Electronic Invoicing and Payment Portals – Hindrance or Help?
Electronic invoicing and payment portals are becoming more prevalent as a way of ensuring that the invoices are submitted in a manner that is compliant with customer requirements, ‘guaranteeing’ that they are processed without delay. In practice, however, it is often the case that credit controllers are unaware of the existence of these portals (until such time as the invoice is overdue for payment!).
Frequently, training on the use of the portal (and the information that is mandatory to ensure that payment can be processed) is either not in place or isn’t fully understood by the business until after the sale has been made, which ultimately leads to payment delays. Purchase order numbers is a common issue, as is understanding the correct legal entity to which the invoice needs to be addressed.
A user manual should be obtained by credit control at the start of any customer relationship for any portals that are in existence and full training should be provided by your customer on how to submit invoices, track the invoice status or correspond through the portal for the resolution of any issues. Often a video tutorial is available on the portal as a step through guide on how to use it.
The user manual will also provide details of any mandatory requirements (such as purchase order numbers) and will detail the acceptable formats for invoices being submitted.
It is sometimes possible to set up an email address where the portal will send notification emails (such as invoice rejections) and this should be activated to notify the credit control team. A good credit controller will ensure that this information is obtained and understood right at the start of any business relationship.
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