Businesses around the world are recognising the benefits the Peppol e-invoicing network. Some of the benefits are:
- easier invoice processing
- cost savings
- faster invoice payments
- fewer errors
- exchanging invoices directly to and from software
- it’s 60–80% more efficient than paper-based processing.
If you’ve decided e-invoicing is right for you, the next step is choosing an e-invoicing Access Point. It’s important to make the right decision the first time around to avoid changing providers later on. Four main areas to consider when comparing e-invoicing Access Points are:
- technical capability
An e-invoicing Access Point’s technology plays an important part in assessing their capability. Some of the things to ask are:
- Does your e-invoicing Access Point have an integration with your ERP or accounting software?
If they already have an integration with your software, the e-invoicing setup time is usually much quicker.
- Can your Access Point translate files to the Peppol standard?
This is important if your software doesn’t export files in the Peppol standard. If you’re not sure about your software’s file format, ask your software provider.
- Can your Access Point send more than just invoices?
Future-proof your investment by checking that your Access Point has other Peppol messages on their product roadmap. Automate the exchange of other supply chain documents such as purchase orders, advanced shipping notices and remittance advices once they’ve been added to the Peppol standard.
- Can your Access Point provide other services?
Some providers also offer Single Touch Payroll, SuperStream and electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions so you can bundle your services with the one provider. Some can even automate invoice reconciliation through an integration to your bank. Ask them what other services they offer.
- Does your Access Point provider offer tools to onboard your customers and suppliers?
E-invoicing is only beneficial if your customers and suppliers can exchange invoices with you. Here at MessageXchange, we offer a free service for you to onboard your customers and suppliers. It’s free for them to join and exchange invoices. Your Access Point may also have a service for you to test your messages before going live so you can make sure your message is compliant before you start sending e-invoices.
- How does your Access Point make changes to their software and infrastructure?
Find out their security and infrastructure procedures to make sure your business won’t be impacted when they perform security patches and releases.
Experience is important when comparing Access Point providers. Your Access Point will be your first point of call for information, so ask them how they keep on top of e-invoicing news and developments.
Beyond experience in e-invoicing, it’s beneficial for your Access Point to have experience in related areas, such as electronic data interchange (EDI) for example. Providers with similar integration experience can provide insights and different approaches for your business to achieve its supply chain goals. They might have case studies you can look at.
Ideal providers will have worked with businesses in your industry and location so they can provide you with insights and help along the way. If your Access Point has staff familiar with the countries you operate in, they’ll also be able to help you comply with the local requirements.
Find out how your Access Point charges. Take the time to understand their model. Do they charge per message? On data consumed? The number or kilocharacters? Are their plans capped or uncapped? And look at their charging model for ongoing support. Be clear about what’s chargeable and what’s not. This will ensure you’re both on the same page and will reduce likelihood of conflict in the future.
As well as the cost to you, ask your Access Point to provide you with a guide to work out the expected cost savings from e-invoicing. You can use this to set your expectations and to review the project once it’s been up and running for a while.
Finally, look at the support they offer. Does their support model work for you? Support is crucial when implementing e-invoicing so make sure you‘re fully aware of what is included. Having support in the country you operate in makes your e-invoicing implementation much easier. Ask provider how quickly they respond to enquiries from customers.
MessageXchange is the first Peppol-certified e-invoicing Access Point provider in Australia.