Mexico’s New E-Invoicing Requirements: Invoiceware’s Solution Elements

Mexico recently accelerated the implementation of its e-invoicing requirements. The compliance requirements under the Comprobante Fiscal Digital por Internet (CFDI) are complex by any electronic invoicing standard. In a multi-part series featuring an interview we recently conducted with Invoiceware’s CEO Scott Lewin and VP of Marketing/Product Strategy Steve Sprague, we’ll explore the impact of the legislation and how it came into play based on the latest announcement.

Spend Matters: What is Invoiceware's unique approach to Mexico (vs. other countries)? What are the components of the solution for Mexico?

Invoiceware: Invoiceware International provides solutions for Mexico as well as Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. Our approach is unique for the following reasons:

  • We are a regional Latin America solution – handling all the compliance countries from Mexico to Brazil, not a one country local provider
  • We solve the business process in Latin America, which means we solve the entire end-to-end process as well as both Account Receivable and Account Payable Issues (a traditional eInvoicing network doesn’t have the capability to do the customer side integration which requires deep ERP integration); this includes managing the ERP issues, manage the integration, business process,  printing, distribution, receiving, and archiving
  • We go deep into the applications, as ERP systems were not designed for this type of business process or change, especially on a localized level. As an example, consider Data Extraction on the outbound side of the invoicing equation. With Mexican XML approaches, there is only one field for a discount which can make it difficult to get info into that XML field if you have setup pricing configuration at the line item level. Or consider the challenge of selling “kits” or “bundles; in Mexico there is no field for surcharge (i.e., shipping and handling). In these cases, there is no field in the Mexico invoice but customers will want this added as an extended attribute
  • In addition, we can drive inbound receiving processes off the XML and PDF on the truck, automating the commercial approval in Latin America
  • We guarantee change management – as you saw, we were the first global company to discuss the issue (let alone have solutions to transition ready to go)
  • We keep up with the legislation. And as part of our managed service contract, we provide all software updates (including the labor to implement) as part of that annual fee. This way, in a constantly changing landscape of LATAM eInvoicing, you don’t have to worry about the changes, how to implement them, or how to pay for them
  • Multi-Lingual Enterprise Support – we focus solely on large multinationals who want enterprise support since these processes are mission critical, they can shut down your shipping on the outbound side and they can cause you to lose booked revenue because customers won’t pay invalid invoices. We provide the local capability with our local staff in the country, but can also work with the global teams (typically managing the ERP system and or shared services) in English.

Spend Matters: How do I pay for this - what is the pricing model? (Or do my suppliers pay for this?)

Invoiceware: Invoiceware is a simple one-time set-up fee and an annual fee to manage. There are no fees to an end user's customers or suppliers. On the supplier side, Latin America suppliers struggle with paying a fee to a service provider to send an electronic invoice to a buyer, as they already have to create, validate and send to pretty much all companies because the government makes them.

Spend Matters: Explain Invoiceware's compliance guarantee? Is this similar to a TrustWeaver-like certification in the EU?

Invoiceware: Our approach is much more comprehensive than an EU signing provider. A signature in Latin America is less than 10% of the entire process. The Invoiceware approach covers the entire process, not just a small piece of the puzzle. This includes the ERP issues for companies running solutions such as SAP, managing an end users’ delta configurations to the standard, all the integration, signing, validations, workflows, return messages, PDF creation, printing procedures, contingency processes when government systems are down, distribution of XML, receipt of supplier XML, driving matching, and process flow from supplier XML. Invoiceware implements, monitors and maintains the entire process flow not just a piece like a signing provider.

Finally, we support our end customer's specific needs. It's one thing to say “hand me this rigid file and I will implement it and support this one standard." But the world doesn’t operate that way. Each multinational has their own unique business configurations and end customer demands that overlay the government process and need to work seamlessly within the government requirements. Invoiceware includes those customer-specific issues in our support for our customers. If your vendor isn’t dealing with those end user specifics, then they are leaving 80% of the work to the customer. Our approach is to implement and maintain 100% of the issue, not a small percentage of the issue.

Spend Matters: I already work with another e-invoicing provider (e.g., ADP, Ariba, Basware, ReadSoft) -- are they likely to meet the compliance requirements themselves or with partners (as Invoiceware is in the process of doing with Tradeshift already)?

Invoiceware: We've been in the Latin America e-invoicing space since Brazil first went electronic in 2007. In over 270 implementations for Fortune 2000 companies, EU and US providers are not seen – instead most multi-nationals solve with a patchwork of local providers.

The drive for consolidated ERP and Shared Service really changes the view of having four providers for Latin America. Also, solving the outbound process requires deep ERP knowledge and a hybrid architecture to manage printing and contingency processes (i.e. internal backups when government systems are slow or delayed so you can always ship). And solving the inbound supplier issues in these mandated countries is completely different from the traditional EU and US issues.

The issue is process and compliance as the government has virtually eliminated supplier onboarding, supplier transition from paper to electronic, having to manage multiple format as there is a government standard, timeliness of reception as the XML must be made available and is often available after the truck leaves the supplier warehouse, and accuracy, as the supplier must ensure that what is on the invoice matches what is on the truck. Tradeshift was unique in the fact that their goals was to solve the problem and build the solution required to solve the market requirements versus just localizing their existing platform. The complexity and the consistency of change doesn’t allow you to just do a little localization and be done with the region – you have to constantly strive and implement, which takes a lot of investment.

Spend Matters would like to thank Invoiceware for their investment of time in crafting this interview series with us. While the final part of this interview was a bit more of an infomercial than we like to have, it was in part a way of thanking Invoiceware for their time invested with us in crafting this material (and we also believe there approach is one of the more unique and regionally comprehensive in the market). 

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