Every year, we support thousands of businesses as they make the transition from manual processing to e-invoicing. While adopting e-invoicing may seem like a big decision, it is has emerged as a vital competitive step when you take into consideration the needless friction that exists in many modern businesses due to the use of outdated payment processes.
Recent research commissioned by Tungsten Network shows that the average business is losing around £88,725 per year through clunky payment practices. It also wastes valuable time and employee energy. Businesses are spending around 55 hours on average per week doing manual, paper-based processes and checks; 39 hours chasing invoice exceptions, discrepancies, and errors, and 23 hours responding to supplier enquiries – all things which could easily be automated.
Having highlighted the financial cost of paper-based, manual processes, the question is, are businesses who take the plunge and join a network seeing the impact on the bottom line?
We recently spoke to Paul Harvey, Head of Procurement Operations and Infrastructure at Marsh McLennan Companies (MMC), and asked him about the impact that going digital has had on the business.
Initially, he explained the process the business went through when looking into e-invoicing providers: “We chose Tungsten because their network of vendors matched ours, their offering to SMEs where the predominance of their invoices are free of charge was attractive when we have a long tail of SME vendors all over the world, and also the ease of doing business with them.”
Having chosen Tungsten and joined the Tungsten Network, MMC has enjoyed a host of benefits, both tangible and intangible. Joining Tungsten’s platform has meant that there is now a unified format and a simple way of getting vendors to invoice consistently. This has reduced errors and removed friction from the supply chain.
In terms of specific impact, Paul stated: “E-invoicing is growing progressively and now about 50 percent of invoices that run across the Tungsten Network are touchless. We no longer have the responsibility for processing and handling vendors which means there has been a reduction in the number of accounts payable people needed to make transactions happen – this is a tangible cost-saving.”
An intangible benefit comes from the digital connectivity between buyers and their supplier relationships. Paul added: “Through e-invoicing, vendors have transparency of the whole process and can find answers to any questions they might have. As a result, the number of calls coming through to our helpdesk has reduced by 10-15 per cent in just three months. While this is not a material cost-saving, it allows the business to do what it should be doing, rather than spending time on vendor enquiries.”