E-bill is becoming increasingly commonplace in day-to-day business. In the B2B sector, invoice recipients and issuers alike benefit from end-to-end digital invoice exchange via an ERP/accounting system. To allow individual companies to fully harness the potential of the solution, as many participants as possible need to be connected to e-bill. If your role is that of invoice recipient, the key to success lies in connecting your suppliers. How do you go about persuading enough suppliers to use digital bills? By answering the questions on our checklist, you can move forward in a focused manner.
Using electronic accounts payable invoices: checklist
Are you a future-oriented company that is able to receive electronic accounts payable invoices? Welcome to the world of e-billing, where you can save on costs, time and resources. Our checklist will help you harness the potential of e-bill. The next thing to do is connect your suppliers.
Checklist for electronic accounts payable invoices: how to connect your suppliers
Point 1: Explain benefits
Compile a list of advantages that e-bill offers you as an invoice recipient. This line of reasoning will help you to illustrate the importance of connecting suppliers and the urgency of the project internally. The biggest advantages include:
- Higher process quality in accounts payable management, which saves time and money
- A lower error rate because invoices are transmitted electronically, meaning there is no need to keep entering invoice data manually
- Automation, which enhances transparency and simplicity, as actions can be traced and, on request, electronically archived
- Greater customer satisfaction thanks to quicker payment processes
- Positioning as a modern, sustainable client
Point 2: Set goals
- How many customers does your company want to connect over what time frame?
- What stages will be needed for your company to achieve this goal?
Point 3: Define resources, tasks and responsibilities
- What internal resources do you need in purchasing and accounts payable management to connect suppliers?
- What tasks will need to be completed?
- Who will assume overall responsibility?
- Who will be responsible for individual tasks?
Point 4: Compile a priority list of the suppliers you wish to connect
What suppliers does your company want to connect as a priority? Possible decision criteria:
- The number of invoices being processed via supplier X
- The importance of the supplier to your company
- How easy it is to connect the supplier (see point 6)
Point 5: Plan communication measures
- At what point will you contact your suppliers to tell them you would like to connect them to e-bill?
- What channels will you use to inform your suppliers (combination of letter, e-mail, newsletter, personal discussion etc.)?
- At what point will you follow up?
Point 6: Implementation
The amount of work required to connect individual suppliers will depend on whether or not a supplier already uses e-bill.
It is particularly easy to connect suppliers who already use electronic invoices and who are entered in the eDirectory .
Step 1: Based on your priority list (see point 4), compare your suppliers against the eDirectory and filter out those suppliers who are registered in it for e-bill.
Step 2: Notify the suppliers from the eDirectory with a letter that includes the following points:
- Inform your suppliers that you, as a customer, receive supplier invoices electronically via the PostFinance interface, and give them your Payer ID.
- Ask your suppliers to send an e-bill to your Payer ID, with prior information (before sending the first invoice) by e-mail.
Step 3: Check if the supplier invoice has been received successfully, and then ask the supplier to send all their invoices digitally in future.
Recommendation: not all companies that work with e-bill are registered in the eDirectory. Do you have suppliers on your priority list who are not in the eDirectory? If so, it is a good idea to ask these suppliers directly whether they use e-bill, and whether they could send you their Payer ID.
Connecting suppliers who do not use electronic invoices involves more work. Important distinctions:
- Suppliers that use e-bill-compatible software: tell these suppliers that you would like to switch to electronic invoicing as a customer. Also be sure to ask these customers to get in touch with their software partners, who can help them to get connected. Go to software partners that offer a standardized interface for e-bill
- Suppliers that use software that is not compatible with e-bill: tell these suppliers that you would like to switch to electronic invoicing as a customer. Ask them to get in touch with their software partners to set up an interface with e-bill.
- Suppliers that do not use any software at all: tell these suppliers you would like to switch to electronic invoicing as a customer, and suggest to this supplier group that they could potentially enter and transfer invoices using e-bill light .
Supplier directory: how to easily find suppliers that already use e-bill
In the eDirectory.ch registry, you will find the majority of business partners domiciled in Switzerland who send and/or receive e-bills, and who work with a service provider listed in eDirectory.ch – such as PostFinance.
Tip: check if your own company is listed in the eDirectory. If you do not find an entry, inform your e-invoicing service provider so that they can enter the data.
Win people over to e-bill: here are the benefits for your suppliers
You should, in any case, be mindful of the fact that switching to electronic accounts payable invoices does mean additional work. There is often a fear that high investment costs will be incurred, and that major interventions will be required in processes and IT. Counter these fears by emphasizing the multiple benefits of electronic accounts payable invoices, which go beyond saving on printing and shipping costs:
- Quicker receipt of payments: with electronic invoice transfer, the supplier sends the invoice directly to the customer’s accounting/ERP system. Seeing as this accelerates control, approval and payment process, the money will generally reach the supplier’s account more quickly than with a paper invoice.
- High degree of transparency: digital invoices are traceable, end to end.
- Fewer errors: seeing as manual work steps are done away with, the susceptibility for errors in invoice issuing is reduced. As a result, the customer does not have to reject invoices as much, which saves time and stress for both parties.
- Higher productivity: the whole invoice process is made more efficient overall. This means suppliers save time and gain capacity that they can channel elsewhere, adding value in the process.
- Lower costs: suppliers save money on paper, printing and postage. Switching to e-bill also pays off financially.
- Eco-friendliness: with e-bills, suppliers are helping to protect the environment.
Keep at it – it’s well worth it
Connecting your suppliers to e-bill will pay off for your company in the long term. The more suppliers you’re able to win over to e-bill, the more comprehensively you will be able to digitize your processes for exchanging invoices, and so the more you will be able to benefit from electronic invoicing.