What’s next for eInvoicing?

eInvoicing continues to grow in popularity and it’s expected to expand further. There’s a lot coming to eInvoicing in the future so we thought we’d look at some of the developments.

More message types on the Peppol network, not just eInvoices

Studies have shown that 72.5% of invoices globally are paid late . In 2016, Australian companies were an average of 26.4 days overdue on their invoice payments. With the help of eInvoicing, we’re seeing sellers being paid in less time. This improves cash flow and allows businesses to use their funds more strategically.

Could there be a business mandate for eInvoicing?

In 2020, the Commonwealth government’s Treasury sent out a request for feedback from businesses on options to accelerate the adoption of eInvoicing an. One option involves requiring all businesses to have the capability to send and receive Peppol eInvoices, with large businesses being the first. Another option would be to require only large businesses to have the ability to send and receive Peppol eInvoices. The last option is a non-regulatory option that offers more flexibility for businesses to choose their own pathway to adoption. This is by no means a mandate for eInvoicing at the moment, but some of the options, if implemented, could bring a mandate.

We’ve also seen the Government push the Business eInvoicing Right (BER) initiative to encourage the adoption of B2B eInvoicing. The BER allows companies to request their trading partners to send them eInvoices in the Peppol format. The objective of the BER initiative is to gradually introduce the obligatory use of eInvoicing among Australian companies, based on their size.

Push by government to get suppliers onboard to eInvoicing

With government agencies and departments going through mandatory implementation of eInvoicing, it’s only a matter of time before their suppliers follow suit. There’s already been talk about government agencies mandating their suppliers to implement eInvoicing. The ATO is currently focusing on a push to large businesses, particularly in the utilities and telecommunications sectors, to support eInvoicing.Have more questions? Ask our experts by getting in touch below.

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5 reasons why companies are choosing eInvoicing

We continue to see eInvoicing gathering momentum. Here in Australia, the number of companies registering for eInvoicing is growing hugely. Here are five of the reasons companies are choosing eInvoicing.

They’re getting paid faster

Studies have shown that 72.5% of invoices globally are paid late . In 2016, Australian companies were an average of 26.4 days overdue on their invoice payments. With the help of eInvoicing, we’re seeing sellers being paid in less time. This improves cash flow and allows businesses to use their funds more strategically.

They’re saving time by reducing manual processes

With an outdated system, processing invoices involves lots of steps. With eInvoicing there’s no need to enter invoice data, saving you time. MessageXchange can even automate more processes such as matching invoices to PO numbers and more. All these things let your staff focus on more important tasks.

They’re saving costs and reducing errors

The ATO estimates paper and PDF invoices can cost between $27 and $30 to process. eInvoicing reduces the costs to less than $10. In Australia alone, 1.2 billion invoices are sent each year, so you can already see the savings that are to be made. You can save on:

  • paper costs
  • printing costs
  • additional scanning equipment costs.

Manually inputting invoices exposes businesses to human errors. The automation from eInvoicing can reduce errors by up to 37%. Errors can be costly for any business, and especially the costs involved to rectify them.

They’re using a more secure way to exchange invoices

Invoices are often a targeted way for scammers to commit fraud. A recent study by XERO found 18% of Australian SMEs have fallen victim to invoice fraud and this costs a business an average of $15,500. This number has only grown with the increase of scams during the pandemic. To avoid this, eInvoicing messages go through the secure Peppol network, which has processes in place to reduce the risk of fake or comprised invoices.

They’re on a digital transformation journey

Digital transformation is the move to digital technology to improve existing processes. eInvoicing does exactly that and is a great starting point. Can you imagine if you were still issuing invoices by fax? We’ve well and truly moved on from that, and eInvoicing is the new way.

Getting started with eInvoicing

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Check your software

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Our team connects you to the Peppol eInvoicing network

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Go live!

Want to get started with eInvoicing? Get in touch with our eInvoicing team below to learn more.

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The future used to be paperless. Now it’s PDF-less.

