14 Jun 2021
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Three things to avoid when implementing e-invoicing

By Contributor

Article by MessageXchange managing director and co-founder John Delaney.
 

Adopting modern technology drives productivity and supports sustainable business growth. Traditional paper-based invoicing is a manually intensive task fraught with human error, resulting in increased costs and processing. 

E-invoicing removes unnecessary data entry by sending and receiving invoices directly to software. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential challenges when onboarding new suppliers so that organisations can streamline the process and get maximum benefits sooner.

E-invoicing gives buyers, suppliers, and managers strategic benefits by automating invoice processing and integrating other business systems. This results in business efficiency and revenue-generating opportunities. E-invoicing removes unnecessary data entry and inaccuracies by ensuring organisations have the correct data in the first place.

E-invoicing delivers significant business benefits; however, introducing it to new suppliers can be tricky. It’s important to have a streamlined and successful onboarding process for each supplier to avoid the risk of supplier dissatisfaction and non-compliance.

Lack of knowledge

E-invoicing is still in its infancy in Australia, which means partners may not have a clear appreciation of its benefits or how to use it. This can create a barrier to adoption, which the prevalent myths around e-invoicing can exacerbate. For example, some partners may be concerned that e-invoicing will be costly or take a long time to implement.

It’s important to overcome this lack of knowledge by providing information to suppliers and helping them understand how to proceed. They will need to know how e-invoicing works, what’s in it for them, the technology required, and how they can implement that technology in their business in a cost-effective and low-risk way.

The cost of an e-invoicing solution ranges from free to about as much as a phone plan, and can take less than a day to set up. Dispelling myths and helping suppliers to understand the benefits is essential in overcoming a lack of knowledge and cementing e-invoicing throughout the supply chain.

Lack of buy-in

Even when suppliers understand the e-invoicing technicalities, they may still be reluctant to embrace the change. It’s essential to get buy-in from suppliers by selling them on the benefits. These can include cost savings, easier invoice processing through automation, faster invoice payments, fewer errors, and tighter security.

Processing an e-invoice costs about a third as much as processing a paper invoice, and the average e-invoice is processed in five days rather than 23 for a regular invoice, according to the Australian Taxation Office. This can be a strong selling point for suppliers looking to manage their cash flow and get paid sooner.

As well as informing suppliers about the benefits of e-invoicing, it can be helpful to support them during their e-invoicing journey. This can take the form of regular information sessions and webinars to educate them in a group setting, making direct contact via phone, and listing e-invoicing providers that can help them get started.

An unrealistic timeline

It’s important to be realistic about timelines if e-invoicing is new territory, and call on experienced partners such as an Access Point provider. Having a detailed communication plan and timeline helps businesses stay organised and not miss communications to suppliers. Planning for the changes and breaking down each department’s responsibility for preparation will also help in timeline management.

Outsourcing can reduce costs; however, achieving the highest efficiencies can only be done through re-engineering business processes and automation. Removing paper from invoicing processes is a crucial step to reach true efficiencies.

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