E-invoicing projects are, nowadays, highly important to increase efficiency in the entire invoicing process. Traditionally, these kinds of projects are conceived as high cost initiatives rather than a method to improve the process. And typically, when the project has the green light to start, the attention is mostly focused on the technical aspects.
The biggest challenge is probably not technology but supplier engagement. Why? Because even when you define all the elements like tools, data required, formats and channels, you are, at the end the receiver. The ones who should provide you the information at the right time with the best quality, are your suppliers.
We tend to think that successful e-invoicing projects are (only) the result of the best technology, but the partnership with your suppliers and how engaged they are with the project is as important. Remember, both parties are pursuing a common goal.
Now, you must be thinking:
- Should I run a massive onboarding campaign with my suppliers?
- What if they don’t respond positive? Or what if they don’t respond at all?
- Should I approach them all in the same way?
Well, based on our experience, we recommend the following:
Define your onboarding strategy first:
Make a supplier segmentation based on invoice and transactional volume. For instance, suppliers with just a few invoices per year but high transactional volumes require more effort upon registration and accounting, right? They are your first target. Ask yourself: is the volume worth the effort?
Analyze your data and focus on suppliers with higher volume, they will be more interested in being part of your e-invoicing project.
And then, launch your onboarding campaign.
In one word: Communication. Start by refining your supplier master data. Regardless the approach (personal contact, telephone or email), make sure that you have the right contacts in your database.
Be clear in your communication. Inform them about the project and your expectations. Specify your requirements and internal invoicing rules.
Let them know, from the beginning, what’s in it for them. What are the benefits if they participate? Faster payments, internal cost reduction and an environment-friendly invoicing process are just some of these benefits. Put yourself in their shoes. If you want engagement, give something in return.
Rour goal is to minimize the paper invoices as much as possible. Try to convert the higher-invoice-volume suppliers to an electronic format like XML. And move the rest to an email-PDF method. If you have a capture solution in place, manual intervention from your team can be minimized upon registration.
More about: How to analyze your data and develop an onboarding strategy? How to execute a successful onboarding campaign? Contact us directly! As one of our services, we help our customers to define their onboarding strategy. We also provide advice on the technical and non-technical aspects for e-invoicing project implementations.