Supplier/customer acceptance

Even if you managed to succeed in implementing the best e-invoicing solution in the world, if your trading partners can’t or won’t participate it will all have been for nothing. You must work closely with your partners to gain their acceptance and active participation.

For any e-invoicing project to be successful, it is important for you to consider the capabilities of your trading partners. The less changes you ask them to make, the more likely it is that you will gain their acceptance. It is good practice to examine their current invoicing process and identify how your e-invoicing project can fit within these processes at an early stage. Below are some of the considerations that you need to plan into your overall electronic invoicing programme for success.

Electronic and web invoicing formats

As you are very likely to have various sizes of trading partner with varying technical capabilities, your e-invoicing solution will need to provide a number of options at different levels of technical complexity. You should consider the following:

Web-based forms

For small and medium-sized trading partners, an easy-to use web forms option should enable them to create and manage all of their invoice related documents. Web forms should require only a Web browser and an Internet connection. There should be no requirement to purchase or maintain software on-premise.

Excel and accounting package integration

Many smaller suppliers use Microsoft Excel or an accounting software package such as Peachtree, QuickBooks, Sage, MYOB or Simply Accounting to manage their finances. These suppliers will want to be able to create electronic invoices directly from their accounting package, without requiring any re-keying of data. They should not be required to purchase or learn about additional new software.

ERP system integration

Larger suppliers will want to be able to create electronic invoices directly from their ERP application. e-Invoices can then be sent directly to the customer’s accounts payable application. Straight-through processing will require an intermediate conversion from the supplier’s format into the buyer’s format.

In addition to providing a technical solution at the correct level for your individual trading partners, it is important to think of the communication plans regarding your initiative, plus any forms of incentive and promotional campaigns to partners to positively encourage them to get involved with the electronic invoicing programme.

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