Not too many moons ago, there was a big push towards a paperless office – everything needed to be digital. No more faxes and no more mail – email was the new hero. This was a big progression at the time. It was more sustainable, there was less chance of things going awry and it was just more efficient. But times have changed.Nowadays, technology has advanced a lot more. And yes, while emailing PDFs is still much more efficient than snail mail or faxes, there are still downfalls. Many companies ‘scan’ or use optical character recognition (OCR) to truly make their invoices digital. However, many companies who come to us report only a 70% accuracy rate with OCR. Imagine then having to find the errors and on top of that, fix them. No thank you! And companies who don’t use this technology are still typing invoices in letter-by-letter, number-by-number. Yikes! We’re lucky to be in such a time where we now have better options. You might have heard of electronic data interchange, or EDI. It gets data from a supplier’s software to their customer’s software. Instead of the customer having to scan (or OCR) a PDF invoice or manually type it in, a machine-readable file is sent to the customer’s software. There’s no manual intervention required and it just appears, almost like magic. This also happens for other procurement documents like purchase orders and shipping notices. The Australian and New Zealand Governments have also identified that going truly digital brings massive benefits. $28 billion in benefits to the Australian economy over the next 10 years, to be specific. Because of this, the Australian and New Zealand Governments have worked collaboratively to bring an electronic invoicing (eInvoicing) standard to businesses: Peppol. This works in a similar way to EDI – it sends invoices from the supplier’s software straight to the buyer’s software. No typing, no scanning, no nothing. And major accounting software providers are onboard too. Both MYOB and Xero allow their customers to send and receive eInvoices. How good is that. So next time you find yourself typing another invoice into your software or fixing up an invoice mistake, have a look into eInvoicing or EDI. After all, the future is no longer paperless, it’s PDF-less!

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How eInvoicing delivers a better procure-to-pay (P2P) experience for your suppliers

eInvoicing is strongly emerging here in Australia and New Zealand as one of the key digital transformation activities in 2022. Its dominance is being led by the Government because of its massive benefits to the economy (think $10 billion to the Australian and New Zealand economies). But that’s not its only benefit – it can deliver a much better procure-to-pay (P2P) experience for suppliers too.

What is eInvoicing?

In short, when your suppliers create an invoice in their invoicing software, it’ll almost ‘magically’ appear in your accounting software. To find out the nitty gritty, have a look at our whitepaper, an introduction to eInvoicing.

So how does it benefit your suppliers?

It’s sent directly from the supplier’s software into the customer’s software

Once your supplier enters it into their software, they can be rest assured that it’ll be delivered straight into their customer’s software. And if, for whatever reason it can’t be, the supplier will be sent a notification, so they’re always in the loop. This means their invoice will be received in record time, and the payment process can begin. Winner!

It doesn’t get lost among emails or people forgetting to forward it on

Gone are the days of emailing a PDF invoice, waiting for the person the supplier deals with to approve it, pass it onto the accounts payable team for processing and then joining the payments queue. eInvoices go straight into the customer’s software, so there’s not getting lost in emails – it joins the queue, which is often automated by the customer, to speed up the process.

Suppliers can get notified of the status of an invoice

One of the real benefits for suppliers is getting notifications of the invoice status. The eInvoicing network (Peppol here in Australia and New Zealand) has a ‘response’ message that goes back to the eInvoice sender to let them know if the eInvoice has been received (or failed or rejected for whatever reason) and can also update the supplier on things like whether it’s been approved for payment, whether it’s been paid, and more. eInvoicing has heaps of benefits for you too, not just your suppliers. You can have peace of mind invoices won’t go missing, plus you don’t have to worry about entering the data incorrectly into your software.

Ready to get yourself or your suppliers onboard to eInvoicing? Here’s how…

First, get yourself eInvoicing-enabled

You’ll need an eInvoicing service provider. This is called an ‘Access Point’. The Access Point gets the invoices into your software (and also out of your software if you’re using it for accounts receivable invoicing too). It’s your gateway to the eInvoicing network. Get in touch with us to find out what the best option is, or have a look here.

Then get your suppliers onboard

Depending on our suppliers, it could be worth breaking them down into groups to get them onboard. This is handy so that you’re not overwhelmed with the task, but also allows you to tailor your communications, depending on your suppliers. Take a look at our whitepaper, a guide to successfully onboarding trading partners to eInvoicing.

