More and more companies are moving away from paper-based invoicing, opting instead for more efficient electronic systems that can speed up payment turnaround times. A recent report predicted the global e-Invoicing market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23.2 percent by 2018.
Many enterprises, while understanding the benefits of eInvoicing, also have concerns about the risks associated with data sharing and data security, so they are turning to third-party vendors for their accounts-payable support, the report pointed out.
Among the latest to join in the trend are two of North America’s largest daily newspapers, which recently deployed Web-based electronic invoicing from EchoVera, a provider of accounts payable automation services. The technology is part of EchoVera’s PaletteArena suite, called PaletteInvoice.
Thousands of supplier invoices
Both newspapers are using the technology to process, approve and schedule the 65,000 supplier invoices they receive annually.
“Progressive organizations in Canada and the U.S. are joining what has been a huge trend in Europe, and that is moving away from paper invoices,” Ralf Leitner, Echovera president, said in the announcement of its deals with the two undisclosed newspaper companies. “Any paper or emailed invoice can be processed for less than the price of a cup of coffee, with fewer errors or misplaced documents. We also find financial executives are enjoying the visibility they get with our electronic invoicing solution – like knowing what their payables are in real time.”
The newspapers are using optical character recognition technology to scan paper invoices, and intelligent layered PDF processing to import emailed invoices, according to Echovera. The company’s system then matches, codes and approves the invoices in a process that takes less than 3 minutes for each.
Additional eInvoicing benefits
The vendor says the additional benefits eInvoicing is providing the companies include reducing their organizations’ carbon footprint, curtailing manual errors and providing savings on the cost of processing, sometimes by over 50 percent. EchoVera boasts recommendation for PaletteArena from 96 percent of its customers using the service, with 90% saying it is a worthwhile investment.
The service gives customers complete visibility and control of the procure-to-pay process by linking purchases, invoices and contracts, the company says.
Also known as eBilling, eInvoicing involves the exchange of bills and related invoices between organizations and their clients in an integrated electronic format, usually online. The electronic data interchange transactions include enterprise data formatted to integrate into the client’s financial system without the need of a financial administrator.
What’s driving the eInvoicing movement?
The need to automate the invoicing process and reduce operational costs in organizations is one of the major drivers behind the anticipate growth in e-Invoicing, notes the report “Global E-Invoicing 2014-2018,” which covers North America, Europe, and the APAC region. eInvoicing enables organizations to automate invoice generation and enhance the overall business process. It also reduces the total operational cost and time spent on the purchasing process, according to the report.
“The emergence of cloud-based solutions has enabled organizations to increase their efficiency and reduce the cost of setting up valuable IT infrastructure,” an undisclosed analyst from the team that did the research said in the report summary. “The cloud-based model for eInvoicing offers a pay-per-use model, which provides cost-effective access to e-invoicing solutions to multiple users without any time and location constraints.
Moreover, the complexity involved in the electronic purchasing process is one of the major challenges. It involves creating and maintaining product data electronically, and enabling suppliers to support electronic transactions increases this complexity, according to the report. Generally, there is a limitation in the ability of eInvoicing to address various types and ranges of purchasing activities, it notes.