News | Netsend http://netsend.com e-invoicing and e-billing solutions for business Mon, 15 Jan 2018 14:17:50 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 http://netsend.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/cropped-Netsend_Stacked_CMYK_square-1-32x32.png News | Netsend http://netsend.com 32 32 Best Practices in O2C Project Management http://netsend.com/blog/best-practice-in-o2c-management/ Mon, 04 Sep 2017 11:40:05 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=3212 By Chris Caparon, COO at Cforia The consensus directives coming from North American CFOs to their finance and accounting teams include 1) Ensuring business performance by establishing new cost efficiencies, financial plans and analytical approaches and 2) Managing operating risk through risk management strategies and systems. However, the challenge lies in dealing with projected business […]

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By Chris Caparon, COO at Cforia

The consensus directives coming from North American CFOs to their finance and accounting teams include 1) Ensuring business performance by establishing new cost efficiencies, financial plans and analytical approaches and 2) Managing operating risk through risk management strategies and systems.

However, the challenge lies in dealing with projected business changes and the ever-increasing departmental demands with flat or shrinking staff and more complex management requirements, while:

  1. Reducing Days Beyond Term (DBT) and accelerating the conversion of receivables into cash
  2. Mitigating credit risk and portfolio roll-up of global client exposure
  3. Reducing write-offs and diminishing bad debt reserve requirement
  4. Shortening the discover and resolution cycle times of client disputes and deductions
  5. Increasing customer O2C lifecycle satisfaction and making it easier to do business with

So, what are the best practices in order-to-cash project management? To answer the question, we need to look at a compilation of data points, and in this case, the findings have been observed over 14 years and 200 enterprise O2C implementations. These companies are managing over $240 billion in open Accounts Receivable portfolios today.

The top ten O2C areas are:

  1. Accounts Receivable Methodology
  2. Invoice Dispute and Deductions Resolution Handling
  3. Order Hold/Release Decisioning and Processing
  4. Application of Invoice Payments
  5. Lockbox Handling
  6. Generating Reports and Departmental Performance Analytics
  7. Billing Process Methods
  8. Multi-ERP Consolidation & Global Customer Management
  9. Credit Risk Management
  10. O2C Organizational Effectivity

From Paper to Digital

On average, 50-60% of the AR portfolio is being touched within each 30 day O2C cycle. The collections methodology is primarily call-centric, which means that there is little automation within the process. This lack of automation leaves AR departments working off disparate, paper-driven processes.

There tend to be lots of manual filing cabinets with literally thousands of well-used, sometimes decades old file folders. Teams might be working from printed, aged, trial balance sheets and creating collections and resolution notes in the margins of the report. Often there are many other manual, Excel, Access or other non-database driven prioritization of activities, which are not centralised and are specific to the work queue of the individual collector, resolver or credit analyst. With these decentralised, separate workflows in place, collaboration and overall AR visibility is near impossible.

Such environments tend to have little to no hierarchical account aggregation for mid-sized, large, chains and strategic accounts – no way to see the whole exposure of the parent-child portfolio. There are many off-system/manual credit or collections workflows and processes which have little consistency between individual resources, remote locations, or operational disciplines.

A key element to converting receivables to cash are Promise-to-Pay (P2P) reminders, which are located in Lotus Notes, Outlook Calendars, spreadsheet or manual processes. This is a critical success factor to impacting working capital.

There tends to be little ability to separate receivables sub-ledgers to optimise the collections and disputes performance activity and collections/resolutions are “managed to the rule” rather than “managed to the exception”. What this means is that virtually everything needs to be touched, versus segmenting the activity which can be automated to achieve 100% portfolio touched in each 30 day cycle and that there is simply no time to address a large number of small transactions or client accounts.

Observations of Best Practice

Collections environments exhibiting “best practices” are those that can be characterised by the following characteristics:

  • Teams have the ability to automatically segregate the receivables that are at risk based on sophisticated algorithms, taking into account payment behaviour patterns, historical performance, degradation of performance, credit bureau data and trade data which is blended and weighted
  • This optimises collections, dispute resolution and credit resource effectivity based on activity and calling priorities. This needs to be an automated process so that when resources arrive, their day is planned and can be executed in a “best practice” methodology to minimise the time required to identify high-value daily targets and prepare for daily activity

Your team needs near-time visibility into orders and payments to be most effective. VF Corporation reported “Netsend offers VF Corporation complete transparency. We now have the real-time visibility needed to enable proactivity”.