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eInvoicing around the world: A March 2022 update

eInvoicing is continuing to gain momentum here in Australia. More incentives are being offered, with businesses with a turnover of up to $50m now eligible for a $120 tax deduction on every $100 spent on digital technologies, including eInvoicing. And don’t forget the Federal government mandate is set for July this year, so all Federal government agencies will be able to receive eInvoices. NSW has followed suit too, requiring all state agencies to be able to receive eInvoices by July 1 this year. There’s also talk of a possible mandate for B2B transactions, so stay tuned on that one. The Federal government made the promise to pay eInvoices from suppliers with contracts under $1m within five days. And come the 1st of July, this will apply to all suppliers, regardless of their contract size. But Australia isn’t the only place where eInvoicing is gaining momentum. Let’s have a look at where the rest of the world is at…

Europe

Poland

The Polish Government is mandating B2B eInvoicing countrywide by 2023 through their national eInvoicing system (KSeF). All suppliers will be required to issue eInvoices and all buyers will be required to receive eInvoices via KSeF.

France

In France, mandatory B2B eInvoicing will begin from 1 July 2024 for the 300 largest enterprises. All large enterprises will be required to receive eInvoices from the 1 July 2024. 8,000 medium-sized enterprises will need to be able to receive eInovices from 1 January 2025 and remaining businesses will need to have the ability to receive eInvoices by 1 January 2026.

Portugal

The Portuguese Government is implementing mandatory B2G eInvoicing from 1 January 2022.

Cyprus

The Cyprus Government is also implementing mandatory B2G eInvoicing from 1 January 2022.

Spain

Spain has planned to pass law to mandate B2B eInvoicing from 2023.

Belgium

Belgium has also planned to pass law to mandate B2B eInvoicing from 2023.

Middle East

Saudi Arabia

Saudia Arabia are in progress with their two phase implementation of eInvoicing applicable to all B2B, B2C and B2G transactions:
  • Phase 1: Suppliers can no longer generate or store paper, picture format or PDF invoices.
  • Phase 2: Mandating eInvoicing countrywide using Saudi Arabia’s eInvoicing platform (ZATCA).

Asia

Japan

Japan has joined the PEPPOL network and will look to implement with B2B and B2G transactions but no mandate is in place at the moment.

Philippines

A pilot scheme for B2G eInvoicing will start in the Philippines on 1 July 2022.

Vietnam

A mandatory B2B electronic invoicing in Vietnam for companies in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Phu Tho and Binh Dinh by March 2022. The other provinces will do the same by July 2022.

Americas

United States

The Government are commencing a pilot program to standardise the use of B2B electronic invoicing in the United States to start in the coming year.

Panama

Electronic invoicing will be mandatory in Panama in 2022
  • As of 1 January 2022, it will be mandatory for taxpayers registered with a tax identification number (RUC).
  • And as of July 2022, it will be mandatory for all other companies.
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Keep up to date with all that’s new and get some helpful tips about eInvoicing

Tips for writing a tender document to find an eInvoicing provider

Many organisations are starting to go through the process of finding an eInvoicing provider. Some, particularly larger, organisations need to go through a formal procurement process to find a supplier. Given eInvoicing is a new area for a lot of people, here are some tips to help you write your tender document.

Get to know the ins and outs of eInvoicing

The last thing you want is to be unprepared. Getting to know the basics of eInvoicing makes this process much easier. Make sure you get to know what eInvoicing is and how it works. Learn about the use cases, the benefits, what it will mean for each of your teams (like accounts payable, accounts receivable, IT and others), what it will mean for your customers and suppliers, find out how others have used it as a start.

Get to know what eInvoicing providers provide beyond just eInvoicing

Just like most industries, there are some eInvoicing providers who merely pass the invoice from A to B. But there are others who have capability to do much more. Here at MessageXchange, our powerful software can insert missing information, check the information you require is on the invoice and perform complex lookups, workflows, rules and more. This functionality is particularly useful for organisations who have complex business rules, automated payments and integrations with multiple systems.

Have a clear view of how eInvoicing will fit into your architecture and processes

For smaller organisations, it can be as simple as eInvoices coming in and out of your software. Even in this simple case, you’ll need to know how they will come in and out – through an API, can it drop and pickup files from an SFTP folder or does it need to use another method – and what format they will come in and out in – will it be an XML format, a CSV or something else? For larger organisations, accounts receivable invoices may come out of one system and accounts payable invoices may go into another. You may have a single integration point for any data coming from the outside world, rather than connect to your systems directly. Be very clear on what this process will look like for your company. On the accounts payable side, many organisations have automated matching against an order, or checking the vendor number or ABN or other data. Make sure you know how eInvoices will fit into this process.

