Making 100% supplier adoption for e-invoicing possible
Is 100% supplier adoption for e-invoicing possible? A good question and one that many solution providers would convincingly say Yes to!
However in reality many organisations struggle to get over 60% of their suppliers on board. There can be a number of reasons but predominantly for small – medium sizes the cost can be prohibitive or they just are unable to output their invoices into a format that their customer’s e-invoicing hub requires (i.e. XML).
PROACTIS who are one of the UK leading providers of e-commerce solutions aim to provide a one-stop-shop for their clients, including processing ALL their invoices electronically. Two of their clients faced different yet similar e-invoicing problems.
The London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council (LBTH) had been using PROACTIS e-invoicing solution for over two years, including scanning of invoices (OCR), automatic XML (AIP) for large suppliers and PO flip for small ones. However, many of their suppliers did not have the capability to automate the electronic transmission via XML or they had too large volumes for the PO flip. Also from one of their large catering suppliers they had to manually process a consolidated paper invoice which required manually splitting account codes and creating GL Journals.
Similarly a large council on the south coast had been an PROACTIS Marketplace user for over three years. While XML and PO Flip uptake were satisfactory a large number of invoices from the medium size suppliers were still being processed manually. As with LBTH they just did not have the ability to transmit their invoices in the required format.
To address both these issues and therefore improve supplier adoption PROACTIS introduced them to their EIT platform. Electronic Invoice Translator (EIT) allows suppliers to simply send PDF invoices by email, which are then translated into XML and transmitted into the PROACTIS Marketplace for validation and workflow. The unique technology to read the data embedded within the PDF and convert it into an e-invoice format is developed by CloudTrade. The CloudTrade component provides a simple non-disruptive way of sending and receiving business documents and does not just apply to invoices.
- High supplier uptake: suppliers only needed to change the email address. No layout changes required. Just email a PDF. In particular for LBTH can now convert their lengthy catering supplies invoice from a EDICOM document to PDF allowing the users to view the details and the XML data to be entered directly into the system.
- Higher accuracy: unlike keying from the scanned images or paper invoices, EIT reads the data directly
- Improved visibility on the approval process and PDF image now connected to the purchase order
In both cases the ability to process more of their supplier invoices electronically helped to reduce the costs for both themselves and their suppliers.
This does however illustrate that when looking to automate the Purchase to Pay process, often one piece of technology in isolation may not solve all the pain points. Each organisation is different as are their suppliers. It is therefore important to consider an integrated approach that can cater for multiple supplier invoice streams i.e. paper, pdf, edi, xml, PO flip.