E-invoicing – puts the E in expedite
The way we conduct our business post recovery, signals changing times and getting onboard the E-invoicing network will be advantageous.
Most business owners can attest to this – when the hard part of project completion is done, comes the harder part of ensuring all the invoicing paperwork is in place, so as to expedite the payment collection process.
Issuance of the invoice to the customer is a formal request for payment and this usually happens in the traditional form of paper documents or digital format such as Word document and PDF. These two methods are both cumbersome with margin of error as information needs to be entered manually. In fact, a poll conducted by Enterprise Singapore in 2017 revealed this to be the common inefficient practices of SMEs. The manual process often causes delays in the submission of invoices and is increasingly liable to fraud as the invoice goes through numerous processing along the way.
And with the Covid-19 pandemic drastically changing the way we live, we will do well to reduce physical handling of documents that has to be passed on from one person to another.
Finding the solution in e-invoicing
Contrary to misconceptions – e-invoicing is defined as a network that carries out the exchange of e-invoices directly across systems, with no physical intervention. The invoice in Word document and PDF mentioned earlier, does not constitute e-invoicing.
Peter Rand, Director Business Development, Mastercard who has also authored the certificate programme on E-Invoicing Solutions offered by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Academy expands on this further, “E-invoicing is a change of focus on information. The value is not in the media, it’s in what is printed or written on the piece of paper. And that is why emailed PDF invoices are at best a partial answer to the problem of efficiently and accurately transferring data from one party to another.”
“For any business case, it is basically about transferring; why you want to be paid by your customer who needs to know why they have to pay you. And in a data hungry world, this is important because more and more organisations are seeking better, bigger data from their supply chain partners. In fact, it might be right down to the farm and the field from where the produce is sourced from.”
IMDA’s push towards Nationwide E-invoicing Initiative
IMDA is helping to support Singapore businesses digitalise and move towards e-invoicing through the Nationwide E-invoicing Initiative. Launched in 2019, IMDA implemented the Nationwide E-invoicing network to enable businesses to improve efficiency, reduce cost, enjoy faster payment while being environmentally sustainable at the same time.
This network adopts the Peppol framework which allows e-invoices to be transmitted directly from one financial system to another. Thus expediting invoice processing time and of course, faster payment. The time spent verifying invoices and chasing for payment is significantly reduced!
Time for your business to get onboard
There are two ways for your business to get onboard e-invoicing. The first is tapping on free digital solutions which can help digitise your invoices. However, this does not solve the bigger challenges of reconciliation as you will still have to manage the administration of matching these e-invoices to your orders.
The easier way is if your business has a cloud accounting software compatible with Peppol, such as Financio or Xero, the activation process is as simple as ‘switching it on’. What’s more, you don’t have to pay additional fees to get onboard. Here’s how they stack up.
|Cost to switch on E-invoicing|| |
Financio Premium subscription at $8 per month with e-invoicing FREE till 31st October 2020.
For updates on subsequent charges, click here.
|Comes free of charge with a Xero subscription (US$20-40 per month)|
|How to activate E-invoicing|| |
Step 1: Login to Financio and go to Control Panel > Integrated Apps > select PEPPOL.
Step 2: Click on the REGISTER button and update your company details.
Step 3: Provide your consent to register. An in-app notification will be delivered on successful registration on the Peppol network.
Find out more.
Step 1: Visit the Invoici site, navigate to the integration page and click Connect to Xero.
Step 2: Click Allow access and choose your Xero organisation to connect to Invoici from Storecove.
Step 3: Invoici collects information from your Xero organisation. Review this information and ensure that a unique company identifier is entered in the appropriate field. This should be your organisation’s UEN (Unique Entity Number).
Step 4: Once you’re happy the information is correct, tick the checkboxes and click Confirm Details. You’ll see confirmation that your Xero organisation is now connected to the Peppol network.
|What SMEs are saying||“Ever since I started with Financio, accounting invoicing and payment settlements have been a breeze. I used to manage many different reports but now it is all synchronised in one. And with our DBS account connected to Financio, transactions and recording of entries are so much easier now. With tasks done quickly, I am glad it has benefitted our business, our clients and vendors too.” – Mr. Jeya Vijay of 1 Play Sports||“E-invoicing has helped to speed up our invoicing process overall and saves us time from manual data entry. I'm no longer having to chase or correspond on missing invoices as the invoices are sent directly to my customers' accounting software. The E-invoicing registration process on Xero was also very simple and quick, so I could make use of the feature in a few minutes. It also helps that the feature is free on Xero.” – Henry Chan, Ninebot Asia|
Not an online accounting software user yet? Check out the Start Digital packages available to help you get started with confidence here.
Additional support to get started
There’s no better time to get started as there are more resources and support in place to help businesses get onboard quickly. It can even be rewarding!
Singapore companies can also tap on the E-Invoicing Registration Grant of $200 when registering to the nationwide e-invoicing network before 31st December 2020. There are also additional bonus payouts for businesses in the Food Services and Retail sectors under the Digital Resilience Bonus.
For more information, please visit
https://www.imda.gov.sg/einvoice for details on the Peppol network as well on the E-Invoicing Registration Grant
https://www.imda.gov.sg/DRBonus for details on the Digital Resilience Bonus
If you’d like to be guided on the steps necessary to adopt e-invoicing, you may wish to sign up for the programme on E-Invoicing Solutions Certificate. The programme is designed to provide a comprehensive and practical knowledge of the processes and benefits of implementing e-invoicing solutions to grow your business. More details can be found here: https://icc.academy/e-invoicing-solutions-certificate-esc/
The e-wave of doing business
We are in unprecedented times, but this period also presents an opportunity for businesses to reflect on their current operations and examine alternatives to consolidate their core operations and create the platform which they can then build on.
Bring your business efficiency to the next level when you get onboard the Nationwide E-invoicing Initiative. Especially when setting up is a relatively simple process and the rewards (ie. quicker and safer mode of payment) will be experienced for years on.
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