Get familiar with your company’s IT policies for external vendors

Some companies require IT vendors to have backup, redundancy and service SLAs. Make sure you’re familiar with what your company requires so you can be clear about this in your tender.

Start writing!

  • Document your setup and key information like:
    • The software you use (and go into detail if your setup isn’t straightforward, for example if you have multiple systems)
    • Whether you want to send and/or receive eInvoices
    • How many eInvoices you expect to send and/or receive
  • Break it down into sections. Example:
    • Company information
    • Technical requirements
    • Business process requirements
    • Procurement requirements
    • Contract
    • Pricing
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Don’t think you’re ready to use eInvoicing? It’s not as difficult as you might think

eInvoicing is gaining momentum with all the benefits it is bringing to businesses around the world. But change is difficult and implementing eInvoicing can seem more daunting than it should be. We’re clearing the air and are here to show just how easy implementing eInvoicing can be.

Get started with a web portal

Did you know you don’t need to spend time and resources integrating eInvoicing into your software? If you’re looking for something quick and easy, all you need is internet access – and if you’re reading this, you’ve got that. Basically, you can login to a web portal like Colladium to send and receive eInvoices using an easy-to-use interface. It’s one of the simplest and most cost-effective options to start eInvoicing. Colladium only takes minutes to sign up and it’s free to use. All you need to do is register and get started!

Plug and play software integrations

Your existing software might have some plug-and-play style integrations to start eInvoicing. These allow you to send and receive eInvoices using your own software, and setup is quick and easy. MessageXchange has an easy option for MYOB Account Right and New Essentials users. Send invoices directly to your customers’ software and receive bills directly into your In Tray. Plus, Technology One Ci Anywhere and Oracle Financials Cloud users can take advantage of our eInvoicing Connect product to start receiving eInvoices in just days.

Ask your existing Invoicing/ERP software provider

You may not know it, but your current software may be eInvoicing capable. You should ask your provider if eInvoicing is already enabled or whether they plan to make it available.

Find an eInvoicing service provider

If you’re working with software that isn’t enabled for eInvoicing you can get easily set up with an eInvoicing service provider, like MessageXchange. We’re able to help you send and receive eInvoices directly from your software. Even if your software doesn’t export or import the Peppol standard file we can translate the files to whatever your software needs. Want to get started with eInvoicing? Get in touch with our eInvoicing experts by filling the form below.

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How leading organisations are managing the transition to eInvoicing

The Government mandate for commonwealth agencies to be eInvoicing enabled was introduced a year ago now. Since then, as an Access Point provider, we’ve seen agencies scramble to get on board and businesses are starting to follow suit. For many, it’s a completely new concept. Their people have needed to get up to speed, their invoicing software hasn’t always been ready, and they’ve had to engage their customers and suppliers to get onboarded. As an Access Point provider, we’ve been privy to how leading organisations have managed the transition to eInvoicing. Here’s how.

Educating themselves about eInvoicing

Getting your head around eInvoicing – what it is and what it means for your business – is one of the most important steps. It’s a new concept for a lot of people, but there are some fantastic resources out there. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), as the Peppol authorities, have some great information aimed at businesses and Government explaining eInvoicing and its benefits: Plus, companies who provide eInvoicing services, like us, generally have information available to help you through the process. Here are a couple of our resources: We’ve found that the organisations who educate themselves well on the concept of eInvoicing and what it means to their business, are better-equipped to implement eInvoicing as seamlessly as possible.

Getting internal teams on board

You might be the one in charge of implementing eInvoicing, but there’s no doubt that it involves a number of teams from IT to accounts payable and accounts receivable and beyond. It’s important you get all the relevant teams involved to make sure their needs are met, so they know how it will impact them and so they can answer any questions they get from others internally or even customers and suppliers. Here are a couple of resources that might help:

Integrating eInvoicing into their invoicing software

The first adopters of eInvoicing here in Australia has been Government agencies. With the mandate in place and a fast-approaching deadline, we’ve seen a number of approaches to get themselves up and running.

Taking a staged approach to implementing eInvoicing

Many of the successful organisations have taken a staged approach to eInvoicing. Some examples we’ve seen are: governments implementing eInvoicing with one agency first then rolling it out to others, starting with a pilot group of suppliers first then rolling out to others, and we’ve even seen some have their MessageXchange Gateway transform eInvoices to suit their software’s current abilities until their software is upgraded.

