Bank of America Merrill Lynch is to launch its artificial intelligence (AI) solution for accounts receivables in Asia this month.

Intelligent Receivables was launched in the US and Canada in August, but is set to be made available in Singapore and India by the end of November, with full coverage across the bank’s 12 Asian markets in the first half of 2018.

The solution combines AI, machine learning and optical character recognition to match companies’ incoming payments with invoices. It was developed by fintech company High Radius and is geared towards companies with complex supply chains, where receivables can be complicated to track.

Babu Vaidyanathan, head of receivables and bank notes products for Asia Pacific at the bank, tells GTR that the solution can reduce client time spent manually matching invoices by a minimum of 50%.

He says: “We have engagements across the region with clients based predominantly out of the US and the feedback has been very positive. Asia is going through a huge shift from paper to electronic, and as that happens there’s an increasing need to get the right information through payment systems which currently have gaps. We’ve met clients with large manual processes and this solution, according to them, is a good fit for automating the process.”

As GTR reported on the product’s US launch, it works in four steps: first, the solution identifies payers and associates their payments to remittances that are received separately. Second, it extracts remittance data from emails, email attachments, electronic data interchange and payer web portals. Third, it uses this enriched remittance data to match payments to open receivables. Finally, it creates a receivables posting file that the client uploads to their enterprise resource planning system.

It is currently only used for matching account receivables, but Vaidyanathan sees a use beyond cash management in the trade finance sphere too. “Trade has opportunities as well but the initial focus is to explore the opportunities for existing clients in cash management, across fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), pharmaceuticals and electronics, especially for B2B clients, there’s a huge challenge in collection of their receivables,” he says.