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Becoming a leading digital economy

The 2020-21 Federal Budget committed almost $800 million to a national Digital Business Plan. Its goal was to encourage the further uptake of technology in response to COVID-19 to help with the nation’s economic recovery.

Digitisation significantly increases productivity. This helps businesses to expand, to pay their employees higher wages, and to create new jobs, which in turn builds the economy and delivers higher standards of living. Technology increases efficiency while simultaneously reducing the costs of doing business. Organisations can re-invest these savings back into their businesses, allowing them to pursue additional revenue streams.

In September 2020, the Government launched a range of measures to accelerate the nation’s digital transformation and to bolster its goal of becoming a leading digital economy by 2030. One of them was a mandate on electronic invoicing:

  • All Commonwealth agencies would e-invoice by 1 July 2022, with over 80% by 1 July 2021

  • All Commonwealth agencies would pay e-invoices of less than $1 million in value within five business days or pay interest on them.

While it anticipates this mandate will encourage greater adoption of e-invoicing in businesses supplying to government and within their supply chains, the Government is also considering mandatory adoption of e-invoicing across all levels of government and business.   

Did you know?

E-invoicing is expected to significantly stimulate the Australian economy, generating billions of dollars of additional income in productivity and efficiency gains.

Why e-invoicing?

E-invoicing offers many benefits to buyers as well as sellers. Relative to paper and email invoices, e-invoicing is more:

 

  • Secure – E-invoices are sent from the seller to the buyer’s accounting system via approved digital service providers who need to meet strict cyber security standards. Further, all trading partners need to be approved and registered on the network. Therefore, documents are extremely secure as it’s very difficult for scammers to get onto the system.
  • Reliable – E-invoices are delivered to exactly where they need to go. In contrast, paper invoices may get lost in transit or be easily misplaced when they arrive in the organisation. Likewise, email invoices may sit in an inbox unattended. In either format, the seller has no visibility of whether the invoice has entered the workflow for approval and payment
  • Efficient – The e-invoice contains all the required information in a standardised format, which means there is less checking and validation required prior to processing. By minimising the extent that people need to get involved with invoices, approval times and costs are cut considerably. This significantly reduces the costs of doing business for the buyer and means the seller gets paid quicker.
  • Eco-friendly – Due to the increased efficiency of e-invoicing, accounts payable departments can become more streamlined. This means they have less energy and resource requirements, which further helps to reduce costs while also helping businesses to meet their environmental objectives.

What’s PEPPOL?

Pan European Public Procurement Online, or PEPPOL, is an international e-invoicing standard used across over 30 countries worldwide. Australia and New Zealand adopted PEPPOL in 2019 to make it easier for businesses across The Tasman to connect.

The standard was developed in Europe back in 2008 to facilitate cross-border commerce. Previously, companies’ ability to trade was thwarted by differing technologies, business processes, standards and legal requirements across countries and even sectors. PEPPOL facilitated trade across Europe, enabling companies to do business with a range of public sector buyers across borders. By increasing competition for contracts, governments were able to provide better goods, services and value for their taxpayers’ money.

PEPPOL has since become the international gold standard for e-procurement and e-invoicing.  The Australian Taxation Office and the New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment are the PEPPOL Authorities in their respective countries, setting requirements and managing its local roll out.

How does RapidAP work with PEPPOL?

     

PEPPOL is an inter-operability standard and communications network that allows invoice senders and receivers to exchange data between their accounting systems using Universal Business Language (UBL), regardless of their platform. 

RapidAP complements e-invoicing by making sure exceptions are managed, your approval process is adhered to, and a complete audit history for all invoice types is captured.   

It does this through providing:  

  • Flexible and configurable business rules to meet your compliance needs 
  • An integrated library to monitor, search and retrieve invoices  
  • Personalised dashboards for exception management 
  • Complete and seamless integration with your ERP 

Whether invoices arrive in your organisation by mail, email attachment or e-invoicing, RapidAP can process them, either through its built-in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) data capture technology or through UBL. Its automated workflow will log each invoice in the library and activate the exception management and approval process, before syncing with the ERP to make payment.   

 

Here’s how it works:  

 

At Efficiency Leaders, we believe e-invoicing is the future of accounts payable automation. Bypassing OCR will allow greater efficiency, achieving a higher rate of straight-through processing and quicker payment times. 

However, there will always be some exceptions, and all businesses need controls in place to manage their payables and meet their compliance requirements. RapidAP is the intelligent business rules engine that ensures your invoice approval process is correctly followed and any exceptions managed, so you pay the correct amount for the goods and services you receive. 

RapidAP enables your business to: 

  • Complete the procure to pay cycle
  • Manage exceptions and approvals
  • Enforce strong governance and compliance
  • Be future ready.

How do I get PEPPOL?

 

PEPPOL is available as an add-on module to RapidAP, so becoming set up for e-invoicing is very straightforward. Further simplifying things, you only need to connect once on PEPPOL to trade with all participants in the network.  

Here’s our process at Efficiency Leaders:  

STEP 1: We register you on the PEPPOL network to receive e-invoices 

STEP 2: We connect you to our PEPPOL access point 

STEP 3: You advise your suppliers that you are able to receive e-invoices 

STEP 4: You and your suppliers are e-invoice ready! 

Why e-invoice now?

E-invoicing reduces the risk of fraud and offers organisations many benefits, as buyers or sellers:

More efficient financial processes lead to better business outcomes for all parties!

What next?

 

At Efficiency Leaders we can help you transition to e-invoicing by helping you: 

  • Determine your business requirements
  • Adapt your business processes to manage change
  • Get your trading partners ready
  • Onboard your suppliers.

    Did you know?

    The ATO has estimated the cost of invoice processing for paper invoices to be $30.87, for PDF invoices to be $30.87, for PDF invoices to be $27.67 and for e-invoices to be $9.18.

    RapidAP has clients paying less than $2 an invoice in processing costs.

    With PEPPOL Specialist Kris Elliott & ATO
    e-Invoicing Director Mark Stockwell

    9th February 2021

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