Using an eInvoicing portal

Another approach when eInvoicing is time-critical is to start with a web portal separate to your eInvoicing software. This is often a good interim step for when you’re only dealing with a small number of eInvoices. Our partner, Colladium, allows organisations to get setup in just minutes and supports both the sending and receiving of eInvoices. Check it out today.

Onboarding their suppliers and customers

Even the most advanced organisations have struggled when it comes to onboarding customers and suppliers. The main reason is that eInvoicing was still in its infancy. We’ve come a long way since then though. Now there are a number of software packages that have eInvoicing built into them. Xero and MYOB, who cover a majority of Australian and New Zealand SMEs, allow their customers to send eInvoices free or at a low cost. The most successful organisations who’ve onboarded their suppliers have been very clear with how the supplier can get eInvoicing ready. They hold webinars, send instructions and make it as easy as possible for suppliers. Many also offer incentives, like five-day payment terms, which is a sweetener for suppliers to get on board. We’re lucky to have been chosen as the eInvoicing Access Point for a large number of organisations and we’ve been privy to how they’ve gone about implementing eInvoicing. If you’re looking to get ready for eInvoicing, have a chat to our team today using the form below.

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How to use eInvoicing when your software isn’t capable

eInvoicing may be a relatively new concept for a lot of businesses. Government has led the way on its adoption, but the real benefits are going to be for businesses. In fact, the ATO has estimated that one eInvoice can be processed for up to $20 less than a paper invoice. And if we look at the accumulated costs, this could give an economic benefit of $28 billion over ten years. There’s little wonder we’re seeing interest now from businesses. The ability to create invoices in your accounting software is usually there off the shelf. But that’s not always the case for eInvoicing. If it’s not, there’s no need to stress. This is where we come in. Just a side note – if you’re not yet familiar with how eInvoicing works, check out our whitepaper, an introduction to eInvoicing, here. It explains the whole thing in layman’s terms.

Importing and exporting data from your software

Most software can import and export data. And that’s all we need. You might already be using this sort of functionality today – exporting data in a CSV or XML format to load into other software, to change the data in bulk, or to make some pretty graphs in Excel. If you want to automate the export and import, most software is capable of this too. This means it’ll be done without anyone physically pressing buttons – it’s a task that will run on schedule. Just chat to your software consultant or IT team about this. It should be pretty straightforward though.

Converting your exported file to the Peppol eInvoicing format

As we mentioned above, your software might export a CSV or XML file, or perhaps something else. Unless your software has some sort of eInvoicing capability build in, it’s unlikely to handle the format required by the eInvoicing network (the format is called a UBL, by the way). It’s fine if your software doesn’t though – MessageXchange can convert your file, whatever that might be, to and from the Peppol UBL.

Getting the data to your Access Point

So, your software can import and export invoice files. Now we need to exchange them. The simplest way to get them to MessageXchange will be through an sFTP folder. We mentioned this at the end of the importing an exporting data from your software section. Your IT team can drop your exported files into an sFTP folder, and for incoming eInvoices, they can pick them up and import them into your software. It’s a pretty basic process. If sFTP doesn’t work for you, there are also other options like API, AS2 and more.

Following the same approvals process in your accounts payable software

Many businesses, particularly larger ones, have automated processes in place for approving invoices. If you’re looking to use eInvoicing for accounts payable invoices, there doesn’t need to be any changes to your approvals processes. Just like regular invoices start the process when they’re entered or scanned into your software.

Catering for business rules in your accounts payable software

Some software or approvals processes require certain information on invoices like purchase order number or bank details. MessageXchange’s sophisticated software can cater for this. We can make sure invoices have this information on them before they’re imported into your software. If they don’t meet your criteria, MessageXchange can reject them and notify your supplier. Our software can also check for duplicate invoices, to ensure it doesn’t already exist before it’s ingested, to make sure you don’t pay it twice.

And if all else fails, use a web portal

We’ve seen organisations who need to get eInvoicing-enabled quickly turn to a web portal. This is often a good interim step for when you’re only dealing with a small number of eInvoices. Our partner, Colladium, allows organisations to get setup in just minutes and supports both the sending and receiving of eInvoices. Check it out today. Interested in learning more about how you can get eInvoicing ready? Have a chat to our team today by filling in the form below.

