The decision to do
In business, we often believe that success and failure are defined by the things we choose to do. Launching new services, hiring new staff members, or rebranding – the choice to do something always carries risks and rewards.
Therefore, it’s slightly more complicated for me to explain where Tungsten Network, the world’s largest compliant business transaction network, sits in that equation – because whether you partner with someone else or even take on the digitisation challenge alone – the greatest enemy for all of us is doing nothing at all.
Invoicing is a universal business obligation and a largely manual process. In addition, the invoice is also a very powerful document. It carries with it a lot of useful data that is often overlooked, or too difficult to leverage.
What we’ve observed in the industry for a long time, is a very high cost, slow-moving process that isn’t value-focused, and doesn’t have the digital ability to even be effectively cost-focused either.
Obviously, for a global company, the complexity of consolidating several ERPs – and digitising the invoicing process – would pose a lot of obstacles to implement. The harsh reality is that we see e-invoicing as an increasingly mandated and necessary process that isn’t going anywhere soon. If anything, it’s likely to become the benchmark expectation in a matter of years.
Same arguments, new resolutions
Which brings me round to your greatest enemy: doing nothing about any of this. While ignoring the issue is often easier in the short-term, we hear plenty of reasons to put off making digital changes, especially for established, global businesses:
‘’We’re going to keep doing things the old way – it’s worked so far, right?” – We don’t dispute that global business can’t keep invoicing without technology. In fact, our Total AR & Total AP solutions are structured to let you submit your invoices in whatever format you choose. However, the cost and time of sticking to this method are increasing. As they say, the writings on the wall – the time to digitise is now.
“What if things didn’t go to plan? We can’t afford disruptions to our invoicing process…’ – Most invoices take 15-30 days to pay – and that’s if they don’t get held up by exceptions. We’ve been in this business for 20 years, and have built an expansive network across hundreds of countries already. We work with 74% of the FTSE 100 and 71% of the F500, most of whom invoice globally daily. That experience means there’s not a lot we haven’t seen in invoicing – which makes avoiding the project potholes a whole lot easier.
‘E-invoicing seems like nothing more than a cost-control exercise. Where else would I even see value?’ – The digitisation of an invoice is like trading in a postcard from your vacation for a feature-length 3-D film of your best moments there, with an accompanying soundtrack. The data we leverage from every invoice provides insights into your line-level data in real-time. Our exception-handling means we can side-step long hold-ups on payment and we’re able to provide total visibility of an invoice from a buyer to a supplier and vice-versa.
For AR departments, setting this digital foundation brings increased visibility and more robust compliance controls, turning invoicing into a driver of growth and a decision-enhancer.
For AP, where there is naturally less control for buyers, you’re able to have oversight over any and all your incoming invoices, and the ability to pay them quicker.
Then we have the real elephant in the room. Governments are now becoming increasingly involved in the invoicing process – as such, doing nothing is not going to be an option in the near future. With the success of clearance models across the world, many businesses are going to have to make a change. The opportunity to do something about that is now.
In a sense, digital inertia is our greatest challenge too. I understand that being told you should be achieving ‘world-class performance’ can sound daunting. So, if you take anything from this blog, then let it be this.
Build a secure, digital foundation now and you’ll find reaching new heights won’t be quite so hard – world-class isn’t an overnight process, but it is a journey you can make. To put it in even simpler terms; the devil makes paperwork for idle hands.