Three of the most common challenges we hear about when customers have onboarded their suppliers to e-invoicing are:
- lack of knowledge from those you’re onboarding
- getting buy-in from those you’re onboarding, and
- sticking to your timeline.
But luckily we’ve got some suggestions for these challenges.
Lack of knowledge
Because it’s still in its infancy here in Australia and New Zealand, you might find that the partners you’re onboarding to e-invoicing only have a very basic understanding of what it is and how it works. This can make it hard for them to feel comfortable enough to make the move. The best way to overcome this is to give them the information they need. Start with the basics like:
- how e-invoicing works
- Introduce Peppol
- what’s in it for them
- explaining Access Points and what they do
- where and how to find an Access Point.
It’s also important to make sure your partners don’t fall for any myths about e-invoicing, like it being costly or that it takes a long time to implement. There are free e-invoicing solutions out there that are easy to get setup and use (like colladium.com – it takes minutes to get started), and even paid services can cost as much as a phone plan and take less than a day to set up. Promoting the opportunities and savings of e-invoicing is also a really great way to diminish concerns. Another thing you should pass on to your partners is any business requirements you might have. Things like having due dates in the future or having invoice numbers with no symbols.
Getting buy-in from those you’re onboarding
Another commonly-reported challenge is getting buy-in from your partners. The lack of knowledge (like we’ve spoken about above) doesn’t help to start with, but often the concept needs to be sold to them and some may need to be hand-held.
Firstly, be clear on why your organisation has chosen to use e-invoicing. It could be to enable faster payments, improve processes or something else.
The next thing is to promote the benefits e-invoicing can have on your suppliers’ businesses. This is the sell. Think about things like:
- Cost savings
Studies have found that it costs $30.87 to process a paper invoice, $27.67 a PDF invoice, and only $9.18 to process an e-invoice.
- Easier invoice processing
Removes the need for unnecessary data entry – the invoice just appears in your software.
- Faster invoice payments
The average e-invoice is processed in 5 days (compared with 23 days for a regular invoice). Or if you’re promising so pay e-invoices in a certain time, mention that here.
- Fewer errors
Because much of the data entry is removed.
Security measures, like encryption at rest and in transit, are implemented throughout the e-invoicing network so your data remains secure along the way.
I mentioned above that some of your partners might need some hand-holding. So keeping regular contact during the onboarding process can be useful too. Have a think about:
- Holding information sessions and webinars to educate your partners
This can also be a great indication of who might be interested in onboarding and prioritise them first.
- Listing e-invoicing providers
This makes it easier for your partners to get onboard. Having low or no cost solutions are always more likely to entice your partners. MessageXchange provides a free tool, Colladium, for customers to get their partners started.
- Making direct contact
Pick up then phone and chat them through it. They might just need someone to talk them through it one-on-one.
Keeping to your timeline
If this is your first rodeo, you mightn’t know what to expect. After all, how long is a piece of string? Firstly, be realistic about the timelines you set for yourself. And call on the expertise of your Access Point provider. The likelihood is that if you’ve chosen a reputable, experienced company, they’ve seen this done many times over.
Putting together a comprehensive communication and implementation plan puts you in the best position. Make sure you put together a timeline of your communications and the groups you’ll be sending it to. This will help you stay organised and ensure you don’t miss any communications to your suppliers.
Another thing you can do is plan ahead for the changes at your end. Break down what each department will need to do in preparation, and when you’ve gone live to send and receive e-invoices.
Don’t forget we’ve got this whitepaper, A guide to successfully onboarding trading partners to e-invoicing. Check it out if you’re new to this all. There might be some things in there you haven’t thought about before.
If you’re interested in learning more about onboarding partners to e-invoicing, request a call from our e-invoicing team below.