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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The reasons for not being left behind in eInvoicing

eInvoicing is taking off. Businesses are realising the benefits and starting to reap the rewards. Here are some reasons to get ready sooner rather than later and not risk getting left behind.

Start seeing the benefits now

If you’re a supplier to a government agency that’s eInvoicing enabled, and have a contract less than $1 million, you have the benefit of getting paid in 5 days. Government suppliers are already enabling eInvoicing to help their cash flow through faster payment. So how much do you stand to save from implementing eInvoicing now? Sources show a paper invoice or PDF invoice costs around $30.87 and $27.67 respectively to process, and an eInvoice costs only $9.18. Say you send or receive 10 eInvoices a week, that’s a weekly saving of $184 to $217.

Be in a position to say yes to eInvoicing customers straight away

If you’re asked to issue eInvoices, you can do so straight away. You won’t need to spend time finding a solution. If you’re a supplier to a government agency, that’s eInvoicing enabled, and have a contract less than $1 million, you also have the benefit of getting paid in 5 days. Government suppliers are already enabling eInvoicing to help their cash flow through faster payment.

Get enabled before the rush

With an eInvoicing mandate set for all federal government agencies, and possibly other groups soon after, a lot of organisations will be looking to sign up. This will inevitably lead to a rush in demand and possible delays in implementation. This will also lead to suppliers getting involved in the rush. Now is a good time to get enabled if you happen to be a supplier to a government agency or a supplier to an agency.

Being prepared for the possible mandate

You might have heard about a potential eInvoicing mandate for businesses in Australia. The mandate is currently being reviewed by business leaders and industry experts. However, it’s likely to happen in some form, so getting in early will help you avoid any delays and reap the benefits sooner.

How do you get started?

eInvoicing doesn’t need to be complicated:
  1. Find out if your existing software is eInvoicing-capable
  2. If not, talk to an eInvoicing service provider like MessageXchange
    • Fill in a form with your business details and work out which products works best for you
    • Get connected to MessageXchange
    • Start exchanging eInvoices
And don’t forget, eInvoicing helps businesses:
  • 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 eInvoice.
  • Easier invoice processing Removes the need for unnecessary data entry – the invoice just appears in your software.
  • Fewer errors Because much of the data entry is removed.
  • Exchange of invoices directly to and from software To reduce the risk of invoices going astray, reduce the time to receive them and reducing data entry errors.
  • Secure Security measures, like encryption at rest and in transit, are implemented throughout the eInvoicing network so your data remains secure along the way.
If you want to learn more about implementing eInvoicing in your business, get in touch with our team.

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eInvoicing FAQs

1. What integration options do you offer?

We can integrate with any ERP system but some of the common ones we offer integration with are MYOB AccountRight/New Essentials, TechnologyOne CiAnywhere, Basware, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle (on premise and cloud), SAP (on premise and cloud), NetSuite and Intuit Quickbooks. We’re continuing to add more cloud software to our eInvoicing products, so keep checking back!

2. What is your pricing?

eInvoicing Connect: eInvoicing Connect is our simplest product for you to get up and running with eInvoicing quickly, easily and with minimal investment. Here’s how it’s charged:
  • Annual subscription to MessageXchange's eInvoicing Access Point: $50
  • Credits: $50 for 1,000 credits
    • Credits are charged at $50 for 1,000 credits. 1 credit is 10kb, or part thereof, of data.
    • For more information on how billing works, click here.
*Support charges may apply eInvoicing Gateway: Our eInvoicing Gateways give you full flexibility on how you implement eInvoicing. You can choose your connection protocol (sFTP, AS2, API or something else) and we can map your software’s native file format (like XML or CSV) to the Peppol UBL. Our pricing depends on your requirements – if we need to do any mapping, and customisations and the volume of eInvoices you exchange. Fill out the request a quote form on our website so we can send you some more accurate pricing.

3. Can I send/receive eInvoices with attachments?

Yes, the Peppol standard supports attachments in eInvoices and our solution supports this too. Attachments can be in formats such as PDF, CSV and xlxs.

