B2B Invoicing | Netsend http://netsend.com e-invoicing and e-billing solutions for business Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:44:50 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 http://netsend.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/cropped-Netsend_Stacked_CMYK_square-1-32x32.png B2B Invoicing | Netsend http://netsend.com 32 32 Blockchain in Accounts Receivable http://netsend.com/blog/blockchain-accounts-receivable/ Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:24:28 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=3523 The post Blockchain in Accounts Receivable appeared first on Netsend.


Whilst blockchain technology is most often associated with cryptocurrency (e.g. Bitcoin), there are enormous opportunities for this across the business.  One such potential application is within the Accounts Receivable department, as part of the e-invoicing process.

Currently, invoices are sent (either electronically, or by post) before they are reconciled against POs and purchasing systems data, and then paid – each step requiring approval and review, which slows the process down.  Whilst electronic invoicing enables swift, often automated, delivery of invoices and payment processing is becoming increasingly automated, there are still opportunities to improve speed and accuracy.

Blockchain-enabled e-invoicing can provide greater transparency of what has been invoiced and the progress of payments, as well as preserving an immutable record of previous transactions and enhancements in both speed and security of the invoicing process.

In order to understand the benefits of blockchain in Accounts Receivable processes, it is first important to understand the basic principles of blockchain technology.

“Blockchain-enabled e-invoicing can provide greater transparency of what has been involved”

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain technology gets its name from its structure.  It is a chain of blocks, where each block of information (typically transactions) is created in a way that checks the validity of the previous block and consequently all proceeding blocks in the chain.

Blockchain technology is typically used to enable distributed ledger books.  In such a case, each block would consist of the latest set of transaction records, and the chain would contain all transactions to date on the ledger.

Various approaches to ‘mining’ blocks and verifying the validity of the proceeding block and entire chain exist.  The overarching principle, and benefits, of this are universal however; the validation and visibility of the ledger is decentralised and therefore more secure against both attack and loss of availability.

For a more detailed explanation of blockchain technology, take a look at our Blockchain Technology FAQ document.

How can blockchain work in AR

The positive disruptive potential from blockchain in Account Receivable is enormous.  Transactions could exist pre-approved on a blockchain (from point of purchase) with the necessary information to ensure they are processed automatically when reaching Accounts Payable.  The shared access to a blockchain between Accounts Receivable (at a supplier) and Accounts Payable (at a buyer) removes the need to generate individual invoices – electronic or otherwise.  The Procure-to-Pay (P2P) process then becomes seamlessly supported from ordering through to invoicing and payment via access to a shared blockchain that is updated in near real-time between parties.

Access to a shared blockchain enables business partners to remove, or at least reduce, the need to pause for human validation and approval of agreed transactions.  This achieves faster transaction processing, leading to improved cashflow, an important goal for any Accounts Receivable department.

“Shared access to a blockchain between Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable removes the need to generate individual invoices”

Realistically, not all invoices are going to be replaced by access to a shared blockchain any time soon.  But businesses who are quick to adopt blockchain as an integral part of their P2P process stand to benefit.  AR teams who can offer blockchain to support the invoicing process are creating competitive advantage through innovation.  However, thought needs to be given to how blockchain will sit alongside traditional paper invoicing and e-invoicing.

The most effective way to leverage fast-evolving business technology is typically through working with an expert service provider, or hooking into an as-a-Service solution.  Leading e-invoicing providers, such as Netsend, are well placed to support businesses seeking to integrate traditional invoicing, e-invoicing and blockchain as one service– enabling customers to progress from one format to another, as well as recording, managing and reporting on transactions from a centralised solution interface.

What is preventing the adoption of blockchain for AR?

The biggest barrier to blockchain adoption is corporate inertia and the fear of change.  Very often businesses will have embraced digital processes throughout much of the business, yet still produce and deliver paper invoices.  Due to the sensitive nature of invoices – integral to business cashflow – there is an inherent reluctance to modify invoicing processes.

“77% from the financial services industry expect to adopt blockchain as part of an in-production system or process by 2020”

However, channel shift is one of the most important topics in business.  Businesses need to seek out expert partners to facilitate moving from old ways to the new.  Kevin Gill, Insurance and Blockchain CTO, at IBM warns that “traditionalists face the threat of becoming irrelevant if they don’t move first”.  Kevin goes on to explain that “There is tremendous potential for change and disruption. The winners are going to be those who are blockchain-enabled quickly. The earlier you are in, the greater your competitive business advantage”.

These sentiments are supported by the Global FinTech Report 2017 from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, they report that 77% of survey respondents from the financial services industry expected “to adopt blockchain as part of an in-production system or process by 2020.”

How to prepare for the blockchain revolution

Whilst we wouldn’t recommend investing in a whole new team to identify and implement blockchain solutions just yet, it’s important to prepare for the future.  Talk to us today and find out how Netsend can enable your Accounts Receivable department to support invoicing in a vast range of formats and standards, including blockchain when this becomes relevant to your market.

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How to beat the Christmas Post (with electronic delivery) http://netsend.com/blog/beat-christmas-post-electronic-delivery/ Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:15:03 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=2257 It’s the time of year to be jolly… but actually, when you’re trying to get important documents over to clients, you might be feeling a little less jolly.  The infamous Christmas Post has a lot to answer for.  As millions of cards and presents enter the system for just a few weeks, this throws delivery […]

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It’s the time of year to be jolly… but actually, when you’re trying to get important documents over to clients, you might be feeling a little less jolly.  The infamous Christmas Post has a lot to answer for.  As millions of cards and presents enter the system for just a few weeks, this throws delivery timescales into disarray.

