Dealing with digital invoices - why do some find it so difficult?

As we go ever more digital, clients are increasingly receiving their purchase invoices digitally. However, many businesses do not process them, or process them incorrectly.  

Some have PDF invoices attached to emails which they don't download, or payments may be on an annual contract with the monthly DD's not having the purchase invoice attached i.e. Dropbox, Spotify (business use), software providers etc. Whilst an invoice may be issued annually, especially if there is VAT charged, this is often not picked up.

The first we see of these purchases is often when the payments hit the bank feed. It can be time consuming to have to chase dozens or even hundreds of these up. Despite various alternative solutions being available, email tends to be firmly embedded, and the last thing anyone wants is to be bombarded with emails with invoice attachments.

Even when some of the alternative solutions are used, despite the underlying artificial intelligence and machine learning, they are not “foolproof” and care is still needed.

The same applies to expense claims – for many businesses, the traditional shoebox carries on – with all the expense invoices thrown into the box. If you are lucky, they may be stapled together in month order.

Where do you start…?

Education and training is essential. The client needs to know what could be done (and the benefits to him and his business) and when a product is chosen, training is also needed – even if the end-result is outsourcing of the accounting function to the accountancy practice – otherwise we are back where we started!

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Anonymous
  • Where do we start? With government legislation, similar to that in New Zealand, Italy, Brazil and others, to move B2B and B2C invoicing to digital only. The technology is already there but will take time to be adopted and like MTD needs government impetus to accelerate adoption.