4. How long does it take to implement eInvoicing?

The implementation time varies with every solution. For eInvoicing Connect, implementation takes about 1 day in total, which also includes testing. For eInvoicing Gateways, the implementation time varies depending on your requirements and complexities.

5. What is the biggest challenge when it comes to eInvoicing?

On-boarding suppliers can be a challenge. Because eInvoicing is still in its early stages, there can be a lack of awareness of it, as well as reluctance to get onboard. We offer free- and low-cost-solutions to help get suppliers on-boarded. Colladium, a business network for collaboration and trade, allows companies to register for eInvoicing within minutes. It's free to use and is accessible from a web browser for companies to send and receive Peppol-compliant eInvoices. We also offer low-cost eInvoicing integrations to MYOB and TechnologyOne through our eInvoicing Connect product, with plans to this available to other software users in the future.

6. How can I see if my trading partners can send/receive eInvoices?

Anyone can search the Peppol directory to find out if a business can receive eInvoices. We also offer integrated solutions to our customers to easily check if their trading partners are eInvoicing enabled. Have a chat with us to find out more. And if you try to send an eInvoice to someone who can’t receive it, we’ll let you know!

7. I need a purchase order number/bank details/something else to process an invoice in my software. How do I make sure I receive this on eInvoices?

For customers who subscribe to an eInvoicing Gateway, we can configure your own business rules in your Gateway to check that incoming invoices have certain data present, like an order number or bank details. If we find that the eInvoicing doesn’t have these details, we can automatically send a response message (business level response or BLR) back to the sender to let them know that the invoice has been accepted or rejected and notify them of what action they need to take, if any. Have a chat with our team to find out more. Talk to our team about getting started with eInvoicing.

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Five reasons you should start issuing eInvoices to your government customers

The Australian economy is starting to repair itself after the economic challenges faced from the pandemic. Even before the pandemic hit, the Commonwealth government identified eInvoicing as a key driver to improve the economy and in the latest budget, committed $15.3m to accelerate the adoption of eInvoicing. All federal government agencies will need to have the ability to receive eInvoices by July 1, 2022. State and local government agencies, as well as the business community are also encouraged to follow suit in adopting eInvoicing.While we can see notable benefits for the government, the benefits of eInvoicing for suppliers to government shouldn’t be overlooked.

Here are five reasons you should start issuing eInvoices to your government customers:

Save money

Peppol eInvoicing is completely paperless and suppliers who adopt eInvoicing can reduce processing costs by over one third. The ATO estimates the cost to process a PDF invoice to be $27 and the cost of processing an eInvoice to be less than $10. eInvoicing provides increased accuracy, so suppliers will save costs from reduced errors and requests for re-issues and customer service calls. Your employees can use this time on other important tasks.

Get paid faster

The Commonwealth government has announced a five day payment policy for suppliers who issue peppol eInvoices and have contracts valued under $1m. Government agencies will pay their suppliers within five days or pay interests on late payments.

Fewer Rejected Invoices

An eInvoice is transmitted electronically from the supplier’s software to the buyer’s software, eliminating manual processes and a lot of errors. As a result of the reduced errors, the risk of invoices getting rejected is lowered.

Improve productivity

eInvoicing is almost instant, so suppliers can be confident their customers will receive eInvoices straight away. Suppliers can be kept up-to-date on the status of the invoices through the eInvoice response message to see if their customer has received the eInvoice, whether it’s been approved and submitted for payment, reducing the need for follow up calls and emails. eInvoicing also reduces the number of disputes lodged as a result of its increased accuracy.

Eco- friendly

eInvoicing is environmentally friendly as there is practically no use of paper and energy used in production and transportation of paper invoices is reduced. You also do not have to worry about the physical space used to store the paper invoices or worry about losing them! If you’re a government supplier and are interested in learning more about eInvoicing and it’s benefits for you, request a call from our eInvoicing experts below.