“Through improved efficiency and visibility, Netsend saves us hours every day”
Head of AR, The Guardian

Introduction of AR Portals

Best practice environments use reporting, analytics, dashboards and automated workflows in order to streamline O2C sub-process and critical steps that deliver the biggest working cash impact. This is true of not only resource activity/productivity but of automated communication and electronic calls-to-action to your clients.

Having links embedded in automated email messages, empowered with solutions like client portals, such as Netsend, for 7/24/365 customer self service enables them to access their digital invoice archive, whenever, wherever.

In many (non-best practice) environments, at least 60% of client inbound calls are about invoice queries that could well be instantly resolved through a self-service portal.

Implementing Best Practice in Your Business

Those using AR portals can create custom statements, make disputes, request contact from a resolver or pay bills immediately via a link provided. These types of businesses use a single solution for managing all aspects of AR collections, so they are not constantly flipping between separate systems which contain bits and pieces of the O2C lifecycle.

These AR collections methodology best practices yield on average a ROI of approx. 25% reduction in DSO, approx. 80% reduction of inbound call volumes regarding invoice related issues, approx. 40% improvement in O2C resource productivity and enable significant sale volume growth rates without having to add corresponding headcount.

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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.

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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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Automate tasks so you have more time to do the things you enjoy http://netsend.com/blog/automate-tasks-get-back-time/ Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:56:04 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=3045 The post Automate tasks so you have more time to do the things you enjoy appeared first on Netsend.

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Staying late to catch up on work because you’ve spent hours doing tedious, administrative and repetitive tasks?

Cut down on time you spend doing such tasks by delegating it to Netsend. We realise it’s not uncommon to dedicate hours each day to chores like printing, sorting, folding and preparing invoices for post. We’ve seen cases where accounts receivable teams find themselves constantly updating customer details and/or sending historical statements at a customer’s request. What if there was a solution that did that for you so you could leave work on time today?

“Netsend saves us time printing and scanning documents”
– MTV

Our portal provides you with the ability to automate document distribution so gone are the days of manually inputting document data, printing, and sorting them in-house. Your customers are encouraged to log in to the portal to view an archive of their statements or invoices, and if they move office or want to change their delivery option? Well they can do that by simply logging in whenever suits them, instead of making a call to you to print that old invoice they require for their end of month account reconciliations.

The ability to search electronically, rather than leafing through volumes of paper, can save hours of productivity, across a business.

“Through improved invoicing efficiency, accuracy and visibility, Netsend saves us hours every day”
– The Guardian

In our experience, outsourcing your electronic document distribution will save your business on average 7 hours a day.

According to a recent article by the BBC, “psychologists say stress over lack of time causes lower well-being and contributes to anxiety and insomnia.

Yet, they say even the very wealthy are often reluctant to pay people to do the jobs they dislike.” It goes on to explain that this is a global dilemma, “from Germany to the US, people report getting stressed over the daily demands of their time”.

Professor Dunn who has worked with colleagues at Harvard Business School and Maastricht University supports the theory of outsourcing one’s time consuming tasks, “money can in fact buy time. And it buys time effectively. Think about it, is there something you hate doing that fills you with dread and could you pay somebody else to do that for you?”

Speak with us today to see how we can help free up your time so you can do more fulfilling tasks during the day, and as important, leave on time.

 

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The implications of Blockchain technology for e-invoicing and document distribution http://netsend.com/blog/implications-blockchain-technology/ Wed, 19 Jul 2017 09:03:08 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=2971 The post The implications of Blockchain technology for e-invoicing and document distribution appeared first on Netsend.

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The implications of blockchain technology are far reaching, it presents a paradigm shift in both information sharing and the delocalisation of computational resources.  Whilst most of the headlines pertaining to blockchain chart the massive volatility in cryptocurrency values, that’s a little like talking about the early internet just in terms of cat pictures that were shared on it.

True, blockchain needs a token system (the aforementioned cryptocurrencies) to operate, but once the initial market speculation and volatility around these level out, the underlying technology will have the opportunity to shine for what it really is.