Have you ever tried to get a document to a client urgently on the lead up to Christmas?  What normally takes a couple of days can take weeks.  That level of uncertainty and delay is a problem when waiting for signed documents, and can lead to significant cashflow impact when invoices and payments are directly affected.

With the volume of post increasing massively on the lead up to Christmas (up to 10 million parcels per day at its peak), it’s simply too much for the infrastructure to handle effectively.  This resulted in 4.8 million reported delivery problems over the Xmas period in 2015.  Last year saw £148 million worth of lost or damaged post this Christmas in the UK. And according to Citizens Advice, online shoppers will typically spend two-and-a-half hours sorting out a delivery problem this Christmas – because an item is late, turns up broken or doesn’t arrive at all.

In a survey carried out in December 2016, more than one in five had a parcel go missing*

A third of consumers who receive a damaged parcel don’t take action. For those that did try to complain, more than 40 per cent ran into problems – such as difficulty contacting the retailer or delivery company on the phone.

So, how can you avoid this as a business?

Electronic Document Distribution – for reliability and speed of delivery

As every Christmas shopper knows, the online world is without the queues and traffic of the high-street.  This is also one of the attractions of electronic document distribution, enabling businesses to send documents swiftly and securely irrespective of season.

Furthermore, electronic documents can be produced and sent automatically.  The paradigm of accounts receivable automation has sprung up in response to the demand for more streamlined and cost effective ways to generate and distribute invoices and other AR documents.

In the context of the accounts receivable department, electronic invoicing is growing at a rate of 20% year on year globally.  It’s not hard to see why, when you consider the value of getting invoices out quickly, as this brings the cash into the business sooner; Christmas post, or not.

Know when your documents arrive

Beyond the simple ability to avoid postal traffic, electronic document distribution systems, such as Netsend, afford the sender insight into how the document distribution is progressing at every step of the journey.  There is enormous value in determining who has actually received time-sensitive documents, and even whether they have opened them and, where appropriate, agreed to the content.

With an electronic document distribution system, it’s possible to see at a glance who has not yet responded to documents.  Reports can be generated for direct follow-up, or statements and/or dunning letters can be generated automatically to nudge slow-responders into action.

You’re not just saving time, but saving money too

Electronic documents are not just the fastest and most secure way to ensure business documents are delivered, they also present a significant cost saving.  Reducing the reliance on print and postage for the distribution of business documents brings paper, stamp and printing costs down considerably.

Many businesses go as far as outsourcing the remaining print and postal requirements to be handled through a single document distribution solution, such as Netsend.  This simplifies the process of distribution, as documents are directed to the distribution system and then either sent electronically (in most instances), or automatically printed and posted for recipients who are yet to convert to accepting electronic format documents.

Save throughout the year and be ready for next Christmas

Businesses making the most effective deployments of electronic document distribution are committed to onboarding as many customers to the new process as possible.  When you consider the average saving of €6.60 per invoice sent electronically, rather than by post, it’s clear that efforts to convert recipients are highly valuable.

At Netsend, we achieve an average conversion of over 80% within 6 months.  The industry standard sits a little lower at 60% after 1 year, but there are many techniques, as well as product nuances that can encourage an audience to convert to electronic documents more quickly.

Get in touch today and find out how quickly you can benefit from electronic document distribution, saving all year round and side-stepping postal strikes and seasonal fluctuations like the Christmas post.


*Shock figures reveal how many parcels are lost or damaged

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PEPPOL Latest: 2017 Progress http://netsend.com/blog/peppol-latest-2017-progress/ Mon, 07 Aug 2017 13:39:07 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=3145 The post PEPPOL Latest: 2017 Progress appeared first on Netsend.


As PEPPOL adoption increases across the UK, we thought it’s time for a recap on our ‘What is PEPPOL’ article and a review of recent PEPPOL news and progress in 2017.

PEPPOL stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, an EDI (electronic data interchange) protocol, designed to simplify the purchase-to-pay process between government bodies and their suppliers.  PEPPOL facilitates electronic ordering, invoicing and shipping between government organisations and private companies.

The need for PEPPOL has arisen from historic inefficiencies and limitations in the way that government bodies procure from their suppliers.  Traditional purchase processes have evolved little over the last few decades, the advent of PEPPOL seeks to shake things up for the better.

PEPPOL is notably the EDI protocol chosen by the National Health Service in the UK (NHS) to achieve efficiency improvement and meet the government initiative of saving £22bn by 2020.

How is PEPPOL growing in 2017?

Membership to OpenPEPPOL continues to grow, with Poland joining at the start of 2017 to become the 200th member.  The Polish government has started building the national services platform (PeF) supporting electronic invoicing for public procurement, with an intention of having a full roll-out by Q3 2018.

In Italy, the Emilia-Romagna Region has achieved significant success enabling the dematerialization of public purchases for the whole procurement cycle, starting from the collection of public requirements and the achievement of digital tenders, to the fully electronic management of orders, dispatch advices and invoices.

