Tradeshift partner with Intuit to create the biggest e-invoicing network

Tradeshift partner with Intuit to create the biggest e-invoicing network

Posted by Pete Loughlin in e-invoicing, Electronic Invoicing, News 23 Jan 2013

One of the difficulties that analysts have is moderating their tendency, out of enthusiasm, to exaggerate the claims that vendors make. They want to report exciting things, things that people want to read. It’s all the more difficult because we all know that the vendors use marketing license in spades when they brief analysts. But the implications of the news announced today are difficult to exaggerate.

Tradeshift have got a new investor. Intuit, the engine behind QuickBooks, the people that support 5 million small and mediums sized businesses in the USA, have partnered with Tradeshift. What does this mean? It means that Tradeshift’s network is now the biggest in the world.

Purchasing Insight logoBut what does it really mean? The biggest network in the world is a nice sound bite but it’s really only the headline. The detail behind this new partnership is far more interesting.

First off, the partnership with Intuit comes with a significant strategic investment which was made at an increased valuation relative to Tradeshift’s previous investment round. This reflects the growth and significant progress the company has made over the past year.

Secondly, the strategy. The press release explains it: “The planned integration of Intuit’s accounting and payments products with TRADESHIFT’S electronic trading network will streamline commerce between Intuit’s large SMB customer base and the participants on TRADESHIFT’S electronic trading network.  SMBs using QuickBooks will find it easier and less time consuming to comply with their enterprise customers’ e-invoicing mandates.  Large enterprises will find that more of their suppliers will be willing to participate due to the reduced cost and friction enabled by the planned integrations.”

“At TRADESHIFT we understand the future of business will rely upon open connectivity between companies,” said TRADESHIFT CEO, Christian Lanng. “At the heart of this understanding is realizing companies of all sizes must be provided a level playing field where they have access to the tools needed to operate efficiently and effectively in a digital world.

“Partnering with Intuit will create one of the largest global networks of suppliers the business world has ever witnessed and is an enormous leap forward in achieving our goal of connecting every company on the planet on one, shared, open network,” Lanng continued.

“We chose to partner with TRADESHIFT because of the quality of their software, the size and growth rate of their network, and their demonstrated ability to work with some of the largest corporations in the world,” said Eric Dunn, senior vice president of Intuit’s Commerce Network Solutions group. “Connecting Intuit’s small businesses to enterprises via the TRADESHIFT network addresses a very important pain point for many of our customers.”

The press release also claims that the partnership “marks a watershed moment for TRADESHIFT”. I wouldn’t disagree. If executed properly, this has the potential to put Tradeshift firmly in the top tier. But there’s one more thing that is significant about this announcement. It scotches the rumors that Tradeshift were running out of steam and, according to my very well informed sources, we aint seen nothing yet.

Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin

  • enrico camerinelli January 23, 2013 at 9:20 am /

    Interesting news indeed. This validates my research findings regarding treasury systems expanding to become nodes of decision support system networks (if interested read http://www.aitegroup.com/Reports/ReportDetail.aspx?recordItemID=882)

    There is one aspect of the announcement that bothers me though: I knew TradeShift as a service provider in the Supply Chain Finance space that offered (almost) free e-invoicing to facilitate on-boarding of SMEs for subsequent funding of their receivables. There is no mention at all of this in your article. The whole focus is on networking and e-invoicing: Basically Tradeshift connects together all Quickbook users. Looks like an SAP-Ariba for SMEs. Nothing bad of course but where’s the SCF value add gone?

  • Christian Lanng (CEO Tradeshift) January 23, 2013 at 9:29 am /

    It’s not gone, we are in fact still doing very large programs for our customers and as for the Intuit/Tradeshift collaboration I think it’s fair to say that today is just the first shot, much more to come.

  • Earl January 23, 2013 at 10:36 am /

    As someone in the invoicing world as well, it’s nice to see Tradeshift get some recognition. Congrats!

  • Pierre January 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm /

    Great news! Is it free. No excus for quickbook user to send paper now.

  • Ron January 30, 2013 at 8:53 pm /

    Pierre,

    I agree there is no excuse…as long as there is a customer to send it to who is also on tradeshift. That’s the part that makes the “biggest network” claim a bit of a laugher. To have a network, I think you need 2 sides participating. Good on TS for providing easy integration to Intuit users…but that;s all it is right now…an easy integration app. gotta have somewhere to send it, and as the failure of the old EBPP shows, supplier pushed eInvoicing intiatives just don’t work as they don;t have leverage.

  • Christian Lanng January 30, 2013 at 11:05 pm /

    Lol, you have no clue. This is just the beginning

  • Hugh Chatfield February 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm /

    I think Christian is correct – we are only at the beginning.

    “Ron” commented that you need 2 sides participating. That is correct, but having over 5 million potential receivers on the network on day 1, consisting of primarily small and medium size businesses is what I call a great start.

    Yes, yes – but how does the supplier get the “customer” on the network if they aren’t currently on it?? Short answer is they don’t. If the customer is satisfied with their current situation – ie. receiving the invoices on paper or PDF – then they do nothing as well. Tradeshift will just send the customer a PDF – i.e. no change to their current situation.

    Now if the customer is really really smart, and they figure out that it is costing them significant $ to convert all that paper and PDFs to input transactions for their mega-system, then for a fraction of that cost they can directly interface their system to Tradeshift and get it all done automatically and correctly.

    Now,as for what happens after the beginning? Tradeshift has based their network on the OASIS Universal Business Language (UBL). OASIS UBL is an internationally-standardized specification for a suite of common business documents (invoices, purchase orders, waybills, etc.) and a concrete XML syntax (using XSD or RNC) for expressing those documents in a machine-readable format. It is flexible enough to include your own business objects and XML syntax as extensions. It is structured in such a way that you can make your own business documents utilizing a common library of business objects.

    Thus Intuit and Tradeshift have an enormous future opportunity to handle all possible business documents that are typically exchanged between companies of all sizes. The network is of course the key to all this.

    As I commented in a computerWorld blog:
    “As our national railroad with engines of steam riding on iron rails was considered a nation builder for the industrial age, such a network – with information engines riding on rails of light , could be a nation builder for the information age.”

    I am of course referring to the national railroad constructed coast to coast in Canada.

    Need info about UBL in North America – see http://goUBL.com

  • http://shauntheaccountant.blog.com/ July 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm /

    I am Mirta and I work as a cpa in Thun. When I am no longer working I
    will be blogging. Wonderful article on a field I’m extremely experienced with.

  • Abe September 12, 2013 at 1:52 am /

    As a CPA/QuickBooks developer this is exciting and well overdue.

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