The old days of issuing an Excel-based invoice, or receiving stacks of traditional mail with envelopes filled with printed invoices, are gone. The benefits of e-invoicing, include:
- Digital data capture
- Data transparency and reporting
- Faster payments
- Reduction of paper usage
- Improved data accuracy
It’s important for businesses to understand the essential components that an invoicing solution should have so that a calculated decision can be made about adopting software. The list of advantages is endless but there is another more important element of an invoicing solution that needs to be taken into consideration – a strong invoicing network.
One portal for all transactions and data
First, a strong invoicing network will centralize all the data relating to e-invoicing, including AP and AR. A single point of entry ensures that everyone who needs to access the data has it, and every user sees the same information, in real time. A portal should be able to connect to any system suppliers are using, interpret their data and make it available to your AP staff.
This process avoids duplication of data entry, which is a major source of time and money wasted with more traditional invoicing strategies. According to Paystream’s 2015 Supplier Network Management Report, poor supplier data management is the leading cause of weak supplier relationships among organizations. The efficiencies that can be obtained from a centralized, automated and electronic platform have a tremendous impact on the bottom line of any ledger.
Scalability for your business
Whether a small business with 150 employees or a major manufacturer with thousands of SKUs, suppliers, and vendors, a solid invoicing network will work now and in the future because it will be scalable to your needs. There won’t be a need to upgrade or switch systems as you grow because a network will have increasing functionality to meet your demands.
A smaller business need not be bogged down using, and paying for, software functionality that they don’t need. The software will grow with them without the cost of in-house maintenance of the application.
In addition, whatever investments were previously made in ERP or other planning technology isn’t lost but in fact can be coordinated with the invoicing network to create fluid processes for handling of invoices.
With a strong invoicing network, there’s no need to email documents between different departments, or send files from one accounts person to another, with the attendant risks that an invoice goes missing, is misfiled, or the data is entered incorrectly. It’s the essential difference between a web-based platform and a traditional piece of software.
Web-based solutions are easy to adapt to, with access given to all team members quickly and easily. No installations on a physical network, no time off the system due to upgrades or fixes; it’s seamless and fast with no costly interruptions.
Whether the users are in-house or working off site, the web-based portal provides accessibility to all, anywhere and anytime, which speeds up processing of invoices, authorizations and exceptions.
Ability for growth
Ultimately, a strong invoicing network will also open doors for you, as well as for your suppliers, and create a wealth of opportunities to work with other businesses that you might not currently be in contact with. With trading partners numbering in the thousands, you can do business with suppliers who are already working within the same network. It’s an important option that shouldn’t be overlooked!