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20.okt.2020 - Stokke

ALSO goes live with AI-enhanced Celonis Execution Application for Accounts Payable

Celonis, the global leader in Execution Management Systems (EMS) and the Swiss-headquartered technology provider ALSO today announced the successful go live of the Celonis Execution Application for Accounts Payable. The App optimizes cash flow, maximizes cash discounts, minimizes late payment penalties and frees up working capital. It is part of the new Celonis Execution Management System, enabling businesses to optimize execution capacity and close execution gaps.

ALSO, which is active in 23 European countries with total net sales of nearly 11 billion euros, processes millions of invoices from suppliers annually. The new Accounts Payable Execution App from Celonis enables ALSO to optimize its financial performance by using AI to identify the causes of sub-optimal lead time in its invoice payment processes and then recommend or automate immediate remedial action. The application supports the ALSO team in creating streamlined, automated operational expense management, optimized working capital and improved overall profitability.

The Celonis Execution App for Accounts Payable allows ALSO to take full advantage of valuable cash discounts offered by many suppliers for early payment. As well as maximizing these cash discounts, the Celonis application times invoice payments to match due dates. Eliminating late payment fees for overdue invoices and ensuring that invoices are paid on agreed dates frees up substantial amounts of liquidity for new business opportunities.

Gustavo Möller-Hergt, CEO of ALSO Holding AG (SIX: ALSN), explains: “Our supply business requires a great deal of precision to ensure profitability. The margins, particularly where hardware is concerned, can be very thin – and avoidable process errors quickly eat into profits. This is why closing any execution gaps in every area of our business is crucial to us. We have been working with Celonis since 2019 and appreciate the impact its software has on execution optimization. This latest step to apply the new Celonis Execution Application for Accounts Payable in our finance department helps us eradicate the occasions when something does not happen in time.”

Optimizing execution capacity, eliminating execution gaps

Most organizations suffer from under-performance in their execution capacity, the optimum level of performance they can achieve with available time and resources. This difference between optimal execution capacity and average achievement occurs because business processes are forced to run across rigid and fragmented IT landscapes, resulting in execution gaps – errors, inefficiencies, and delays that constrain performance.

Celonis’ Execution Management System helps companies in every industry maximize execution capacity. The system leverages process mining technology to extract data in real-time from source systems and identify the most impactful execution gaps. Celonis Execution Applications are role-based apps for specific lines of business that apply machine learning and best-practice knowledge to recommend the right course of action to close gaps. They prioritize work by automating steps across systems and deploying the right people to remove gaps, according to strategic outcomes determined by business management.

A smarter way to approach Accounts Payable execution

At ALSO, the Celonis Execution Application for Accounts Payable enables finance leadership to plan, set and operate a strategy for the daily processing of invoices. Automatic prioritization of invoices and prescriptive guidance on the next best actions empower employees to achieve key business objectives.

The Application leverages Celonis’ know-how from more than 2,000 deployments. It collects data from multiple systems that the accounts payable team works with and gives everyone a common baseline. The Celonis software is constantly on the look-out for potential issues and recommends ways to accelerate invoice processing. In addition, it enables ALSO’s Accounts Payable team to work more productively and smartly by prioritizing payments instead of working through invoices in sequence and recommending actions according to business impact. By harmonizing strategy and execution as well as importing data from multiple systems to give everyone a common baseline, the entire finance team works off the same data and can make collective decisions.

ALSO is deploying the Celonis Accounts Payable app for specific use cases to automate and optimize its SAP-based processes, which have been jointly developed by ALSO and Celonis experts. For example, Celonis automatically analyzes all the invoices due, compares the due date and the next payment run, and flags invoices to be paid in time to qualify for any discount. Another action is to optimize the payment date of invoices: they are still paid on time but paying a week earlier than necessary reduces working capital potentially available for other business opportunities. For companies operating on very tight margins, both approaches offer significant advantages and provide valuable cash-at-hand liquidity.

Hala Zeine, Chief Product Officer at Celonis, commented: “ALSO’s ambitions to achieve process excellence are a perfect match for Celonis’ new Accounts Payable Execution Application, with each optimization recommendation by the app impacting the bottom line in an immediate and purpose-driven way. And this applies to any other business environment where there is a high volume of purchases from suppliers. Typically, automation in Accounts Payable teams lacks the granularity necessary to remove execution gaps. The systems in place just cannot see the interdependencies with enough detail to spot problems ahead, let alone recommend ways to avoid them. Celonis’ new Execution App for Accounts Payable sees the interdependencies, automates smarter actions, or recommends manual intervention when that’s the best way to optimize cash flow. This is a great example of what we mean when we talk about closing execution gaps.”

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Beate Flamm
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