Nobody likes faits accomplis. So if you want to move to electronic invoicing, take your time to inform your suppliers and customers. And you don’t have to switch everyone at the same time. Start out with those customers or suppliers that show an interest and that you think will be open to the prospect. You can easily add an informative page to your web site with all the facts.
If they need to register for e-Invoices, make sure the registration procedure only takes a few moments. And try to keep any possible adaptations on customer or supplier side to an absolute minimum. After all, your e-Invoicing shouldn’t cost them more in time or money, because then it stops being a win-win situation. So make sure you give them all the information they need to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Use simple terminology that everyone can understand. Often the way these processes are explained (with things like “XML files” or “EDI documents”) is only putting people off. But do make sure to highlight the advantages: time gained, less errors, simplicity, …
Most accounting software allows you to export PDF-files, which most everyone is now used to. So all your supplier needs to do is to mail you a simple PDF. And that is much easier and quicker than printing and (paper) mailing an invoice.
Why wouldn’t you give your customers a small reward every time they accept an electronic invoice? The advantages of e-Invoicing certainly outweigh any possible cost. Or, turned around: when paying your invoices, give priority to the suppliers that send you electronic invoices.
And why not be a bit more playful: for every customer or supplier accepting e-Invoicing, you can donate a small amount to a good cause. Or have a raffle amongst participants. Set your imagination to work!
Whenever two parties want to start e-Invoicing there’s usually a bit of factfinding to see which (and whose) way of working should be adopted.
Instead of asking your customers and suppliers to adopt your process, you could turn it around: ask them how they work and adapt your own processes if you feel that would work for you. The appetite for cooperation will likely be a lot higher.
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