At Netsend, we are most enthusiastic about what blockchain technology looks set to offer.  Such as the capability for shared ledgers.  This takes the verification of transactions to a new level – enhancing trust and improving security.  The persistence of the ‘chain’ in blockchain also enables easy auditing, something we see becoming an increasing requirement in a post-Enron, Sarbanes-Oxley, business world.

Blockchain computation and ‘smart contracts’

Beyond the improvements in visibility that blockchain enables, there is a fascinating computational layer emerging via technologies such as Ethereum.  Due to the shared, decentralised nature of blockchain, programs running on it are extremely hard to censor or interfere with.  So, deploying a ‘smart contract’ program – perhaps set to make a payment to a specific address if certain conditions are met (e.g. the sale of a house) – creates an assurance of payment when those conditions are met.

“Bitcoin is first and foremost a currency; this is one particular application of a blockchain. However, it is far from the only application. To take a past example of a similar situation, e-mail is one particular use of the internet, and for sure helped popularise it, but there are many others.”Dr Gavin Wood, Ethereum Co Founder

It’s easy to see how smart contracts, operating on a blockchain, fit well with the concept of electronic invoicing or e-billing in the wider sense.  Theoretically, the blockchain could be utilised to validate a transaction, deliver an e-invoice and facilitate payment, entirely automatically.

Sharing documents via the blockchain

As more businesses move towards electronic document distribution for a wide range of benefits, it’s not a large step from here to think of documents as being sharable in both directions – enabling collaboration on content.  Typically, collaboration requires the sending of one document back-and-forth, with one person editing it at a time (the others being locked out, to preserve version control).

With a blockchain approach to document distribution, a single document could be worked on collaboratively by a broad range of users – with recorded detail about who made which edits and when.  This may sound familiar, as Google Docs offer a similar capability already.  However, as blockchain becomes more deeply integrated in business processes, it’s likely that this shared, distributed even, approach to documents will become standard.

Blockchain technology removes the need for a ‘master’ document to be held somewhere.  The document can reside in a distributed, decentralised, blockchain network and any edits (changes from the original/master) can be immediately identified and validated – preserving integrity through transparency of changes.

How to leverage blockchain value, without complexity

With any new technology, there is always an adoption curve.  Those businesses embracing technology first often invest large sums of money in research, deployment and then revisions… offset against the competitive edge of being first to offer a new way of working.

At Netsend, we see this a lot with the ever-increasing variety of electronic document formats, especially in the area of e-invoicing.  But this is exactly where we help clients most – we take away the need to understand the complexity.  Netsend acts as an interface layer with a huge number of different EDI, eProcurement and other specialist solutions.  Through our set of connectors, we can quickly translate and deliver documents in the correct format for any recipient.

So too will the need arise for our customers to integrate accounts receivable processes, such as e-invoicing, with blockchain technology.  At this juncture, it makes perfect sense for businesses to outsource their integration challenges to an expert partner, like Netsend.  This enables businesses to focus on their day-to-day activities, whilst the technology partner takes the strain of keeping up to date with the latest protocol changes and technical requirements.

How fast will the blockchain ‘revolution’ be?

As revolutionary as blockchain technology is, it’s not going to dominate the invoicing or document distribution market anytime soon.  Whilst there will be competitive advantage to early adopters being able to offer a blockchain-connected solution, its certain that many of the current electronic channels will remain for some time.

How can we be so certain?  Well, it’s already clear that electronic invoicing offers distinct savings (around €6.40 per invoice by some estimates) over paper, and yet this is only growing at 20% year on year.  It’s human nature to fear change, and change to such business-critical services as invoice distribution takes the longest time to approve.

Document distribution, in the wider sense, is also likely to shift slowly to a blockchain-centric approach, but there will be no overnight revolution, change will be measured in years.

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 you to support invoicing and document distribution in a vast range of formats and standards, including blockchain when this becomes relevant to your market.

 

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What is PEPPOL? http://netsend.com/blog/what-is-peppol/ Mon, 03 Apr 2017 08:00:57 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=2490 PEPPOL, which stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, is an EDI (electronic data interchange) protocol, designed to simplify the purchase-to-pay process between government bodies and suppliers.  Put simply, 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 […]

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PEPPOL, which stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, is an EDI (electronic data interchange) protocol, designed to simplify the purchase-to-pay process between government bodies and suppliers.  Put simply, 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.  Typically, a government body would have a small set of approved suppliers – familiar and able to meet their order processing and fulfilment needs – and rarely reach beyond these.  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.