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Digital transformation: An important intervention in 2022 and beyond

Digital transformation - the topic has dominated panel discussions and media, with suggestions about how businesses can stay relevant in the digital world. In simple words, digital transformation is about harnessing technology to improve the business, its environment and its customers’ experience.

Why is digital transformation important in 2022?

It enables us to pivot quickly

In the pre-COVID era, organisations were slowly transitioning to more digital business models but as the pandemic hit, it forced dramatic changes within companies and accelerated investment in digital transformation. All of a sudden business started operating remotely. They turned to various digital platforms to streamline internal business processes in order to function to serve their customers. This paradigm shift brought by the Coronavirus made the business world realise that in order to stay competitive and meet the increasing customer demand, going digital is essential. Many of our supply chain customers turned to us for help to streamline their business process during this period. With our cloud-based EDI, we helped our customers get everything onto their accounting software where everyone can access everything remotely. With cloud-based SaaS EDI, the software is hosted in the cloud and managed by a third-party service provider, in this case it’s us. Cloud EDI is web-based and is convenient as companies’ don’t need physical on-site infrastructure, additional resources or licenses. The cloud EDI service provider maintains the software, networks, servers, security and importantly the maintenance for you. It was the companies with cloud-based EDI that companies could transition most smoothly to working from home without interruption to their supply chains.

It reduces the risk of errors and improves customer experience

Customer experience is increasingly becoming key to a company’s long-term success. Digital transformation can help businesses have more agile capabilities both in terms of IT services and user experience. MessageXchange can help you improve your customer experience by reducing the risk of errors by using EDI. With EDI, processes are automated reducing manual errors. For example, when a buyer places a purchase order (PO), and the order can be put into the supplier’s system. The supplier can raise an invoice in their software, which can be sent automatically to their customer’s software. Without EDI, all these processes would be manual which increases the risk of errors. Fewer errors mean a reduction in the number of disputes lodged as a result of accuracy. Businesses can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by making things easier and faster with more streamlined digital processes.

It makes for more productive employees

With the impact of COVID-19, companies are not sure if their employees will fully return to the office. It is a constant challenge to manage a dispersed workforce. Digital platforms can help managers create productivity improvements and help their employees stay motivated and be more effective in their roles. For departments like finance and HR, digital transformation provides an excellent opportunity to move from traditional paper-based processes to modern automations in areas such as payroll and eInvoicing. With our eInvoicing service you can send eInvoices to your customers almost instantly and be up-to-date on the status of the invoices through the eInvoice response message to see if your customer has received the eInvoice, whether it’s been approved and submitted for payment. These automations free up employees’ time by reducing the need for follow up calls and emails and give them an opportunity to focus on more important tasks.

It’s so much more sustainable

Corporate social responsibility is becoming a necessity, not a choice these days. Many multinational companies are already focusing on sustainability and finding new ways to make their businesses more sustainable. Research by Forest ethics highlighted that Australian businesses and families use over 2.4 million tonnes of paper for printing and writing every year. Every tonne of paper needs 12-24 trees to manufacture. It is estimated that 180 trees are used for just one business each year. eInvoicing cuts out the need for paper as the invoices are exchanged electronically. Going digital is a good first step to make your business more environmentally friendly. Paperless communication and transaction mean practically no use of paper and energy used in production and transportation of paper documents. If you want to learn more about how EDI and eInvoicing can help your business smoothly transition and adopt digital processes, request a call back from our experts below.

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eInvoicing Glossary

If you’re just getting started, eInvoicing jargon can be hard to understand. So we’ve put together some of the key words to help make it easier for you.

ABN

This stands for Australian business number. It’s a unique number that identifies a business in Australia. It helps identify your business to others when ordering and invoicing. And in the eInvoicing world, it’s a number you can send and/or receive eInvoices from/to.

Access Point

eInvoicing is done through a four-corner model. You can think of it like a phone network, where your network service provider, and the service provider of the person you’re trying to call, are the Access Points. Access Point are the service providers that connect to each other.

API

This stands for application programming interface. It’s a messaging protocol. An API is a way for others to push information to you, or retrieve information from you. And by you, I mean your software.

AS4

This stands for applicability statement 4. It’s a messaging protocol. AS4 can exchange messages in near-real time and supports the ability to send back delivery notifications, so the sender knows their message has been received. It’s considered highly secure and has high availability, meaning it’s always active to be used.

