Going paperless: reaping the benefits of electronic invoicing

Every year, millions of invoices are exchanged between buyers and suppliers in the supply chain. However, most of these invoices are either in paper or e-mail format – creating inefficiencies for the buyer’s accounts payable and the supplier’s accounts receivable.

“Considerable cost savings can be realised by migrating to an electronic invoicing framework,” Sara Pike, Supplier Engagement Manager, Ariba, an SAP Company, tells SmartProcurement.

Electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) is the electronic delivery of invoices and related information by a company to its customers. Procurement organisations are adopting and implementing this functionality in order to improve their payment performance and mitigate invoice discrepancies, labour-intensive manual processing, and much more, see sidebar image.

Electronic invoicing is already in use by some of the largest companies in the world and is beneficial to many departments and industries, including:

  • Finance and Accounts Payable – time and cost savings owing to touchless processing and efficient supplier collaboration.
  • Projects – Multiple line items can be invoiced as phases of a project are completed or delivered. Easy to use and efficient, there is no need to wait for the project to be fully completed to receive payment.
  • Construction – With stock control maximised, companies can easily determine stock levels at any point in time – allowing them to optimise delivery times and reduce lead times.

With e-invoicing, suppliers now have the opportunity and means to know when and how much they will be paid as the information is readily available and right at their fingertips.

Case Study

Following is case study to illustrate this point.

Probe CAMS serves the heavy duty automotive, mining, and construction equipment industry through a national dealer network with a variety of services.   Prior to opting for e-invoicing, many business processes for Probe CAMS were manual or via email due to lack of automation. Emailing documents was unreliable, and lacked data and accuracy.  They were unable to consolidate, manage, or control business processes and required an improved audit trail that would allow them to track the full order history—from order through to payment.

The company deployed electronic invoicing in 2011 and tapped into the network and the cloud-based invoicing solutions delivered, which provided Probe CAMS with new software that was fully operational within hours of system go-live.

The results were better management and more automated processes; a reduction in time to complete tasks; more efficient forecasting; cost savings; improved traceability of orders; and the elimination of work and data duplication and data inconsistencies.

“We previously had a huge backlog of a significant amount of invoices where no action was taking place, which has now been cleared thanks to electronic invoicing.  All our outstanding issues have been addressed,” stated Nicolas Glossoti, Managing Director – Debtors, Probe CAMS Systems.

Probe CAMS joins a growing number of buying and selling organisations in the southern hemisphere that are leveraging Ariba’s solutions to improve their performance and profits.  Electronic invoicing is revolutionising the way service providers deal with their customers.

Contact spike@ariba.com today to learn more about how your organisation can leverage e-invoicing to overcome your business challenges and to achieve significant benefits.

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