E-invoicing Q&A for Government Departments and Agencies Across Australia and New Zealand

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions for government departments and agencies who are looking to implement e-invoicing. Whether you have an ERP or Cloud based Accounts payable/receivable system in place, our Q&A can help you understand the processes for e-invoicing implementation.

My software provider says I need to upgrade to the Cloud (latest version) or purchase additional licenses to do e-invoicing – is that the case or can I use my existing software to receive e-invoices?

Depending on the ERP or Accounting software you’re using, you don’t always need to upgrade or purchase additional modules first. For example, if you’re not using TechnologyOne’s latest CiAnywhere version, we’re able to connect you to the Peppol e-invoicing network using our partners XcellerateIT and EzeScan. If your current ERP or Accounting software isn’t Cloud-based, then we can still connect you – we have successfully implemented e-invoicing for different ERP systems using various methods. Link4 has worked with many ERP companies to connect their clients to the Peppol network.

Can we send or receive the invoice PDF and multiple supporting documents with the invoice?

Many businesses have PDFs such as Purchase Orders (PO) or other documents (image or Excel files etc) that need to be attached along with the invoice. They can easily be sent and received as an attachment with the e-invoice.  

What is the costing model, i.e. per document, size of file etc?

Link4 charges per e-invoice transaction. This means that no matter how many documents are attached to the e-invoice, you only pay per transaction. Some Access Points charge per file size which means that businesses can get caught out paying extra due to the sheer volume of attachments being sent along with the e-invoice. We believe that charging per transaction is a more transparent way (and a straightforward way) for our customers to relate to.

Typically what percentage of suppliers do you manage to get engaged to submit e-invoices?

Hundreds of businesses are joining the Peppol e-invoicing network each week in Australia and New Zealand. We find that when businesses have been educated on the financial, environmental and time savings associated with e-invoicing, the uptake towards it is high. Education and promotion are paramount to the systemic adoption of e-invoicing. Link4 has proven experience in onboarding suppliers and can assist your department or agency to manage this too. We provide information and training for employees during the implementation process and this is included in our pricing structure. Link4 can also send you notifications when your suppliers or customers join the Peppol network.

What about smaller suppliers that don’t have the systems in place to submit e-invoices or don’t have the technology to upload invoices?

E-invoicing is still possible for these suppliers. Link4 offers a product called InvoiceExpress which micro-businesses (or any business!) can use to send and receive Peppol e-invoices without the need for a Cloud Accounting system. By using InvoiceExpress, businesses can input data into their InvoiceExpress dashboard, and create/send e-invoices to their customers.

So one of the first steps for us is to tidy up our supplier database, confirm email addresses, etc?

We recommend going through your supplier database to check that each supplier has at least a valid ABN/NZBN and email address. To send and/or receive an e-invoice through the Peppol network, an ABN/NZBN is usually a minimum requirement. If you have an associated email address with your suppliers, this comes in handy during the supplier onboarding phase of implementation.

Can our international suppliers send us e-invoices?

Yes! Any country that has adopted e-invoicing using the Peppol Framework will allow the sending and/or receiving of e-invoices to Australia and New Zealand. Businesses in Australia and New Zealand can easily send and receive e-invoices across the Tasman – this is part of the Trans-Tasman Electronic Invoicing Arrangement set up by both the AU and NZ governments back in 2018.

What if suppliers are not registered for GST, are they able to use the portal?

As long as your supplier has an ABN or NZBN, then e-invoicing is possible. Access Points (such as Link4) serve the purpose of invoice information transfer between suppliers and buyers, so Link4 is the ‘messenger’ that enables a secure transfer of information between Accounting systems.

Do Access Points allow both the sending and receiving of invoices? Or just receive and it’s an add-on to be able to send e-invoices?

Link4 can be both your sending and receiving Access Point for e-invoices. In some cases (eg. those using Cloud Accounting software),  If you are both sending AND receiving e-invoices, the number of transactions that you are making each month may change, therefore you may have to change your subscription plan to accommodate this. If you are using an ERP system and wish to be both send AND receive-capable, we will discuss your options in our initial discussions. Whether you’d like to be receive-only, or send-and-receive capable, Link4 will be able to fulfil your requirements.

What are the advantages of e-invoicing compared to OCR? OCR will get me the data as well directly in my system?

OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, is a technology that converts PDFs and images into editable and searchable text online. OCR is often used to read and input invoice data into ERP systems, but still requires manual approval of the data. e-invoicing on the other hand is different in that invoice information is created and sent and/or received directly between Accounting systems (OCR is an additional step in the process). Not only does e-invoicing require less human intervention it’s also much more secure and accurate compared to OCR. For example, OCR is still susceptible to email redirection scams, as PDF invoices are sent via email and can be intercepted and modified before OCR translates the invoice information into your ERP system. e-invoicing completely bypasses the need for emailed PDF invoices.

If a supplier sends us an invoice using e-invoicing, will it cost them? If so, why would they pay, if we already match their payment time requirement? What’s their incentive?

The cost of sending an e-invoice depends on the volume or amount of e-invoice transactions your suppliers make each month. For example, if your supplier only sends 6 e-invoices in a month, then e-invoicing will be free through Link4. Link4 offers a Freemium solution for any business using Cloud Accounting systems, so they can send (or receive) up to 10 e-invoices (transactions) each month for free. For businesses who send/receive more than 10 e-invoices, we offer affordable monthly subscriptions, starting from $20/Month. e-invoicing has many benefits for your suppliers (more than just faster payment times). Not only is e-invoicing better for the environment, it’s much safer than traditional invoicing methods like paper/email/PDF invoicing. It also significantly reduces the amount of data entry and time spent on chasing or following up on invoices. Some Accounting systems are offering e-invoicing as part of their product and the user doesn’t have to pay an additional cost.  

Share on LinkedIn