The ER region has taken an active role in developing e-procurement standards as part of PEPPOL, since 2008.  From 2014 the regional Health Trusts in Emilia-Romagna have been able to digitally exchange all of their invoices.  Moreover, from June 2016, the same Health Trusts have also been able to send and receive orders and dispatch advices electronically, based on PEPPOL standards. To date, the Regional Telematic Interchange Hub (NoTI-ER) has handled more than 100,000 e-orders, 130,000 e-dispatch advices and 1.8 million e-invoices.  Elsewhere in Europe, nascent PEPPOL projects could do well to look to the ER region in Italy for inspiration and reassurance.

In Belgium, from 1st July, companies have been able to send invoices to federal agencies in electronic format.  Belgium has been working on electronic invoicing since 2013.  In 2017, Fedict (the Federal Public Service for Information and Communication Technology) launched the Belgian electronic invoicing platform.  The biggest challenge in deploying this platform had been the existence of several networks with data in different formats, thankfully this has now been resolved.  The federal body has been working on a platform for the Belgian authorities since 2013. It is now compliant with European standards (OpenPEPPOL). The platform’s name is Mercurius.

Examples of PEPPOL progress in 2017 at UK NHS Trusts

Whilst only a handful of demonstrator sites are leading the charge for full-blown PEPPOL support, progress is encouraging.  Some examples of NHS trusts and what they have achieved to date (July 2017) are listed below:

Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • All patient wristbands 100% GS1 compliant
  • Scanning of wristbands at 50% of the trust’s Points of Care
  • 100% of trust locations allocated GLNs
  • Over 50% of purchased products listed in new PEPPOL-integrated catalogue
  • Product recall process in place – tracing products to patients in Theatres
  • First PEPPOL order and invoice transmitted
  • Inventory Management System in place, enabling stock review and amendment to match usage information

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

  • Phased introduction of GS1 compliant patient wristbands
  • 100% of trust locations allocated GLNs
  • New PEPPOL-integrated catalogue
  • Product recall process mapped, pending development and deployment

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

  • All patient wristbands 100% GS1 compliant
  • 100% of trust locations allocated GLNs
  • New PEPPOL-integrated catalogue
  • Product recall process in place
  • PEPPOL order and invoice process in user acceptance testing

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

  • Wristband printing software is 100% GS1 compliant, scanning is in testing phase
  • 100% of trust locations allocated GLNs
  • Over 35% of purchased products listed in new PEPPOL-integrated catalogue
  • Product recall, Purchase-to-Pay and Inventory Management solutions in development

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

  • All patient wristbands 100% GS1 compliant
  • 6,649 trust locations allocated GLNs
  • Catalogue, product recall, Purchase-to-Pay and Inventory Management solutions in development

What is the easiest way to become PEPPOL compliant?

As with any business decision, the cost-case for investing in PEPPOL needs to present a return on investment as swiftly as possible.  The breadth of requirements for full PEPPOL-compliant eProcurement presents an investment conundrum for NHS trusts and suppliers alike – how to make this investment before budget is available from the savings achieved.

One of the best approaches to this challenge is to deploy PEPPOL-compliant e-invoicing as a first stage.  Both suppliers and NHS trusts stand to make substantial savings through electronic invoicing.  These savings can then be reinvested in the broader requirements of full PEPPOL-compliant eProcurement.

In the context of invoice generation, as opposed to invoice processing, solutions such as Netsend, present an attractive business case.  With a minimal upfront investment, setup costs are offset and become part of operational expenditure.  This equates to a lower barrier to adoption, enabling suppliers to extract competitive advantage and business gain rapidly.

Talk to us today and find out how Netsend is able to support PEPPOL-compliant e-invoicing.  Or you can find more information about PEPPOL in our PEPPOL FAQ Document here.

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Accounts Receivable Best Practice: 7 Steps for Improving Productivity http://netsend.com/blog/accounts-receivable-best-practice-7-steps-for-improving-productivity/ Mon, 08 May 2017 08:48:31 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=2617 The post Accounts Receivable Best Practice: 7 Steps for Improving Productivity appeared first on Netsend.


Accounts Receivable best practice has at least one element in common with virtually any other best practice recommendation for business.  Lose the paper, go digital.  It’s staggering to think that, even in some global businesses, AR teams may be printing, folding and stuffing paper invoices into envelopes for post.

Paper is fast becoming a relic from bygone days, at least in a business sense.  It’s just not efficient enough for the pace of modern business.  Even at a personal level, it’s easy to identify with the inefficiencies of paper-based processes.  How frequently do you write letters these days, when instant communication is but an email away?

Working with global businesses, to improve productivity in Accounts Receivable teams, has enabled us to identity a number of key areas for AR process improvement.

Accounts Receivable Best Practice #1: Efficiency

Best practice in Accounts Receivable is driven by the need for improved business efficiency.  The biggest threat to business success is, often, wasted time.  Replacing paper-based invoice generation with electronic invoicing enables automation of AR processes, freeing up the AR team to focus on more profitable activities that require the nuances of a human touch – such as chasing down late payments and resolving credit issues.

Accounts Receivable Best Practice #2: Visibility of Payment Status

Beyond plain efficiency, AR best practice should include improved visibility of invoicing status.  E-invoicing achieves exactly this, with the ability to identify what was sent to whom, whether it was received, or even read, and when.  With advanced e-invoicing solutions, such as Netsend, customers can even mark an invoice, electronically, to indicate payment intent, or pay directly online there and then.

Improved visibility provides insight that can be acted on, to support credit controllers in reducing late-payments and disputes.

