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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