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How AI can crush the paperwork problem

Automating data extraction may not be as sexy as chatbots, but it’s got massive potential to boost productivity.

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Gains in back-office efficiency

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We all know about the paradigm-changing use of AI for Netflix recommendations and chatbots that impersonate customer service agents. But what about the everyday business of processing invoices and extracting details from contracts, leases, tax forms, surveys and other documents? Artificial intelligence (AI) offers ways to perform these complex, integrated tasks far more efficiently. Using a variety of innovative AI techniques, organisations can process documents faster and simplify operational procedures; fewer errors mean fewer corrections and retractions. Recent research by PwC on automating analytics found that even the most rudimentary AI-based extraction techniques can save businesses 30–40% of the hours typically spent on such processes. For a midsized company that processes 100,000 pages of documents annually at three minutes per page, it would take approximately 5,000 person-hours to complete the task; at US$50 per hour, that’s $250,000. Implementing an AI solution for data extraction could save 2,000 hours for every 100,000 pages processed. Businesses should seize this potential to automate time-consuming and error-prone processes, and unlock new insights that contribute to long-term growth.

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Robert N. Bernard

Robert N. Bernard

Director, Products and Technology, PwC United States

Anand Rao

Anand Rao

Global Artificial Intelligence Leader, Principal, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (617) 633 8354

Tom Archer

Tom Archer

Global Technology Consulting & Alliances Leader, PwC United States