At the most simple level, electronic invoicing is replacing a physical, paper invoice, with an electronic equivalent. For most businesses, their e-Invoicing process is to create a PDF version of the invoice document which is then emailed to their customer. Although this system works well in principle, it can still be improved upon.
One of the basic problems that has plagued email since it became a major business tool, is its vulnerability to misuse. The most common way to distribute viruses and malware is via an email attachment which is opened unwittingly by the recipient.
Modern network security techniques and antivirus software reduce the risk of viral infection, but at the same time are notorious for detecting ‘false positives’ and archiving or deleting genuine messages as well as those that are infected. Should your invoice be one of those messages incorrectly identified as a virus or spam, there will be a natural delay in payment of your bill.
Valuable time and effort will be spent emailing additional copies of the original invoice or negotiating with IT departments to have the message released from quarantine. Such delays cost in terms of duplicated effort, time spent chasing up missing invoices and increased costs associated with late payments.
The obvious way to prevent an electronic invoice from being incorrectly deleted is to completely bypass traditional email mechanisms completely. Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) technologies already exist to perform these transactions, but they tend to be both costly and difficult to implement.
Enter the hosted e-Invoicing platform. These systems, exemplified by Celtrino’s Smart Admin service, require no onsite EDI installation and are capable of traversing corporate firewalls and anti-malware systems quickly and efficiently. An electronic invoice submitted via Smart Admin leaves your accounts system and is entered automatically into your client’s accounts system without any delay or manual intervention.
PDF invoicing is a step towards greater efficiency, but Smart Admin invoicing will revolutionise your billing and payments system for the better. Watch out for the second part of this article about life beyond the PDF on Dumping Double Entry.