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Case study

Planning your 2018 budget? A step by step approach to e-invoicing is still the top choice of manufacturers

Tuesday 19 December 2017 | 12:25 PM CET

Bartłomiej Wójtowicz of Comarch discusses the three approaches to e-invoicing taking hold in international manufacturing companies.

The year-end is fast approaching, meaning companies are experiencing a period of challenges. The greatest focus is placed on meeting the sales targets and on the budget planning. IT departments, for instance, have been working at establishing the expectations of business departments, this resulting in process optimization or cost reductions.

Last but not least, financial/accounting departments are once again considering the implementation of different aspects of e-invoicing, be they procure to pay or AP/AR automation – the name itself depends on the scope and the structure of a given company.

Let’s take the example of international manufacturing companies, which have probably been persuaded by large clients to issue e-invoices (AR process). Based on Comarch’s experience, there are three common ways to approach such a project:

The global approach

More and more companies are seeking synergy and choosing the regional or global approach in order to secure a single provider and point of contact. They are establishing the requirements of subsidiaries and publishing the RFPs to those providers that have global capabilities, supplier onboarding, management tools and multilingual support. They are analyzing the budgets and services of local providers, and planning a holistic approach.

At the first stage, these companies focus on rolling out e-invoicing for their most significant customers, for whom structured, automated invoicing is already in place. This is later extended to cover smaller customers, mostly providing them a web-based solution or a PDF invoice sent via e-mail.

This approach requires more resources to be allocated in the planning stage, but results in a more advantageous business model and a project that is better coordinated and is given higher priority.

The end to end functional approach

Companies sometimes plan their AP and AR project budgets at the same time, dividing the process into several phases. Assuming that AR is already in place, manufacturing companies will consider implementing e-invoicing projects with their suppliers in order to automate accounts payable. In this case, a supplier portal is the most favored option, as it enables efficient B2B collaboration, management, and supplier on-boarding. Moreover, document management systems with repositories for the whole retention period are considered while AP automation is being planned.

The comprehensive procure-to-pay suite

Companies seeking AP automation solutions often need suites which integrate not only sourcing, contract lifecycle management, master data management but also procurement, invoicing and payment processes. Depending on the organization, this may concern indirect and direct goods or services, and should guarantee transparency in supply chain transactions, provide spend analytics, and facilitate efficient B2B collaboration.

Comarch has been consulting various businesses and understands that there is no “one size fits all” approach. Each enterprise should create its own business case that takes account of its own structure and processes, and select the most appropriate providers. Recently, Comarch has been included in Forrester’s “Vendor Landscape: B2B Business Networks, 2017 to 2018”. The report assesses the performance of solutions which enable secure, convenient and reliable document exchange in the supply chain and e-invoicing processes. To discover more please download the Forrester report for free.

About Bartłomiej Wójtowicz

He has over 10 years of experience in the field of B2B communication in the supply chain. Initially responsible for the EDI market development in Central Europe, he is currently responsible for the development of Comarch BU E-INVOICING portfolio – a platform which allows the user to automate the supply chain and invoicing processes. A comprehensive approach to both internal and external communication with all partners (suppliers, customers, logistic operators, service providers), including the exchange of the product, commercial, logistic or financial data.

About Comarch

Founded in 1993, Comarch has more than 20 years of experience in designing, implementing and integrating IT solutions for enterprises in a variety of industries, including retail, consumer goods, DIY, logistics, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and oil and gas. Solutions for data exchange and document management are dedicated to master data management, e-procurement, e-invoicing and AP/AR processes. Comarch is a true end to end procure to pay solution provider. Moreover, the offer comprises a B2B network that guarantees reliable data transmission with more than 100 000 entities worldwide in a short time. Comarch is cooperating with companies such as Metro Systems, Carrefour, Leroy Merlin, BP, BIC, Unilever, Rossmann, Valeant, Valeo, and Technicolor. With thousands of completed projects, 15 data center locations and more than 80 offices in 30-plus countries, Comarch has the support and infrastructure necessary for high-volume rollouts.

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