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Reason for State Government agencies to implement eInvoicing

eInvoicing is growing globally with governments all around the world recognizing its benefits and financial incentives. The rising popularity of eInvoicing can be seen in countries like UK, India, Singapore and US. The National Informatics Center reports that in India, more than 49 million eInvoices were exchanged in October 2020 and in the USA, the eInvoicing market is expected to grow by US$ 15.49 billion between 2021 and 2025. Governments are implementing electronic invoicing as a way to digitise trade activities. Australia also boosted electronic invoicing by announcing mandatory adoption for all federal agencies by July 2022. As a part of the digital business plan, the Commonwealth government is promoting digital transformation to create new opportunities and drive productivity on a national level. The 2021 Federal budget commits $15.3m to accelerate adoption of Peppol eInvoicing in Australia. Many state agencies still rely on traditional invoicing processes, which result in barriers to business activities, errors and inefficiency. But with the growing movement around eInvoicing in Australia, state government agencies should start to prepare now for eInvoicing, rather than wait until it’s mandated.

Why should state governments consider adopting Peppol eInvoicing?

Piggy back off the work the Federal Government is doing

The Federal government has mandated adoption of eInvoicing among its agencies by the 1st of July 2022. Piggy back off the hard work they’re doing to get their suppliers on board while eInvoicing is hot. Once the suppliers to federal government get on board, you can capitalise by onboarding those same suppliers to eInvoicing. Invoicing software providers are also getting on board now, getting ready for their supplier to issue invoices to Government agencies. The eInvoicing conversations are happening now, so now is the time to strike.

Save time and costs when processing invoices- helping on the road to post-Covid recovery

Processing paper-based invoices has some disadvantages- its costs more, needs more infrastructure and there are high chances of errors. A paper based or a PDF invoice can cost up to $30 because of the amount of time used to manually process them whereas processing an eInvoice costs less than $10. State governments can save costs immediately by adopting eInvoicing. It can significantly reduce manual processes and help to reduce costs.

Increase security

Paper based or PDF invoices bears the risk of being compromised because they’re either handled manually or is sent via email. An eInvoice is electronically sent from the supplier to the buyer which reduces this risk. Additionally, cyber-attacks are increasing and risks will only grow in the near future. eInvoicing is an effective way to secure your agency’s financial information and also reduce the risk of security breaches. Yes, it’s still digital, but there are strict measures in place, like encryption in transit and at rest, and ATO-certified processes that service providers need to meet. eInvoicing enhances security and reduces the risk of duplicate and fraudulent invoices which costs the state governments millions of dollars every year.

Streamline internal processes

Administrative processes within agencies take significant amount of employee time and effort. eInvoicing helps in automating these processes which results in improved administrative efficiency and cost savings for the government. It also ensures that suppliers get paid faster and makes the process of invoice management transparent. eInvoicing across all levels of government can help agencies to work more efficiently, save costs and maintain service to drive economic growth. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has already mandated eInvoicing for all federal agencies. Now is the right time for state government agencies to transition to eInvoicing rather than scrambling to adopt it when the requirement is extended. If you’re interested in learning more about eInvoicing, request a call from our eInvoicing experts below.

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Three reasons to act now for eInvoicing

eInvoicing is growing in popularity around the world but particularly in Australia and New Zealand. Now is the time to get started with eInvoicing. Not just because of the benefits eInvoicing brings, but also because of the financial incentives. Many businesses are also looking to improve their reporting and analytics through the use of eInvoicing. So, here are three reasons to act now for eInvoicing.

Faster payments

We’ve seen organisations promote discounts or faster payments for eInvoices. A prime example is the Australian federal government announcing 5 day payments to suppliers who send eInvoices for contracts less than $1 million. For businesses with poor cash flow, particularly small businesses, this can make a huge difference. And even if you’re not able to secure guaranteed discounts or shorter payment terms, the average eInvoice is processed in 5 days (compared with 23 days for a regular invoice).

