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Getting started with eInvoicing for medium and large businesses

Help for medium and large businesses with implementing Peppol eInvoicing and onboarding trading partners.

Last updated 2 November 2022

Develop a business case for eInvoicing

Every business is unique. Not everything here will apply to you or there may be other things you need to consider.

This guidance assumes that your business has experience or access to project and change management capabilities, and you'll get advice on these aspects of your eInvoicing project through these channels.

When developing your business case, consider the costs and benefits of each implementation option. Consider your business’s current invoice management practices to determine how Peppol eInvoicing may benefit your organisation.

Prioritise current state

Identify and prioritise your eInvoicing implementation scope, such as:

  • focus on sending eInvoices or receiving eInvoices, or both
  • consider whether your trading partners use additional documents, for example purchase orders.

Knowing these details will help you adopt eInvoicing and prioritise effort and expenditure against other business priorities.

Consider the following:

  • How many invoices do you send and receive, and how often?
  • How do you send and receive invoices (through what channels and in what formats)?
  • What is the effort to onboard suppliers and customers currently?
  • What information do you and your suppliers and buyers need on an invoice?
  • Do you use purchase orders (PO)? Do you provide the PO number to your suppliers?
  • How do you process invoices? Do you use 2 or 3-way cross-referencing of your purchase orders, goods receipt notes and supplier invoices, exception handling, workflows and approvals?
  • What approval mechanisms, systems, tools or applications do you use?
  • How do you pay invoices (what enterprise resource planning (ERP) and financial management information systems do you use)?
  • Who are your top suppliers and buyers based on invoice volume?
  • What are your customer and supplier expectations for transacting digitally through the Peppol network?

To help assess your current operations and determine the eInvoicing value case for your business, complete the eInvoicing value assessment questionnaire.

To get an overview, read the costs and benefits for business case development associated with Peppol eInvoicing.

Benefits assessment

Use the information from your current state assessment to consider how eInvoicing may help you address any gaps or pain points.

eInvoicing may help:

  • achieve further efficiencies by transitioning all suppliers to a digital channel
  • consolidate your less-efficient electronic channels by shifting to Peppol
  • reduce onboarding effort and cost, and residual manual intervention. For example, transition webforms to Peppol
  • enable your SME trading partners to exchange invoice data directly from their software and help them reduce admin costs
  • remove friction points and improve your relationships with suppliers and customers.

Scope and implementation approach

The effort required to adopt eInvoicing may vary depending on the current state of your invoice management.

You may already have software, systems and processes that need little work to connect to the Peppol network. Or you may need to redesign your business processes and invest in new systems or tools to streamline your processing.

You can choose to adopt eInvoicing at a pace that suits your business and your business partners.

Key considerations

Start with a few trading partners who have straightforward invoicing requirements and large invoice volumes, and then onboard trading partners with more complex requirements.

Identify what technical infrastructure and software systems capability your business currently has for eInvoicing. Determine if you need to address any gaps for your business to enable eInvoicing.

Business requirements

When assessing potential software solutions, consider what your business requirements are for:

  • sending and receiving eInvoices
  • invoice processing procedures and workflows, including matching or verification, approving and paying
  • storage and archiving
  • reporting
  • disaster recovery and business continuity.

Note: The Australian business number (ABN) is the business identifier that is commonly used to route eInvoices in Australia. When sending eInvoices, your system should include your ABN and your receiver’s ABN. If your current system does not include your ABN, your Peppol service provider may have a solution.

Cost for medium and large businesses

Upfront time and expenditure

Your upfront investments may include:

  • information and communication technology (ICT)
  • project management, including change management
  • supplier or buyer onboarding and testing
  • any other related internal costs, such as system integration.

Ongoing costs

Your ongoing costs may include:

  • transactional per invoice charges, data charges or a subscription charge by your service provider – these vary between service providers depending on your usage and service provider commercial model
  • onboarding of new and existing suppliers or buyers.

Before you select a service provider, read selecting a Peppol access point for eInvoicing.

To get an overview, read the costs and benefits for business case development associated with Peppol eInvoicing.

Become eInvoice-enabled

A business is eInvoice-enabled when they can send and receive eInvoices through the Peppol network.

When you can receive eInvoices, your service provider will list you in the Peppol Directory.

You can use the Peppol Directory to find other businesses that are registered to receive eInvoices. Only eInvoice receivers are registered in the directory.

Some businesses use multiple software products and different systems for running different functions within their business.

Explore your current systems and software

When exploring options for becoming eInvoicing-enabled, understand what system or software you use or last used to receive and process invoices.

