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Electronic Invoicing

What is it and how can you efficiently process 100% of your invoices, regardless of their format?

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Electronic invoicing is used as a fairly broad term to describe invoices in any digital format, however there are some important distinctions that need to be understood to be able to deliver the most effective agileAccounts Payable (AP) automation strategy.
There are seven invoice formats: paper, PDF image, data-layered PDF, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), XML, PO-Flip and digital entry via a portal; and two viewpoints to understand: the source format and the end format.

Source invoice format

Pure eInvoices from the source are XML, EDI, PO-Flip, and digital entry via a supplier portal. These invoices begin their process with structured digital data that can be automatically mapped and transferred into an organisation’s ERP/Finance system for matching and payment approval.

The benefit of this approach is process automation and efficiency from start to finish as invoices can be validated, matched and approved quickly, via digital processes, giving the opportunity of straight through processing. In addition, the risk of fraud is minimised and savings can be made across the whole process for both suppliers and buyers.

End invoice format

Non-pure electronic invoice formats (i.e. paper and PDF) can be turned into structured digital data so that you have 100% eInvoicing as the end result. It’s a matter of technology and process.

The first step is to scan any paper invoices so that they are images. These images are then at the same stage as invoices submitted as PDF images and, using OCR technology, can all be turned into electronic data. These paper and PDF image invoices are then in the same process stage as data-layered PDF invoices, so all of these can be validated and any queries resolved.
At this point all invoices, regardless of their original format, are in the same place ready for matching and payment approval via an ERP/Finance solution:

Strategic invoicing

Getting all suppliers to submit eInvoices from the source is clearly the most efficient strategy, however in many cases is an unrealistic expectation – certainly in the short to medium-term. The reality many suppliers face – especially SMEs – is that they don’t have the time, resource or infrastructure to submit pure eInvoices. Instead, they focus their time on delivering their core business and fulfilling their contractual obligations. A buying organisation therefore needs to look at its digital ready-suppliers in the first instance to ensure they submit eInvoices from the source, and then support the rest of its supply chain with an agile AP strategy that can handle all invoice formats.

100% Invoice Capture

Proactis’ AP Automation solution can help your buying organisation capture 100% of your suppliers’ invoices and convert paper and PDFs (images and data-layered) into eInvoices, check for existing PO, duplicates and a valid supplier, and then transfer them into your finance system for matching and payment approval.

Our solution also supports eInvoicing from source, allowing you to request eInvoices from your suppliers, PO-Flip and accept XML formats.
Need immediate support?
We are able to help reduce time spent on invoice processing with our managed or self-serve invoice capture and automation solutions. We can digitise 100% of your invoices, regardless of the format you receive them in, allowing you to remain agile to the changing demands on your business. 

Find out how
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