Below are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) surrounding electronic invoices and successful e-invoicing implementation. Click on the question to show/hide the answer.

  1. [peekaboo_link name=”1″]What is e-invoicing?[/peekaboo_link]

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    E-invoicing, or electronic invoicing is simply the process of replacing paper-based invoices with digital equivalents. Although this sounds quite straightforward, it’s actually quite complex. In addition to the IT system integration requirements, your e-invoicing project will affect a number of different parts of your business. You will also need to be aware of the different regulatory compliance issues that arise in the territories in which you operate.


  2. [peekaboo_link name=”2″]What is e-billing?[/peekaboo_link]

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    E-billing is a form of e-invoicing and refers to the outbound sending of e-invoices. A selling company sends bills out to customers via its accounts receivable department and within the electronic invoicing process this is called “e-billing.”

    E-billing is sometimes referred to as an invoice that a business sends to a consumer (B2C), in this instance the e-invoice is seen as a B2B transaction only. Within this site the term e-billing refers to outbound sending of invoices as the preferred definition.


  3. [peekaboo_link name=”3″]What are the key benefits of e-invoicing?[/peekaboo_link]

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    There are many benefits of moving your business to e-invoicing. Although the cost savings of removing paper and postage seem the most obvious at first, the real benefits are in using invoice automation to increase the efficiency of your business process. Benefits include:

    • Reduce the cost of processing your invoices by up to 80 per cent
    • Reduce your order-to-cash cycle from 23 days to under 5 days
    • Increase your ability to claim early payment discounts by up to 500 per cent
    • Reduce your human resources involved in processing invoices by over 40 per cent


  4. [peekaboo_link name=”4″]What do I require in order to start e-invoicing?[/peekaboo_link]

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    If you decide to develop your own in-house e-invoicing system, you’ll need to invest in the technology, ensure that you have the correct knowledge and experience within your organisation, and that you have the skills to support and manage your trading partners through the adoption process. Most organisations select to partner with an e-invoicing service provider instead. The provider should be able to demonstrate it has significant experience in the capabilities outlined in the first sentence in this section. However, it should also demonstrate that it can integrate its e-invoicing solution into your other business systems without you having to change technology, workflow or business processes.


  5. [peekaboo_link name=”5″]Which countries allow e-invoicing?[/peekaboo_link]

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    Most countries have some form of e-invoicing regulations – although requirements do vary country-to-country. The situation as it currently stands is:

    • All OECD countries with the exception of Japan
    • All EU countries must afford paper and electronic invoices the same legal standing (in force since January 2013)
    • Latin American countries such as Brazil, Mexico are moving toward mandated e-Invoicing
    • The US Treasury has mandated e-Invoicing for its suppliers
    • Increasingly countries are considering mandating e-Invoicing as part of austerity and tax collection programs


  6. [peekaboo_link name=”6″]How much will e-invoicing cost?[/peekaboo_link]

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    It is difficult to estimate how much an in-house e-invoicing programme will cost. But, if you decide to use a third party provider, you should select one that can give you a range of pricing options, including:

    • Weekly, monthly or annual contracts
    • On-demand, pay-as-you-go services (using Cloud or SaaS services)


  7. [peekaboo_link name=”7″]What are the major issues around successful e-invoicing implementation?[/peekaboo_link]

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    There are a number of issues that you must be aware of when starting an e-invoicing programme. Take a look at ‘The issues’ section of this website for more details.


  8. [peekaboo_link name=”8″]I think we want EDI compliance not an e-signature solution?[/peekaboo_link]

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    The term “EDI compliance” refers to handling e-invoicing compliance via a controlled, auditable EDI process as opposed to leveraging electronic signatures to ensure the integrity of the invoice. This approach requires a number of specific business processes which vary by local tax authority. These processes and constraints must be maintained for various country-specific periods of time.

    At this time, only France has fully defined their requirements for “non-signed EDI” compliance and if you trade in France you should look for a provider that provides, on demand, the additional reports and archiving for the term required. However the process defined by France can be leveraged across Europe as it meets the requirements defined in 1994/820/EC for authenticity & integrity, and the end to end process meets all further compliance requirements.


