Vic.ai, a four-year-old enterprise accounting software company that uses AI to intelligently learn from user input and a client’s historical accounting data, secured another $50 Series B funding. million dollars from its investors.
The latest cash injection will be used to expand its customer base for its enterprise product and add new capabilities for US and European customers, the company announced on September 1 (Wed). The $50 million round brings the company’s total funding to date to $63 million.
Vic.ai brings AI, computer vision, and autonomous approval workflows to a client’s back-office financial operations, without using predefined rules or templates like traditional accounting apps, according to the company. The Vic.ai platform intelligently learns from historical data and existing processes to provide what it calls “autopilot” for invoice processing and other functions, resulting in significant reductions in time spent on tasks by humans, fewer errors, elimination of duplicates, and improved integrations with other systems and process flows.
“The essence of the core AI engine is that accounting transactions require accounting decision making to be properly posted to the ledger,” said Alexander Hagerup, CEO and co-founder of Vic.ai. EnterpriseAI. “AI is great at making non-deterministic decisions. AI sits there and is able to understand documents and transactions, make accounting decisions, and create journal entries.
These are tasks that are traditionally done by accounting teams, but the app frees them up for more important business tasks, he said. “All of our business is based on the core AI capabilities that we have, which are actually prediction algorithms.”
The company’s latest funding round was led by ICONIQ Growth with participation from existing investors GGV Capital, Cowboy Ventures and Costanoa Ventures.
Hagerup said the company began its development work about five years ago with a massive set of document data and their corresponding journal entries to begin creating its vision. “The only thing we did for almost three years was data science and creating machine learning algorithms, and we just tried to make them work before we even thought about any commercialization of our technology” , did he declare.
Human interactions are not completely suppressed, however, he added. There are times when you need to call in human accountants to straighten things out.
“For some transactions there are still humans in the loop, we haven’t invented something that just eradicates accountants from Earth,” Hagerup said. “Our AI knows when to hook up a human when in doubt.”
Corporate clients include Swedish property management company, HSB, Intercom Inc. and HireQuest, as well as accounting firms such as KPMG, PwC, BDO and Armanino LLP.
Hagerup said Vic.ai’s technology is fundamentally different from more traditional accounting software applications.
“Everything else is inherited…and rule-based,” he said. “That’s a lot of what’s used today and we’re competing against all of that. We have tons of competitors, accounts payable providers, invoice processing or workflow automation apps. They fundamentally rely on rules, patterns and workflow systems, while we fundamentally rely on our AI, which is able to mimic human decision-making using technology from l AI, so it’s very different and more efficient.
By doing this work for CFOs, controllers, accounts payable teams, finance and accounting teams and others, they can be freed from tedious invoice processing to delve into more critical functions such as spend intelligence, benchmarking and cost optimization, Hagerup said. The software also helps reduce human error.
Vic.ai is headquartered in New York and Oslo, Norway.
The name of the company has a little history. Vic is short for Victor or Victoria, and the company’s long-term hope is that customers will eventually be able to use voice commands to “talk” to the software. The idea is that in the future, customers could ask the app simple questions, such as “Hey, Vic or Victoria, what’s the total of this bill?” according to a spokesperson. This possibility led to the choice of its corporate name.
Vic.ai’s standalone invoice processing replaces older OCR and rules-based methods, while invoices can be automatically brought into the system from a variety of sources, including electronic file formats and EDI, e -mails, PDFs, direct connections, etc.
Once extracted, the billing data is reviewed by the AI which then compares and processes all relevant billing information including vendor, dates, numbers, cost accounts, dimensions, assets and vouchers control. The software is designed to run on one or more ERP systems and the integration can be configured using enterprise API or flat file support.
Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, said EnterpriseAI that business accounting is a natural fit for AI integration.
“Using AI for accounting seems ideal for ensuring accounting accuracy and flagging potential insider theft or fraud in real time,” Enderle said. “AI makes a lot of sense for accounting, given that accounting is numbers-based and AI is generally more proficient than humans at anything numbers-driven.”
Accounting is probably one of the first places where AI should have been considered, he added.
“It’s a place where it shouldn’t require a lot of training, especially one-time training, to get the AI to work as needed,” Enderle said. “Accounting Rules, unlike most other business functions, has well-defined rules that are independent of the business, which makes establishing proficient AI in the segment relatively easy and inexpensive.”
As summer draws to a close, the number of AI funding announcements has continued to grow. August 2021 has been a busy month of healthy venture capital funding announcements for startups in areas ranging from robotics to AI-powered applications to autonomous military aircraft flight systems.