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Selecting the right eInvoicing solution

You will want to choose the best eInvoicing solution for your business. However, there are some features that should be common to any eInvoicing solution, whether you decide on an in-house software approach or select an eInvoicing service provider. The following seven capabilities have been identified as fundamental for any long-term, sustainable eInvoicing solution:

Electronic document exchange

Your solution will need to enable the exchange of documents between buyers and suppliers, regardless of the data standards their accounting system use, their company size, technical capabilities or geographical location. It must support the other documents – such as POs, debit notes, credit notes, payment instructions – that form part of your eInvoicing process. It must also be able to accommodate the security policies and communications strategies of your company and your trading partners.

Integration with accounting systems

According to research studies, many companies leverage the accounting functionality that is included within their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Any eInvoicing solution should enable straight-through processing with a buyer’s AP system and a supplier’s 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.

Tax expertise

eInvoicing regulations around the world are changing regularly. As these changes occur, they may require updates to your eInvoicing solution to ensure that it remains compliant with local laws and that it fulfills the requirements of local tax authorities. The eInvoicing solution should include a facility to ensure that the system is updated as the changes occur, the changes are always known, that they are communicated clearly and they are understood and addressed quickly within the solution.

Data quality services

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:

Regulatory compliance services

While regulations are often similar in purpose, the specific requirements frequently vary by country. Some of the legal requirements for e-invoicing that differ from one country to another include:

Not meeting the requirements can lead to sanctions, including fines and the possibility of buyers having to repay already deducted VAT amounts.

Your eInvoicing solution should enable you to comply with all of the varying country-specific eInvoicing laws. It is generally considered good business practise to leverage the services of a third party network service provider to ensure end-to-end security for your eInvoicing community.

Archiving

One of the major components of the varying county-by-country eInvoicing regulations is the requirement for invoice archiving. Many countries require archival of digital invoices for extended time frames. Your eInvoicing solution must allow for these data storage requirements while making the electronic invoices, and related documentation, easy to access and retrieve.

Auditing and reporting

As VAT and sales tax represents a large part of the GDP of most countries, external, or internal, auditing becomes an important element for any eInvoicing solution. It is important that the solution can provide the following:

Community Management

After on-boarding suppliers into an eInvoicing solution, how can you maximise the potential of this new community? Many large corporates are faced with corporate social responsibility challenges (CSR), by interacting with suppliers electronically through B2B each company can be engaged with either individually, or as a collective. With effective community management CSR projects are managed to ensure suppliers sign compliance documentation, perhaps poll their opinions through questionnaires, or to manage complex supplier interaction projects such as switching ERP or providing remittance data.

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