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5 Impactful Benefits of Electronic Invoicing and Payments

May 16, 2024
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As the workplace evolves, the shift towards electronic invoicing represents more than a technological upgrade; electronic invoicing and payments transform how businesses manage their financial processes. For finance and accounting teams, e-invoicing benefits many aspects of their work – from improving visibility into transactions to facilitating remote work.  

One of the biggest benefits of electronic invoicing is the time and money it can save organizations. Additionally, electronic invoice payment can help foster positive supplier relationships and a more productive finance and accounting department.  

What is Electronic Invoicing? 

Electronic invoicing (or e-invoicing) is a digital method of creating, transmitting, receiving, and processing invoices between a business and its customers. Unlike traditional paper-based invoicing systems, e-invoicing automates the invoicing process, eliminating the need for physical paperwork and manual data entry. 

E-invoices are generated electronically in a structured format such as Extensible Markup Language (XML) or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to promote compatibility with accounting systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Electronic invoices are transmitted securely via the internet to the recipient. Once an e-invoice is received, the recipient can process it electronically without the need for manual intervention. 

In some cases, electronic invoicing may refer to the act of digitizing a paper invoice. This is generally done in accounts payable (AP) automation systems using optical character recognition (OCR) technology and machine learning algorithms.  

What are Electronic Payments?

Electronic payments are financial transactions that are conducted electronically, typically using computer networks or digital devices rather than traditional paper-based methods like cash or checks. These transactions encompass a range of payment methods, including credit cards, wire transfers, and digital wallets. 

Even if your business is not on 100% electronic pay, it can still experience advantages like speed and convenience. With electronic invoice payment, transactions can be completed instantaneously or within seconds, streamlining payment processes and improving cash flow management. 

What are the Benefits of Electronic Invoicing and Payments?

Aside from the few advantages listed above, the benefits of electronic invoicing and payments are numerous. Five valuable benefits are listed below.  

1. Cloud-Based Systems Enable Remote Work and Improve Process Visibility

Our 2024 Trends Survey found that 80% of finance departments have hybrid or fully remote work environments. Given this shift, teams must have access to financial systems regardless of location or device.  

Electronic invoicing and payments free accounting staff from the constraints of physically processing paperwork, coding invoices, printing checks, and stuffing and stamping envelopes. Essential data and processes, like approval workflows, are stored in the cloud and don’t require in-person interaction. As long as employees have Wi-Fi access, your business can continue paying and receiving bills uninterrupted. 

Additionally, e-invoicing benefits finance leaders with timely views of cash flow to inform critical operational and capital decisions. No longer are CFOs and controllers dependent on AP staff to chase the info they need. Instead, they can view cloud-stored data at any time to gain insights on invoice and payment status.  

2. Paperless AP Minimizes Dependency on Mailing Services and Makes Documents Easier to Find

Transitioning to paperless invoicing and payments reduces a business’s reliance on traditional mail services. By digitizing these processes, invoices and payments are sent and received instantly via email or online platforms, eliminating the need for physical postage and mail handling. This not only speeds up the payment cycle but also reduces costs associated with postage, printing, and paper supplies.  

Another e-invoicing benefit is that it minimizes the risk of delays or loss, ensuring efficient communication between businesses and their customers. E-payments allow for direct deposit, delivering funds directly to a supplier’s bank account after payment approval, eliminating a trip to the bank for them.  

In a paperless AP system, invoices and payment documents are easier to find due to digital storage and organization. Instead of sifting through physical files, users can quickly search for specific documents using keywords or filters. This streamlined access saves time and minimizes the risk of misplacing important paperwork. Additionally, digital archives are often backed up securely, helping ensure that documents are always accessible and protected from physical harm.  

3. E-Invoicing and E-Payments Save Time and Money

Electronic invoicing and payments revolutionize financial processes, saving significant time and money for businesses. Automating invoice routing and payments can reduce manual errors and streamline workflows.  

With e-invoicing, invoices are created, sent, and processed digitally, eliminating the need for printing, mailing, and manual indexing. This expedites the billing cycle, accelerating cash flow.  

E-payments are designed to facilitate swift and secure transactions compared to paper checks. They can reduce administrative costs associated with manual payment processing and record-keeping.  

4. Electronic Invoicing and Payments Strengthen Supplier Relationships

What better way to keep suppliers happy than to pay them on time? When invoices are not processed and paid efficiently, it can lead to late payments and damaged supplier relationships. And from a supplier’s point of view, late payments impact the budget and cash flow 

Electronic invoicing and processing can streamline transactions, fostering efficiency and transparency in supplier relationships. By automating processes, errors can decrease, leading to more timely and reliable payments, building trust with suppliers.  

The convenience of e-invoicing and electronic payments benefits both parties, potentially reducing administrative burdens and speeding transactions.  

5. Security Benefits of Electronic Invoicing and Payments

Electronic payments are designed to offer enhanced security compared to traditional paper payment methods. Encryption technologies and authentication protocols help protect sensitive financial data, reducing the risk of fraud. Additionally, electronic payment systems often provide features such as transaction monitoring to further bolster security. 

E-invoicing benefits security by reducing the risks associated with paper-based systems. Digital invoices are encrypted, preventing unauthorized access and tampering. Authentication measures ensure the integrity of the invoicing process.  

Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Electronic Invoice Processing and Payments

Electronic invoicing and payments offer businesses numerous advantages, including increased efficiency, visibility and security. By automating processes and reducing errors, electronic AP systems are designed to streamline transactions, reduce manual work, and strengthen vendor relationships.  

To learn more about e-payments and electronic invoicing benefits, schedule a conversation with one of our AP automation experts.  

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