Real-time insights

Another reason to jump on eInvoicing is that it makes it really easy to get financial data for more accurate decision making. eInvoicing significantly improves the accuracy of your data because of the automation and reduced manual inputting. With eInvoicing, you can generate reports and analytics in an instant. eInvoicing can capture data such as:
  • the number of invoices sent and received
  • the value of invoices sent and received
  • the number of invoices rejected and accepted.
It allows you to monitor everything from the convenience of one platform. And because it’s digital, you can access your financial data from anywhere with internet.

Efficiencies to your business

The benefits eInvoicing brings to both buyers and sellers is also a reason to act now and implement. These include:
  • 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 eInvoice.
  • Easier invoice processing Removes the need for unnecessary data entry - the invoice just appears in your software.
  • Fewer errors Because much of the data entry is removed.
  • Exchange of invoices directly to and from software To reduce the risk of invoices going astray, reduce the time to receive them and reducing data entry errors.
  • Secure Security measures, like encryption at rest and in transit, are implemented throughout the eInvoicing network so your data remains secure along the way.
If you’re interested in learning more about getting your teams ready for eInvoicing, request a call from our eInvoicing experts below.

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Getting your IT department ready for eInvoicing

Preparation is key when implementing eInvoicing, especially with your internal teams. Your IT team will be a particularly important cog in your journey. Here’s how we suggest getting your IT team ready for eInvoicing.

Introduce them to eInvoicing

eInvoicing is a pretty new thing, so not everyone is going to know about it. It can helpful to go over the basics including:
  • what eInvoicing is
  • how it works
  • an introduction to Peppol
  • an introduction into Access Points.

Let them know how it will impact them

It’s a good idea to review the changes your IT team will need to make before you implement eInvoicing. These could include asking your team:
  • what eInvoicing is
  • will new hardware or software need to be purchased?
  • will additional resources be needed to implement eInvoicing?
  • does your eInvoicing service provider or Access Point adhere to your security policy?
They’ll also be able to tell you if your software is eInvoicing enabled, allowing you to start sending and receiving eInvoices. If it isn’t eInvoicing enabled, your IT team will need to work with an Access Point. Your IT team should be able to answer questions from you Access Point, including:
  • Can your software produce the Peppol file (this is the file type that’s used through the eInvoicing network)?
  • Is your software cloud based or on-premise?
  • What connection protocol can your software work with? E.g. API, sFTP, AS2, etc.

Create progress meetings

Keeping track of progress is important in any project. A good way to go is to organise meetings with your internal departments, including your IT team, to set actions and monitor progress. Having these meetings in place will ensure deadlines are met and your project doesn’t go over deadline.

Start testing

This stage of eInvoicing is critical as it determines whether everything is working correctly. Your IT team will need to work with your Access Point in order to ensure the connection between them and your software is working. This normally involves sending a file and ensuring it is correctly received, and receiving a file to make sure it’s processed correctly on your end.

Create a process for issues

If any issues arise, you need to have a process in place to deal with them. It’s important to plan ahead to make it clear what each of your internal teams, including IT, need to deal with. There are a few scenarios that IT may need to assist with when using eInvoicing, including:
  • if a supplier says they’ve sent an invoice but you can’t see it in your software
  • if your team are contacted by a supplier who’s received a notification to say their invoice has been rejected.
Having a clear plan for these types of issues is important to reduce delay of payment for your partners. If you’re interested in learning more about getting your teams ready for eInvoicing, request a call from our eInvoicing experts below.

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The benefits of eInvoicing for Government: An infographic

eInvoicing is gaining popularity especially with government. The Australian government has even mandated the use of eInvoices for government agencies by July 2022. This is how many invoices are sent annually in Australia and New Zealand:With that amount of invoices, you can imagine the savings to the economy that could be made by switching. Here are other benefits that government agencies can expect by moving to eInvoicing:

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Tips for successful onboarding of your partners to eInvoicing

eInvoicing is gaining popularity as more organisations look to benefits from its efficiencies. einvoicing enables organisations to send and receive invoices electronically, directly to and from their software. It removes the need for unnecessary data entry and inaccurate OCR scanning. To get the most out of eInvoicing, one of the most important things is successfully onboarding your customers and/or suppliers.