What problems does PEPPOL solve?

In the context of the NHS, PEPPOL is seen as improving procurement efficiency through the enablement of electronic ordering, delivery notes and e-invoicing.  Suppliers to NHS trusts will make PEPPOL-compliant catalogues available, from which products can be automatically ordered.  EDI enables full automation of the purchase process, and simplifies the task for suppliers to create delivery notes and invoices.

Aside from day-to-day efficiency, the requirement for PEPPOL as a standard across all NHS trusts and suppliers creates a more open and competitive market.  Consequently, NHS trusts will experience greater cost efficiency in procurement – selecting goods from the best value supplier at the time.  Additionally, greater visibility of stock-levels and speed of procurement brings benefits such as Just-in-Time ordering that have significantly reduced warehousing and wastage costs in retail and automotive industries.

Suppliers are set to benefit too, with easy access to a broader network of buyers.  Competitive conditions will improve cost-efficiency for NHS trusts, but also empower suppliers to scale up and achieve sales volumes that were previously limited.

Furthermore, the implementation of PEPPOL vastly simplifies the task of tracking products from purchase to deployment.  The standardisation of labelling, through GS1 compliance, and PEPPOL EDI means that a particular range of products can easily be traced and recalled from market if required.  In the context of medical supplies, recall and management of previously unknown side-effects in existing patients is a crucial standard to uphold.

What does PEPPOL consist of?

PEPPOL isn’t an e-procurement, or e-invoicing system.  PEPPOL is a set of open technical specifications that facilitate interoperability and trading between connected parties.  Connection to the PEPPOL network is via a PEPPOL access point, typically a service provided by an e-invoicing or e-procurement solution provider.

PEPPOL compliance centres around the exchange of PEPPOL-compliant documents, between buyer and supplier, such as e-catalogues, e-orders, e-despatch notes and e-invoices.  This exchange is done across the PEPPOL network, via respective Access Points (gateways).

For documents to be PEPPOL-compliant, they need to adhere to specifications outlined in PEPPOL Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) v2.

You can find more information about PEPPOL in our PEPPOL FAQ Document here.

What do NHS trusts need to know about PEPPOL?

As a public authority, NHS trusts must adopt e-invoicing in public procurement using a common European standard by November 2018.  It is broadly accepted that PEPPOL is the most relevant standard to adopt, and in doing so, NHS trusts will become aligned with the requirements set out in the EU Directive.

PEPPOL-compliant e-invoicing is one aspect of the larger drive to improve efficiency across the NHS.  Part of this drive includes a mandate that NHS trusts should be using the PEPPOL EDI protocol, with GS1 labelling and location coding standards, for the majority of transactions with suppliers by 2020.

So, there are two deadlines:

  • PEPPOL-compliant e-invoicing – by November 2018
  • PEPPOL-compliant, and GS1-compliant, e-procurement processes (for the majority of transactions) by 2020

There are many challenges ahead for NHS trusts in the deployment of PEPPOL.  Currently (early 2017), NHS trusts are looking to the handful of demonstrator sites within the NHS for learnings and guidance on the best way to implement GS1 and PEPPOL compliance.  As these sites release early-stage learnings, the path to PEPPOL compliance will become clearer.

In addition to the technical challenges of PEPPOL compliance, NHS trusts also need to find budget to invest in PEPPOL.  Whilst the long-term savings through efficiency gains are substantial, this reduction in operational expenditure does little to support the immediate need for capital expenditure.

What do NHS suppliers need to know about PEPPOL?

Suppliers are set to benefit from vastly improved efficiency, as GS1-compliant electronic purchase orders are raised and transmitted by PEPPOL-compliant EDI.  These electronic purchase orders can trigger automated delivery and the generation of an electronic invoice.

Savings will arise from greater automation.  Presenting invoices electronically, in a format that can be automatically processed by NHS trusts, will also result in reduced delinquency and DSO (days sales outstanding).  Collecting money fast is always a major competitive edge, so embracing the e-invoicing side of PEPPOL, ahead of competitors, is a strategic advantage.  The improved cashflow, resulting from this, will enable growth and improve profitability.

The onus will be on suppliers to deliver PEPPOL-compliant documents such as e-catalogues, despatch notes and e-invoices for NHS trusts to consume and integrate with their e-procurement processes.   For documents to be PEPPOL-compliant, they need to adhere to specifications outlined in the PEPPOL Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) v2.

