6 fundamental questions to include in an eInvoicing RFP

Of course you want the best e-invoicing solution for your business. There are some key features that should be common to any good e-invoicing solution, whether you decide on in-house software or an e-invoicing service provider. Be sure to include the following six questions in your e-invoicing RFP to ensure you end up with a long-term, sustainable solution.

  1. How does your solution support the exchange of electronic invoices with my larger suppliers and/or customers?

    Your larger suppliers and customers will typically have Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage their back-office functions. Some of these trading partners may also have implemented an EDI solution that integrates with these systems. Via an automated conversion to/from their required formats, your larger suppliers should be able to automatically send electronic invoices straight from their accounts receivable system; your larger customers should be able to receive invoices straight through to their accounts payable systems.

  2. How does your solution support the exchange of electronic invoices with my suppliers or customers who are small and medium-size businesses (SMBs)?

    Your solution needs to enable the exchange of documents between your company and your suppliers and customers, regardless of their company size, technical capabilities or geographical location. In order to minimise disruption of your SMB trading partners’ existing business processes the solution should provide for four options at appropriate price points. Your solution should enable the use of 1) web-based forms, 2) integration with Microsoft Excel, 3) integration with popular accounting systems, and 4) integration with EDI, for those SMB trading partners who have purchased desktop EDI software.

  3. How does your solution support integration with my current accounting systems?

    If your company is leveraging the accounting functionality in your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, any e-invoicing solution should enable straight-through processing with your AP or AR system. The solution should easily integrate with your current workflow system without requiring replacement of existing functionality. Consequently, you can continue to use your own financial system environment to process the data presented, leverage your existing investment in workflow and management tools, and control the initiation of the payment transaction.

  4. How does your solution help ensure high-quality data?

    The solution you select should help eliminate a significant percentage of the research, matching and resolution tasks associated with invoice validation by performing data quality checks before invoices are delivered to the buyer. Examples include:

    • Tax Rules – e.g. Ensuring mandatory tax data is present and verified
    • Business Rules – e.g. Ensuring invoice data matches to purchase orders and goods received data within tolerances
    • Trade & Customs Rules – e.g. Meeting OFAC criteria
    • Government Mandates – e.g. Meeting Brazilian Federal e-Invoicing criteria
  5. How does your solution enable my company to grow and fully automate accounting processes beyond the automation of the invoice document?

    There are many documents in addition to the invoice that should be exchanged electronically in order to fully automate Finance processes. Does the service provider have experience in automating the entire order-to-pay process, dealing with complex physical supply chain scenarios through to indirect material spend? Your e-invoicing solution should be able to support additional documents – such as purchase orders, advanced shipping notices, charge-backs, debit notes, credit notes, payment instructions – that form part of your financial supply chain processes.

  6. How does your solution maximise the supplier community?

    After on-boarding suppliers into an eInvoicing solution, how does the solution maximise the potential of this new community? Can the solution manage corporate social responsibility programs such as suppliers signing compliance documentation and can it help manage complex supplier interaction projects such as switching ERP or providing remittance data? Can the service provider integrate with supply chain finance providers?