It’s no secret that invoice processing is one of the least favourite tasks for any business. It’ll therefore come as no surprise that removing time-consuming, manual data entry from invoice processing was identified as a priority for procurement professionals.
Despite finding that this was, in fact, the number one concern for the 200 procurement professionals we surveyed we also found that the eInvoicing module (software designed to reduce admin-heavy processes for handling invoices) was revealed to have the lowest adoption rate of the entire eProcurement suite.
Only 53% of our survey respondents were currently using eInvoicing to aid financial processes as part of an eProcurement suite. Comparatively, 57% had already adopted tools for purchase-to-pay (P2P), 60% contract management and 68% eSourcing. Our research also revealed that the benefits realised after implementing eInvoicing go beyond speed and cost reductions. While the core functionality of eInvoicing enables accurate, efficient processing, and timely payment of invoices, it also delivers benefits to the wider business.
In fact, 89% of our respondents claimed that eInvoicing delivers operationally through improved staff productivity; 36% believe that it delivers strategically through spend visibility; while 35% said that it delivers tactically, allowing businesses to use it as tool for scrutinising spend in various categories.
The ability to easily reconcile supplier invoices and purchase orders was recognised as the best function of eInvoicing by 79% of our respondents. The software enables automatic invoice matching, saving the accounts payable team a lot of time and helping invoices to be reconciled more quickly.
Payment accuracy was revealed to be the second most sought after benefit, with 56% demonstrating concerns over price mismatches before and after sale. eInvoicing solves these issues with intelligent data capture at each stage of the purchasing process to ensure accurate invoices are produced, even in complex scenarios.
Over half of our respondents agreed that payment compliance is a crucial part of eInvoicing, to ensure supplier payment terms are met, as well as industry codes of practice such as the Prompt Payment Code (PPC).
Many of our survey respondents were still in the process of rolling-out eInvoicing into their organisations. With as few as 2% of the whole study sample reporting a lack of progress with this module, one can assume a positive outlook. However, there is work to be done, as only 43% of the respondents claimed to be realising the full potential of this technology.
If you’re thinking about adopting eInvoicing, our survey respondents recommend these tips for a successful implementation strategy:
It’s always best practice to run a pilot project to demonstrate the benefits the technology offers and earn buy-in form the wider organisation. Testing the software with one part of the business, one specific invoice format or a group of suppliers will enable you to learn from the test phase before it is rolled out across the organisation. This allows troubleshooting on a smaller scale to fix any implementation issues without compromising on operational tasks.
A move to digital invoicing intrinsically involves your suppliers too. Work with the people you buy from to make sure they understand how it will benefit them. Some may already be familiar with the technology, others may not, so, ascertain which suppliers may need more help with the onboarding process.
As with the implementation of any new system or way of doing things, user training is crucial. Improved efficiency of both time and money yielded for businesses through adoption of an eInvoicing module can only be accessed if the full functionality of the software is used throughout the business. User training is the most effective way for users to appreciate the benefits of using the software.
Sell the benefits
It’s important to map out all the reasons for adopting the new software so that everyone understands what it’s expected to achieve. This will also provide the groundwork to measure the success of the implementation when it goes live.
Gain senior team buy-in
Involve the senior management team in your plans. Their support for the implementation will help the rest of the business embrace the technology and help spread the word that it’s a worthwhile investment for the entire business. The strategic benefits offered by eProcurement processes will be of interest to the senior team as they will welcome any reduction in spend or time saving efficiencies that the software will help generate.
Despite sluggishness in its adoption rate, eInvoicing offers more than a convenient way of effectively managing business invoices – its benefits can be seen throughout the company as well as externally.
Our research clearly shows that eInvoicing is in demand to help make time saving efficiencies for accounts payable. Doing the groundwork is key to a successful implementation and means that your business will reap the benefits this technology offers quickly.