Despite the tremendous pace at which technology has surged into virtually every aspect of our daily lives, certain areas seem to be perpetually ignored and overlooked. Up till very recently, the enterprise back office domain seemed to have been relegated to that category.
But not anymore. AppZen is here.
AppZen is a company that has developed the world’s first back office automation solution driven by artificial intelligence (AI).
This breakthrough technology incorporates computer vision, deep learning, and natural language processing to automatically detect both accidental errors and deliberate fraud. The speed and accuracy with which the platform performs means that companies can now achieve realtime compliance with FCPA regulations, IRS rules, and their internal policies.
With AppZen, every expense report, invoice, and contract can be verified in seconds. Red flags trigger alerts which are delivered to designated personnel for further action. AppZen also automates expense report creation, compliance, and audit. In addition, the solution automatically audits and assigns risk scores to every expense, protecting the company from expense misuse and regulatory non-compliance. This approach helps clients rediscover up to 5% of their T&E spend while finding ten times as many issues as manual assessments.
AppZen was co-founded in 2012 by Anant Kale, who is its CEO and Kunal Verma, who performs the role of CTO. Their collaboration on AppZen is simply another part of a decades-old friendship.
Anant has spent over 15 years developing complex software and he previously served as the VP of Applications at Fujitsu. He is responsible for product vision and the execution of the company’s mission.
Kunal previously worked as a Research Lead at Accenture Tech Labs. He has led global R&D engineering teams in developing tools that are currently used by hundreds of Fortune 500 companies. At AppZen, he is responsible for product development and engineering, technology architecture, and developing the IP for AppZen’s AI technologies.
Kunal earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science with a focus on semantic technologies. This background and expertise is the basis of AppZen’s unique technology stack and robust AI system.
Under Anant and Kunal’s stellar leadership, AppZen is witnessing phenomenal growth. In 2018 alone, it has quadrupled its customer base to 150 medium-sized and large brands, including several Fortune 500 name.
The company’s client list features some of the world’s most recognizable names – Amazon, Citi, Comcast, Intuit, Salesforce, DHL, Hitachi, Airbus, Orange, Intuitive Surgical, FireEye, Arthur J Gallagher, Zimmer Biomet, and Mortenson.
The AppZen Difference
The days when every item on every receipt had to be cross-checked against dozens of vendors and databases is now over. Depending on the number of employees, this process could take weeks or months.
AppZen’s platform is designed to drastically reduce the reliance on manual processing of expenses, which are a significant drain on resources and still prone to error and fraud. It runs every expense report through a verified series of checks in seconds and produces real-time expense report audits.
Artificial intelligence transforms the sheer volume of information from a liability to an asset, learning and comparing at a rate and at a level not possible with a human auditor. Potentially erroneous or fraudulent expenses that would never be flagged through manual checks have nowhere to hide.
Previously, time and resource limitations meant that companies could only really verify between 10 and 20 percent of their total expenses. AppZen takes that figure straight to 100%. It creates a system where a single-day review and payment cycle is possible despite needing only a tenth of the human workforce required before.
The amazing utility of AppZen’s platform and the peerless capacity it has demonstrated in revolutionizing the way businesses deal with expenses has not gone unnoticed.
The company secured $3 million in funding in 2016, and an additional $13 million at Series A in November 2017.
In 2017, the company was recognized as The Best AI Startup and IOFM Game Changer. This was followed up this year with the TiEInflect Award for Most Innovative Startup and Bezinga Award for Best in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Solution.
AppZen is fortifying its reach and efficacy by building robust partnerships with major expense platforms like SAP Concur, Oracle, and Coupa. It is also teaching its AI to read Mandarin so it can fully integrate into the Chinese market where English is not widely used or understood.
An unexpected challenge has been thrown up by how effective AppZen is at detecting anomalies – the uncertainty of follow-up when fraud is detected. Because many firms were unable to identify such occurrences in the past, they struggle to deal with the discovered misconduct.
AppZen is continually improving and streamlining its platform to align with the varying and evolving needs of its growing number of clients. As the AI component learns and becomes increasingly self-sufficient, the company expects its customers to be able to devote their human resources to more productive endeavors.
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