Challenges in the introduction of
The introduction of electronic invoicing
Electronic invoicing is now an integral part of businesses in many countries and a major step forward towards a digital future. Many companies often associate the introduction of electronic invoicing with a variety of challenges. Nevertheless, it often turns out that implementation is easier than expected.
In general, it is first important for companies to make a project plan before introducing electronic invoices to create a certain structure and overview. Here, it is helpful to have the expertise of an external project manager who has in-depth knowledge of the specifics of introducing an e-invoice solution and many years of practical experience with it. This can help prevent serious problems that may arise during implementation.
As with any project, some points must be observed:
Basically, the project plan can be divided into
three main sections:
1. Requirements Analysis – what are the requirements from the environment?
Before implementation can take place, it is first necessary to get an overview of the requirements and see what of them has already been met in the company.
- A certain amount of information is necessary
- Often no bank data or payment methods are stored in the system
- Different archiving obligations of electronic invoices
- Implementation of new flexible workstations in the accounting department
- Creation of transparency for incoming and outgoing invoices
- ERP system necessary that can provide structured data
- Integration of the new system with the old one
- Ensure that the system is functional with the resources already in place
- Invoice printing should allow PDFs to be sent
- Convert incoming paper invoices to electronic documents so they can be automatically routed to the processing system
- Supplier portals for direct entry of invoices via a web interface for low-volume suppliers
- Integrated systems that enable true system-to-system e-invoicing for suppliers and customers
Challenges outside the company
- Laws, rules and regulations for e-Invoicing are constantly and dynamically changing
- In Germany, the sales tax law must be observed
- Internationally, the VAT law of the respective country is referred to
- Suppliers can send invoices electronically, providers can decide whether the invoices should then be printed and sent for countries that do not yet have guidelines for e-invoicing
Challenges on the market
Dealers and suppliers may have different
- Transmission paths
- EDI formats
- Single invoice / collective invoice
2. Provider selection for electronic invoicing
After the requirements have been analyzed and reviewed, the next step is to find a suitable provider for the e-Invoicing solution.
Choosing the perfect provider
A company should first look for a solution that enables all formats of the existing system to be converted into electronic invoices. This e-invoicing solution must ensure the integrity, authenticity, and readability of an e-invoice and provide reliable traceability.
When making your selection, you should pay attention to the extent of the e-invoicing provider’s expertise. Is e-invoicing merely an additional side business of the provider or is it an integral part of the business activity? This is because a provider whose core competence is e-invoicing can usually serve with more expertise and experience than a provider who only offers it as an additional side business. This results in less stability concerning the e-invoicing solution for a less experienced provider. In addition, it should also be noted that there are new, quite young e-invoicing providers as well as older and established ones that understand exactly how the e-invoicing market works, know the benefits and know what hurdles there are to overcome.
So to find a suitable provider, you have to do a lot of analysis, evaluation and determine which points are important to you and which provider can best meet these criteria.
The following points should be considered in particular and the extent to which they are important for your company:
- Standard solution vs. individual solution
- Cloud or in-house approach
- Necessary / desired depth of integration with ERP systems
- License, operating, and setup costs (ROI calculation)
- Additional services: Portal solutions with modern invoice inbound and outbound ledgers, integrated archiving where applicable.
- Requirements for support and procedure for format changes of e-invoice standards after go-live archiving
3. Carrying out the implementation and sending invoices
Finally, e-Invoicing must be integrated into a company’s system. In general, all stakeholders need to be convinced about e-Invoicing, because without actively engaged suppliers and customers, you will never be successful. The selected vendors should have a convincing activation approach and be able to deploy professionals to make the process run smoothly.
In order to convince all parties, the following aspects should be considered:
However, different stakeholders may also have different interests that could stand in the way of e-Invoicing implementation. Finance, for example, is often there to improve operational efficiency, ensuring the integrity of invoice data and improving working capital by delaying payment terms. Purchasing, on the other hand, is more interested in savings targets and ensuring replenishment. This in turn leads to total cost and working capital optimization falling by the wayside. The right degree of coordination and cooperation is therefore crucial. Managers play a not insignificant role here, as they have the power and influence to bring together different groups with different goals and develop a common contact. The main contact on the buyer side must be clearly visible to the supplier.
Successful e-invoicing ultimately depends on how quickly and easily suppliers are integrated into the new system.
By default, electronic invoices are sent by mail or via a PEPPOL network. In this case, therefore, it is necessary to deal with and agree on the transmission path between the sender and the recipient. In principle, however, it is important to ensure security and traceability. In general, there is still a large security gap when sending electronic invoices, as the invoices are neither encrypted nor signed. Here, companies should make sure to choose a solution provider that transmits data with a very high level of security. INPOSIA, as your certified e-Invoicing provider, works with encryption, which guarantees security when sending electronic invoices. This is because a high level of security is an important concern for us.
When exchanging invoices, you can encounter significant problems, especially concerning master data. Master data problems when receiving an invoice produce poor OCR results. In addition, supplier invoice data may be dissimilar to the supplier master or duplicates may exist in the supplier master. Other challenges arise to merchandise. It can happen that article data of the invoice are not identical with the order data or the receipt of the goods is posted too late and thus delays occur in the goods-receipt-related invoice verification. Our INPOSIA eRollout portal offers you a remedy for this challenge and helps you to send your e-invoices without any problems. So, the implementation is simplified by this service and there are no more hurdles in your way for your e-Invoicing solution.
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