The moment we preamble a word or a term with e-, one image pops into our brain and that is zero paper. The general assumption is that if it’s electronic, it’s enough. This short-sighted vision actually impacts how e-invoicing technology is still perceived by a great many.
As we all know that e-invoicing originates in the accounts section of a company and its aim is simple which is to do away with all paper-based transactions. But is that all? Is it enough to go paperless? What about automation? What about getting redundancies taken away? What about peace of mind that modern e-invoicing technology can ensure for your enterprise?
End-goal in Sight
As large businesses, we are time-strapped. We often ask our subordinates, “What’s the end goal of a transformation project?” And often the end goal is one whittled down from many. Interestingly, for e-invoicing, there are goals too many. So, while an over enthusiastic use of optical character recognition (OCR) software is an intermediate step, it clearly doesn’t deliver the amount of benefits that e-invoicing brings to the table. True e-invoicing is not only a platform for suppliers to file their invoice digitally and save time, but also an enabler of closed audit trail making processes compliant, accurate and error free.
The Good E-invoicing Technology
E-invoicing is that adolescent kid who knows how to do its stuff but there is a dramatic soar in its productivity when it has a place of belonging, and that place is the Procure to Pay (P2P) suite which helps connect with people, dig spend insight from data that shapes strategic savings plan, working capital and risk management strategies. To leverage these benefits, a strong collaboration between procurement and finance will help formulate a fully integrated process. Unless invoices are tied to purchase orders and electronic invoicing is brought to full-fledged practice, it is not possible to reap maximum ROI from an e-invoicing project.
Supplier Side Up
Good thing about great technology is that it always does justice to the ignored, whether among people, or practices. AP and Procurement for long were lackadaisical about suppliers having to connect with both the departments. But now, technology empowers them to not conform. This is where AP and procurement are brought together to work in tandem for ease of the supplier side. If there are rules to follow, then it works better when accounts and procurement are in agreement- both on how the process plays out and also how much of a deviation is allowed. When they are in touch with the supplier, any change can be adhered to across the board with ease.
So What’s the Deal?
The deal is immensely lucrative if we stop limiting e-invoicing technology to the idea of going paperless and see the broader incumbent of it when joined forces with a complete P2P suite. To spell it out, the real benefit is a closed supervision from the point where the buyer raises a request to the point where the invoice has been approved for pay. Unless it is integrated, internal stakeholders like CPO, Finance and AP get affected at some point of procurement life-cycle. So to plan and execute a successful digital transformation project, the organization must prepare integrated business cases, set specific goals and involve all internal stakeholders to set the wheel in motion and draw higher returns on investment. So what are you thinking?