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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Billentis e-invoicing Market Report 2016 http://netsend.com/analyst-reports/billentis-e-invoicing-market-report-2016/ Tue, 31 May 2016 10:42:37 +0000 http://netsend.com/?p=1499 Billentis, one of the most referenced and quoted authorities on the topic of electronic invoicing, have just released their 2016 market report.  Collating global statistics and drilling down into specific instances, the report identifies trends and makes predictions for this fast-evolving market. Cherry-picking from this detailed report, we’ve pulled out a few key points to […]

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Billentis, one of the most referenced and quoted authorities on the topic of electronic invoicing, have just released their 2016 market report.  Collating global statistics and drilling down into specific instances, the report identifies trends and makes predictions for this fast-evolving market.

Cherry-picking from this detailed report, we’ve pulled out a few key points to whet the appetite.  But we thoroughly recommend downloading a copy for yourself.

Invoice Automation and Efficiency

“Digitization of invoices alone is not sufficient for achieving zero-touch and automated invoice processing. The proportion of exception handling is still too high in most organisations. One major reason is poor data quality in invoices. Inaccurate information in B2B invoices is a major reason for payment delays.” – Bruno Koch, Billentis Report 2016

Invoice automation is one of the long-term aspirations of many businesses implementing electronic invoicing projects.  However, with the organic growth from paper to digital processes, it is often the case that electronic invoicing is not immediately automated.  This means that errors present in paper invoices are simply transferred into errors in electronic invoices.

It is for this reason that faster and more effective e-invoicing deployments utilise expert partners to ensure digitisation automatically pulls the most accurate content from accounting systems, and also allows for self-service, or extremely easy, modification of incorrect details by recipients.

Business Agility through Electronic Invoicing

“In today’s erratic economy, business agility is more important than ever before. According to the concept of business agility, organisations seek to approach their operations and resources in a flexible manner.” – Bruno Koch, Billentis Report 2016

However, there is an inherent challenge in becoming agile; the backdrop of an ever-increasing variety of electronic invoicing.  As such, there is growth in more flexible solutions that rapidly adapt to market and environmental changes, taking the strain away from the business.

In particular, the statement that “trading partners send or request the business documents in diverse formats. Organisations with in-house solutions have to invest a lot of time in building and maintaining the corresponding mapping tables and divergent processes.” says a lot about how e-invoicing favours those who outsource, and places significant strain and limitation on those who refuse to modernise their approach to developing and deploying technology solutions.

This echoes our experience at Netsend, as we find the majority of businesses needing to consider an open network for e-invoicing, and, in particular, a solution partner who will adapt and support current and future needs swiftly and cost-effectively.

Growth of e-invoicing in 2016

“It is expected that the 2016 volume for e-bills/e-invoices will achieve around 30 billion worldwide with annual growth rates of 10-20%.” – Bruno Koch, Billentis Report 2016

The report breaks down the status quo, as well as growth expectations and drivers for growth globally, and in a variety of regions – from Europe, to Asia, the US and beyond.  It is apparent that each region has a unique set of factors driving the uptake of e-invoicing, and presenting a slightly different face to the technology in each instance.

Particular attention is drawn to the fact that is expected that over 100,000 public administrations/agencies in Europe will be impacted by a new directive by 2018.  The planning and implementation is already under way for many, and legislation will be updated in parallel to support the directive.  This will create a spike in e-invoicing uptake within the B2G sector in Europe, and is likely to have wider implications in the short to medium timeframe.

One additional area of note is the suggestion that “Pure e-invoicing services are no longer sufficient. The demand to support additional documents, processes and value added services is increasing substantially.”  This suggests that businesses need to consider the broader benefits and considerations of electronic document distribution, as well as the broader impact of e-invoicing on AR and AP teams, and related ecosystems, at suppliers and buyers.

Structured and Unstructured Data in e-invoicing

In discussion of e-invoice exchange formats, Billentis take a deep-dive in the German market, but extend conclusions beyond this point example.

“The long-term intention of most stakeholders is to exchange, process and archive most electronic invoices in a structured format.  The high-volume industries (e.g. retail, automotive) were able to establish this in the first stage of market development. EDI, and in later years XML, dominated the e-invoicing landscape.

