September 15th, 2020

Exceptional economic measures are being taken in response to COVID-19. The aim is to protect jobs and incomes and mitigate the impact on self-employed persons, SMEs, and large companies. In addition to the measures taken by the government, we’re also seeing that banks, for example, are doing their bit by postponing repayments and interest payments to entrepreneurs.

But what can you personally do to get paid faster in these times?  

The basis is simple: The less work it is for the customer to process the invoice, the faster the payment can take place. E-invoicing is designed to automate invoice processing. Switching to the delivery of e-invoices is one of the steps towards faster payment. It is not for nothing that the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, stated during the corona crisis debate that government agencies will pay e-invoices faster during this time; it was an indirect call to creditors to submit e-invoices in order to get outstanding invoices paid faster.

Manually Creating an E-Invoice

If it is not yet possible to create an e-invoice within your financial system, there are alternatives that will help you quickly. For example, there are e-invoicing portals where you can create an account and then create an e-invoice manually. From the portal, the e-invoice can be sent directly to the desired recipient. The invoice is immediately entered into the financial system, checked, and prepared for payment. Besides the initial entry, there is no manual work involved here anymore. To prepare, ask the customer which fields, like order number, are mandatory in the e-invoice in order to make the process run as smoothly as possible.

From PDF to E-Invoice

Does your system create a PDF invoice by default? A PDF invoice still requires manual processing by the recipient, which slows down the payment process. An intermediate solution is to automatically convert the PDF invoice into an e-invoice (XML or other format) so that it is delivered directly to the customer's system.

Direct E-Invoicing Link Between Systems

Do you regularly send invoices to certain customers? Then it’s best to opt for a direct link between the two systems. In doing this, you create an e-invoice in your system and it is immediately made available in your partner’s system. In addition to the speed of invoicing, a major advantage is that you are kept informed by means of real-time notifications, like whether the invoice has been received and whether it has been made ready for payment. This gives you optimal insight into your cash flow.

Invoicing for Direct Payment

It is also worth it to consider shifting the payment risk by means of factoring. Invoices that you submit are paid quickly by the factoring company, often within one business day. You have to invest in this, of course, but in the case of large deliveries or bad payment experiences, it may be worth the money simply so that you are able to maintain a healthy cash flow—especially in this day and age.

In general, automating the invoicing process, and fully integrating it, will result in a measurable ROI, reduction of errors, and faster processing time.