Author: Pete Loughlin

Today the world of e-invoicing witnessed the birth of it's latest miracle. "A business model considered 'impossible' by the industry is now the new reality." the press release states. "A bomb in the world of paid electronic invoices." Not just a miracle, a spectacular miracle. Although, I have to say, some of the impact has been lost in translation. And it gets better. "The InvoiceSharing business model is similar to companies like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, that all have one thing in common: They have been changing the world." Let me rephrase the above: "Spot the odd one out: InvoiceSharing, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn" InvoiceSharing are new and they've just launched themselves into the e-invoicing world with a level of self-delusion that makes some of their competitors appear almost realistic in their assessment of their ability to disrupt. But don't be misled by my mocking tone - InvoiceSharing might just be onto something.

Crossflow Payments has been building their leadership team for a few months and they continue with another senior hire. Carl Maughan has joined the company as Chief Technical Officer. Carl brings strong business and technical architecture skills as well as solid technical leadership skills. He comes to Crossflow Payments after serving as Global Head of Architecture & Design at Euromoney. Prior to this he has been CIO of Stanleybet and has held different technical roles with Equifax and Erudine Financial Control Systems for over 15 years

Would you impose purchase to pay policies on people in your organization if those policies, whether followed or not, have no real consequences? Think about it – if someone goes off piste and buys some stationery from a non-preferred supplier and expenses it – a few dollars in a few billion dollars of spend – are you really going to crack down on them? They’re going outside of a policy and they know it. Interpreted strictly, they’re breaking the rules and they could be disciplined for such behaviour. Should we develop a sense of perspective? What difference does this behaviour make?

 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has revealed it is now managing its entire procurement and financial activities with its suppliers in a paperless and automated environment.

Over 3,000 suppliers exchange over 20,000 documents each month – from RFPs through purchase orders and invoices to payment confirmations – creating an efficient and environmentally-friendly process with saving of up to 50% in operational resources compared to the manual procure-to-pay process previously in place.

This transformation is enabled by the Nipendo Supplier Cloud platform, which allows organizations to electronically collaborate with all of their trading partners while enabling seamless integration with their ERP systems. With over 3,000 IAI suppliers using the platform and more than 90% of invoices electronic, paperless process enables dramatic error reduction, savings of up to 50%

For years the growth in the use of electronic invoicing was hampered by a very simple fact. There was nothing in it for suppliers. Think about it. A supplier wants to be paid and needs to send an invoice. Whether that’s a paper invoice in an envelope with a stamp on it or an email makes very little difference. The cost of a stamp has got nothing to do with it – unless a supplier is sending many very low value invoices, the postage cost is trivial. While only a few customers demand electronic invoicing, while the business world was largely paper based and while suppliers were being asked to subsidize the cost of their customers' e-invoicing programs by paying for the privilege of sending an invoice, there was always going to resistance. But the world has now changed and the business case for e-invoicing is now fundamentally different to the one-sided calculation with all the benefits loaded on the customer side that would have been built perhaps 5 years ago.

The purchase to pay police aren’t naturally an attractive bunch of people. Like auditors, they only bring ugly messages about compliance and process. And they don’t make their lives easier by tarnishing further their image by moaning about their lot. So how do you get the perfectly rational P2P messages across effectively? How do you prevent it from being perceived as a pointless dictat from an area of the business too remote to understand commercial realities?

A few weeks ago, somebody asked me why supply chain finance had suddenly burst into life - especially in the UK - with a new breed of SCF providers appearing at the same time?. Why is it that in the space of a few months the market place seemed to blossom? Tungsten bought OB10 to create a new SCF proposition. Crossflow Payments emerged in the summer and there were others. Why the sudden explosion? There was nothing sudden about it. These operations have years of planning and preparation behind them. It appears sudden – but it’s not. And we’re about to see something similar happen in Europe around e-invoicing.