Here is the full story from Accountis’ blog (uncut):
We recently carried out a short e-invoicing survey on behalf of one of our clients. Out of about 400 potential suppliers interviewed the vast majority were very keen to adopt EIPP and make the switch from paper to electronic to receive e-purchase orders and send e-invoices. We spoke to key decision makers on e-invoicing, mainly Finance Directors, and most of them were aware of the benefits associated with e-invoicing and were happy to start sending e-invoices if requested to do so by one of their customers.
Despite an overall positive response, there were a few who expressed concerns, mainly to do with compatibility or processing issues. They feared that e-invoicing may not exactly mirror or integrate with their existing paper-based process. However, in most cases we had a simple solution for any issue/question raised and with a little education we were able to highlight the real flexibility and benefit of sending e-invoices. I though it may be interesting to go through some of the issues raised by the suppliers interviewed and explain how they can be addressed:
Q. We don’t want to change our existing finance system.
Q. It will be a pain to implement e-invoicing just for one customer.
Q. Our invoices are printed on headed paper, will they look the same?
Q: We don’t want to change our existing finance system.
A. You don’t have to. E-invoicing works alongside any existing system so you don’t need to change the way you do things currently. At its simplest, you can login to your customer’s e-invoicing portal to create and send an e-invoice by filling in and submitting an online form. You can also generate e-invoices directly from any software package such as Word, Excel, Sage, QuickBooks etc. by printing to a special e-invoicing printer rather than your usual office inkjet or laser printer (click here to see how this works). Finally they have the option to create and send e-invoices direct from an existing ERP system finance package using one of the available plug-in modules.
Q: It will be a pain to implement e-invoicing just for one customer.
A. E-invoicing is simple to set-up and easy to use – it actually takes the pain out of invoicing for you and your customers. Users of the Accountis system are pleasantly surprised at how little work is involved in setting up e-invoicing, and the immediate benefits far outweigh any minor inconveniences during set-up (see the “benefits of sending e-invoices”). Also, once you are sending invoices to one customer, why not send all your invoices this way? Have you discussed e-invoicing with your customers? You may be surprised at how many of them would actually prefer this option if it was offered to them. More and more businesses are using Accountis everyday, so it’s possible that some of your customer’s may already be processing financial documents in this way.
Q: Our invoices are printed on headed paper, will the e-invoices look the same?
A. The will look exactly the same. All e-invoices are set-up to mirror your paper invoices in every way. They can exactly follow your corporate layout and style, and include any additional features such as special contact details or marketing messages. So instead of printing to your usual printer, why not save paper, ink and other resources by selecting the virtual e-invoicing printer instead. This automatically generates a digitally signed e-invoice and sends it to your customer over the Internet in a matter of seconds.