Automated Invoice Auditing

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Written by Justin Eckhouse, VP Product

Throughout my time at Haven one thing that I heard over and over again from customers was, “Can you help me fix all these billing errors?” As a lifelong technologist and former head of product at a machine learning and natural language processing company, it seemed like a perfect problem for computers to solve. But alas, there were always more pressing pain points on the roadmap until now.

When we sat down to do the math, the scale of this problem is enormous. Estimates are that 25 - 30% of all freight invoices have errors in a $350B ocean freight market. And if that wasn’t bad enough, with cutbacks at many carriers in accounting departments, these problems are getting worse.

These are the scale of problems that get the Haven team really excited. Since our platform already houses original rate quotes and carrier invoices, we had all the data necessary to create a solution, and thus Haven Freight Invoice Auditing was born. The platform uses a comparison engine trained with a variety of techniques to compare the original quote or contract rate card to the invoice provided by the provider. When an anomaly is detected, the shipment invoice is flagged and the discrepancy is highlighted for follow up with the carrier.

Although we’d love to see a world where carriers’ servers send structured API messages to customers’ servers and invoice reconciliation happens seamlessly in real time with no humans involved, the reality of technology in shipping is that it runs a bit behind the times. Though that’s actually the best part about Haven’s invoice auditing, (besides the free money of course), neither the customer nor the provider’s workflow has to change. Providers just send over the invoices in the same fashion they always have, and Haven will compare and automatically flag errors.