"The biggest tangible impact is that we have doubled the number of purchase invoices since we started using Snowfox AI, and we are able to handle the invoices with the same resources."
- Heidi Perälä, Team Lead, PHM Group
Property management & real estate
PHM Group is a growing Nordic real estate service company whose mission is to take care of people by taking care of their living environment. The company operates in 5 countries with more than a hundred local units and almost 6,000 professionals.
In rapidly growing companies, the number of purchase invoices can also increase quickly. This was exactly the situation at the Finnish real estate service company PHM Group. Especially with company acquisitions, the number of invoices in the accounts payable was growing considerably every month.
The company was at a point where the resources and technology in use were no longer sufficient to process the incoming invoices. The accounts payable department also knew that the number of invoices would increase in the coming months, so solutions to the situation were needed quickly.
This was the situation when they implemented Snowfox.AI's artificial intelligence-based purchase invoice automation. The company has not had to regret the decision.
“The biggest tangible impact is that we have doubled the number of purchase invoices since we started using Snowfox AI, and we are able to handle the invoices with the same resources”, says Heidi Perälä, the Accounts Payable Team Lead at PHM Group.
Before the Snowfox service, PHM Group used robotics for the automatic processing of purchase invoices. The software robot searched the invoice message and the PDF image for the information needed for invoicing.
However, as the number of invoices grew rapidly, robotics could no longer keep up with automated invoices. The invoices processed by the robot varied in quality and could even contain incorrect information. This further increased the number of manually corrected invoices. Additional stress was caused by the manual maintenance of the robot and the occasional freezing at the change of the month.
After the introduction of Snowfox, the importance of robotics in the processing of purchase invoices has decreased significantly.
“The robot has been taking a lot of coffee breaks since Snowfox started working”, laughs IT Service Manager Hannu Kaskilahti.
He even thinks that robotics might not be needed in the processing of purchase invoices in the future.
Snowfox has significantly freed up time in the accounts payable. Before Snowfox, the experts spent significantly more time processing purchase invoices. Now they spend less time processing invoices and more time on other more important tasks such as process development, customer service, and training.
“Despite the increase in the number of invoices, we manage the workload well and the work is meaningful. In addition, it is wonderful when you can tell new people that they can always get in touch, that we have time to advise them and be present”, says Ida Bäckström, Accounts Payable Expert.
Heidi, Hannu and Ida all agree that Snowfox has made the work in the accounts payable smoother.
“Snowfox is accurate and good and needs very little repair. The few invoices that we have had to correct would have been incorrect even if they had been invoiced by a human, because the information provided by the sender has been incomplete”, Ida explains.
In addition, Snowfox.AI has helped unify the accounting practice between different companies and units, and the accounts payable experts now also have more time to train the personnel so that the uniformity of the accounting remains even when new companies join the group.
“Now that experts have time to brief things thoroughly, the effect can be seen in the correctness of the profit and loss information, which in turn affects decision-making”, Hannu explains.
Snowfox has also increased the working motivation of experts.
“The work is more meaningful because you don't have to waste your working time fiddling with details and doing routine copy-paste work. What's gone is the kind of work that raises the heart rate during interruptions and increases stress”, Ida describes the benefits of Snowfox.
Working with numbers is precise work, and that's why in the end what matters the most is how well Snowfox's artificial intelligence manages to process the invoices. Artificial intelligence has succeeded well in this.
“The biggest benefits are the unification of invoicing, the smooth movement of invoices and the ease of processing, and the improvements in invoicing accuracy”, Heidi names the benefits of Snowfox.
Artificial intelligence has also accelerated the posting of purchase invoices.
“My gut feeling is that all invoices that come in as e-invoices are processed during the same day, including possible errors in them. Purchase invoices are posted on the day they reach us”, Ida estimates.
The cooperation with Snowfox started with a test period, where PHM Group provided three months of accounting data for purchase invoices, based on which Snowfox built a forecast analysis, i.e. an estimate of how well the artificial intelligence would process the company's purchase invoices. The results were good, so the company decided to introduce artificial intelligence automation.After this, the purchase invoice process was determined, the most important invoice dimensions decided, and possible pain points in the process analyzed.
After the initial definitions, artificial intelligence was turned on and it started processing invoices. It was soon noticed that some of the set limits had to be adjusted.
“We were quite optimistic about AI prediction percentages. We believed that bills could go straight to the field even with fairly low forecast probabilities. However, we have raised the prediction limits quite a bit since the beginning. But that has not been a problem because Snowfox's AI is so accurate”, Ida says.
The low prediction percentages at the beginning were actually useful because they helped to see how the company works internally. It showed that there are differences in some processes, and with the feedback, the accounts payable department learned to know its own user base better.
For Hannu, the most important lesson in implementation is precisely understanding one's own data. He urges everyone who is considering the implementation of artificial intelligence to make the effort in understanding their own data and processes.
“It is really important to understand your own data and what it affects. We had challenges in the beginning when we noticed that certain invoices were not entered into the Snowfox database. It took a while for us to find the reason: certain limitations made at our end. Thus, we didn't get the best possible results right from the start. It was specifically about understanding one's own knowledge”, he explains.
Despite the initial fine-tuning, Hannu is quite satisfied with the implementation phase.
“Overall, the deployment went smoothly. There were no major technical hiccups and the implementation stayed on schedule”, he sums up the process.
Heidi, Hannu and Ida like the fact that the financial and IT units worked together in implementing Snowfox.
“This was by no means an IT project, but the development of the accounts payable function. ICT certainly helps, but IT as the lead does not necessarily always support the progress of the process in the best possible way. It was really good that this was a joint project”, Hannu emphasizes.
Cooperation with Snowfox has continued smoothly in all aspects. Heidi especially praises Snowfox for its quick response to emerging challenges or needed changes.
“If a problem has come up or we've had to make changes to forecasts, for example, they've been taken care of very quickly. We have received quick solutions from Snowfox.”
Ida is also satisfied with Snowfox's abilities.
“We trust that if the AI is pretty sure about something, we'll try it and see how it goes. Usually AI is right. If we're not sure, Snowfox is.”
Heidi does not hesitate to recommend the use of Snowfox's artificial intelligence to other companies as well.
"I would recommend using Snowfox to others as well. And I have recommended it!”
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