Wadih founded PairSoft and PaperSave, and he currently advises non-profits on business process improvement and technology.View all posts by Wadih Pazos
Wadih Pazos • August 12, 2015
For larger enterprises, this situation might not be a big deal. However, smaller organizations with fewer monetary resources can be temporarily crippled by a late payment. These companies often need consistent cash flow in order to cover daily operating costs, and with paper invoicing, they are compromising their own abilities to prosper.
This is where e-invoicing comes in. An automated billing system can streamline the entire accounts payable process. Making payments on a virtual platform can be instant, and the organization sending the invoice can better track its transaction history.
A whitepaper written by Jason Busch, who serves as group managing director at Spend Matters, detailed the various ways in which e-invoicing can make billing and payment more organized and simplified. For example, the author noted that an invoice automation system can compile transaction-related data, offering new insights into company AP. In addition, he said that human errors can be – for the most part – eliminated with such a platform, since little manual intervention is typically required.
Two areas of AP processing that Busch highlighted as aspects that can be improved by an automated system are information entry and dispute management. Manual billing requires a person to enter payment information, but an e-invoicing system can automatically complete this task without the need for human authorization. Bush pointed out that invoice automation systems allow pre-validation of payment information to happen before the bill even reaches its recipient, which can contribute to speeding up the overall process.
Dispute management can be also streamlined by e-invoicing. Busch said that if a payment fails to be completed for any particular reason – outdated credit card information or the wrong amount being paid, for example – the system can send the invoice back to the party being billed without the need for manual intervention or approval. E-invoicing systems’ abilities to identify discrepancies and notify both the sender and the recipient of the invoice instantly can reduce time spent attempting to solve payment problems and recover cash that is owed.
Entrepreneur contributor Eyal Shinar wrote that small businesses that rely on cash flow to fund operating expenses often suffer from invoices going temporarily unpaid. He lamented that SMBs are sometimes at the mercy of clients or suppliers that are larger companies, and these organizations tend to be late with payments. Shinar cited a recent study conducted by Experian, which found that enterprises pay invoices eight days overdue, on average.
The simplest way to mitigate such a scenario, Shinar said, is to invest in accounting and invoicing software that can inform small businesses about and protect them from the possibility of late payments. E-billing can simplify the process for both the party with an outstanding invoice and the supplier. This can improve cash flow for SMBs, which can be crucial for revenue generation.
Shinar also suggested that accounting software can work in tandem with an e-invoicing platform to record and analyze transactional data, which can provide valuable insights for companies. He remarked that such a program can help tie accounts receivable and accounts payable together, consolidating the process and eliminating stress associated with billing.
Invoice automation can improve payments for both the client and the supplier, shortening the period of time between distributing an invoice and processing the return. An e-invoicing platform can lead to increases in cash flow, which can be a huge benefit for smaller companies.