Why is onboarding so important?

It maximises your ROI

Every invoice you can process through eInvoicing increases your ROI. Generally, your setup cost is fixed, so get the most out of it through onboarding as many customers or suppliers as possible. Having all of your partners trading through the same method also reduces your costs because you don’t have to maintain several processes.

You use one process with all your suppliers

Businesses that don’t onboard all their partners have different processes for each. This makes invoicing for your teams more complicated and time consuming. If you still receive email and PDF invoices your accounts payable team still need to manually input the figures into your system.

The process of onboarding

There are a few steps in the process of onboarding partners to eInvoicing. It’s important to prepare for each one.

Segmenting

This stage assesses the ability of your partners to implement eInvoicing. Segment your partners into different levels of capability such as:
  • Those already using eInvoicing They’re ready to start sending you eInvoices and you send them eInvoices.
  • Those with the capability to start using eInvoicing Mainly those with ERP or accounting software and just need to enable eInvoicing.
  • Those currently not using software and physically receiving and sending invoices They could be using paper or sending documents via email.
These segments will require tailored communications and onboarding methods.

Communications

When onboarding your partners, it’s important to have a plan for communicating your transition to eInvoicing. This provides clarity and direction for the project. First things first, let your partners know you’re transitioning to eInvoicing. Communicating any type of change internally or externally is always daunting, but it’s important. At some stage, you may want to include requirements and message implementation guide (MIG) documents if you have them. MIGs are guides that detail what data in what format will be required to be exchanged. When onboarding your partners, it’s important to have a plan for communicating with them. It’s more than just announcing that you’re moving to eInvoicing. The main things you want to do when communicating with them is:
  1. Bring them along on the journey You may want to communicate with your suppliers giving them updates on the progress of your onboarding.
  2. Get their buy in Talk about why you’re transitioning to eInvoicing but also mention the benefits for your partners to use eInvoicing.
  3. Give them the info they need and make it as easy as possible At some stage, you may want to include requirements and message implementation guide (MIG) documents if you have them. MIGs are guides that detail what data in what format will be required to be exchanged.
If you’re interested in learning more about the process and best plan for onboarding, read our whitepaper, A guide to successfully onboarding trading partners to eInvoicing.

Certification and testing

The Peppol eInvoicing framework has certain fields that can be used within eInvoices. If you require certain fields on your invoices outside of these you’ll need to test your partners messages to ensure they include these fields. Once you’ve decided on these additional fields make sure to document it in a MIG or elsewhere. You will then need to ensure the eInvoices that your suppliers will send to you include these fields and are Peppol-compliant. MessageXchange provides customers with message compliance testing (MCT) service that is customised to each business’ needs. Your supplier will upload their Peppol eInvoice file to a portal, which will check its syntax, business rules and more against your requirements. It’s a simple interface for suppliers to test their messages and ensure it meets your requirements before they start to send you production-ready invoices. It also saves you from manually testing with your suppliers, which can require constant back and forth.

Managing a hybrid process while you onboard

It’s normal and expected that businesses maintain multiple invoicing processes while they’re onboarding suppliers. After all, not every business is in the same level of readiness when it comes to eInvoicing. Some may be more advanced than others. Some may be reluctant to change. For this reason, you’ll need to have different processes for different businesses. Initially you will need to continue operating in the same way with some businesses as you transition others to eInvoicing.

Tips for success

There are a few things to keep in mind to make the process go smoother.

Stage your onboarding process

It might be a good idea to start with the partners you know are ready and get them onboarded first. Then you can focus on other partners that might be less capable. Start with a small number at a time to make it more manageable, and to give you an opportunity to learn what to do, or not to do.