  9. [peekaboo_link name=”9″]Is a per invoice fee for compliance a good model to adopt with a service provider?[/peekaboo_link]

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    According to Aberdeen Group the average cost to process an invoice is £10-£25. The ability to electronically enable, sign, and validate invoices in compliance with many countries via a single solution can drive significant cost savings in your organisation and lower your risk for non-compliance during VAT audit. Often, when a company calculates their true costs to process paper invoices and handle regulatory compliance, a per invoice fee becomes cost effective. It is worth finding out your true cost and then comparing.


  10. [peekaboo_link name=”10″]My IT department tells me we can be compliant with all countries by following compliance regulations for one country?[/peekaboo_link]

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    The nuances of e-invoice compliance can sometimes be subtle, but in most cases the regulatory requirements between countries vary widely. A solution that meets the regulatory requirements of one country will often not be fully verifiable and therefore become unacceptable to other countries. An additional complexity is that your company must take into account both your buyer country and seller country to accurately determine which laws govern which parts of the e-invoice process. This is often something best left by a service provider who can follow, maintain, and influence government regulations, rather than adding to the work load of a busy IT department with little exposure to e-invoice regulations.


  11. [peekaboo_link name=”11″]Our company is considering a corporate mandate to use our Electronic Invoice Presentment (EIPP) or e-Procurement vendor to handle all of our invoices. Is this ok?[/peekaboo_link]

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    EIPP and e-Procurement vendors can fill a need for many companies to automate manual processes, but they do not generally offer the necessary electronic commerce integration support to enable the electronic processes required for large scale trading partner communities wiho use a wide range of different technologies and file formats. You will need to decide how best to manage this and in many of these cases, companies will seek a provider that fills this critical need by:

    1. serving to onboard trading partners to trade invoices electronically while
    2. supporting e-invoicing compliance regulations of countries you do business in, while also
    3. integrating into the EIPP or e-Procurement solution to provide application functionality that an accounting, tax, or procurement department would expect from it. In this case the service provider serves as the edge solution and integrates with the EIPP or e-Procurement solution.


  12. [peekaboo_link name=”12″]We know paper is compliant so is it ok if we just keep handling via same processes that we do today?[/peekaboo_link]

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    The best approach is to calculate your cost of paper compliance in terms of staffing, storing of invoices, and time it takes to prepare for and execute a VAT audit. Also, factor in any errors and inefficiencies caused by manual, paper intensive processes. Often, when you expand those costs to incorporate all the processes across a global business, you will reach the conclusion that most companies do – that you will need to automate processes and compliance in order to be compliant and this will require some changes, but the resulting benefits will be to lower financial risks and costs.

    In addition, your company may be forced to move to e-invoicing when early adopters among the your supplier and/or customer base make the move to e-invoicing. The other factor to consider in this is that many countries’ public procurement offices are setting strict deadlines for private sector invoices to be sent as electronic originals only. So, you will need to weigh up all of these things to decide if you can afford to keep to paper, and for how long.


  13. [peekaboo_link name=”13″]What if I only need e-invoicing compliance for one country?[/peekaboo_link]

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    Some companies look at e-invoicing compliance and decide to take it one country at a time. While this can appear to be a pragmatic approach, it can also be short-sighted and may not follow your corporate mandate if you are a large company. The best approach is to take the opportunity now to review your entire portfolio of invoices as part of an overall corporate compliance initiative led by the business units most impacted (CFO, Procurement, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable). What many companies then realise is that a solution that complies with the regulations of one specific country may not support other country regulatory requirements or be able to scale to support global integration needs.


  14. [peekaboo_link name=”14″]Doesn’t our ERP or tax system handle all of our VAT issues?[/peekaboo_link]

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    By the time invoice data has been entered into the accounts, through your ERP or tax system (whether manually or electronically) it has become “invoice data” that can be and has been manipulated and so is not the legal invoice of record that a tax authority would recognise. One way to resolve this is to utilise a service provider that can handle the e-invoicing compliance aspect, while also providing seamless integration into your ERP or tax system via straight-through processing.



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