E-invoicing is boring, but worth billions to economy


James Riley
Editorial Director

The federal Treasury department has gone live with its automated e-invoicing system, using an all-Australian software platform developed by Brisbane-based ERP software giant Technology One and Adelaide-based Link4.

With federal departments and agencies now on a clock get e-invoicing systems in place that small business suppliers to receive payment within five days of submitting an invoice, Treasury is the first of the central agencies to implement e-invoicing.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison flagged plans for a whole-of-government e-invoicing roll-out when he signed a trans-Tasman an electronic invoicing board called ANZEIB last February to oversee the rollout of e-invoicing technology in both countries.

Then in the October federal budget, Mr Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg mandated deadlines for government agencies to implement e-invoicing by July 1, 2021 for large agencies, and twelve months later for smaller agencies.

Treasury
E-invoicing is a key plank in the digital transformation plans for the economic recovery

The cash-flow boost to small business suppliers to government getting paid within five days rather than a month or more is worth billions in potential economic benefit.

The e-invoicing regime is a part of government’s digital transformation plans, and a key technology-based component of the Morrison government’s post-COVID economic recovery strategy.

E-invoicing represents the last mile of digital transformation in any organisation’s financial operations. There are 1.2 billon invoices are sent in Australia each year, 90 per cent of which are on paper or PDF. E-invoicing is cheaper (processing each paper invoice costs $20 but add no value), faster and less subject to error.

Treasury is not the first Federal department to implement it but it is one of the largest (with around 10,000 people) and oldest. It’s been paying invoices on paper since Federation!

Australian software company TechnologyOne has been on the ground for more than a year working with Treasury and the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to develop a highly secure solution, which also fully integrates into TechnologyOne’s government financial systems.

TechnologyOne chief executive Ed Chung said e-invoicing is a key step in the digital transformation of accounts payable and done right will revolutionise both small businesses and government agencies.

“Growing up in and around small family businesses most of my early life, I know first-hand how important cashflow is to survive, and to be able to pay the bills and staff,” Mr Chung said.

“We understand e-invoicing is a high-priority issue for the Government, and we’re committed to ensuring this important economic recovery and digital transformation initiative happens smoothly for the benefit of all Australians,” he said.

According to Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA), a policy group which advocates for over one million small businesses, e-invoicing is a key step in the digital transformation of accounts payable, and if done right, will make the lives of business owners easier, and encourage them to modernise and automate their IT systems in a secure and simple way.

“It’s also very pleasing to see the Federal Government putting their ‘buy local’ message into action by choosing an Australian company like TechnologyOne, to lead the charge. E-invoicing is about less stress for small business folk and more time to run the business or spend time with family,” Mr Strong said.

With Treasury’s e-invoicing initiative now up and running and successfully paying their suppliers within a five day turn around, TechnologyOne’s designed-for-government integrated solution is now ready to be rolled out across other agencies.

Earlier this year, TechnologyOne became the only enterprise software solution to earn the coveted “IRAP PROTECTED” security assessment across the full suite of products, materially raising the cyber security posture of Federal Government agencies at no additional cost.

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