A meeting of Accountis and other key players interested in the UK E-Invoicing landscape was held yesterday (8/9/10) with a view of establishing an UK E-Invoicing Advocacy Group. One of the key recommendations of the EU Expert Group on E-Invoicing was the establishment of national advocacy groups for the promotion of E-Invoicing in each of the EU member states. The UK has a definite need for such a group because it has low levels of E-Invoice adoption in comparison with other major EU countries - even though it is one of the easiest places to do E-Invoicing.
If the answer to this question is “a long time ago” or even “never” then you are probably wasting valuable time and money unnecessarily. So often things are done as they are done, because “that’s how they have always been done”. And we are not just talking about manual processes and paperwork here, but also about the systems you use.
Brian Thumwood, DHL E-Billing Programme Manager, will be giving an update on their European eBilling project at the European EXPP Summit in Munich this October. Brian first presented at the event back in 2007, when the project was in its infancy. Now the international express and logistics giant sends hundreds of thousands of e-invoices annually in all major European territories using Fundtech’s Accountis E-Invoicing platform.
The AP department is by its very nature labour intensive and drowning in paper. Paper invoices arrive only to be dispatched again to the relevant person/department for approval – a slow, costly journey, though perilous bottlenecks, which can often take weeks if not months to complete. In the meantime suppliers get frustrated and savings from early payment discounts are lost.
Digitising AP and taking it online however, enables you automate many processes and bring you one step closer to paperless invoicing.
For example, Invoice imaging converts paper into data and imports invoice details directly into your ERP system or e-invoicing hub – you need never receive a paper invoice at your office ever again!
We are delighted to launch the first of a new range of mobile applications for our Bacsactive-IP payments product.
The “Electronic invoicing in Europe” conference was held last week in Madrid. It was organised by the European Commission as part of a programme of events under the 2010 Spanish presidency of the EU. There were many distinguished speakers at the event and, in general, the tone was very positive and optimistic. There is ever increasing activity and momentum in the European electronic invoicing landscape. As Bo Harald said, the industry is now moving into the beginning of the end-game.
The presentations and debates were of a high-quality and we will covering many in more detail in future blogs. One presentation that stood out for its impressive content and depth of objective information was given by Alessandro Perego. He spoke about the various ways of measuring the benefits of e-invoicing and the calculation of cost savings experienced by organisations adopting e-invoicing.
For the latest edition of EIPP Insights we were delighted to interview Bruno Koch who is the CEO of Billentis and one of the leading analysts on e-invoicing in Europe. The e-invoicing landscape has change dramatically over the past few years and adoption is quickly gathering momentum, with a multitude of benefits on offer for corporates and SMEs throughout the region.
We asked Bruno a series of questions to cover two topics. Firstly, to gain insight into general e-invoicing trends for businesses in Europe. Secondly to discuss the specific opportunities e-invoicing presents for banks and other financial institutions.
In our recent interview with Accountis customer’s DHL (e-Billing isn’t finance, it’s e-commerce), Brian Thumwood pointed out that the true value of e-invoicing extends beyond the finance domain into other areas of the business such as sales and marketing. The point being that when presented online documents such as invoices can be used to strengthen brand awareness, improve one-to-one communication with customers and encourage cross-selling through targeted banner ads etc. In our article “Build Better Customer Relationships with E-Invoicing” we take a look at how the principals of relationship marketing can be applied to e-invoicing with positive results. You can click here to read the full article, but here is a short extract:
Thank you to everyone who joined us at last week’s successful Fundtech Insights Conference in London. Around 150 customers attended the event, including both banks and corporates. Accountis e-invoicing and payment customers were invited to join the event on day two which held sessions on Bacsactive-IP, SEPA, SWIFT, Direct Debits and Faster Payments. Highlights included a presentation from Brian Thumwood on their European e-Billing project, and an interactive panel discussion with representatives of BNP Paribas, Monetise, Celent on “The Changing Role of the Corporate Treasurer”.
A number of banks are offering electronic invoicing services to corporate customers, but are those that are not missing out? This topic discussed in our latest article “5 Reasons Why Electronic Invoicing Belongs to Banks”. The invoice is the most important document in both the procure-to-pay and order-to-case processes and banks should be supporting their corporate client’s e-invoicing requirements - especially as invoices are so closely interlinked with their core business of financing and payment.
Key to the success of any AP e-invoicing project is getting suppliers to join you in your new venture. Most organisations transact with thousands of different suppliers, ranging from huge corporations to sole traders. Therefore offering multiple connection methods is crucial. Accountis EIP offers 5 simple ways for suppliers to send you e-invoices, regardless of size or technical ability:
1. Paper to Data - We receive and scan all your inbound paper invoices and output the data directly into your ERP or finance system or Accountis Hub.
2. File Upload - Ideal for larger, high volume processors. Import invoice data directly into the e-invoicing Hub from any ERP system or finance package. Can be done manually or automatically.
The Payments Council recently announced (press release 16th December) that cheques are to disappear in the UK by 2018. Like many other paper processes, the use of cheques is rapidly falling. Why? They are basically a pain - manually intensive to process and slow to clear. In the current financial climate businesses need cash in the bank as soon as possible, and the cheque just doesn’t deliver this. There is concern however that smaller businesses, who rely heavily on cheques (and have done for 350 years, the press release points out) will suffer and find it hard to adapt to the change. But the Payments Council state that there will be many alternatives to the cheque in place – many currently exist, and maybe some have not been invented yet.
E-invoicing has come such a long way. We’ve gone from simply sending invoices by email attachment to fully integrated EIP (electronic invoicing presentment) systems that work with existing finance applications to make life so much easier. EIP systems are easy to use yet immensely powerful, helping you to get rid of paper and monotonous manual processes. They also enable you to do so much more than sending / receiving invoices online. Here are just six cool things you can do with EIP: