Invoiceware and Tradeshift Partner: E-Invoicing Goes Global

Last week, Invoiceware and Tradeshift announced a partnership agreement to cross-sell and integrate each other’s solutions in the e-invoicing market. For those that do not know Tradeshift, the provider is somewhat of the e-invoicing and supplier network industry trouble-maker. They are upsetting the status quo with a model that threatens disruption through a platform-based approach to connecting different players in the supply chain and allowing third parties to build their own applications on top of their connectivity services. Invoiceware could not be more different – it is a highly focused specialist in Latin American e-invoicing enablement that is tightly integrated with native ERP solutions to meet government compliance requirements.

If you don’t want to read the press release, here are the key points to latch onto (note, we’ve not edited out any of the rah-rah statements):

“Guaranteeing compliance, supporting domestic and cross border invoicing, and providing automated three-way match to validate documents -- TRADESHIFT and Invoiceware International deliver solutions to the problems Latin American businesses and multinationals face today.”

“The partnership allows enterprises on the TRADESHIFT platform to take advantage of the validation and compliance technology provided by Invoiceware International. With Latin America being well known for its complex and often intimidating business regulations, the deal signals another great step forward in the right direction for TRADESHIFT and their vision of connecting every business on the planet.”

“These complex, ever changing rules not only affect companies based in Latin America, but also those multinationals that seek to conduct business in these countries. The TRADESHIFT and Invoiceware International partnership provides a seamless solution by ensuring invoices exchanged with companies in these countries meet and abide by the regulations set forth.”

“There is a compulsory mandate to use e-invoices in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina with other countries following suit soon. If not compliant, the government can shut down operations, levy significant fines, and raise criminal charges against the management team. The partnership between TRADESHIFT and Invoiceware International is setting the standard for compliance in a region of the world that is strategic to every multinational.”

So there you have it. Or at least the PR spin on things. But the reality of the situation is anything but simple. For one, what Invoiceware does sitting between suppliers, buyers and the governments in Brazil and Latin America is highly complicated and not an add-on “app” to Tradeshift.

The secret sauce behind Invoiceware is the combination of local jurisdictional/country expertise around e-invoicing regulations (and its integration with government systems), its deployment templates and integration into both SAP and Oracle financial systems (among others), real-time validation and compliance of invoices (including those requiring a “round trip” to government approval authorities) and the ongoing archiving, maintenance and management of this network service.

The requirements in Latin America (e.g., Brazil NFE 2.0, Argentina Punto de Venta/ODN and Mexico Timbre Fiscal) are quite different from other countries and even from each other. Further, they place the emphasis more on supplier-integration than buyer-led integration (though both groups are party to it). It’s also compulsory in certain countries and violations, as Invoiceware points out, are subject to criminal fraud charges. There are also specific process standards that governments require, and suppliers are literarily not allowed to put goods on trucks without approval.

Ironically, getting e-invoicing compliance (locally, within the borders of Brazil, among others) with suppliers is not hard because it is the governments that are driving standardization and adoption. Yet this compliance is driven not by A/P requirements and needs (e.g., providing a single portal for suppliers to check on invoice/payment status, maintaining vendor file information, discounting, etc.) but rather the supplier sell-side compulsory requirements. It is in this environment that Invoiceware has created a model that focused on tight ERP integration to back-end systems that operates truly in real-time (in connection with government systems) based on 10-20 second turnaround times and updates for high-volume processing.

Tradeshift obviously values this unique capability and IP. In an interview yesterday, Christian Laang, TradeShift’s co-founder and CEO, told Spend Matters that the complexities of Latin America are a headache for global procurement and A/P organizations and that “customers were looking for solutions that worked globally.” Given this, “Invoiceware was the right fit for Tradeshift” for a number of reasons that both Christian and Steve Sprauge, Vice President, Marketing & Product Strategy, Invoiceware told Spend Matters during this call:

1)     The multi-country Latin America capability (TrustWeaver, strong in Europe, was not sufficient in the region)

2)     The ability to jointly handle domestic (Invoiceware) and cross border (Tradeshift) buyer/supplier connectivity for Invoiceware customers, as invoices with foreign suppliers do not fall under the same requirements as in-country invoices. In this regard, Steve sees Tradeshift’s Cloudscan “as pretty unique in the market”

3)     Invoiceware’s tight ERP integration as SAP and Oracle linkages are essential for real-time validation and regional compliance

The two companies have not fully integrated their solutions yet, but they are contractually on the hook to do so by summer, with existing customers who have signed onto the integrated solution. How will it look? Stay tuned for the next installment in this series when we look at Invoiceware’s capabilities in more detail and then talk about how process flows between the integrated solutions. On Spend Matters PRO, we will offer our summary analysis, takeaways and recommendations around the partnership in early June, along with a deeper dive on Invoiceware as well.

Voices (2)

  1. Jason Busch:

    Christiaan, I would recommend you reach out to TradeShift. If what you suggest is the case (it was reviewed by TradeShift prior to publishing) and TradeShift would like to change what has been quoted, we are more than happy to. We are not in a position to speak for TradeShift. Many thanks.

  2. christiaan van der valk:

    For the record, we at TrustWeaver are not aware of any discussion that would have taken place with TradeShift that would have allowed them to judge whether or not our capabilities are sufficient in the Latin American region. The statement in this article must therefore be an erroneous transcription of the interview.

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