Electronic Invoicing, frequently called e-Invoicing is sometimes mistakenly confused with suppliers sending in invoices as an electronic image via email. Sending in invoices via email as images while better than sending as paper is not what is commonly referred to as an e-Invoice being the invoice image still requires the invoice data to be extracted from the image to become fully electronic. E-Invoicing is the automated exchanging of electronic invoice data between a supplier and buyer in a defined electronic format. There is not typically an invoice image transmitted with an e-Invoice.
Suppliers have many different electronic formats that their billing system can transmit as an e-Invoice which is not a standard format from supplier to supplier. This format challenge requires the receiving side of the e-Invoice being able to decipher the many different electronic formats suppliers might transmit and then convert into a standard e-Invoice format that can be interfaced into the respective AP system to process. Managing the e-Invoice receiving and transmitting process would be much simpler if suppliers all submitted an e-Invoice in the same format but unfortunately that is not the reality which is why most AP departments do not attempt to do e-Invoicing on their own with their suppliers because of the support and technology needed to be efficient.
Companies looking to receive e-Invoices from their suppliers tend to outsource that process to third party providers who specialize in working with suppliers and have technology to make the e-Invoice process successful. Some e-Invoice providers force suppliers to do the hard work of putting their electronic format in a standard format like cXML before submitting the e-Invoice. This can be challenging to suppliers being it creates work on their side to create a specific format that their billing system does not produce on its own. Another negative perception that some e-Invoice provider models have is that the supplier is charged a fee by the provider to submit e-Invoices. This does not sit well with most suppliers to be charged for an e-Invoice especially when they can send an emailed image of an invoice for free. The goal of using e-Invoicing should be to reduce invoice processing costs for all parties and make it as easy as possible for both the supplier and AP department.
CTI provides best practice e-Invoice processing for our customers. Suppliers are not required to adhere to a specific cXML formats but rather can send the e-Invoice in the format their billing system produces naturally, Additionally there is never any fees a supplier is charged by CTI to submit an e-Invoice. This combination makes the e-Invoice process as easy as possible for a supplier which increases the adoption rate of suppliers agreeing to submit e-Invoices. From an AP department perspective an e-Invoice received is significantly less than the cost of extracting invoice data from an emailed invoice image. This makes e-Invoicing with CTI a win for all parties as the suppliers can use the most efficient means of submitting invoices electronically for free and the AP department has a positive savings through lower invoice processing costs using e-Invoicing through CTI.