Accounts Receivable Best Practice #3: Chasing Payments

One of the most valuable roles AR teams play is to chase down payments and bring the cash into the business as quickly as possible.  Collecting money fast is always a major competitive edge.

A well-structured e-invoicing solution should be able to provide an at-a-glance view of outstanding payments, or even a pre-emptive list of habitual late payers to chase before they are due.  Sometimes a simple statement can be sent as a timely reminder, encouraging payment.  Automation rules can be set to assist with this process and preserve the AR team’s time for more complex or sensitive payment conversations.

Integrating e-invoicing with credit collection software such as Ero57 enables seamless and secure access to sensitive documents, and messaging workflows, expediting credit collection. Where possible, this should be a consideration for improving productivity in an AR team.

Accounts Receivable Best Practice #4: Security, Compliance and Ease of Auditing

Whilst security doesn’t necessarily enhance productivity, it’s still made it onto this list as an essential consideration for AR best practice.  Given the sensitivity of invoicing information and customer payments, it’s essential that any digital transformation of Accounts Receivable processes – from e-invoicing to automation – complies with industry standards such as ISO 27001:2013.

VAT compliance can be met most efficiently via the use of digital signatures and online record keeping, although many businesses still unnecessarily encumber themselves with paper-based records for the same purpose.

Auditing can prove painful for AR teams when invoice records are stored in paper format.  Modern, electronic, systems enable much faster access to documents via search and present the opportunity to generate reports for auditors at the touch of a button.

Accounts Receivable Best Practice #5: Integration with Accounts Payable

The flip-side of every invoice sent is the payment process.  In a B2B context, Accounts Payable teams, and increasingly automated AP systems, need to process invoices before payments can be made.  Integration of invoice distribution with AP systems is growing in importance as a way to simplify and expedite the payment process.

In some cases, Accounts Receivable teams are manually inputting invoices into customers’ AP systems.  Where possible, AR teams should deploy e-invoicing solutions that have connectors for the payment systems they need to integrate with, saving time on inefficient manual processing.

Accounts Receivable Best Practice #6: Supporting Paper

We do not live in a perfect world, consequently many businesses find the need to support a percentage of customers who still require paper invoices.  Industry average conversion rates for customers to accept electronic format invoices are around 60%, although at Netsend we often achieve in excess of 80% conversion within a matter of months.  To achieve the best efficiency gains from electronic invoicing and AR automation it’s essential to handle the remaining paper-based percentage via the same process.

Best practice in this regard is to process all invoices in the same manner, but directing those who require paper to be printed and posted by an offsite solution partner.  This removes the need to maintain print and postage hardware in-house and for the manual fulfilment of this time-consuming process.  Including within the same invoicing solution enables aggregation of invoicing records and improves reporting, auditing and overall efficiency.

Accounts Receivable Best Practice #7: Outsourcing

Few businesses stop to think about it, but we all outsource postal delivery to the postal service.  It’s simply not efficient to run your own postal service.

Indeed, the point above (#6: Supporting Paper) follows a similar line, in that best practice in supporting paper-based invoices is to outsource the whole print and postage process to enhance efficiency.  For instance, at Netsend, we often leverage print and post at a hub within the destination country for the invoices, saving time and cost on international delivery.  However, these efficiencies are only achievable through economies of scale brought about by the volume of printed invoices we handle for clients on a global scale.

So, printing and posting of invoices are best practice to outsource, but what of the electronic invoicing and AR automation solutions themselves?

As businesses embrace cloud-based and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions, it’s common wisdom that high up-front investment in solutions is often better offset in favour of an as-a-service solution funded through savings in operational expenditure.

Companies who attempt to develop and maintain e-invoicing solutions in-house are faced with a massive task.  Whilst it’s certainly possible to do this, there’s a reason why global corporates such as 21st Century Fox, Pizza Hut and VF Corporation choose to outsource their e-invoicing to Netsend.  It is simply not economically viable for most businesses to develop and maintain an e-invoicing solution in-house, keeping on top of evolving invoicing standards and technology requirements.

Outsourcing may raise questions about control and risk, but these are easily addressed.  The control remains within the business, as you dictate the requirements, and the outsource partner provides assurances by way of contractual obligations and service level agreements.

By delegating the responsibility you’re allowing someone else to take care of the details and address any risks. Outsourcing allows you to tap in to the knowledge, experience and capabilities most suited to successfully realise the task.


For more information about the value of outsourcing your e-invoicing take a look at our FAQ document.


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Getting the best stamp discount for business post http://netsend.com/blog/getting-best-stamp-discount-business-post/ Mon, 27 Mar 2017 08:17:47 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=2071 The post Getting the best stamp discount for business post appeared first on Netsend.


Getting the best stamp discount for business post can be a minefield.  Mailing houses all offer some form of stamp discounting for business post.  This presents a day one saving to your business when switching over to their service – something that’s understandably attractive.  But if you’re really searching for the best discount on your business post you need to look at little further…

How much is the best stamp discount for business post?

Let’s give some context to the potential savings from stamp discounts.  The Royal Mail stamp value of a 2nd class Frank rate is 41p, and a downstream access provider will discount around 5p off this, to 36p per stamp.  That’s a saving of 5p per item, forever.  Evaluating this over say 10,000 posted items each month gives an ongoing saving of £500 per month.

Another way to achieve a similar business saving is to convert a percentage of posted items into electronic documents – where there is no cost for their distribution.  To match this example, you would need to convert 1,351 documents to an electronic distribution model.  That’s 13.5% of the 10,000 monthly distribution.

