WA pilot starts down a long road to e-invoicing

Brandon How

The west’s transport agency Main Roads WA will be the first arm of the state government to trial e-invoicing as a pilot project with Adelaide-based digital invoicing specialist Link4 commences.

The pilot also involves US-based Oracle’s Enterprise Resource Planning Cloud Integration system, and business software provider Kofax.

The Australian Tax Office describes eInvoicing as the automated exchange of standardised invoice information between accounting software systems over a secure dedicated network.

This avoids the need for print, post, PDF, or email paper-based invoices. E-invoicing is used between businesses, suppliers, contractors, and government, but is not used for transactions with consumers.

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“eInvoicing is safer than emailing a pdf invoice. It’s great that we’re starting to see more state government departments going digital with their procure-to-pay processes,” Link4 chief executive office Robin Sands said.

“Departments that are adopting eInvoicing are also seeing benefits such as increased efficiency gains, automation and invoice error reductions.”

According to estimates by Deloitte, almost 90 per cent of the more than 1.2 billion invoices exchanged annually are carried out manually. Further, it estimates that e-invoicing can create $20 in cost savings per invoice, compared to manual systems.

Link4 e-invoicing services are used by the federal Treasury, the Australian Office of Financial Management, Geoscience Australia, Australian Sports Commission, Australian Prudential Authority and the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. It is also used by thousands of Australian businesses and throughout New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK.

Through the Digital Business Plan, $3.6 million was pledged in September 2020 for mandatory adoption of e-invoicing for Commonwealth agencies by the middle of 2022. A further $15.3 million was pledged during last year’s budget to support wider adoption of e-invoicing.

E-invoicing for goods and services less than $1 million has been mandatory for all NSW government agencies since January 1, 2022. According to the Digital Economy Strategy 2030, it is hoped that e-invoicing will have rolled out across the private sector as well.

Consultation on a proposed Business E-Invoicing Right that would legally oblige businesses to adopt and send e-invoices if one is requested by a trading partner is open until February 25, 2022. The consultation is also accepting views on further measures to support business adoption and integration of e-invoicing.

The European Peppol e-invoicing network was selected as the standard framework for e-invoicing in Australia when Prime Minister Scott Morrison signed an agreement with New Zealand in February 2019. This also involved the establishment of an electronic invoicing board called ANZEIB to oversee the rollout in both countries.

Australia currently ranks fifth on the United Nations e-government development index – a composite of the online services index, telecommunications infrastructure index and the human capacity index.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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