24 July 2020

When it comes to e-invoicing, the biggest challenge is not getting internal systems ready or removing any resistance among employees. No, the biggest challenge is making e-invoicing successful within your organization. For this, you have to depend on the cooperation of your suppliers, because e-invoicing facilities are practically meaningless if there is no e-invoicing flow going on.

Activate Suppliers

As long as suppliers are not asked to send e-invoices (in a certain standard), they often see no reason to do so. Sometimes, it is not clear to them what exactly you mean by an "e-invoice," nor where and how they should submit the invoice. Hence, connecting (also known as onboarding) suppliers is key to the success of electronic invoicing.

Low-Threshold Solutions for E-Invoicing

The easiest solution would be to fully mandate the delivery of e-invoices in the desired format. This can be done by including it in the contract terms and general conditions. If a supplier does not comply with this, they simply do not get paid.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work for every organization. Not only can it damage the relationship between your company and the supplier company, but sometimes you put suppliers in a difficult position because they may not have the advanced systems to create an e-invoice. Therefore, always point suppliers to low-threshold e-invoicing solutions, such as a web portal, where they can manually create and send e-invoices.

Communication Plan

Of course suppliers want to satisfy your desire as a customer to receive e-invoices, but they may not know where to start, or the advantages of e-invoicing over invoicing via PDF invoices are not entirely clear to them. Therefore, especially in this day and age, it's helpful to mention that e-invoicing usually leads to faster payment, especially when combined with factoring. Factoring services ensure that the supplier's e-invoice is paid immediately.

Begeleiden in overstaptraject

Aan u de taak om hen te begeleiden in het overstaptraject, dit kan alleen door frequent en duidelijk te communiceren. Vaak loopt het hier al spaak. Uit de praktijk blijkt namelijk dat veel organisaties de masterdata van hun leveranciers niet op orde hebben. E-mailadressen missen of er staan nog gegevens in van contactpersonen die al enige tijd weg zijn bij het bedrijf. Voordat het onboardingtraject kan starten, dienen de leveranciersdata eerst opgeschoond en verrijkt te zijn.

Guiding the Interchange Process

Sending an email saying that your organization wants to receive e-invoices from now on is usually not enough. Try to use various means of communication, at different times. The most important suppliers and the suppliers who produce the highest volume in terms of invoices are best approached one-on-one. This takes time, but offers the best results. Preferably, online resources are used. This is fast and cheap, but if certain suppliers are not activated in this way, a physical letter is always an option.

Examples of resources that can be used to onboard suppliers:

  • Email
  • Landing Page with Information
  • Video
  • Newsletter
  • Brochures
  • Roadmap/Manual
  • One-on-One Contact
  • Letter

Is there no time or manpower to onboard suppliers or are the results lagging? Then choose to outsource the onboarding to an e-invoicing service provider such as TIE Kinetix.

Interim Solution for Processing PDF Invoices

Roughly two-thirds of businesses send PDF invoices via email. However, a PDF invoice is not an e-invoice and cannot be processed securely and automatically without specific software. Yet many companies believe they are already "e-invoicing" because they send a PDF invoice by e-mail. This misunderstanding can make the supplier "immune" to your onboarding efforts. After all, they fail to see that they are not meeting your e-invoicing needs.

It is a waste of your e-invoicing solution if you continue to receive PDF invoices. Ideally, these PDF invoices should also be processed fully automatically and error-free in your system. There are more and more solutions on the market (PDF-2-FLOW) that can read PDF invoices without errors and convert them to an XML file. As a result, PDF invoices can also be processed automatically.