The question you should be asking then is whether a 13.5% conversion to electronic distribution is a realistic figure.  There’s some good news here.  At Netsend we achieve an average conversion of 82% within 3 to 9 months.  So that’s a saving of £3,034 per month on the example given.

So the best stamp discount for business post is actually more than 80% – equivalent to buying stamps for less than 7p!

It’s not just the cost of stamps for business

Okay, so there are some additional costs to consider in the set up and management of electronic document distribution, but there are also additional costs in the printing, folding and envelope stuffing of traditional postage.

If we take a critical view of what’s involved in moving customers over to receive electronic documents, it’s clear that there are a few steps involved.  Each has associated costs, but these can be offset against the saving in both stamp costs and printing/postage process equipment, maintenance and staff time.  Let’s evaluate the main components.

An Electronic Document Distribution System

This is the engine that enables you to send documents electronically.  Think very carefully about how you invest in this.  There are many off-the-shelf solutions that can be tailored to varying degrees for your business needs.  It’s important that you select one that is flexible enough to support your current needs and potential requirements in the future.  Also consider how this will work alongside your need to support a percentage of documents that still have to be printed and posted.  Here’s a handy guide to evaluating document distribution systems – from determining the value and saving for your business, to ensuring you are future-proof and your investment provides long-term returns.

Whilst investing in an off-the-shelf solution may seem like an unpleasant initial outlay to be off-set against savings over time, it’s worth considering the option of shifting this capital expenditure into operational expenditure with a SaaS, or outsourced solution such as Netsend.  Outsourcing presents the fastest way to get up and running, and requires the least initial outlay for the fastest return on investment.

The alternative route of creating an electronic document distribution system in house can actually become more costly than the potential savings, as well as missing out on many of the nuances of established solutions.  It’s wise to carefully evaluate the reasons why you might want to consider developing a solution in-house, and the risks vs. benefits this presents.

Migration of customers to electronic format

In order to maximise savings on business postage, you need to encourage as many customers as possible to accept documents in an electronic format.  The best way to do this is to work with a solution partner who can help you migrate customers, using proven techniques that they can demonstrate the success of.  Talk to potential solution partners about their conversion rate to electronic format, and look for case studies or testimonials to better understand what is involved in this process.

The faster customers are moved over to electronic documents, the more quickly you will experience the return on investment in electronic document distribution.  Within 3 to 6 months, the savings should be far beyond the very best stamp discount for business post.


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Business Challenges of Outsourcing E-Invoicing by Gavin Jones http://netsend.com/blog/business-challenges-of-outsourcing-e-invoicing-by-gavin-jones/ Mon, 23 Jan 2017 11:13:28 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=2307 By Gavin Jones, Financial Operations Manager and Credit Management Expert.  We live in a connected digital age. Our funds are mostly digital currency, our credit scores are a composition of coding that determine our risk factor and most of our communication is done instantly through emails or social media. So why is it, in this […]

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By Gavin Jones, Financial Operations Manager and Credit Management Expert. 

We live in a connected digital age.

Our funds are mostly digital currency, our credit scores are a composition of coding that determine our risk factor and most of our communication is done instantly through emails or social media.

So why is it, in this age of instant transmissions and cost effective cloud based platforms, do so many businesses still resort to mass printing their invoices and sending them out to be delivered or, as the age old excuse goes, to be lost in the post?

As more and more businesses make the transition to E-invoicing, they will inevitably face similar challenges as each stakeholder engaged in the proposition brings their own agenda to the table. We will examine some of these stakeholders and the pros and cons of e-invoicing for each.

The Sales or Marketing Team

One of the biggest hurdles any type of change faces is the potential disruption to the customer. How will customers handle the transition? Could changes impact on the pipeline? How does this fit in with our sales strategy?

A simple answer to all of the above is two words that speak volumes: Customer Experience.

E-invoicing is, at its core, a key benefit for the customers. It is a reflection of your organisation’s brand and showcases the fact that you are setting yourself apart from the competition. Think the likes of Amazon or Tesco, who are taking proactive steps to transform their online interactions and put the customer at the centre of their strategy.

In a 2016 study by the CMO Council, by far the most important element of ‘customer experience’ was fast response time to customer issues or needs; with E-invoicing, that most basic of back office requirements is taken care of instantaneously and with little effort on your behalf.

The Finance Function

Where is the ROI? This will be the key question that comes your way when it comes to justifying and pushing a move to E-invoicing. To start with, if you are currently printing out invoices, using a stuffer to put them in to envelopes and then paying for postage then this should be a quick and easy analysis to show that over time there is a cost saving element on top of the more intangible benefits mentioned previously.

Secondly is the more difficult to assess impact of E-invoicing on cash collection. As a start, a quick survey of the credit management team should uncover how much time is spent (re)sending invoices and credit notes to customers, which as a cost should be virtually eliminated.

The IT Function

The questions you will have from the IT department are likely to depend on the nature of your E-billing platform and whether it is hosted locally or not. The security of your data is and should be paramount to any transformational project and customer details/billing fall firmly within the description of a key asset that requires protecting. Before you put forward any business case for a move to E-invoicing, it is crucial to both understand and address these issues comprehensively.

