Does the Middle Market Understand how E-Invoicing Fits?

I’ve recently talked to a number of companies under $1 billion and know how much they struggle with creating a digital world for their supplier ecosystem. They don’t have leverage, they are afraid of rocking the boat, dictating to their own suppliers what to use, like the “if it aint broke don’t fix it” mentality that generally works until it doesn’t.

They know the world is getting more connected, and they certainly look to leverage it where they can. But when it comes to developing world class global business services and shared service centers, that’s a big change. Trying to figure out how e-invoicing and supplier networks fit into their overall accounts payable, procurement, purchase-to-pay (P2P), treasury and supplier and risk management equations is a big challenge.

I will be keynoting the upcoming Exchange Summit ‘s Conference “From E-Invoicing to Supply Chain Financing” on October 5 and 6 in Barcelona.

As I glanced at the agenda, there are some really exciting sessions:

  • World-class PTP and the Role of E-Invoicing
  • E-Invoicing in Public Procurement - the Opportunity and Challenges
  • How to Implement (Mandatory) BtG E-Invoicing
  • Worldwide implementation of Supplier Collaboration Platform as an P2P Process within Bosch

My hope is we can find a way to deal with the middle market, the guys that are kind of deer in the headlights and wonder how you even start a supplier network or e-invoicing project. My guess is that it will be regulatory compliance, and specifically tax, that will be the driver for these companies.

As Jason Busch says, the premise and benefits behind e-invoicing can be summed up in a few bullet points. E-invoicing can help:

  • Insure regulatory compliance (in markets that require it)
  • Improve the quality of systems (A/P, procurement, etc.) inputs at the source
  • Reduce the latency and speed up the approvals process (but not necessarily the payment process!)
  • Procurement and A/P organizations capture more information about transactions from before (e.g., item levels details)
  • Reduce the chance of dumb payment or A/P mistakes – such as duplicate payments
  • Drive internal compliance and reduce the chance of paying an invoice or a portion of an invoice that should not be paid
  • Put in place a foundation for broader purchase-to-pay, working capital management, supply chain risk, treasury and related initiatives

In reality, e-invoicing is part of a bigger question of fit - with A/P Automation, P2P, eProcurement, Trade Financing and Supplier Management.

Jason recently penned a paper, Understanding How E-Invoicing Fits, that outlines some basic discover questions that any company should consider before embarking on a program. It’s a great starter whitepaper on the subject.

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