E-invoicing solutions can be achieved by any business provided the following points are kept in mind.
1. Document Traffic Flow — Paperless documents must be able to flow out and flow back in seamlessly. This means the document you make and read must be read by someone else such as your customer or supplier. Having the same software and compatible equipment is important.
2. Provide Comprehensive Support — It isn’t enough to be able to move a few types of documents. E-invoicing solutions should go beyond invoices and include both debit and credit notes, purchase orders, payment instructions, and remittance advices. A comprehensive approach is an efficient approach.
3. Accounting Collaboration — The only effective solution involves complete accounting integration. This means that the software must integrate with an Accounts Payable (customer) system and an Accounts Receivable (seller) system. Fall short here and you will make more work for your business, driving up costs too.
4. Beyond Your Base — It isn’t enough for your e-invoicing solutions to work with your customers. It should be portable and usable elsewhere, a truly global scale arrangement. Your future customers are just as likely to come from other countries. They should be able to use your solution and integrate the program internally. If not, you could lose a customer.
5. Quality Control — Any invoicing solution should pass several quality tests including automatically matching invoice price with the purchase order price, verifying that the invoice amount matches the goods shipped as well as the goods received. Any breakdown here would simply gum up the works.
6. Local Requirements — Global e-invoicing solutions should also adhere to local requirements. In some countries, digital signatures are required, otherwise the contract is not effective. Data archiving is a wise way to go and should meet your internal standards as well as the requirements for each country. That storage requirement can range from six to 10 years, even beyond.
7. Translation Service — Another issue with e-invoicing solutions is translation. Although English is the international language of business, your documentation should be useful elsewhere and in native languages. Avoid misunderstandings by selecting a solution with multiple language capabilities.
One other important consideration for e-invoicing or paperless offices is environmental. Paper, of course, requires trees to be cut. That also means using associated equipment and supplies that take up energy including hanging folders, file cabinets, fax machines, scanners, copiers, and more. With documents sent electronically from point to point the only storage required is on the hard drive with backup to the cloud.
Will we ever achieve a truly paperless office? That is doubtful as some documentation requires a hard copy and the ability to file same safely and securely. But minimizing paper is a quest worth pursuing with cost and environmental benefits realized.
See Also — Invoicing Made Easy: Do it Online