In the way of a conclusion, E-invoicing on its own is a brand-promoting, cost-saving and efficiency-gaining project that is a necessary step for any business looking to stay competitive in today’s technologically focused environment. It is also however, a crucial element of a greater project that is a completely web-based customer interface that allows clients to not only receive invoices but log queries, place re-orders, make payments and successfully interact with your business.

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e-billing predictions for 2017 http://netsend.com/blog/electronic-invoicing/e-billing-predictions-for-2017/ Tue, 20 Dec 2016 14:43:58 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=2268 The post e-billing predictions for 2017 appeared first on Netsend.


At Netsend, we strive to stay one step ahead of market demand.  In order to do so, we take e-billing predictions for 2017 very seriously indeed.  Listening to our clients’ changing needs, as well as industry and broader technology developments, helps us keep our finger on the digital pulse.

So, what are our e-billing predictions for 2017?  We’ve broken these down into the following topics.  All of which we expect to see play an important role in e-billing and e-invoicing over the coming year.

Growth in e-billing

As the growth in bills is expected to exceed 37 billion per annum in Europe, a greater percentage of these will be sent electronically.  With e-billing growing at a rate of approximately 20% year-on-year globally, a number of factors are expected to drive this rate even higher in Europe in 2017.

One global driver for the growth in e-billing is the increasing evidence of cost savings and performance improvement, from businesses who have deployed e-billing solutions over the last few years.  And where businesses operate in competitive markets, the ability to integrate electronically with reseller channel partners, as well as swiftly address cashflow blockages, is creating significant competitive advantage.

The value of data; creating competitive advantage

It’s not just the greater agility and cashflow improvement that creates competitive advantage from e-billing and e-invoicing.  Many businesses are starting to make good on the promise of competitive advantage through better understanding of their data.  Whilst insight from big data analytics will continue to emerge and mature in 2017, many businesses will seek the quick-win advantages of better insight into their payment process.

Billing data can provide insight into performance in different markets, as well as enabling proactive steps to be taken to improve cashflow.  More businesses than ever before will use e-billing data to create a competitive advantage in 2017.

Software is in, hardware is out

The trend towards off-site, as-a-service and outsourced solutions is set to continue.  Gartner predicts IT spending will reach $3.5 trillion in 2017, with much of this being spent on software solutions, rather than hardware.

It’s easy to understand the reasons behind this trend.  In the uncertain economic conditions of recent years, few businesses wanted to put capital expenditure into hardware, and associated skills to administrate it, that may become obsolete within a few years.  Consequently, the lower-risk, as-a-service model has flourished – shifting CapEx to OpEx and reducing risks to boot.

e-billing and e-invoicing solutions are a good fit in the form of as-a-service, or outsourced solutions, as monthly solution costs can be offset against monthly savings in print and postage costs, printing hardware maintenance and administration (in the region of €6.60 per invoice according to the 2016 Billentis Report).

Diversity and complexity

One of the prevailing mantras of e-invoicing, and e-billing in the broader sense, is how payment information can be communicated, consumed and actioned swiftly by virtue of common document standards.  In much the same way as EDI has offered this broad machine-to-machine communication, the reality is often different.

In 2017, the diversity of e-billing and e-invoicing standards is only going to increase.  As businesses embrace particular standards, or align with one VAN or another, this creates a challenge for those outside of this network or standard.

Having helped businesses connect to a vast range of accounts payable systems over the years, at Netsend we expect this to be one of the biggest challenges facing businesses moving to e-billing for the first time.  It is for this reason that we maintain a range of connectors for popular e-invoicing and e-billing systems – removing the need for bespoke connectors to be created, or (in extreme cases) manual entry of invoicing data into customer systems.

Compliance drives e-billing and e-invoicing adoption

2017 will be the year EU Directive 2014/55/EU comes into force, meaning that businesses who sell to public sector will need to embrace electronic invoicing to remain competitive.  The knock-on effect from this will affect the payment processes for a large number of connected businesses.

One specific instance of public sector eProcurement policy change is the introduction of PEPPOL within the NHS procurement process.  This messaging standard concerns invoices, purchase orders and advice notes, and is mandated towards NHS Trusts and suppliers to the NHS.

Swiftly adjusting invoicing processes to become compliant with new standards is a challenge for any business, which is where outsourced e-billing solutions such as Netsend can provide immediate assistance and ensure timely compliance.

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How Electronic Data Interchange is Evolving http://netsend.com/edi/how-edi-is-evolving/ Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:47:37 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=2052 From early beginnings as a military tool to manage complex logistics involved in large-scale airlifts of the Second World War, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has grown to become the standard in high-volume, B2B structured data transmission. As businesses become increasingly computerised in the 1980s, EDI formed an integral part of large volume data transmissions, such […]

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From early beginnings as a military tool to manage complex logistics involved in large-scale airlifts of the Second World War, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has grown to become the standard in high-volume, B2B structured data transmission.

As businesses become increasingly computerised in the 1980s, EDI formed an integral part of large volume data transmissions, such as between supply chain partners, for larger businesses. The benefit of such efficient data transfer, without human intervention, became a competitive advantage – quickly adopted by businesses who could afford to invest in EDI infrastructure.

EDI has traditionally been associated with large corporates, having a reputation for being complex and expensive; a powerful tool, but only for those who really need it.

Recent evolution in EDI

Over recent years, things have changed though.  EDI solutions now exist for all sizes of company, from large multinationals to small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). With the explosion in business data, EDI solutions are well suited to facilitating the high-volume, high-speed, computer-to-computer transactions and information flow prevalent in today’s business arena.