 

In recent years, a combination of PDF+XML invoices gained ground. Either this happens with two separate files, or a XML data set is embedded in the PDF.

 

Recent surveys in countries like Austria, Estonia, Germany, Spain and the US indicate that in 2015, the proportion of PDF invoices was around ¾ of all electronic invoices.

 

Governments mandating suppliers to send invoices just in electronic format typically ask for XML and do not permit PDFs (e.g. Austria).” – Bruno Koch, Billentis Report 2016

These points indicate there is a prevailing appetite for structured data format invoicing.  With the current market sitting at around 75% PDF invoices (and most of these are unstructured data) there is clearly much change due, and much of this will trickle down from B2G mandates for e-invoicing standards.

It is implicit in the findings of the report, that the best solutions will need to span both types of invoicing format for some time.  A point which sits alongside the need for agility and risks of building a solution in-house, and favours highly adaptable, outsourced e-invoicing solutions.  And we couldn’t agree more.

Read these points, and others, for yourself.  Download your free copy of the 2016 Billentis Report today.

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The Cost of Bad Reporting http://netsend.com/blog/news/the-cost-of-bad-reporting/ Sun, 11 Nov 2012 14:21:34 +0000 http://blog.netsend.com/?p=269 Good reporting is a prime requirement for many business processes. For e-billing to succeed good reporting is imperative. You need to know when and how an invoice was sent and if it was received. Sending PDF invoices via email may seem free but what is the cost of bad reporting? I recently met with a […]

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Good reporting is a prime requirement for many business processes. For e-billing to succeed good reporting is imperative. You need to know when and how an invoice was sent and if it was received.

Sending PDF invoices via email may seem free but what is the cost of bad reporting?

I recently met with a company that had a controlled and well organised collections process resulting in a good Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). The introduction of PDF email invoicing disrupted this process because of a lack of good reporting.

Their system couldn’t monitor when an email delivery failed so they weren’t able to update their records or send the invoice immediately via another method.

The failure of the email delivery only became known when the invoice wasn’t paid on time. At that point the collections cycle kicked-in, a collections call was made, a copy invoice was posted and the debtor was given further time to make payment.

The lack of reporting meant any savings on stamps and stationery were being lost in copy fulfilment and phone calls. The DSO became compromised, the credit team lost faith in the system and eventually it fell into redundancy.

Many ERP and accounts systems now provide this sort of email delivery module. They seem attractive as low cost solutions for PDF invoicing. However, invoicing is a business critical function and needs to be done properly. Without reporting tools, audit trails and failure management these systems are unlikely to be fit for purpose. What’s the point of having a low cost solution if it disrupts your business process to the point no one will use it?

As with most things in life you do get what you pay for.

Using a specialist e-billing provider may not be free but it will save money over posting everything. More importantly by ensuring your invoices are sent, tracked and monitored and by providing good reporting it will enhance your existing business process. Better and cheaper isn’t true of many things, but it is true of e-billing when done properly.

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The Problem with Portals http://netsend.com/blog/news/the-problem-with-portals/ Sun, 02 Sep 2012 14:24:23 +0000 http://blog.netsend.com/?p=271 I recently read an Internet ‘fact’ that adoption of web based e-billing currently averages less than 10% across all industries. This struck me as odd because Netsend’s clients typically average a 70% conversion away from paper billing. Reducing bill cycle costs is often a primary goal for our clients. Therefore the success of the Netsend […]

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I recently read an Internet ‘fact’ that adoption of web based e-billing currently averages less than 10% across all industries. This struck me as odd because Netsend’s clients typically average a 70% conversion away from paper billing.

Reducing bill cycle costs is often a primary goal for our clients. Therefore the success of the Netsend solution is often measured by the number of print and post bills we convert to electronic distribution. Each invoice converted equals a reduction in post costs.
Speed of delivery, control, audit and compliance rank high in the list of requirements but cost savings rule. Therefore the focus shouldn’t be on the success of the 10% but on the opportunity with the remaining 90%.

If you define ‘web based e-billing’ as meaning documents collected from a billing portal, low conversion figures become understandable. Portals are nice and many customers find them useful; especially for copy documents, but faced with logons and passwords many customers opt for convenience. That means invoices as email attachments.

