Due to the coronavirus, working from home will continue through the spring and summer for many. Econia, a full-house accounting company, has developed a new Artificial Intelligence-based mobile application to digitize accounting documents. The Econia Pocket app is now available free of charge to Econia customers.
“We wanted to provide an easy and secure way for our customers to deliver receipts and other accounting documents even if their company has not yet made the jump to e-financial management. So, we developed an app that enables users to send accounting documents via a mobile app thus avoiding unnecessary travel and personal contact,” says Elina Salmivala, CEO of Econia Ltd.
The corona virus pandemic accelerated the project – Econia made the app free of charge
“We have developed the Econia Pocket app and underlying system together with Koivu Solutions, a company specialising in Artificial Intelligence solutions and enterprise software. The onslaught of the corona virus pandemic threw the project into high gear and also changed our pricing logic: As a gesture of good will, we want to support our customers by offering the mobile app free of charge and even give them a discount on monthly accounting fees,” explains Salmivala.
Econia Pocket makes accounting routines easier
The Econia Pocket app allows you to quickly capture pictures of various vouchers – such as receipts, contracts, sales summaries and reports – and send them electronically to the financial management system. The browser-based app works on all smartphones and can also be used on a tablet and computer without installation.
The app was piloted in May. Thanks to positive user feedback, it will be offered free to all Econia customers starting June 2, 2020.
“I was surprised by how easy Econia Pocket is to use. I can just take a picture of my invoices and send them in minutes regardless of how many pages long they are. This makes life so much easier for entrepreneurs like myself and ensures that all my supporting documents are saved electronically,” says Virpi Nikula, owner and operator of beauty salon Kauneussalonki Silkki, who participated in the pilot.
“When a customer sends us their digital receipt soon after the transaction, the accountant can make the entries earlier so the monthly reports are completed faster. Digital material also accelerates completion of financial statements,” says Salmivala.
Artificial Intelligence helps automate accounting
Econia Pocket’s AI recognizes vendor information, labels and sums from photos and pdf files, making the work of both the sender and accountant easier. As a result of ongoing use, AI learns to know the company’s accounting practices.
“Econia challenged us to develop a cost-effective AI solution. We used our long enterprise software experience, powerful cloud platforms and the latest technology to develop an AI system and supporting software that fits perfectly into Econia’s new operating model,” says Sami Lahti, founding member of Koivu Solutions.
“In the long term, digitization saves time and resources for both the customer and the accounting company. And to help our customers through the corona crisis, we decided to pass these savings directly onto our customers in the form of discounts,” Salmivala sums up.
For more information, interview and image requests:
Elina Salmivala, CEO of Econia Ltd, M.Sc. (Economics), KLT, HHJ PJ, HT
Tel. +358 40 544 7344, email@example.com
Sami Lahti, Founding Member of Koivu Solutions Oy
Tel. +358 40 544 4088, firstname.lastname@example.org
Econia Pocket is a browser-based application for digitizing accounting documents. The application enables taking pictures of receipts, invoices and other accounting documents and sending them electronically to the accountant. AI recognizes and categorizes information from vouchers, facilitating accounting routines.
Econia Ltd is a Finnish company founded in 1996. It employs over 100 experts in financial and human resource management, and international business. Econia operates in 14 locations in Satakunta, Pirkanmaa, Central Finland, Uusimaa and Fuengirola, Spain. Econia’s revenues are approximately 11 M€. The company has grown strongly in recent years, and the growth forecast for 2020 remains positive despite the corona crisis. For more information, see www.econia.com.
Koivu Solutions Oy is a company focused on Artificial Intelligence and advanced digitalisation solutions with more than 25 years of experience in developing enterprise software. Koivu Solutions’ services consist of consulting, software development and proprietary products such as the Koivu Value Flow Cloud, which integrates Excel spreadsheets into your company’s business processes and other IT systems. For more information, see www.valueflowcloud.com.
A distinguished fashion brand with hundreds of stores in North America is using the Koivu Value Flow Cloud to plan its sales campaigns. Previously, the chain used only Microsoft Excel to plan its sales campaigns, which created many challenges including pricing mistakes.
