E-invoicing can help businesses improve their processes and save money. But often the success is dependent on the collaboration within the business – how well you can bring everyone on the journey. One of the key departments to be involved is accounts payable.
Think about your accounts payable team’s current processes and how they’ll change
The processes of traditional invoicing and e-invoicing can be different for your accounts payable team. Traditional invoicing looks something like this:
- Receive email with PDF invoice
- Send to accounts payable team
- The invoice is downloaded, reviewed and approved
- Accounts payable inputs invoice information into relevant software programs
- Invoice is paid and archived
E-invoicing cuts out a lot of the manual processes by automating the inputting into your software. It looks a bit more like this:
- The seller sends the invoice electronically from their software. The invoice is sent, almost magically, through the Peppol network directly to the buyer’s accounts payable team’s software.
- Accounts payable match the received invoice against the PO for payment authorisation.
As you can see, your accounts payable team’s processes will change with e-invoicing – they’ll no longer have to input invoices into their software.
Planning for e-invoicing
There are a few things you can do to plan ahead for receiving e-invoices.
What’s in it for them?
Figuring out what’s in it for each team when it comes to e-invoicing, is an important step to bring them along on the journey. In this case, your accounts payable team won’t need to spend nearly as much time on entering invoices into your software. And if you’ve setup automated matching in your software, the automation could handle with mismatches like incorrect prices, or the absence of a purchase order number – something that your accounts payable team would have handled in the past. So all in all, it’ll mean less work for them, and more time they have to spend on the more important things.
You not only need to get buy-in from each team, but you also need to make sure they’re armed with all the information they’ll need. It’s worth running a session with your accounts payable team to explain to them:
- what e-invoicing is
- what’s in it for them
- what will change for them
- what’s in it for your customers and suppliers
- what the process be for your customers and suppliers
- what questions they might get from suppliers and how to answer them
- and who to contact for help.
Who will look after the supplier onboarding and communications?
If you’ve decided that your accounts payable team hold the relationship with your customers and suppliers, you might task them with the onboarding and communications. Skill the team up before the rollout to make sure they’re well equipped with the information and collateral they need, as well as making sure they’re familiar with what you’re asking of your customers and suppliers. We’ve got a handy resource you can use as a starting point, ten steps to successful community onboarding.
What if something goes wrong?
Your accounts payable team need to be ready if things go wrong or if they get curly questions and know what process to follow.
If a supplier says they’ve sent an invoice but they can’t see it in your software, should they contact your IT team or Access Point provider? If your team are contact by a supplier who’s received a notification to say their invoice has been rejected, who should your accounts payable team contact?
It’s also worth having a plan for the case that your suppliers can’t send an e-invoice because of an issue on their end. Perhaps you offer email as a last resort.
If you’re interested in learning more about getting your accounts payable ready for e-invoicing, request a call below.