With the technology space opening up to an explosion of agile and hungry solution providers, traditional EDI has adapted and evolved to retain its position as the standard for B2B structured data transmission. EDI has evolved to incorporate and benefit from a range of technological innovations in recent years. EDI solutions now also reflect the sensibilities of modern software solutions – including improved interoperability, ease of use and cost efficiency.

Web-based EDI

As web-oriented solutions have advanced to address issues of confidentiality, authentication, data integrity and nonrepudiation of origin, barriers to web-based EDI have fallen away.  Web-based EDI is now the norm, running on managed networks, virtual private networks (VPNs), or point-to-point connections, utilising secure internet connections via AS2 or SFPT.

It’s not just the communication channels that have evolved, improvements in the x.12 EDI formatting standard have made EDI more broadly applicable solution for businesses.  As EDI has evolved, it has become faster and lower cost to implement.  All of these factors have contributed to further growth and strengthened EDI’s dominance as the standard for B2B structured data transmission.

Flexibility in modern EDI

EDI is often considered a large investment for the businesses.  As such, questions will be asked about how ‘future-proof’ the solution is, and how it can evolve to meet with changing business demands and partner requirements.  This is where traditional ‘single standard’ EDI solutions have fallen down, their security and resilience has precluded agility and flexibility.

Netsend works with businesses to provide EDI solutions that aren’t necessarily locked to one EDI standard.  With experience in working with a huge range of data formats and the most popular EDI standards, Netsend has translation models in place to change data from one EDI standard to another, as well as to and from any other data format.

EDI solutions, such as Netsend, that can work with a broad range of EDI standards, ensure maximal future compatibility with business partners.  Ensuring your business never cuts off the option to work with a particular EDI format could make the difference between being able to work with a future partner, or not.

Greater flexibility, scalability and availability in EDI

Another advance in how EDI is deployed for businesses is in the location of the EDI solution.  Traditionally, many businesses have taken steps to ensure their EDI systems sit entirely within their firewalls – preferring the security of a solution based on-site.

This approach went hand-in-hand with in-house development, based on a core do-it-yourself platform.  However, a modern approach to solutions architecture demands greater flexibility, scalability and availability resulting in more cloud-based, or co-located EDI solutions.

Whilst there are many benefits to taking EDI outside of the firewall, this requires further security planning and procedures to be implemented, often best achieved through partnering with an experienced solution provider.

How will EDI evolve further?

It’s safe to say that the number of EDI standards is set to increase over time, as more standards are introduced and businesses retain older standards for a variety of reasons.  Choosing an EDI solution that is adaptable to a broad range of existing, and future, EDI standards makes good business sense in light of this.

Web-based EDI is set to become faster and even more secure over time as associated technologies mature.  As businesses move increasing percentages of their infrastructure online, web-based EDI and associated infrastructure is likely to need to integrate more deeply with the broader business.

EDI has evolved and adapted to consolidate its position as the B2B structured data transmission standard, and we expect to see this continue.  Smart businesses will capitalise on this for competitive advantage.  Ensuring the forward-facing flexibility to achieve this requires careful evaluation of EDI solutions, make sure to use our EDI Check List when doing so, to pick the most adaptable and least limited from the available choice.

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Moving to a Shared Service Centre http://netsend.com/blog/b2b-invoicing/moving-shared-service-centre/ Wed, 21 Sep 2016 14:44:12 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=1870 Moving house is stressful.  Aside from organising transport, packing everything up, redirecting mail and other details, you’ll be trying to get back up and running as quickly as possible.  The same can be said, in more extreme terms, for a business move.  However, in the case of many business relocations, such as moving multiple functions […]

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Moving house is stressful.  Aside from organising transport, packing everything up, redirecting mail and other details, you’ll be trying to get back up and running as quickly as possible.  The same can be said, in more extreme terms, for a business move.  However, in the case of many business relocations, such as moving multiple functions into one shared service centre (SSC), planning for consolidation becomes a job in itself.

Moving to a shared service centre can dramatically reduce business costs, indeed over 60% of Fortune 500 businesses take this approach.  Consolidation and centralisation of services in one location brings economies of scale, as well as enforcing standardisation and more efficient working practices.

A centralised approach to certain business functions makes perfect sense – particularly in a digital world, where increased volumes of data stack nicely on a centralised server.  Previously disparate teams can come together under one roof, sharing information and working as one to service multiple regions or connected departments.

Why duplicate systems and teams across multiple locations, when one team, working with a centralised data-structure can work far more efficiently – eliminating duplication and wasted efforts.

Moving print to a Shared Service Centre

Whilst data and digital content can be consolidated with relative ease, paper presents a far greater challenge.  Businesses may be able to bring together disparate systems, rationalise and consolidate business functions to one location, but bringing the print and post functions of the mailroom or post room into one location can present a major challenge.

Moving print and post into one centralised location can certainly reduce the volume of print-related hardware across the whole business, as well as maintenance required.  But this channels more print volume through a smaller set of hardware, creating efficiency through pressure.

But with increased pressure, paper and printing requirements can stack up, or worse; become jumbled.

In addition to the challenge of supporting a higher flow of print, international businesses can suffer higher postage costs.  Centrally printed documents may need to be distributed to an international set of locations, resulting in higher stamp expenditure as well as longer delivery times.