The so-called Amazon effect has markedly changed retail competition in many countries in recent years. The ability of Amazon and other online retailers to change prices fast has affected the entire marketplace. Brick and mortar stores experience it as a challenge because they usually use very traditional IT systems for pricing and sales campaign planning. These systems do not match today’s demands for various pricing models and general agility.
This often leads to a situation where a process is created outside enterprise systems with tools such as Excel. Even if such an “Excel process” may be usable, it causes delays and errors and is tied to one person. If that person is, for example, out sick the process can stall altogether.
Koivu’s solution digitizes the process, automates the workflow, and eliminates human errors in data entry. Campaign planning no longer requires the manual input of previously approved discounts from one system to the next because the Koivu solution transfers the data automatically from Excel. Also, the user interfaces of rigid traditional enterprise systems do not stand in the way of changing prices quickly.
Koivu Value Flow Cloud also manages data tracking and change history. User actions are limited by user roles but Excel can still be used as a tool for data creation, gathering, review, and confirmation.
Koivu Solutions, together with its North American partner, implemented the project on a fast timeline at the beginning of 2019. Configuration, integration, and deployment took three months in its entirety. User feedback has been glowing – we can say that for the first time an enterprise system actually delights its users.
With business constantly changing, the enterprise software landscape becomes spotted with “white spaces” that are filled by isolated Microsoft Excel spreadsheets.
TEXT BY KARI KUISTI, IMAGE BY VIA RAMSTÉN
More and more companies are trying to rid themselves of Excel spreadsheets because of their vulnerability.
– Excel spreadsheets pose major issues for companies because they generate manual processes. Excel files are usually tied to one person, which causes additional headaches for digitalization, says Koivu Solutions Oy co-founder, Sami Lahti.
The company’s founders have been trying to kill off Excel for more than 20 years, unsuccessfully. Now, they’ve tackled it from a different angle by developing a tool that enables the universally used spreadsheet program to operate seamlessly in enterprise processes, automation and integration.
– The Koivu solution enables the user to continue using Excel, yet the company’s IT systems see a clear interface and structured data.
According to Lahti, the Koivu Value Flow Cloud solution enables Excel users to work just like they have in the past, yet the data they create gets stored on the cloud making data immediately available to all other systems. This makes the entire arsenal of cloud services available from computing power and analysis tools to machine learning.
Cloud opened the gates
Janne Salmi, also a co-founder of Koivu Solutions, says cloud services reduce costs and accelerate operations.
– Koivu’s solution makes Excel-based processes more transparent, faster and much more efficient. Deployment is easy because users can continue using the familiar Excel and, if they wish, also use Koivu’s mobile and web interfaces, Salmi emphasizes.
All Koivu Solutions founders have vast experience in developing and implementing enterprise software to support enterprise processes – they’ve been working the industry since the early 1990s.
Koivu also has experience in the United States where the company operates in addition to Finland.
– Straight out of the gate we positioned ourselves as a global company and today most of our projects are on American soil, Salmi says.
Customers in several industries
Koivu’s current client companies operate in the manufacturing, retail, and services industries. For example, a well-known American fashion brand uses the Koivu VFC solution to plan their sales campaigns. Their pricing analysts manage the creation of campaigns for 300 brand stores in the US and Canada. Salmi says the user experience has been great.
– Users love our solution. The Koivu application accelerated campaign planning by 80 percent while reducing pricing errors by 90%, Salmi sums up.
Alkuperäinen artikkeli suomeksi: Innovaatio-julkaisussa.
”Koronakevään” 2020 kolmas virtuaalinen STO-tapahtuma keskittyi toimittajakollaboraatioon ja sen toimintaan poikkeustilanteissa. Isäntänä jäsenillassa oli Janne Salmi, yksi Koivu Solutions Oy:n perustajista. Janne lukeutuu jo työhistoriansa puolesta yhdeksi Suomen johtavista toimitusketjun ja S&OP:n ammattilaisista ja varmaan myös tästä syystä kuuntelemaan oli kokoontunut noin 25 STO:n jäsentä. Aihe tuntui myös kiinnostavan ainakin sen perusteella miten paljon kysymyksiä ja keskustelua jäsenillassa kuultiin.
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