Electronic invoices have been gaining importance in Switzerland for years. Suppliers to the Federal Administration, for example, have been submitting their invoices digitally since 2016 for contracts of more than CHF 5,000. According to official figures, this has seen the share of electronic invoices steadily increase from 18% in December 2014 to just over 75% in December 2021. If you’re thinking of switching to electronic invoicing, here are a few tips for you – because digital exchange has many benefits.
Electronic invoice exchange – the key points
In the past, sending and receiving invoices was straightforward: the sender printed out the document, sent it by post and could assume that the invoice would reach the recipient a few days later – and that the recipient could enter it in the system and approve it for payment. But in an increasingly digitized world, a rapidly growing number of companies now rely on electronic invoice exchange. This saves not only time, but also cuts costs. We’ve listed the key facts here.
What is an electronic invoice?
Electronic invoices are sent as electronic documents in a structured data format, such as EDI (electronic data interchange). The recipient can process the data directly and automatically in their invoicing system. Another option is the The link will open in a new window eBill digital billing standard, where invoices to private customers are integrated directly into their e-banking. The recipient can easily and conveniently check them there and immediately approve them for payment. PostFinance offers a number of options for digitizing the billing process.
What you should bear in mind when exchanging invoices electronically
- E-bill provides you with a fully digital solution that has clear advantages over, for example, a PDF invoice sent by e-mail. This is because to pay the e-mail invoice, you must enter the payment information (e.g. reference number) in e-banking. This media disruption can result in poorer payment behaviour. It is more convenient for the recipient if the data can be processed automatically.
- Consider whether you want to use a direct connection or an eInvoicing portal for the electronic exchange of invoices. The former is ideal if you already have your own software solution – then you can create the invoices as usual in your ERP. The invoice data is transferred to PostFinance from your system as a data file before being processed and forwarded to the recipient automatically in electronic format. Alternatively, you can use an eInvoicing portal which also allows you to send and receive invoices electronically. The PostFinance portal is handy for customers who only send or receive a few invoices or whose ERP does not have an interface to the PostFinance platform.
- Also consider connections between invoice issuers and recipients. Good solutions here are either the standard eBill – where, as already mentioned above, the invoices are integrated directly into the private customer’s e-banking – or the The link will open in a new window eDirectory. Here, companies who wish to increase the exchange of electronic invoices with their business partners will find all business partners domiciled in Switzerland who wish to send and receive electronic invoices.
These are the advantages of electronic invoice exchange
Above all, sending invoices electronically saves invoice issuers time and cuts costs:
- you benefit from the direct delivery of e-bills from your software. You save on printing, postage – and from having to make the trip to the letter box.
- Due to automation, many invoices can be issued within a short time, and this is particularly beneficial for large companies.
- Improved payment behaviour of invoice recipients – which means lower costs and less workload for reminder processes.
- The delivery rate is higher because changes of address don’t affect the process.
- Shortened payment deadlines lead to faster receipt of payment.
For invoice recipients, on the other hand, the e-bill is above all convenient, direct and fast:
- they can easily receive the invoices electronically via an interface and process the invoice data automatically.
- There is still the option of direct further processing via the usual payment channels.
- The recipient does not have to worry about physical archiving, as the data is all automatically processed and managed.
These are all good reasons to switch to electronic invoices.