B2G

Stands for business-to-government. it refers to business that’s conducted between a business and government Business level response (BLR) A business level response can be sent from a company to their supplier once they receive an invoice. It can give the supplier an update on the invoice, like whether it’s been accepted, rejected, paid, queried, or something else.

CSV

This stands for comma separated values. It’s a file format. Think of it like very simple Excel spreadsheet. In fact, you can open these files in Excel.

Electronic data interchange (EDI)

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) refers to the structured transmission of data between organisations electronically. It’s used to transfer documents electronically from one system to another i.e. from one trading partner to another trading partner.

eInvoicing

It’s the exchange of eInvoices in a structured, electronic format. It’s not be confused with sending a PDF invoice. PDFs aren’t machine-readable. eInvoices are sent directly from one software package to another.

ERP system

This stands for enterprise resource planning system. In simple terms, it’s what most businesses use to manage their accounts payable and receivables. Generally, ERP systems are a little more complex than your typical accounting package. Think of SAP, Oracle, Pronto and more.

File format

This refers to the way information in a document is stored and organised. PDF, JPG and PNG are all file formats. When it comes to eInvoicing, file formats are relevant because your software will export and import a certain type of file format. You might also see the acronym UBL used a bit. That’s the file format, or standard, used for eInvoices when they’re sent between Access Points. It’s not an issue if your software doesn’t export and import a UBL file – a well-rounded eInvoicing provider will be able to map your file format to and from the UBL format for you.

Four corner model

eInvoicing happens through a four-corner model, where corners one and four are the supplier and customer, and corners two and three are Access Points. Access Points connect to each other to exchange eInvoices.

Gateway

Our customers will generally have their own ‘gateway’ on the MessageXchange service. All of your business’ requirements are setup in your gateway, like mappings, reports and more. Your software connects to your gateway, and your gateway connects to the outside world. All eInvoices you send or receive will go through your gateway.

GLN

This stands for global location number. They’re a unique number given to a location, usually a business address, to identify it. They’re heavily used in electronic data interchange (or EDI) trade. GLNs are issued by your local GS1 organisation.

Interoperability

The ability of diverse systems and companies to work together.

Mapping

Mapping refers to translating, or converting, one file format to another. For example, if your software outputs a file format that isn’t the Peppol standard, UBL, your eInvoicing service provider may be able to ‘map’ the file so it conforms.

Message level response (MLR)

Whereas a business level response (BLR) is issued once a business receives the invoice and is, or is about to process it, a message level response is often issued before it can even get to the recipient. The Peppol standard has certain requirements, and if these aren’t met, an invoice may be rejected. A message level response lets the sender of an eInvoice know if the message has been rejected because of an error within the message. One example is that the syntax is incorrect.

MessageXchange

MessageXchange is an eInvoicing service provider. Find out more at messagexchange.com

Messaging protocol

In simple terms, a messaging protocol is a way to get files, or messages, from A to B; from software to software. Think of it like transport. If you wanted to get from Sydney to Melbourne, you can fly, drive, take a bus or a train. Each have their pros and cons. Just like each messaging protocol have their benefits. Some examples of messaging protocols are sFTP, API and AS4. The messaging protocol a company chooses to use will largely depend on what their software is capable of using, how much the company would like to invest in it, what level of security they need and the features they need, for example whether they need to exchange messages in near-real time or not.

NZBN

This stands for New Zealand business number. It’s a unique number that identifies a business in New Zealand. And in the eInvoicing world, it’s a number you can send and/or receive eInvoices from/to. An NZBN is in fact the same as a GLN.

Order-to-pay

The combined end-to-end trade process from the buyer’s perspective (order, delivery, invoice and payment).

Peppol

Peppol stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line. It’s a standard of e-procurement, which we use in Australia and New Zealand to exchange eInvoices. When we say ‘standard’, it stipulates how Access Points should connect with each other, the file format invoices should be sent in and more. Having one standard makes it easier for businesses to trade with multiple organisations, because they can connect once and exchange eInvoices with anyone else in the Peppol network.

Purchase order

Document sent by a buyer to a supplier to inform them that they wish to purchase goods, services or works.