Systems or software used to support invoice management processes include:

  • job management or practice management software
  • billing software
  • billing providers or mail-house
  • optical character recognition (OCR) software
  • accounts payable automation software
  • procure-to-pay platforms
  • electronic data interchange (EDI) platforms
  • enterprise resource planning (ERP) software
  • financial management information systems (FMIS).

To enable eInvoicing, you will need software to receive or send the invoice data and an accredited access point to connect to the Peppol network. In some cases, the software provider will provide the business with both functions.

Options to connect

To become eInvoicing-enabled, use one of the following options:

Connect through your existing software

Many software products already have eInvoicing capabilities. You may simply need to:

  • activate eInvoicing through your software
  • ask the software provider to make a change to your service
  • upgrade to the latest version or module of your software.

To find out if your software is already eInvoice-enabled, see the eInvoicing Ready product registerExternal Link. If your software isn't listed, ask your software provider if their product is eInvoicing Ready and what you need to do to get connected.

Connect existing software to an access point

If your existing software isn't eInvoicing Ready, you can use an access pointExternal Link to connect your software to the Peppol network. The access point manages the secure exchange of the documents between your systems and the Peppol network.

Buyers and suppliers can choose their preferred access point to connect to any participant on the Peppol network.

Depending on your system's configuration, you may choose to have a single access point for sending and receiving eInvoices, or you may have different access points.

Find out how to select a Peppol access point for eInvoicing and see the list of eInvoicing accredited service providersExternal Link.

Acquire enabled software

If your organisation is still processing invoices manually or relies on email, you may benefit from using software that automates invoice processing.

Many service providers do more than just transmitting documents across the Peppol network. They can offer a range of services that will help you streamline and automate your processes.

Your choices will determine the scale and complexity of your eInvoicing implementation project. You might need to consider process improvements, system configuration, change management planning and activities to support your staff during the transition.

To find eInvoice-enabled software that offers accounts payable automation, see the eInvoicing Ready product registerExternal Link.

Become an access point

If your business requirements limit your organisation to only in-house options, you can become your own access point. This allows your organisation to own and host your own solution to interact with the Peppol network.

To become an accredited access point, you must meet all the initial and ongoing technical, governance and security requirements stipulated by OpenPeppolExternal Link and the Australian Peppol Authority.

An organisation can become their own access point by building the capabilities on their own or purchasing the technology which is available from some of the existing Peppol accredited access points.

To find out how to become an access point, see the Australian accreditation processExternal Link.

Business change considerations

Implementing eInvoicing may affect your business’s people, systems, processes and trading partners.

The impact will depend on the solution you choose and the amount of change that occurs when you transition from your current invoice management practices to new practices.

Assess impacts and determine change management requirements

Consider the following when assessing the impacts and change management requirements for your business and trading partners.

Your business adviser, software provider or Peppol access point service provider can help you better understand these considerations.

  • How will an eInvoice be received and flow through your system? How does this affect existing processes?
  • Who will need to interact with the new eInvoicing process? Why, when and how?
  • What mandatory information will you need on an eInvoice to ensure streamlined processing?
  • For what other purposes do you use your invoice data? What other information do you include on invoices? For example, some businesses use invoices for notifications or marketing.
  • How will you identify issues with sending or receiving eInvoices? How will these issues or exceptions be managed, and by whom?
  • What are the contractual implications for existing buyers and suppliers once the new invoice channel is enabled?
  • What will change for your suppliers or customers? What information will you need to provide to help them make this change and how will you communicate this to them?
  • What other processes can your business streamline with the implementation of eInvoicing to maximise the automation opportunity? For example, automated downstream workflow.
  • What are the security and privacy implications of moving to eInvoicing?
  • How will you manage adjustments, credits and refunds? For example, under Peppol, you can send a credit note or negative invoice to adjust a previously sent invoice. The new invoice or credit note can reference the previous invoice number to indicate the new invoice is an adjustment.
  • What business processes will need to change or be updated to support eInvoicing? Who are the individuals or teams that will need to do things differently?
  • What is the capacity and capability of your finance team now? Will these requirements change after eInvoicing automation is embedded? A training needs analysis will best identify and plan any training requirements.
  • What training and user materials will need to be updated or developed? By when and by whom?
  • What policies and procedures will need to be updated or developed to support the use of eInvoicing in your business, and by when? Who will make these changes and who needs to be aware of and adhere to these changes?
  • Do you need an eInvoicing adviser in your team to liaise with suppliers and buyers?
  • Do you prefer to outsource trading partner onboarding to a service provider an access point that offers this value-added service?

A questionnaire to help you develop a value case to decide the potential return on investment (ROI) of eInvoicing.

A summary of eInvoicing costs and benefits. Consider these throughout the business case development process.

What to consider when selecting a Peppol access point service provider for eInvoicing.