eInvoicing Q&A for Government Departments and Agencies Across Australia and New Zealand

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions for government departments and agencies who are looking to implement eInvoicing. Whether you have an ERP or Cloud based Accounts payable/receivable system in place, our Q&A can help you understand the processes for eInvoicing implementation.

My software provider says I need to upgrade to the Cloud (latest version) or purchase additional licenses to do eInvoicing – is that the case or can I use my existing software to receive eInvoices?

Depending on the ERP or Accounting software you’re using, you don’t always need to upgrade or purchase additional modules first. For example, if you’re not using TechnologyOne’s latest CiAnywhere version, we’re able to connect you to the Peppol eInvoicing network using our partners XcellerateIT and EzeScan. If your current ERP or Accounting software isn’t Cloud-based, then we can still connect you – we have successfully implemented eInvoicing for different ERP systems using various methods. Link4 has worked with many ERP companies to connect their clients to the Peppol network.

Can we send or receive the invoice PDF and multiple supporting documents with the invoice?

Many businesses have PDFs such as Purchase Orders (PO) or other documents (image or Excel files etc) that need to be attached along with the invoice. They can easily be sent and received as an attachment with the eInvoice.  

What is the costing model, i.e. per document, size of file etc?

Link4 charges per eInvoice transaction. This means that no matter how many documents are attached to the eInvoice, you only pay per transaction. Some Access Points charge per file size which means that businesses can get caught out paying extra due to the sheer volume of attachments being sent along with the eInvoice. We believe that charging per transaction is a more transparent way (and a straightforward way) for our customers to relate to.

Typically what percentage of suppliers do you manage to get engaged to submit eInvoices?

Hundreds of businesses are joining the Peppol eInvoicing network each week in Australia and New Zealand. We find that when businesses have been educated on the financial, environmental and time savings associated with eInvoicing, the uptake towards it is high. Education and promotion are paramount to the systemic adoption of eInvoicing. Link4 has proven experience in onboarding suppliers and can assist your department or agency to manage this too. We provide information and training for employees during the implementation process and this is included in our pricing structure. Link4 can also send you notifications when your suppliers or customers join the Peppol network.

What about smaller suppliers that don’t have the systems in place to submit eInvoices or don’t have the technology to upload invoices?

eInvoicing is still possible for these suppliers. Link4 offers a product called InvoiceExpress which micro-businesses (or any business!) can use to send and receive Peppol eInvoices without the need for a Cloud Accounting system. By using InvoiceExpress, businesses can input data into their InvoiceExpress dashboard, and create/send eInvoices to their customers.

So one of the first steps for us is to tidy up our supplier database, confirm email addresses, etc?

We recommend going through your supplier database to check that each supplier has at least a valid ABN/NZBN and email address. To send and/or receive an eInvoice through the Peppol network, an ABN/NZBN is usually a minimum requirement. If you have an associated email address with your suppliers, this comes in handy during the supplier onboarding phase of implementation.

Can our international suppliers send us eInvoices?

Yes! Any country that has adopted eInvoicing using the Peppol Framework will allow the sending and/or receiving of eInvoices to Australia and New Zealand. Businesses in Australia and New Zealand can easily send and receive eInvoices across the Tasman – this is part of the Trans-Tasman Electronic Invoicing Arrangement set up by both the AU and NZ governments back in 2018.

What if suppliers are not registered for GST, are they able to use the portal?

As long as your supplier has an ABN or NZBN, then eInvoicing is possible. Access Points (such as Link4) serve the purpose of invoice information transfer between suppliers and buyers, so Link4 is the ‘messenger’ that enables a secure transfer of information between Accounting systems.

Do Access Points allow both the sending and receiving of invoices? Or just receive and it’s an add-on to be able to send eInvoices?

Link4 can be both your sending and receiving Access Point for eInvoices. In some cases (eg. those using Cloud Accounting software),  If you are both sending AND receiving eInvoices, the number of transactions that you are making each month may change, therefore you may have to change your subscription plan to accommodate this. If you are using an ERP system and wish to be both send AND receive-capable, we will discuss your options in our initial discussions. Whether you’d like to be receive-only, or send-and-receive capable, Link4 will be able to fulfil your requirements.

What are the advantages of eInvoicing compared to OCR? OCR will get me the data as well directly in my system?

OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is a technology that converts PDFs and images into editable and searchable text online. OCR is often used to read and input invoice data into ERP systems, but still requires manual approval of the data. eInvoicing on the other hand is different in that invoice information is created and sent and/or received directly between Accounting systems (OCR is an additional step in the process). Not only does eInvoicing require less human intervention it’s also much more secure and accurate compared to OCR. For example, OCR is still susceptible to email redirection scams, as PDF invoices are sent via email and can be intercepted and modified before OCR translates the invoice information into your ERP system. eInvoicing completely bypasses the need for emailed PDF invoices.

If a supplier sends us an invoice using eInvoicing, will it cost them? If so, why would they pay, if we already match their payment time requirement? What’s their incentive?

The cost of sending an eInvoice depends on the volume or amount of eInvoice transactions your suppliers make each month. For example, if your supplier only sends 6 eInvoices in a month, then eInvoicing will be free through Link4. Link4 offers a Freemium solution for any business using Cloud Accounting systems, so they can send (or receive) up to 10 eInvoices (transactions) each month for free. For businesses who send/receive more than 10 eInvoices, we offer affordable monthly subscriptions, starting from $20/Month. eInvoicing has many benefits for your suppliers (more than just faster payment times). Not only is eInvoicing better for the environment, it’s much safer than traditional invoicing methods like paper/email/PDF invoicing. It also significantly reduces the amount of data entry and time spent on chasing or following up on invoices. Some Accounting systems are offering eInvoicing as part of their product and the user doesn’t have to pay an additional cost.  

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