Remind partners of the benefits for them

It’s one thing to communicate your reasons for jumping on eInvoicing but it’s a good idea to make it clear how it’ll benefit your partners too. Reinforce these benefits in your communications throughout each stage. This will help them transition and comply with your process.

Give them options for compliance

We touched on your partners’ ability earlier on. It can be helpful to suggest options for compliance. You might think suggest a web portal to issue eInvoices for those who use their existing invoicing software. This can make it cheaper and easier for them to comply. We provide a free portal, Colladium, for these types of businesses to issue and receive eInvoices.

Seek help

If you’re stuck at any point in the process or need help always look for help. Your eInvoicing Access Point, or provider, can be a good starting point. They’ve likely seen the issue before, or know someone who has. If you’re interested in implementing eInvoicing for your business, request a call back below.

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OCR vs eInvoicing

Some of the challenges that finance teams, particularly accounts payable teams, can often face include:
  • too many manual processes
  • data entry errors
  • high costs from labour, printing and archiving
  • paying fraudulent or misleading invoices.
Two of the most common approaches to overcoming these issues are optical character recognition (OCR) readers and eInvoicing. So what should you choose?

What is OCR?

OCR is a technology that distinguishes printed or handwritten text characters of physical documents, such as a PDF document. The basic process of OCR involves examining the text of a document and translating the characters into code that can be used for data processing. OCR can be hardware using a physical scanner or software which takes advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for character recognition.

How does it work?

Generally accounts teams upload the PDF or scanned document to their OCR software where the invoice is read, captured and input into their accounting software.

Pros and cons of OCR

From afar, it can seem that OCR reduces the amount of effort it takes to process and invoice, makes for faster processing and depending on the volume of invoices, can reduce costs. But because it’s not true data exchange because it scans an unstructured document and tries to interpret it, it can produce mistakes. Some consider 70% OCR accuracy as ‘good’. Identifying and fixing up these mistakes can be time-consuming and costly. Some of the other cons are:
  • a limited range of document types can be read
  • it isn’t always accurate, so further checks and balances need to be in place (often manual)
  • technology experts may need to be hired to look after your technology
  • upfront costs can be high.

What is eInvoicing?

eInvoicing enables organisations to send and receive invoices electronically, directly to and from their software. No need to scan an invoice before uploading it into your software like you do with OCR scanners.

How does it work?

eInvoicing in Australia and New Zealand is provided through a network of interoperable Access Points, like MessageXchange, that exchange your eInvoices using the Peppol standard that has been adopted around the world. You can think of it like a telephone network.

Pros and cons of eInvoicing

eInvoicing has a few key benefits:
  • cost savings from data entry, printing and archiving
  • easier invoice processing
  • faster invoice payments
  • fewer errors
  • exchanging invoices directly to and from software
  • Enhanced security.

Next steps

There are a few things you should think about when looking at eInvoicing:

Getting your business ready

To prepare your business, think about these things:
  • Define your objectives
  • Look at your business processes
  • Get the relevant teams involved
If you want to learn more about preparing for eInvoicing, check out our whitepaper, . At MessageXchange, we try to make things easier to get started with eInvoicing:[vc_column_inner width="1/3"]

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The state of eInvoicing in AUS and NZ

eInvoicing has taken off in countries around the world. Here in Australia and New Zealand, eInvoicing is still in its infancy, but steadily gaining momentum.

What is eInvoicing?

eInvoicing enables organisations to send and receive invoices electronically, directly to and from their software. It removes the need for unnecessary data entry and inaccurate OCR scanning. eInvoicing in Australia and New Zealand is provided through a network of interoperable Access Points, like MessageXchange, conforming to the Peppol standard. The standard was developed in Europe, but has been adopted around the world, including here in October 2019.

