June 23 2021
Leading Canadian law firm BCF has officially gone live with brand new automated accounts payables (AP) solution XPENS.AI, which is officially launching today (23 June).
Fully integrated with BCF’s Thomson Reuters Elite 3E legal practice management system, we’re told that XPENS.AI facilitates the complete automation of the AP process. Much like other automation solutions on the market, XPENS.AI starts with optical character recognition (OCR) scanning of invoices, but then takes things a step further by interacting with the firm’s database and looking at historical allocation.
“We have been hoping for a solution that would help us with the overall AP process for a while now. After an evaluation of the solutions available, we decided to partner with XPENS.AI to help with the processing of invoices to free our team from repetitive and low-value tasks such as data entry. We feel we are in a time where we should leverage all available tools out there to help us improve our overall productivity, and data accuracy,” said Susan Da Silva, CFO of BCF, which has around 500 employees, including 300 legal professionals.
XPENS.AI is co-founded by CFO Dominic Larose, who has worked as an accountant for 20 years, and in legal – including as finance director for BCF – for 10 years. Speaking to Legal IT Insider he said: “I started this business two years ago, knowing what the process and pain points were inside a law firm. I found AP to be a very clunky process and personally I don’t like low value-add tasks. There are tools for OCR scanning, but we found that the quality of the data that comes out of the scan is basically not usable if you want to achieve full automation, where you are trying to emulate what a clerk does.”
“We think of it as an easy task but in fact if brings in the concept of tax compliance, accounting standards, firm policy and historical allocation. What we are trying to do is grab the raw OCR data and make sense of it. We process it to achieve full automation.”
“Technology is now to a point where we can achieve that. Ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been possible.” Larose’s co-founders are machine learning specialist Marc-Andre Lavoie, and CEO Ugo Cloutier, who was previously a new business SME consultant. They are joined on the board by DW Reporting founder turned investor Dan Wales, who has taken on the role of chief growth officer.
Wales told us: “In the real world, other systems read the content and send it to the PMS, but there are questions around the accuracy of that and it often relies on manual review and adjustment. What we are able to do is take that a step further. As well as reading the invoice we interact with the database and look at historical allocation. The level of accuracy is high, and we are eliminating the need for manual processes to get to final review so you can upload an invoice for processing.” Wales, who started out as an AP clerk, says: “I had no interest in what happened to that invoice because I had 100 invoices to get into the system, and that’s where the accuracy tends to go down as well. We’re not here to replace AP clerks but to give them more value-added tasks.”
Wales now has a number of board-level appointments and investments both under his organization Oliella Partners and with Bryce Catalyst. He said: “I was looking for the final piece of the jigsaw that’s involved in the real bread and butter of a firm. XPENS.AI talks to Elite and Aderant and what they are doing really excites me.”
read more Here