Why Australian Businesses Should Use Peppol to Send eInvoices

Sending invoices is one of the most administrative and important tasks that a business can undertake, regardless of size this its something every business needs to do –  with over 1.2 billion invoices exchanged in Australia annually alone. Historically a very manual and time consuming tasks, advances in technology has helped businesses move from paper to PDF invoices.  Yet businesses are still spending lots of their time chasing up invoices for payment and stories of invoices ‘lost’ or forgotten in email workflows are too common. In this article we look at why Australian businesses should use Peppol to send eInvoices to their customers and save themselves time and money.

Invoicing: Its important to get right

It goes without saying that invoicing is one of the most important parts of a business, you’ve done all the hard work of delivering your good or service and now you need to get paid. The old saying that cash is king is never been more true – One recent study found that up to 75% of businesses had less than two months of operating expenses’ worth of cash on hand.

In spite of this, there are still many barriers that businesses are putting up that hamper their ability to get paid on time, consider that incorrect invoices cause 61% of late payments. (Share Space). Couple this with the rising issue of invoice fraud (see: Can you really protect yourself from invoice fraud? for more information)- where scammers are actively trying to intercept your invoice to your customer and steal your payment, the need for more secure and robust processes to send invoices has never been more apparent.

Peppol: A network to make eInvoicing easier

eInvoicing as a concept has been around for a long time, its usually been confused with the idea of sending an invoice in a digital format instead of in the mail. However, eInvoicing actually refers to system to system integration of invoice data from you to to your customers. So you generate an invoice in your accounts receivable system and then that data is automatically, securely and digitally sent to your customers accounts payable system. Large companies who have thousands or millions of transactions per year with their key customers have invested heavily into eInvoicing, usually spending huge amounts of money for custom integrations directly with one customers system. This has had the impact that eInvoicing has largely been an exclusive club – only for those that can afford it and only for those customers where volumes are really high.

The landscape has changed dramatically over last 18 months in the region with the adoption of Peppol by the Australian, Singaporean and New Zealand Governments. In simple terms, Peppol provides a common framework and protocol for businesses to send and receive business documents to each other. Having a common framework that all businesses can adopt means that businesses only need to set eInvoicing up in Peppol once and then they can send and receive eInvoices with anyone else in the network without any further setup required. eInvoicing is now available to businesses of all sizes.

How Peppol eInvoicing works

Peppol eInvoicing works by providing businesses with a common framework to send transaction information. Each buyer and supplier connects to a Peppol Access Point which acts as a gatekeeper for data going through the network. The access point providers ensure that the security of the network, the integrity of the data and that the invoice information is received by your customer. The diagram below outlines the process flow between buyers and supplier through Peppol.

How can you create a Peppol eInvoice?

Peppol eInvoices are created through connecting your accounts receivable/invoicing software to a Peppol Access Point Provider. Many invoicing software providers have or already building into their platforms the connection with an Access Point so in some cases there us very little for you as a business to do. Xero, for example, have already enabled their Access Point connection and users as part of their existing subscription have the option to send their invoice as an eInvoice as part of their usual invoice creation process.

You will need to ensure that your customer is able to receive eInvoices as well, we’ve worked with a number of organisations to develop customer Peppol onboarding campaigns to help raise awareness and adoption rates of Peppol eInvoicing with organisations across the region. Start with your biggest customers and then work your way down, the benefits for your customer are clear – no manual data entry of your invoice in their system.

The benefits of sending Peppol eInvoices to your customers

Its a question thats bound to come up, why use Peppol top sending eInvoices? Is it worth the time and effort? Whilst every business is different, the benefit levers that Peppol eInvoicing can deliver for businesses are measurable. Consider the following questions:

  • How much time to does your organisation spend chasing lost, missing or late payments from your customers?
  • Have you ever or are you worried about your customers falling victim to fraudulent invoice scams?
  • Are you looking for straightforward ways to add value to your customers?

Lets break each of those down:

Chasing lost, missing or late payments

Peppol eInvoicing helps here in two powerful ways:

  1. Invoices are validated by the network before they are sent, you actually won’t be able to send an invoice to your customer if there is data missing from the invoice that needs to be there. You can have confidence that the invoice being sent to your customers has the information it needs on it
  2. Invoices sent via the Peppol network are sent digitally, point to point – that means 100% of your invoices make it to your customers system so that they can process the invoice. Removes the risk that your invoice has ended up with the wrong person, been misplaced or forgotten about.

Risk of your customers falling for invoice scams

Peppol eInvoicing, by design, is safe and secure  – the traffic is encrypted end to end so there is no chance that data is going to be intercepted once the invoice is sent. Additionally, and this adds a huge amount of confidence and reduces risk for your customers, all buyers and suppliers in the network are validated to ensure they are who they say they are. This almost completely mitigates the risk of your invoices being caught up in an invoice scam with your customers.

Adding value to your customers

As mentioned earlier, the benefits for your customers to receive your invoices via Peppol are huge. This will help them reduce their cost per invoice (through time saving), effectively mitigate the risk of invoice fraud as well as give them a scalable way to work with there other suppliers as well. You can use this as an opportunity to provide extra value for your customer base whilst also seeing the benefits yourself.

Takeaway:

Our aim in this article was to outline why businesses should use Peppol to send eInvoices, we’ve covered how Australian businesses of all sizes can save time and money by using Peppol to send eInvoices. How adoption for businesses can be very straightforward depending on your invoicing platform and that it adds huge value for your customers. The time is now to look at Peppol for your eInvoicing processes.

If you’d like to learn more about Peppol eInvoicing and to see if its right for your business, feel free to contact us today!

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