Federal e-invoicing is complex . . .

but cross-agency tech sharing can ease the pain

The clear advantages of e-invoicing are becoming increasingly apparent to businesses across the globe. With significantly reduced costs and lightning fast payments, the efficiencies of e-invoicing are being adopted by both the private and public sectors. In fact, the United States government, through its Office of Management and Budget, has recently announced the mandatory use of electronic invoices across federal agencies by 2018.

This mandate comes as part of a government-wide initiative to cut inefficiencies and eliminate the friction caused by outdated methodologies. But, as is often the case, it’s easier said than done. An article on PaymentSource highlights the scale of the challenge that the government faces. According to the article, the entire federal government processes more than 19 million invoices per year, yet only 40% of these are processed as electronic invoices. With 11.4 million invoices left to process as e-invoices within the next 2 years, the government will certainly act as a model for how to rapidly transform critical business processes.

In order to make a shift of this scale, the US government will need to set up new regulations along with a shared service for processing. It’s a daunting task, but not one that hasn’t been faced before. For example, the Scottish government has already implemented a solution to this problem. With exemplary planning, it managed to create a shared service among 60 different finance packages, so that most of its suppliers can easily adopt e-invoicing without having to make any changes to their existing systems. Furthermore, suppliers are given the option of sending their invoices as cXML files — or via the much more convenient and accessible PDF format.

Now that a more seamless, PDF-enabled invoicing structure has been established, the Scottish government can easily interface with new suppliers, and onboard them much more quickly. This, in turn, reduces even more friction in the invoicing process for all government agencies and their vast networks of suppliers.

For further insights into the US government’s shift to e-invoicing and the benefits it expects to achieve as a result, see the original article at PaymentSource.

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