E-invoicing isn’t about digitizing paperwork into PDFs and storing them on a remote server. It’s about making invoicing simpler, faster and less prone to error by reducing human touchpoints and increasing automation all along the AR and AP process workflow. Sounds good, right? However, the key to automating your business is adoption. So how do you get your suppliers to embrace e-invoicing?
Give them an overview of how e-invoicing works
Traditional systems for invoice processing are manual and still involve keying information into an accounting system, printing an invoice, mailing the document, and then waiting (often for a long period of time) to get paid or find out that the invoice was rejected for some reason.
Electronic invoicing is very different from emailing a pdf invoice. E-invoicing takes the guesswork and lengthy delays out of the process. Information is keyed directly in to an e-invoicing platform in the format required by the Buyer (or uploaded directly from your accounting system). When the ‘Submit’ button is pressed, the data is immediately transferred electronically to the Buyer for processing. Real time status updates are provided as the invoice moves through the approval process for tracking.
Help suppliers understand the advantages of e-invoicing
There are so many advantages to e-invoicing vs. traditional physical invoices being mailed or emailed:
- The invoices will be received, approved and processed more quickly, which means suppliers get paid faster.
- The invoice information can be pre-validated to mitigate rejections.
- Real time status updates mean suppliers can track the approval process and handle any exceptions which limits phone calls asking when they will be paid. The data is accessible and visible to registered users, making the process more open. Transparency also helps suppliers manage cash flow and gives them confidence that their invoice is being handled.
- Cloud-based e-invoicing solutions offer seamless product updates that don’t disrupt day to day activities, unlike more traditional software updates and maintenance downtime.
- Network-based platforms offer the ability for registered trading partners (over 10,000 strong with Cortex) to connect both to other Buyers you already do business with, and open up opportunities to source new business.
- AP systems will have a much smaller fraud exposure, which lowers costs for everyone.
Help them understand why the change is necessary
The fact is, it is no longer possible for large enterprises to manage paper-based invoicing in a timely, efficient manner. Most businesses have complex procurement cycles, supported by costly, manual processes. Without the addition of standardization and automation, it’s extremely difficult to streamline these invoicing processes without the addition of smart technology.
Let them know they are supported
A good e-billing provider will offer training and phone support to help make the change as smooth as possible in addition to supporting your vendors on a continual basis. Make sure the solution you choose has an array of ways to connect to their support staff (ie. phone, email, online chat) in addition to providing training for your customers. For example, Cortex offers training webinars and an extensive ‘Help’ library to all our customers. It’s important that the information they need be as accessible as possible, either at the point of sign-up or on an on-going basis.