Five reasons why supplier enrolment fails

e-Invoicing is fast becoming the most sought-after way to improve AP invoice processing. However, an ill-conceived or poorly executed project can set your AP function back for years and leave a bitter taste with both you and your suppliers.

The success of any e-Invoicing project relies heavily on the rate of supplier adoption. Your supply chain will not tolerate multiple attempts to get an e-Invoicing project off the ground. You need to get it right first time. That means not only selecting the correct solution but also knowing how to deploy your project correctly.

To help you avoid the most common onboarding mistakes, we have compiled the top-five reasons why supplier enrolment fails:

  1. Work in silos: A supplier enrolment programme is not a project for Finance or Procurement alone; it is a project for both departments. Finance and Procurement need to be aligned on the messaging, have a collaborative process for driving adoption and be accountable for the results. The most successful projects I have been involved in are where Procurement and Finance have shared the KPIs.
  2. Keep staff in the dark: The more staff members your organisation has, the greater the potential that your project could be undermined if you haven’t kept them informed. Anyone who is remotely supplier facing must be fully briefed and on board with the objectives of your project or they will unwittingly hinder your enrolment activities when approached by suppliers.
  3. Don’t help suppliers understand the benefits: All too often buyers don’t take a balanced approach with their vendors. You will see big results by clearly outlining the rewards your suppliers will enjoy from changing the way they send you their invoices. But at the same time, you need a strong message with senior sponsorship to ensure they make the change within your timelines.
  4. Focus on the few: I often see buyers get carried away with the functionality available on a solution provider’s portal. Portals are the perfect tool for suppliers who send low volumes of invoices as they simply login, add their invoice information and hit submit.Companies can forget that the majority of their invoices come from suppliers who would benefit from some form of integration so invoice information is sent directly between their finance system and their customers’. It’s important that your provider has flexible options that suit all your vendors, whether they send 5 or 5,000 invoices each month.
  5. Make it self service: e-Invoicing is about mass adoption among your suppliers. A technology-based approach to enrolment won’t get the bulk of your suppliers signing up or, more importantly, sending you electronic invoices. Equally, the responsibility of getting suppliers on board shouldn’t fall to the buyer alone. Working with a team of dedicated onboarding experts will ensure your suppliers understand why they will benefit from adopting a new approach and make a seamless transition.

e-Invoicing relies on people changing well-established processes. Treating this as anything other than a change management programme will result in poor adoption among your suppliers.

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