Yet most invoice issuers only offer portal solutions. I think convenience is the driving logic behind this too. When you consider the process of monitoring email failures and individually printing and posting them you start to see the attraction of portals. Simply put, loading invoices to a portal is far easier than sending them out.

There’s also the allure of guaranteed delivery. When using a portal you know if an invoice has been received and read. This is true, but only for that 10% that bother to logon. For everyone else the only thing you know is when the post address is wrong, because it comes back return to sender.If portals please just 10% of your customer base it’s clear you need something else to ensure your e-billing solution is a success.

By allowing the end customer to choose between collecting invoices from a secure website (the ‘pull’ method) or receiving them as PDF attachments (the ‘push’ method) you too should achieve 70% adoption for electronic distribution.

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Mastering DSO http://netsend.com/blog/news/mastering-dso/ Mon, 20 Aug 2012 14:18:41 +0000 http://blog.netsend.com/?p=266 Recently I was at a forum for credit professionals where the question was asked ‘How can you master your DSO?’. The answers focused on the little daily annoyances that stand in the way of achieving DSO targets; mis-sold and badly fulfilled orders (blame the salesman!), late, wrongly issued and undelivered or lost invoices. Mostly these […]

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Recently I was at a forum for credit professionals where the question was asked ‘How can you master your DSO?’. The answers focused on the little daily annoyances that stand in the way of achieving DSO targets; mis-sold and badly fulfilled orders (blame the salesman!), late, wrongly issued and undelivered or lost invoices. Mostly these are factors from outside the credit department but that have a direct and adverse effect on it.As co-founder of Netsend I can offer two tips for trying to master DSO. One I know you already have, one I’d hope you’d consider investigating. My two tips are experience and e-billing.Experience is often referred to as another word for mistakes. If that’s the case I’m very experienced. Trial and error is how we learn what does and what doesn’t work. Practicing, refining and honing what works edges us towards mastery of our chosen field. Bruce Lee said he doesn’t fear the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.I guess he meant the expert. As professionals in our fields we are experts. We’ve found, developed and practiced the skills that work. Daily inconveniences like those mentioned are the things that get in the way of employing these skills. That’s where my second tip comes in; e-billing.

E-billing isn’t a panacea for all ills. It won’t instantly and automatically reduce DSO or make like easier. However it will let you know the invoice was delivered. It can let you prove the invoice was received, opened and looked at. E-billing means nobody ever needs ask for a copy document because they can be accessed online. ‘Lost’ invoices can be instantly found.

E-billing can help shut down non-payment excuses, speed-up delivery and reduce the time spent handling, processing and sending copy documents. I’ve certainly met enough credit professionals expected to moonlight as envelope stuffers.

All this helps you to focus on resolving genuine issues and identifying and preventing bad debt – the job you were hired as an expert to do.

Combining the experience of what to do with the opportunity to do it could create something Bruce Lee would be terrified of – someone who’s practiced 10,000 kicks 10,000 times. To me that sounds like a master.

 

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Customer Account Tools http://netsend.com/blog/news/customer-account-tools/ Wed, 20 Jun 2012 14:16:15 +0000 http://blog.netsend.com/?p=264 As part of Netsend’s commitment to on-going, organic development we are pleased to announce the launch of our latest set of customer tools. Netsend strives to continually improve by developing our products and services based on client and customer feedback. That way we know we have a great offering that’s fit for the market – […]

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As part of Netsend’s commitment to on-going, organic development we are pleased to announce the launch of our latest set of customer tools.

Netsend strives to continually improve by developing our products and services based on client and customer feedback. That way we know we have a great offering that’s fit for the market – because it was requested, specified and road test by the market.

Our new suite of customer account tools falls into that category and has been developed and tested in the real world by real users.

Netsend can now offer through the e-billing portal;

” Up-to-date online statement position
” The ability to raise invoice queries directly from the interface
” Query routing to named accounts personnel
” Intention to pay and remit options
” Online payment – directly from invoice or from interface
” Mark, flag and sort documents for efficient portal management
” Re-orderable columns
” Export ad hoc PDF statements on user defined items
” Download invoice data in CSV and XML formats

This is an exciting extension of the Netsend portal bringing our clients closer to their customers.

If you want to discuss adding these tools to your existing Netsend portal please contact your account manager. If you’re not a Netsend client and want to explore e-billing, document outsourcing or online archiving call me direct on 020 3177 1700.

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