In an elaborate interview with stoodnt.com Varun Rathi, COO & Co-founder, Happay, enumerated on the unique offerings of his start-up.
An excerpt –
What was the idea behind launching an Invoice Processing and Vendor Payment solution?
Whatever industry vertical a business might belong to, processing invoices and paying vendors is an integral part of business operations. As per Happay’s 2019 CFO Benchmark report, 82% of corporates in India use manual or semi-automated systems to manage business expenses and payments. Till date, managing the ‘Invoice-to-Payment’ cycle has been a nightmare for corporates. Manual processes involve extensive data entry, increase the risk of data errors and duplicate payments, and make GST compliance very difficult.
A mid to large corporate processes anywhere between 1000-40000 invoices in a month and they are sent by 100-2500 different vendors. AP teams have to manually verify vendor details, GST details, amount, HSN codes, and also perform policy and duplicate checks on each invoice. This process is costly, error-prone and offers zero control over cash flows. Even though corporates use ERPs for recording invoices, the process to get an invoice approved is still mostly manual. Large ERPs are not user-friendly for employees and come at a high cost; hence corporates don’t extend the account login to all users. Through the launch of Happay Invoice, we want to make the Invoice-to-Payment process simple, digital and intelligent. With the help of AI, we want to help businesses eliminate manual data entry and duplicate billing of invoices, and also enable real-time control and visibility over the Accounts Payable process.
Why is there a need to automate Invoice Processing? What are the pain areas for employees, approvers and Accounts Payable teams?
Invoices are received in different forms (by courier or email) and may be delivered to different people in various departments across the organisation. Having such multiple channels can cause confusion unless there is a single system to record invoice data. At times, employees misplace paper invoices or have to look through multiple email threads to find the right vendor invoice. Invoice details need to be entered into the ERP or accounting system manually. This increases the likelihood of errors. Common errors may include paying for services without delivery, paying incorrect amounts, incorrect GST details, etc. These mistakes can lead to higher costs and wastage of unnecessary time in the entire process.
Controlling leakage and fraud is another pain area for Accounts Payable teams. A vendor might send the same invoice twice (duplicate invoice), and in turn, your company might end up paying twice the amount you owe. In a manual process, there is also no easy way to vet vendors, block fake vendor accounts and track if the payments are being made to authorised vendors only.
Finance teams also spend days chasing down the right people to approve invoices. If there is an error in the invoice, the same has to be sent back to the employee or the vendor for correction, and the approval needs to be taken all over again. This makes the process lengthy and cumbersome. Manual processes also make it difficult to track how many payments are due in a given week or month. People lose track of where invoices are in the payment process, and vendors often complain about missed payment due dates.
How does Happay’s AI-Powered Invoice Processing solution help corporates overcome these challenges?
With Happay Invoice, corporates can process, approve and pay vendor invoices using a single platform – digitally and effortlessly.
Happay’s OCR SuperVision, which is part of the new Happay Invoice Solution, is an AI-driven tool which captures and digitises invoices coming in from any source – using proprietary OCR technology and auto-fetch APIs. It also verifies and validates the vendor details, runs policy checks on the invoices and makes them ready for payment.
The moment a duplicate invoice enters the system, Happay triggers an alert and stops the invoice from being processed. Happay also makes the invoice the core of all communication. Anyone who is part of the Invoice cycle can add comments to the invoice and get the right answers. Comments can also be added to expedite approvals. We call this real-time collaboration. Each invoice also carries an electronic trail of all actions taken on the invoice. This makes it easy to track the status of the invoice and eliminates the need for email threads or face-to-face follow-ups.
Another disruptive functionality that Happay offers is direct integration with multiple core banking systems which, in turn, enables direct payments to vendors through the Happay system. The integration adds a layer of security and gives every payment a context. Once the payment is processed, the vendor gets an email and SMS with all payment details. This way, the vendor doesn’t have to chase the company for payment status and the UTR number.
What are the benefits of Invoice Processing Automation?
Happay estimates that using Invoice Processing automation, businesses can reduce their invoice processing costs by 70% and speed up invoice processing cycle by 3X. Automation also helps boost AP efficiency and improve cash flow visibility. 5500+ businesses across 40+ industry verticals are already using Happay’s suite of Spend Management Solutions to manage Travel & Entertainment expenses, Petty Cash expenses, Employee tax benefits and reimbursements, and fleet expenses. With the launch of Happay’s Invoice solution, corporates can now manage another crucial area of spending (vendor payments) using the Happay platform.
Who is your target audience for this solution?
The target audience for this solution is mid to large corporates.
What differentiates your company from other expense management companies?
Happay is the most widely used and implemented solution in the Corporate Spend Management space in India. Having worked with 5500+ clients across 40+ verticals, we truly understand the expense management domain and can work with businesses of any size to create a tailor-made platform for financial success.
Happay delivers everything corporates need to manage business expenses & payments effectively and in a single place. Our full stack of solutions, our evolving set of features & functionalities combined with the latest technologies such as AI & ML, our growing ecosystem of partners & integrations, and our implementation expertise helps corporates get the best of expense management there is. Happay’s corporate spend management solutions are used by mid-size to large businesses – from the fastest-growing companies to the most respected Indian conglomerates.
What are your future plans?
This year Happay has hit $1 Billion in transaction volumes. 2020 is going to be an exciting year for us. We have some more innovative products in the pipeline, which are going to add immense value to corporates. These products are being built in consultation with some of the most renowned CFOs across the country.
About Varun Rathi
Varun Rathi is a COO and Co-founder of Happay. He is responsible for setting the vision and direction for Sales, Marketing, Operations and Customer Success at Happay. Varun has been recognised as one of the 50 Most Influential Payments Professionals by the World Payment Congress for driving innovation in the digital payments space. He started Happay in 2012 with another IIT Kharagpur alumnus Anshul Rai. Varun is passionate about delivering great user experiences and makes sure nothing is ever compromised on that front. His vision is to make Happay the most preferred payment and spend management platform for mid to large corporates in India and globally.