No matter how big or small your organisation, or how many invoices your AP team processes annually, if you’re still relying on paper invoices, you’re likely encountering high costs of invoice processing, lengthy payment cycles, unnecessary errors and exceptions, increased supplier payment status inquiries, late payments…do any of these sound familiar? And while many organisations are experiencing delays in receiving mail and most employees are working remotely without easy access to paper documents, the urgency to move suppliers away from paper and towards electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) is at an all-time high.
Out with Paper Invoicing
In today’s unfamiliar and unique work environment, it’s no secret that the impact of paper invoicing is severe and far-reaching. Some suppliers, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, have limited cash on hand and rely solely on revenue from customers to stay operational and profitable. So even minor hiccups or delays in payments can cause major cash flow problems and supply chain disruptions. The solution? Eliminate paper from the entire invoicing process by allowing 100% of your suppliers to connect to your e-invoicing solution.
How to Achieve 100% Connectivity
The supplier onboarding process is crucial to the success of any e-invoicing initiative. If suppliers don’t take the opportunity to use e-invoicing, there’s little chance that your business will realise the full benefits of automation. To achieve 100% spend visibility, you need to be able to connect to 100% of your suppliers – not just the large, sophisticated suppliers, but also the smaller, local ones and the long-tail suppliers. Without 100% connectivity, there will be gaps in your financial data, limiting your ability to make strategic decisions and maximise your ROI.
For most companies, their supplier base is diverse, so going with a “one size fits all” approach to receiving invoices doesn’t really work. If your small to medium-sized suppliers still prefer printed invoices, why should your data suffer just because it’s not already in a digital format? With the Basware Network, all invoice formats (EDI, XML, PDF, even paper) are ingested and delivered to the customer electronically, without compromising data quality or forcing suppliers to change how they operate. By offering multiple options for invoice submission, suppliers can choose their preferred method, while ensuring that you receive 100% of your invoices electronically.
Is Supplier Onboarding Complicated?
It can seem like a large undertaking, especially when you have not done it before and don’t know where to start. That’s why we encourage our customers to develop a change management project plan for both internal users and your suppliers. While suppliers are not asked to change the way they do business, you may need additional information from them to complete the onboarding process so clear, consistent communication makes the process easier and quicker.
On the customer-side, the change is much greater, because instead of receiving paper invoices and manually keying them into your system, you’ll now receive invoices digitally. So, the time and resources spent on manual entry can be spent on more strategic tasks, like resolving exceptions, analysing spend, and managing supplier relationships.
Not sure how to get started? No problem. We’ve put together a supplier onboarding checklist, to help you plan and prioritise. Ensuring completion will make your onboarding process easier, faster, and more successful.
Supplier Onboarding Checklist
Assign dedicated resources to the project. To ensure alignment with the change management plan, there should be a clear owner (and sponsor) to keep the project on track and to offer a clear point of contact for suppliers and others involved in the onboarding.
Identify key roles to (globally & locally) support your suppliers and ensure proper resources.
Create an external and internal communication plan. Informing all parties before and during the change is imperative. Also, remember to inform any new suppliers and employees of the process.
Set clear targets and timelines for all involved. Suppliers will appreciate the “heads-up”, and this will help you measure the project’s success.
Ensure that your existing supplier data is up-to-date and as complete as possible (i.e. addresses and contact information).
Create clear internal instructions to enable any employee to talk about e-invoicing options to your suppliers. Remember to make them available on your intranet.
Decide the best way to communicate with your suppliers. Likely a mix of communication channels will be necessary, depending on your suppliers – from personal calls and emails to video tutorials and webinars – whatever works best for each supplier. Open and active communication is key to make sure all steps are taken properly.
Prepare for the “new normal.” Ensure your team knows supplier onboarding is a continuous process to be duplicated with all new suppliers.
How Can Basware Help?
Now that you have a plan in place, you may still be wondering how you’ll manage so many suppliers, while still performing your day-to-day responsibilities. With Basware we work with our customers to segment your suppliers by invoice preference, then tailor the onboarding approach for each supplier segment. The strategic priority from the beginning to receive 100% electronic invoices is an essential element to our customer partnerships.
Basware Supplier Enablement services offer a streamlined and user-friendly approach to onboard all your suppliers. This service supports a variety of options and modern and easy-to-use tools, making onboarding easy for suppliers. Basware helps to get all your suppliers activated in a timely fashion, ensure clear and concise communications with suppliers, and gets you realising ROI quickly. Our expertise in this area helps make the process easy and painless for your suppliers so that you can focus on your business and keep your supplier relationships strong. Depending on your needs, you can choose the right level of service to achieve the best possible results, through multiple supplier enablement service levels – from DIY to do it together.
Learn more about Basware Supplier Enablement Services
We focus on suppliers of all sizes and invoice formats of all types. We make it simple and easy for your suppliers. We do the onboarding, so you can focus on the benefits. Read more about our Supplier Enablement Services Program or contact us for more information.