Why We Mustn’t Stop Talking About e-Invoicing

I’ve been running sharedserviceslink for nearly 10 years now. When I started out in 2007, we talked a lot about e-invoicing. It has always been my view that e-invoicing networks future-proofs your accounts payable process. We know the benefits (the transactional cost savings, the enablement of early pay discounts, the visibility of more real-time data, stricter user compliance with the P2P process, and reduced supplier desk resource needed). However, 10 years on, when a large part of me feels I should dial down the e-invoicing talk, (because surely everyone’s educated on this now, and surely everyone’s doing it, or about to do it), I find myself compelled to keep talking about it.

The main reason is this. Despite service providers and organizations like sharedserviceslink broadcasting fervently about e-invoicing, there exist significant, and indeed concerning, swathes of the enterprise market who still don’t know the difference between EDI and e-invoicing networks, and ICR and e-invoicing networks.

Admittedly, EDI is not the hugely expensive, inaccessible tool it used to be, but it’s still a point-to- point (closed) connection, and a link can’t be repurposed for a second or third buyer requesting an EDI link. Also, ICR is a lot more sophisticated than it used to be, more easily reading emailed PDF invoices, and learning on the job rather than relying on templates.

EDI, e-invoicing and ICR all have a part to play in any AP automation strategy, as do P Cards, ERS and supplier portals. However, understanding each tool’s limitations, benefits, role and contribution is key. And realizing that e-invoicing should sit, more often than not, at the core of a strategy is fundamental to the further maturing of your P2P process.

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Susie West is the Founder and CEO at sharedserviceslink. Prior to establishing sharedserviceslink Susie sold e-invoicing technology in Europe and the US for five years. Susie started her career at a conference company where she set up a division focused on shared services events.