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Realising the Benefits of e-Invoicing

by Sean Flynn, Business Analyst, Irish Dairy Board

In 2009, IDB made the decision to replace its manual invoicing processes with an automated, cross-border e-Invoicing solution in order to improve cash management efficiency internally, and enhance the interaction with its customers. This article looks at the background to this project and the outcomes that IDB has experienced so far.

Background to the e-Invoicing project

Like many organisations, the IDB produced invoices manually before implementing its e-Invoicing solution. Every day, one of our finance team printed customer orders from our ERP (Lawson) and produced an invoicing batch. These were then printed, hand-folded and posted to customers. From Dublin, we invoiced all of our EU customers, with typically 60-70 invoices produced daily.

We recognised that long-term this was not a feasible arrangement, and could not be scaled to facilitate future growth. The catalyst for reviewing a more automated solution was the challenge of tax compliance requirements in the countries into which we sell. For example, in Spain there is now an obligation to include a digital signature on invoices, which clearly could not be achieved through manual invoice processes. With customers rejecting invoices without a digital signature, we clearly needed to make changes.