The current state of eInvoicing

The term ‘eInvoicing’ has been thrown around here in Australia for a number of years now. It really started to gain traction in 2019 when Australia and New Zealand signed a trans-Tasman eInvoicing agreement, allowing it easier for businesses both countries to exchange eInvoices. Today, the largest users of eInvoicing are government agencies. The Australian government is providing incentives for suppliers to use eInvoicing by promising suppliers with contracts less than $1 million payment within 5 days of issuing an eInvoice. In New Zealand, the government have set a target to pay 95% of all domestic invoices within 10 business days and eInvoicing is one of the key strategies to help reach it. New Zealand Inland Revenue (NZIR) was one of the first New Zealand government agencies to use eInvoicing. The focus for NZIR was to pay invoices early to help suppliers’ cash flow and to give them a seamless experience. Check out the case study here. The New South Wales state government has been a leader in eInvoicing in Australia. The Department of Customer Service (NSW DCS) recently implemented eInvoicing as part of the NSW Digital Government Strategy. The strategy’s purpose is to offer digital services that benefit customers and suppliers. Learn more about NSW DCS eInvoicing journey here. Some of the government agencies that are currently up and running with eInvoicing include:
  • The Australian Taxation Office (Australian government department)
  • The Department of Finance (Australian government department)
  • Services Australia (Australian government department)
  • The Treasury (Australian government department)
  • New South Wales Department of Customer Service (Australian state government department)
  • New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet (Australian state government department)
  • New South Wales Treasury (Australian state government department)
  • New South Wales Health (Australian state government department)
  • New Zealand Government Procurement (New Zealand government department)
  • New Zealand Inland Revenue (New Zealand government department)

What's next?

The government is currently looking for ways to increase the uptake of eInvoicing. The 2020 Budget here in Australia includes $120 million in funding to help businesses implement digital technologies. It also includes $3.6 million to make eInvoicing mandatory for all government agencies by the 1st of July 2022. If you want to get all the latest eInvoicing news, sign up for our newsletter below.

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Budget announcements and its impact on eInvoicing

The Australian government recently released its budget for 2020 and it’s clear that digital transformation is high on their agenda – it included $800 million to improve access to digital services. Some of the initiatives announced were:
  • accelerating the creation of a single national business registry
  • expanding the government’s Digital Identity Program
  • accelerating the take-up of 5G technology
  • promoting Australian finance technology overseas and
  • helping businesses adopt digital technologies.
eInvoicing is also high on their agenda. eInvoicing enables organisations to send and receive invoices electronically, directly to and from their software. It removes the need for unnecessary data entry and inaccurate OCR scanning. Some of the benefits of eInvoicing include:
  • cost savings
  • easier invoice processing
  • faster invoice payments
  • fewer errors
  • exchange of invoices directly to and from software
  • improved security.

So what eInvoicing initiatives did the Government announce?

The Government set aside $120 million to help businesses adopt digital technologies, which includes $22.2 million specifically for small businesses. Small businesses in Australia have a long way to go, with some figures showing 90% of small and medium businesses still use paper-based invoices. The Government allocated an additional $3.6 million to help Federal Government agencies implement eInvoicing, which was announced in conjunction with a government eInvoicing mandate. Larger government agencies need to adopt eInvoicing by the 1st of July 2021, followed by all other agencies by the 1st of July 2022. The Federal Government also announced they’ll be looking at ways to mandate eInvoicing for State Government departments in the near future. This is just one of the steps to a more digital economy, with reports indicating government agencies, both federal and state, are responsible for around 10% of all business-to-business invoices. Another focus announced in this year’s Budget is to improve digital skills for workers and SMEs. $2.5 million will be allocated to help businesses with digital skills training. This funding will be used to develop a Digital Skills Finder platform to help workers and SMEs find training courses to further their digital skills.

What can we expect from the measures?

The Government have made it clear from this year’s Budget that they want to boost small business capability and increase the uptake of digital technologies. Overall, there are more than a dozen initiatives already planned to support businesses to adopt digital technologies. Expect to see Federal Government agencies implement eInvoicing early to comply with the mandate dates. And if you’re a supplier to government, expect to start receiving communications about issuing eInvoices. Now’s a good time to start preparing at your end and looking for eInvoicing providers. Just get in touch to find out more.

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