In Finland, the City of Joensuu aimed to advance automation and reduce manual work in purchase invoice processing. Since November 2021, the Purchase to Pay solution’s artificial intelligence (AI) has been in the organization’s daily production use for posting and routing invoices. (CGI Purchase to Pay is part of the CGI DataCycle360 document management solution suite.)

"Increasing the processing of invoices is the biggest benefit that CGI Purchase to Pay's AI has brought to our operations. Manual processing and inspection now take a fraction of what it used to be," says Tiina Eskelinen, Project Leader and Financial Manager for the City of Joensuu.

About 50,000 purchase invoices come to the City of Joensuu every year, and processing invoices manually is time-consuming. For these reasons, employees' time can be significantly consumed by familiarizing themselves with invoices and checking and approving them.

The City of Joensuu has a total of 440 people using the CGI DataCycle360 software, of which 270 work as invoice auditors. "Probably every one of our auditors has come across invoices entered by AI," adds Eskelinen.

Person reviewing invoices with laptop and calculator.
80 %
electronic invoice processing was automated using AI and other features of CGI Purchase to Pay
Moving forward together, we understood how multifaceted the project was. In this regard, we greatly value the expertise of CGI's professionals.

Tiina Eskelinen Finance Manager, City of Joensuu

Person writing notes while working on a laptop

AI learns and performs human tasks

With the help of artificial intelligence and using the existing features of the CGI Purchase to Pay solution, it was possible to automate up to 80% of the City of Joensuu's electronic invoice processing. In addition, the error margin for invoices processed by AI is smaller than those processed by people.

"Primarily, the software does the accounting according to the accounting rules. For the City of Joensuu's invoices, the original invoicing and routing rules of the CGI Purchase to Pay solution did not prevent the introduction of AI, instead AI works together with them and could possibly replace them at a later stage. It was possible to replace the billing rules with AI for utility bills, which processes at a rate of about 300 per month," says CGI DataCycle360 expert Anne Viitanen.

Invoices that CGI Purchase to Pay cannot process in accordance with the rules or based on order and contract targeting are transferred to AI. The functionality accepts both e-invoices and paper invoices scanned into electronic format.

"After the introduction of AI, it is even more important how products or services are ordered and in what form one wants to receive invoices. The more invoices we receive that AI can directly bill and route, the fewer invoices that require human time and attention," Eskelinen mentions.

A large project requires the ability to cooperate well

Eskelinen praises the smoothness of the cooperation, "Moving forward together, we understood how multifaceted the project was. In this regard, we greatly value the expertise of CGI's professionals."

"Keeping in close contact has made it easier to settle things, and we have always kept up to date with the progress of the project. The development work still continues according to the agreed schedule and there are meetings approximately once a month," continues Eskelinen.

CGI DataCycle360's service director Aino Suurmaa added, "During the project, AI was developed for the City of Joensuu so that it can route invoices to routing groups as well as individual auditors. We will continue to work in cooperation with the City of Joensuu in order to help the AI to continually learn, so that its reliability continually improves."

"The AI functionality used in the processing of purchase invoices has aroused a lot of interest among CGI DataCycle360's clients. One new project is in production and another is currently underway," continues Suurmaa.

An accountant signing a check.