraging technology?

This is where Capgemini’s AI.Controllership solution comes in. Like AI.Receivables and AI.Payables, it’s a platform-based solution that infuses AI into accounting, reconciliation, close reporting, and compliance processes to enable continuous accounting and close. It also enables finance professionals to focus on insights and analytics, helping them to be true advisors and partners to business.

And, similarly to the other solutions, AI.Controllership is underpinned by a digital framework of enablers that drives enhanced efficiency, increased effectiveness, and improved compliance. This enables us to become trusted advisors to our partners, while delivering value such as continuous accounting (moving away from a once-a-month mindset), continuous analysis (identifying errors at source), faster close of books, improved financial controls at reduced cost, real-time access to data, and actionable insights for a faster and more informed decision-making process for our clients.

Can you tell me more about the frictionless outcomes from O2C, P2P, and R2A?

Divya Turner: Absolutely. In O2C, outcomes include a better buying experience, because of a collaborative view across the value chain, an easier payment experience via a multichannel payment system, a self-service customer portal, and a more satisfying engagement after each interaction across channels.

Mahalakshmi Ramakrishnan: The components that make up AI.Payables can be used individually or as a suite to deliver enhanced service and outcomes.

This includes increased spend savings through increasing the percentage of users on approved systems, improved buyer satisfaction thanks to a better payment-on-time percentage, reduced cost due to increased electronic invoicing, higher first-time matches, and the prevention of duplicate payments.

Robert Piotrowski: Our AI.Controllership solution enables frictionless accounting operations with fully automated calculation and processing of your journals. It also automates close and reporting with best-in-class scheduling and monitoring and introduces a touchless intercompany solution with real time reconciliations and monitoring.

This enhances the strength of your brand and market reputation, delivering increased value from your R2A operations.

Finally, how does Capgemini realign our clients’ target operating model to deliver a frictionless enterprise?

Mahalakshmi Ramakrishnan: Capgemini’s renowned Digital Global Enterprise Model (D-GEM) provides an AI-based digital business transformation platform encompassing the tools and techniques for reshaping and streamlining business processes to deliver increased efficiency, faster time-to-market, and an enhanced, customer-first, user experience.

Divya Turner: By quickly and dynamically adapting to an organization’s circumstances to address every point of friction in their operations, D-GEM provides a complete overview of its processes, guiding the right digital operating model for their organization. This helps an organization transition to – what we call – the Frictionless Enterprise.

Robert Piotrowski: In R2A, we recognize that true controllership with tax and statutory compliance – along with increased focus on insights and analytics – requires a different skillset, experience, and operating model. D-GEM transforms our clients’ businesses, enabling them to remain competitive in a rapidly changing digital business context.

Divya, Maha, Robert – this has been a really insightful discussion. Thank you all for being part of it!

Lee Beardmore has spent over two decades advising clients on the best strategies for technology adoption. More recently, he has been leading AI-driven business transformation for Capgemini’s Business Services. Lee is a computer scientist by education, a technologist at heart, and has a wealth of cross-industry experience.

Divya Turner is the current global process owner for order-to-cash, the product owner for AI. Receivables, and has over 15 years of experience in driving innovation in O2C.

Mahalakshmi Ramakrishnan leads multi-national multi-cultural teams and transformation projects across the accounts payable.