Electronic invoicing to the rescue

Now’s the time to break free from tedious and time-consuming traditional invoicing processes

Three partners of a pharmaceutical company were so focused on selling their services they nearly destroyed the business they founded. Their error: Neglecting prompt invoicing and leaving this chore to the end of the month. With the common business practice of a 30-day grace payment period, that could sometimes mean a 50 to 60-day wait for an invoice to be paid.

Cash flow became tight and only a cash injection by the partners kept the company afloat. They came to realise the importance of being up to date with invoicing to maintain a positive cash flow. They are now also considering electronic invoicing or e-invoicing to help speed up their billing process.

E-invoicing is a solution as it helps ensure higher efficiency and greater productivity as it fully automates the invoicing processes. Basically, e-invoicing is the exchange of an e-invoice between the accounting systems of a supplier and a buyer electronically across an accounting or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. E-invoices are issued, transmitted and received in a structured data format via an accepted platform or framework like the global network Peppol.

In 2019, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched InvoiceNow to help businesses in Singapore to take advantage of the benefits of e-invoicing. InvoiceNow is the nationwide e-invoicing network based on the Peppol framework to allow your company to transmit e-invoices easily and efficiently to another business within the Peppol network – not only within Singapore but anywhere in the world.

What’s more, e-invoices are sent via a highly secured and encrypted global public network, rather than by conventional email.

Peppol runs on a reliable four-corner electronic transmission model. This consists of four components operating together to enable efficient e-data exchange between the seller, buyer and the respective accounts payable departments.

When an e-invoice is sent through a four-corner model, the process involves:

1.The seller setting out to transmit the invoice through its accounting or ERP system to the buyer;

2.The invoice being converted into the standard Business Interoperability Specifications (BIS) format;

3.Then, the sender’s accounting or ERP system tapping on the global directory to identify the receiver’s accounting or ERP system; and,

4.The invoice arriving electronically at the buyer’s accounting or ERP system.

When compared to other e-invoicing models and traditional manual invoicing, the four-corner Peppol network offers greater flexibility.

Among the ERP solutions available to businesses today is NetSuite – a Peppol-ready solution certified by the IMDA. As a unified data platform, NetSuite connects all departments to fully automate the invoicing process.

Enjoy government grants when adopting e-invoicing

Businesses using ERP solutions like NetSuite can receive grants of up to SG$70,000 from IMDA* by simply integrating InvoiceNow in their invoicing process. A summary of the grants is appended below:

InvoiceNow Transaction Bonus (ITB)

Businesses that have sent 10 e-invoices on the InvoiceNow network can receive a SG$200 bonus.

LEAD Connect Grant

This is a SG$30,000 fixed grant for companies which have successfully integrated into the InvoiceNow network within 12 months from inception of the process. Companies need to implement InvoiceNow and have a minimum of 200 customers and/or suppliers to be eligible for this grant.

LEAD Transact Grant

This incentive of up to SG$40,000 is for any business on the InvoiceNow network and have a minimum number of business partners they have transacted with on the network. Both the biller and buyer can receive the following incentives.

Among the grants, the LEAD Connect Grant of SG$30,000 appears to be most attractive in the e-invoicing journey of a business. Since its launch in 2019, InvoiceNow has added more than 55,000 companies in Singapore to the Peppol network.

If you are already using an approved accounting or ERP system like NetSuite, check with your account representative on how to get started using InvoiceNow. To find out more about e-invoicing with NetSuite, click here.

*Terms and conditions apply. For full details about IMDA’s grants for InvoiceNow, visit the InvoiceNow Grants website here.