While the benefits of switching to eInvoicing are obvious to most business managers, actualexecution can be slow and frustrating. Migrating to paperless processes seems efficient for both buyers and suppliers, so why do companies still receive paper or PDF invoices from their suppliers?
The answer lies in creating an effective change management process for eInvoicing adoption. The challenge today is communicating effectively with your entire supplier base. There are always “early adopters” that understand the benefits of a self-service supplier portal where you can easily submit invoices and track status. But many suppliers don’t want to change or are wary of paperless processes.
Here are some best practices to increase adoption:
1) Offer an All-inclusive Self-Service Supplier Portal
The right Supplier Portal gives your suppliers fast and easy visibility into purchase orders, invoices and payment status. It includes quick eInvoicing functionality, excellent search and reporting capability, and ample help tools. In addition, it should include Early Pay functionality so your suppliers can get paid earlier when they need the extra cash.
Your suppliers will appreciate the comprehensive information they can obtain with no need for a phone call or email to you - and you’ll spend less time responding to questions!
2) Make it Free
eInvoicing should not be a cost to the suppliers, instead, eInvoicing solutions should be an opportunity for suppliers save money through paperless processes and early payment programs. In addition, there are many other incentives that suppliers enjoy with a great Supplier Portal - like invoice and payment status tools, flexible search capabilities, fast dialog messaging with the client and so on. By providing the tools free of cost, your suppliers are incentivized to adopt the program.
3) Engage Your Procurement Team
Your procurement team members can be an effective focal point to help you communicate with your suppliers. After all, they already have an existing relationship with specific suppliers and understand their needs. Those team members can open a conversation with suppliers they know to explain the many benefits of eInvoicing.
4) Communicate Effectively with Your Suppliers
Suppliers will be more open to discussion if you show your commitment to helping them succeed. As you evolve to paperless processing, provide plenty of advance notice, make sure have correct contact information, explain the reasons for the change, and set expectations – especially for how changes will benefit suppliers. In addition, make it clear to the supplier what are the outcomes if they do not participate in the program (perhaps higher fees, longer payment terms, etc.)
5) Promote Early Pay Opportunities
Offering to pay suppliers early in exchange for a small discount is a win-win for you and your suppliers. Early payment is a great incentive for many suppliers – so promote this feature! Each communication should emphasize early payment discounting opportunities and clearly explain how this feature helps a supplier manage its cash flow.
6) Ask Your Service Provider to Help
Your provider already has extensive knowledge of eInvoicing implementation challenges and can help you support suppliers during transitions. Experienced Service Providers, like Direct Commerce, offer significant expertise in creating onboarding strategies, training suppliers, and providing support – so be sure to take advantage of this expertise to help increase adoption rates.
Follow these best practices consistently and you should see a significant increase in eInvoicing adoption, which benefits both you and your suppliers.