Service provider

A service provider that connects to a supplier and buyer directly. The supplier connects to the service provider which enables them to connect to multiple buyers and/or suppliers. Think of it like a phone service provider like Telstra or Optus, but this service provider is for eInvoicing.

sFTP

This stands for SSH (or secure) file transfer protocol. It’s a messaging protocol. You can think of it like a mail box; files are dropped into an sFTP folder (think of a folder on your desktop), often in batches, and they’re picked up by whoever is receiving the files. All of this is usually done automatically by having a process run periodically in the background. As you can probably tell, sFTP transfer is doesn’t support real-time messaging. But, it is one of the cheapest and easiest messaging protocols to use.

SML

This stands for service metadata lookup. Sounds complicated, I know. But think of it like a phone book of sorts. Access Points use the SML when they receive an eInvoice, to look up where it should go. The SML lists ABNs, NZBNs, GLNs that have registered for eInvoicing, as well as the Access Point provider that company uses. Have a look at the diagram on page 3 to see how it fits in.

SMP

This stands for service metadata publisher. Once an Access Point gets the information needed from the SML, it then asks the relevant SMP what documents that company can receive. If the company has registered to receive that type of document, the Access Point will send it on. Have a look at the diagram on page 3 to see how it fits in.

Syntax

Syntax refers to the rules that define the structure of the code of a message. Without going into too much detail, some of you might have seen basic code like text here. This tells the software where the element begins, the value of an element, and where that element ends. For example, on an invoice it might look like Cupcakes. Access Points will expect a message structured in a certain way, that is, using the correct syntax. In the eInvoicing world, if the syntax is incorrect, the Access Point receiving the message should send back a message level response (MLR).

UBL

This stands for universal business language. You probably won’t need to worry too much about this if you’re not in an IT role. It’s a file format. Just like you might use a JPG, PNG or GIF image file format.

XML

This stands for extensible markup language. It’s a file format. It looks like code to us, but holds all the information in a structured, machine-readable format. If you want to learn more about eInvoicing, sign up to our newsletter to get the latest information and useful resources.

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Retailers: Here’s why you should add eInvoicing to your arsenal

eInvoicing has brought about a new way to send invoices electronically. Like EDI, eInvoicing uses a network model, where each business either connects to the network themselves or uses a service provider. Unlike EDI though, eInvoicing uses a true standard file format exchanged between Access Points, or service providers. You might be thinking EDI also uses standard, and you’re somewhat right. There are standards like EDIFACT in use, but the reality is that retailers generally have their own unique business rules for suppliers to adhere to. Having one true standard to exchange brings a lot of benefits. Here’s why you, as a retailer, should consider using eInvoicing:

It’s easily accessible by your suppliers

Many accounting software packages such as Xero and MYOB offer eInvoicing solutions to their customers today. The solutions are largely integrated with their software making it simple for their customers to exchange eInvoices. Xero and MYOB account for 90% of the small business market, which means a majority of your SME customers could be able to issue you eInvoices today!

It’s low cost or even free for many of your suppliers!

Cost is a big constraint for suppliers complying with EDI requirements. The major players in the accounting software space are proving eInvoicing as part of their product or for a low add-on cost. There are also eInvoicing solutions, like Colladium, that allow suppliers to send eInvoices for free. What better way to onboard suppliers than a free web portal!

Your suppliers only need to connect to the network once to connect with many

eInvoicing through the Peppol network uses a standardised file format. Unlike EDI, it means your suppliers only need to connect to the network once, then they can exchange eInvoices with anyone else on the network. This makes compliance for your suppliers so much easier. Plus, if any of your suppliers are already using Peppol eInvoicing, they can start issuing you eInvoices today!

The network is set to grow

Right now, Peppol eInvoicing supports the exchange of electronic invoices, but that’s expected to change. The purchase order (PO) is currently being reviewed to be added as another message type and more are being looked at. Eventually we could see all supply chain messages being added to the Peppol network. Plus, the Australian and New Zealand Governments have offered incentives for their suppliers to issue eInvoices, so as more businesses get onboard, the more of your suppliers will be ready to exchange eInvoices.

Ready to add eInvoicing to your arsenal? Here’s how…

Adding eInvoicing to your arsenal only takes a few steps:
  1. Contact an eInvoicing service provider Here at MessageXchange, we offer both EDI and eInvoicing services. We’ll translate your software’s native file format messages to the Peppol UBL file. All you’ll need to do is a bit of testing.
  2. Connect to the Peppol network No need to worry, we’ll do the work for you.
  3. Go live! Start sending and receiving eInvoices!
If you’re interested in learning more about adding eInvoicing to your electronic messaging, get in touch with our team.

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