Too Many Supplier Portals Causing Companies Headaches?


Richard Manson director of cloudtrade wrote an interesting piece the other week about suppliers being overlooked around einvoicing. The point of the piece was that when a company has to deal with a myriad of supplier portals from their buying customers, it can be an IT nightmare.

When one customer requires them to invoice them using Ariba, another Basware and still another Tungsten, it could make their life difficult.   Is this a serious problem as Richard states? Certainly his point that more global procure to pay enterprises are adopting einvoicing is true.

And of course if you are big enough, most likely you are already using some electronic format to exchange information with your buyers such as EDI.

If you are one of the 18,000 companies in the $100M to $1bn range in the States, and sell to the Global 2000, you may face this challenge. Can your IT resources handle the interface requirements in-house? Richard claims that building a bespoke solution is unlikely to be cost effective and I guess he would know, saying that producing invoices in a number of different formats and sending via a number of different e-invoice networks requires an ongoing budget. Another option is to use a bill consolidator service from the likes of Richard’s company cloudtrade or BillTrust, which offers three modules for invoice presentment, payment and cash application of the payment.

So this really seems to be a potential issue for the small to medium size guys, and mostly small guys selling indirect services to large enterprises.

Certainly the best option for you is if your buyers make the smallest change possible for you to send them an invoice, and that is using PDFs. PDF arrangements address quite a few issues around supplier adoption because it is very straight forward. Of course the Buyer will still need compliance and processes, etc so they don’t have errors in their ERP but that is another story.

I do think there is a bigger issue that large enterprises are overlooking, and that is the platforms they require their suppliers to use to get early pay, whether it be for supply chain finance, pcards, or dynamic discounting, but that too is another story.

It would be good to hear from companies that find they are having to adopt many e-invoicng platforms. Is this really disrupting your receivables processes, to the point onboarding is becoming a real headache?

I will be delivering the keynote address at the Exchange Summit on October 5 in Barcelona. With 300+ E-Invoicing experts and practitioners from all over the world, the Exchange Summit will be a great venue to discuss this and other topics.

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