Article

Emerging Technologies and e-Invoicing

10 August 2021

The future of invoicing is electronic.

Emerging technologies can help service providers develop cost-effective e-Invoicing solutions.

Even so, 90 percent of all invoices processed worldwide are paper-based, according to the Billentis e-Invoicing journey report.

While you can scan some invoices, such as PDF invoices, and exchange essential information electronically, the process isn’t efficient. Sure, converting PDF invoices into electronic invoices reduces manual handling by 20 percent, but that’s not enough.

Indeed, third-party e-Invoicing providers offer better services, but many bootstrapped businesses find the transaction fees unaffordable. These organizations, therefore, prefer to skip service providers.

However, emerging technologies can help service providers develop cost-effective e-Invoicing solutions.

This article takes a closer look at these new technologies and their role in accelerating e-Invoicing adoption.

Blockchain

Blockchain offers everything needed to transform invoicing and payment processes.

Through the technology, an invoice can sit in a decentralized blockchain network and be accessed by multiple users simultaneously. Any alterations made to the invoice data are permanently recorded, showing who altered what and when.

The secure and easy access, together with indelible and transparent recording of alterations, eliminates the need for an intermediary to authenticate and confirm the changes.

Blockchain e-invoicing is a game-changer. While multiple systems can access and modify the invoice on the network, the entire process is tamper-proof.

The ripple effect is unprecedented trust in the payment process and among trading partners. And, with the trust comes faster payments, discounts, and improved cash flow, further opening more opportunities.

Cloud Invoicing

Billing technologies are shifting to the cloud thanks to the Software as a Service (SaaS) popularity.

When fully implemented, cloud e-invoicing will allow trading partners to access records and data from anywhere in the world.

Further, cloud-invoicing will enable businesses to receive updates in real-time. That way, trading partners can resolve any invoicing issues quickly.

Cloud-based services are already making it possible for organizations to leverage Artificial Intelligence and B2B data exchange. And the beauty of it is that business owners and managers will be able to access cloud e-invoicing straight from their devices.

Nearly 60 percent of e-invoices in Europe are exchanged through cloud services. The Bellentis report projects this could increase to 70% by 2025.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

RPA may be reasonably new technology, but it’s already recording high levels of adoption by businesses, especially in accounts payable departments (AP).

The key to reaping the benefits of RPA for business is e-invoicing.

Some of the reasons a business would want to implement RPA for e-invoicing include shorter invoice cycles and simplified approval processes.

Because e-invoices contain structured data, there are several tasks a robot can complete during the verification and approval of an invoice.

A perfect example is the adoption of RPA by countries such as Italy and Mexico in their tax infrastructure. These countries are using automated verification to collect the necessary tax information and approve invoices automatically.

In AP departments, the benefit of RPA lies in the verification and booking of the invoice.

For instance, the technology can be used to train your ERP system to automatically decline and return an invoice that doesn’t contain important information, such as a PO number.

Further, RPA can be used to assign cost centers and general ledgers to a specific invoice automatically.

RPA solutions are expected to substitute 50% of the manual accounting process as more businesses adopt the technology.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is helping take invoicing automation a notch higher.

Now, businesses can process hundreds of invoices and financial data quickly using AI and ML-powered ERP systems.

AI makes it easy to identify and verify transactions giving businesses better control over their cost and supply chains. Plus, through ML and AI, accounting systems can spot anomalies and errors with precision, helping eliminate payment disputes among trading partners.

The development and adoption of ML, AI, and RPA are making remarkable processes that reduce invoiced scanning volume by up to 50 percent in 2025, according to the Billentis report.

Advanced Analytics and Business Intelligence

As a business grows, so does its financial data.

While organizations can manage data through dashboards and reports, it can become technically challenging to stay on top of things, especially for large volumes of information.

Advanced analytics and business intelligence can help this problem. Some of the ways the two technologies can help improve e-invoicing include:

  • Detecting anomalies such as price differences between similar products or inflated prices
  • Ensuring tax compliance
  • Identifying incorrect allocations
  • Providing real-time and historical price variance analysis
  • Detecting and rejecting fraudulent invoices

Conclusion

It is exciting to see how these new technologies are blending with electronic invoicing.

While e-invoicing is a phenomenon by itself, the new developments can only make it better. By extension, this means electronic invoicing will become even more convenient than we know it today.

Real-time e-invoice verification and approval, for instance, means invoices getting paid a couple of hours after they’re sent to the recipient will soon become standard.

How can your business be part of this revolution?

Well, the first step is partnering with a forward-thinking e-invoicing access point provider.

You want to work with an e-invoicing solution that is quick to adopt technological advancements. That way, you can leverage emerging tech as soon as it is ready for adoption.

At Unimaze, we offer e-invoicing solutions that can help you integrate new technologies into your ERP system, from AP and AR automation to order management and automatic invoice tracking.

Get in touch with Unimaze support to find out more.

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