10 Benefits to Your Business From Electronic Invoicing
Electronic invoicing provides great benefits both to the issuer and to the recipient. Although it may seem that recipients benefit more, the adoption of e-invoicing represents a great advance in the management of invoices from both sides. The investment in e-invoicing systems is very profitable and can be the first step to complete digitalization of a business, a fundamental move to guarantee its competitiveness.
Before discussing its benefits, a quick overview of what exactly is an electronic invoice. The e-invoice is equivalent to a paper invoice, having the same legal value. To be considered “electronic”, an invoice must:
- Be constructed in a standard electronic format: EDIFACT, FACTURAE, XML, X12, etc.
- Be transmitted electronically: it must be sent from and received by computers.
- Comply with standards of integrity and authenticity. For this reason, e-invoices are subject to different electronic signature procedures.
10 benefits of electronic invoicing
Direct cost savings
Provides a direct cost savings by eliminating the use of paper in printing, posting, and archiving invoices.
Reduced environmental impact
The use of electronic invoicing reduces environmental impact through the elimination of paper and CO2 emissions during transportation.
Automation and integration of invoice reception processes
Allows for the automation and integration of invoice reception. Originating in electronic format, the e-invoice can be automatically integrated with accounting systems, making them ready for payment without almost any human intervention.
Administration departments increase their productivity by automating invoicing processes, allowing employees to turn their attention to tasks with more added value.
Increased efficiency and elimination of human errors
Greater efficiency and the elimination of human errors are consequences of the automation and integration of invoicing. Electronic invoices are transmitted automatically between issuer and recipient. Given this option, the greatest economic benefits are not derived from savings on printed materials, but rather the complete automation and integration of the invoicing process between business partners, from purchase order to payment.
Reduction in invoice turnaround times
Electronic invoicing results in shorter invoice reception and payment times. The efficiency of invoice issuance and reception processes, their immediacy, and the virtual elimination of errors in the creation and logging of invoices, combine to reduce their turnaround times.
Electronic invoices are sent through private networks or protocols like AS2, FTPS, web services, VANs, etc. Additionally, the origin and authenticity of e-invoices are guaranteed with electronic signature systems.
Agile, secure, and legal storage mechanisms
Electronic invoices require agile, secure, and legal storage mechanisms. The original signed documents are securely stored for the period established by relevant legislation. This diminishes storage costs and allows users to consult past invoices online.
Elimination of the risk of loss
The risk of losing paper documents is eliminated thanks to secure storage and online availability of invoices.
First step to digitalization
The electronic invoice is the first step to complete digitalization of your business. E-invoicing solutions are scalable. Once the EDI (electronic data interchange) technology is implemented for the exchange of e-invoices, many other types of messages can be integrated.
Scalable EDI solutions
EDI technologies allow companies to automate the integration of standard commercial documents with their ERP or internal management system. The most exchanged documents between businesses are orders, shipping notes, and invoices. This makes EDI a fundamental tool for improving document management. Integrating these documents allows for the traceability of merchandise, a key factor in successful commercial operations.
Working with EDI technologies increases the competitiveness of companies and improves service for their clients. Often, large businesses not only work internally with electronic data interchange solutions but require that their suppliers also use EDI.
Electronic invoicing has become widespread in business operations and is increasingly required by governments through the publication of new laws, affecting both public and private commercial relations. One of the most important laws is the European Directive 2014/55, which establishes requirements for the use of electronic invoicing by suppliers to public administrations in the European Union. The objective is to promote the use of electronic invoicing in public contracting and to contribute to the development of cross-border commerce.
In the B2B sector, many countries are promoting the widespread use of electronic invoicing through legislative actions. This is especially true in Latin America, where electronic invoicing is very advanced, and is either mandatory or in development in most LatAm countries. The most noteworthy countries to point to are Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile. In Europe, the leading country on B2B e-invoicing is Italy.
Electronic invoicing solutions
EDICOM, a provider specialized in EDI services, has developed global electronic invoicing solutions that operate in multinational contexts, for any type of business.
The Global e-Invoicing Platform is a solution that guarantees that electronic invoices are generated according to the following principles:
- Connectivity with the Public Administration HUB in each country.
- Compliance: The electronic invoice will comply with the technical and legal requirements in each country.
- Adaptability: The EDICOM platform can be adapted to any system, message standard, or communications protocol required by recipients.
- Traceability: Complete traceability of invoicing processes through the integration of notification messages that inform senders of the invoice status. These messages are available only in countries where the government sends receipt confirmations.
- Evidence reports: The solution guarantees permanent access to 100% of documents hosted on the platform, as well as the management of evidence reports which prove the integrity of the documents and log acknowledgments sent by recipients.
- Permanently updated: With the Global e-Invoicing Observatory, EDICOM actively monitors new information, making updates to the solution to comply with changes made to the laws in each country.
How to implement electronic invoicing if your clients are not digitally prepared
Not all businesses have gone fully digital, but there are solutions that allow companies to implement electronic invoicing even where their clients do not use EDI technologies.
One solution EDICOM has developed for the publication of e-invoices is Business@Mail. This application allows issuers to publish electronic documents to a secure web portal which is accessed quickly, securely, and at no cost to recipients.
EDICOM also offers the Partner Web Portal, which allows users to integrate invoices sent by their suppliers that do not have EDI solutions. Those companies typically send invoices via post, email, or fax, making the automatic integration of AP invoices into recipients’ ERPs impossible. With the Partner Web Portal, suppliers use a simple web form to create and issue invoices online. This way, invoices created on the web portal can be integrated into recipients’ internal management system, resulting in an operational cost savings.
BusinessMail and the Partner Web Portal allow businesses to continue benefitting from the use of EDI technologies without a break in digital operations.
Co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union.