At our company, we are well aware that the world of corporate treasury services is constantly changing, payment collection and accounts payable operations have become more strategic among corporations as executives realize the potential value that can be generated by improving their cash and liquidity management. More and more, we are brought onto these types of initiatives; where regardless of their nature, the goals are almost always the same: increasing cash flows, streamlining processes and creating value while maintaining regulatory compliance.

Within this environment, a trending topic these days is E-Invoicing. Although electronic invoices (e-invoices) are not a new conception, it’s only now that they have started to trend and demonstrate their value to procurement executives in companies of all sizes. Much of this value is driven by two critical factors unlike some years ago they are present today: low-cost technology applications or “apps” and social networks.

When speaking about apps, the first underlying advantage when processing E-invoices throughout these applications is that it allows buyers and suppliers boost their efficiency by accelerating the resolution of discrepancies and minimizing errors generated during the manual processing of hundreds of invoices.

But this is only the starting point; the real value of e-invoicing comes from automating its processing. Think about the average time it takes to process a single invoice, 30 or 20 days, maybe 15 if you’re very efficient? Well, the reality is that with today’s overwhelming flows of information, many purchasing professionals consider this time and energy a total waste of valuable resources spent on validation, authorization and remittance tasks. Automated invoice processing solutions, such as cloud-based web platforms let companies run the same processes with little effort and minimum cost to clear and authorize invoices as fast as the same day.

This is where social networks come into play; at corporate levels, companies relate to their clients and supplies in the same manner individuals do on Facebook and Twitter; because of this, social networks have had a profound impact on changing customer service expectations, increasing flexibility and enhancing communication and transparency. The fact that these platforms are so versatile these days has had a direct impact on the flows of information among corporations forcing them to expedite their operations and incorporate user friendly applications to their processes. E-invoicing and invoice automated processing systems have incorporated these features, which allow companies interact and process their payables with all their suppliers around the globe with much more efficiency.

But beyond the creation of efficiencies, the strategic value of this practice is embedded in the expedited invoice validation (for payment). Let’s look at the process more closely: because e-invoicing reduces errors by cross-referencing the invoice parameters against contract information and purchase orders, the invoice is validated faster and discrepancies are addressed punctually which normally results in earlier payment. If your company has been wise to negotiate early payment discounts, this means more tangible money or capital for the company and faster cash collection.

And if this is not enough to compel your company to consider implementing e-invoicing best practices; you may want to start thinking about the advantages of reducing your overpayment and (therefore) costs associated to recovery claims and dispute resolution processes, which I’m sure are far from cero, and let’s be serious, with the economy these days who wants to be sitting on a stack of invoices while others “just hold onto the cash for a little longer”?
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Diego De la Garza

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