Improving on the Shared Service Centre model

Where print volumes threaten to overwhelm a single location, the answer lies in outsourcing the print requirements.  Outsourcing print and postage offers the benefits of a centralised process, but can also leverage the benefits of localised print and postage across multiple locations.

Extending the scope of a mailroom, or post room, beyond print and post, into electronic document distribution (operating as a virtual mailroom), affords the opportunity to vastly increase distribution volume per unit time, at the same time as driving down costs – through the elimination of print, paper and postage costs.

Moving from print and post into the paradigm of electronic document distribution presents benefits far beyond immediate cost savings and efficiency improvements.  Unlike traditional post, electronic delivery can be verified (in real time) and resends can be triggered automatically, at no extra cost, if the initial delivery is not verified as received.  Further to this, document readership, and even electronically-validated acceptance, can also be reported, audited and used to trigger follow-up actions automatically.

How to make your move to a Shared Service Centre a success

Motivations for moving to a Shared Service Centre typically include improvements in efficiency, expenditure, visibility of processes and standardisation.  When considering the centralisation of the mailroom or post room function, it is wise to examine the benefits of outsourcing the document distribution to an expert partner, such as Netsend.

Netsend not only reduces overheads of office space and hardware, but brings benefits of electronic document distribution and localised print and postage services (where print is required) creating efficiency as well as complete real-time visibility of every step in the distribution process.

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ISO Compliance in e-invoicing and Document Distribution – ISO 27001:2013 http://netsend.com/blog/data-security/iso-compliance-e-invoicing-document-distribution-iso-270012013/ Tue, 23 Aug 2016 14:28:48 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=1839 As an ISO certified solution, Netsend ensures maximum security for e-invoicing and electronic document distribution.  Recently awarded ISO 27001:2013, Netsend provides the assurance of ISO compliance when distributing business critical and sensitive documents. What is ISO 27001:2013? The ISO 27000 family of standards are designed to ensure security of information assets within organisations.  ISO/IEC 27001 […]

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As an ISO certified solution, Netsend ensures maximum security for e-invoicing and electronic document distribution.  Recently awarded ISO 27001:2013, Netsend provides the assurance of ISO compliance when distributing business critical and sensitive documents.

What is ISO 27001:2013?

The ISO 27000 family of standards are designed to ensure security of information assets within organisations.  ISO/IEC 27001 is the specific standard providing requirements for an information security management system (ISMS).  As such, this provides the perfect framework for security in sensitive information handling by solutions such as Netsend.

ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is often shortened to simply ISO 27001, as the 2013 denotes the most recent revision of the standard – superseding the 2005 revision.  Of particular note, the 2013 revision includes requirements around outsourcing, and organisational context of information security.  These changes better align the standard with other management standards such as ISO 9000 and ISO/IEC 20000.

ISO 27001 compliance ensures:

  1. Assessment and management of the organisation’s information security risks, considering threats, vulnerabilities and impacts.
  2. A coherent and comprehensive suite of information security controls and other forms of risk treatment to address risks identified in point 1.
  3. Ongoing management process, including regular audits, to ensure information security controls continue to meet security needs.


  1. Risk assessment
  2. Security policy
  3. Organization of information security
  4. Asset management
  5. Human resources security
  6. Physical and environmental security
  7. Communications and operations management
  8. Access control
  9. Information systems acquisition, development and maintenance
  10. Information security incident management
  11. Business continuity management
  12. Compliance

What is the importance of ISO compliance in e-invoicing?

e-invoicing is inherently sensitive information, demanding the utmost rigor in information security.  ISO 27001 is a natural fit for any organisation looking to apply the rigorous approach of ISO standards to their information security in general, and e-invoicing as a subset of this.

e-invoicing places sensitive billing information into the hands of electronic systems.  Without external auditing and determination of compliance with a specific set of standards, such as ISO 27001 offers, there is no assurance that this information is being handled in the most secure manner.

As e-invoicing fast becomes the standard for invoicing, it is of paramount importance that businesses do not allow this sensitive information to be accessed, or modified by unauthorised individuals or systems.  e-invoicing presents many security, as well as efficiency, benefits beyond traditional paper invoicing, and ISO 27001 compliance further strengthens this position.

ISO compliance and Electronic Document Distribution

ISO 27001 compliance provides an assurance that documents will be distributed securely via electronic document distribution.  As increasing number of businesses turn to electronic document distribution for faster, more secure and lower cost distribution of business documents, it is imperative that businesses support this trust through the use of secure and compliance electronic document distribution solutions.

Netsend distributes over 1.5M secure documents each month for global businesses such as 20th Century Fox, easyJet, Pizza Hut and Total Gas and Power.  With documents typically containing sensitive financial information (such as e-invoices/e-bills), Netsend has a duty of care to ensure the very highest standard of security in distribution and handling.  ISO 27001 supports this through a precise set of recommendations and best practice applicable to the systems that handle this information.

Should you consider ISO 27001 compliance?

If you are looking to implement e-invoicing/e-billing or electronic document distribution for sensitive documents, you should seek out a solution that is ISO 27001 compliant.  Without this, there is no assurance that the solution will deliver the level of security your customers need.

Whilst ISO 27001 isn’t a legal requirement, it provides greater assurance that you won’t make the headlines as the next ‘customer data breach’ story.  Ensure you ask any e-invoicing or electronic document distribution solution provider for evidence of their ISO 27001 certification.

You can find the Netsend ISO 27001 compliance certificate here.

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