You’re likely seeing the term eInvoicing more and more frequently (along with Peppol, more than likely). What is this new technology, and why are mentions of it popping up everywhere now?
The main reason for its sudden fame is that, as of July 2022, eInvoicing is now standard for the Australian federal government. Businesses that sell or provide services to governmental agencies are scrambling to adopt it, and the process is gaining steam throughout the private sector as well. New Zealand is also pushing for wider adoption of eInvoicing, though it has not yet moved to eInvoicing as a new standard.
If you’re unsure what the fuss is about or simply want to learn more about eInvoicing and Peppol, this article serves as your crash course.
Electronic invoicing (eInvoicing) is an automated, fully digital exchange of invoicing information between a supplier and a buyer using an agreed-upon language and framework. It eliminates the need to print and post paper invoices or email PDFs back and forth from vendor to buyer and back.
Further, eInvoicing eliminates the need for the time-consuming and error-prone process of manually entering data or moving it from one document or system to another. With eInvoicing, the entire invoice transaction happens securely and intelligently, with data flowing directly between systems.
Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS) is proud to offer eInvoicing throughout Australia using the Peppol framework which the Australian Government has recently adopted as the common standard. CBS often integrates eInvoicing with our Automated Accounts Payable solution for even greater speed, accuracy, and automation capabilities.
No. PDF invoicing generally means creating a digital (PDF) invoice, which is then emailed back and forth or stored on servers as a PDF.
While PDF invoicing is a step above paper invoicing, it’s a less secure, less reliable, and less intelligent method compared to eInvoicing. PDF workflows still involve manual processing: Accounts Payable still has to read the PDF, transfer or retype data into the Accounts Payable ERP, and so forth. This time-consuming process introduces the possibility of human error, which further delays payments and causes additional down-the-line errors.
With eInvoicing, invoice data is captured electronically, transmitted directly between the supplier’s and purchaser’s systems. Invoice data can route directly into appropriate fields and databases, with no need to extract that information from paper or PDF.
If you already have a significant collection of paper or PDF records and need to make them digitally accessible and intelligent, CBS offers Digitisation and document capture services. See them at work in this video:
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The combination of eInvoicing with the Peppol framework provides a unified, standardised framework for invoice data and a secure centralised network for transmitting that data. Instead of mailing paper invoices (or emailing PDFs), organisations using eInvoicing transmit invoice data directly and securely to their clients. So, how does Peppol work? Peppol, which stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, is an international network that facilitates electronic document exchange, including eInvoicing, among businesses and public sector entities. It operates on a set of open and interoperable standards, allowing seamless communication between different systems and countries. When an organisation sends an eInvoice using Peppol, the invoice data is securely transmitted through the Peppol network to the recipient's access point, ensuring a standardized and efficient electronic invoicing process across borders and industries.
Because all accounting and ERP software providers that can connect to the Peppol network must use its formats and protocols, users no longer need to worry about compatibility or formatting issues. No matter what systems or devices you use, Peppol eInvoicing transactions will work properly.
At this time, eInvoicing is not mandatory but there is a drive to adopt it as standard in certain sectors; namely, government agencies and the suppliers who wish to do business with them.
The New Zealand Government has adopted Peppol eInvoicing, the Pan-European Public Procurement Online framework. This framework has been widely in use for a decade in Europe and has seen adoption in certain other countries.
Since 1 July 2022, all Commonwealth agencies have been required to use the Peppol framework for eInvoicing (and all vendor invoicing must be conducted as eInvoicing).
What this means to businesses and nongovernmental entities is that, if you want to do business with any Commonwealth agency, eInvoicing over the Peppol framework is mandatory for those transactions.
While the New Zealand Government has made clear its desire that eInvoicing become the de facto standard, it is not at this time mandatory outside government contracts.
If your business isn’t yet Peppol-ready, CBS can help you make the transition. Watch our Peppol Readiness webinar:
Watch the recorded webinar hosted by CBS and guest speaker from the ATO.WATCH
If you’re in the private sector and don’t deal directly with governmental offices, your business is not obligated to transition to eInvoicing at this time. But you may want to consider doing so for the many benefits eInvoicing offers over traditional paper or PDF invoicing. Organisations that make the switch to an electronic invoicing solution realise at least these five tangible benefits.
Once set up with a Peppol eInvoicing framework, you’ll begin to find numerous cost savings opportunities. The cost of printing and mailing an invoice (or sending a static PDF by email) seems nominal, but the reality is that there are numerous hidden costs in terms of manual labour and error correction.
The Australian Tax Office concludes that processing either of these methods costs between $27 and $30 per invoice, whereas eInvoicing drops the cost to under $10 thanks to the power of process automation.
You may also realise cost savings in terms of efficiency and scale, and in reduced labour costs, and you’ll reduce environmental impact by eliminating paper use and the emissions associated with post service. How much can you save by adopting eInvoicing and Peppol?
With paper or PDF-based invoices, you cannot control what the other party does or does not include. Receiving an inaccurate or incomplete invoice creates numerous logistical problems for you. eInvoicing sidesteps these issues by validating that parties have provided accurate, complete information before the eInvoice can be sent across the network.
For those on the receiving side, manual invoicing usually requires retyping data, which introduces the possibility of human error. The same goes for making corrections, where humans may make an incorrect assumption. Issues like these go away with eInvoicing because the information must be validated before you ever see it, and you’ll no longer have to copy or retype data from one place to another.
For vendors and suppliers, using eInvoicing makes it possible to get paid faster than with legacy methods because your customers no longer have to manually process your invoices. Australian federal agencies are paying out eInvoices on average within five days.
Private-sector customers may not conform to this standard, but shortening the overall workflow should net some reduction in payment wait time.
By setting Peppol as the national standard, the Australian government has enabled all parties using eInvoicing to operate on the same central Peppol network. Once you’re connected, you can share information with any other entity connected to the same network.
The results of this change are significant: transactions operate identically no matter what software either party is using (so long as it accommodates Peppol). You’ll no longer need to worry about juggling different invoice types, formats, or compatibility issues.
Last, the Peppol network is time-tested and has maintained high levels of security for over a decade. Invoices cannot be lost. The risks of fraudulent or scam invoices are much lower. The risk of data exposure through a security breach is much lower as well.
The answer is an emphatic “yes”; the only question is the timing.
As we’ve mentioned above, transitioning to eInvoicing offers a host of benefits to your business. Also, if you want to sell or provide services to Commonwealth agencies and an increasing number of state agencies, this transition is not optional.
If you are weighing the prospect of using Peppol invoicing (or have recently become aware that you must begin doing so right away), you need an experienced business process optimisation partner to help you manage this transition.
CBS is one of only a handful of approved Peppol members operating in ANZ with the knowledge and expertise to set up eInvoicing for Peppol. Our international scope led us to develop this capability years ago, and we stand ready to assist any ANZ businesses seeking to make this transition in light of the new requirements.
Our Peppol-ready eInvoice solution can seamlessly integrate with your own ERP system or work within our Automated Accounts Payable solution to truly transform your accounts payable and receivable processes.
Contact us today to learn more.