Using Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) to Achieve a Paperless Office
Electronic invoice presentment and payment, often shortened to EIPP, is the system by which a customer can electronically receive an invoice from you, and pay it electronically.
The term presentment in EIPP is used, rather than presentation, because invoices are seen as a formal instruction for payment.
EIPP works by sending an online link, or gateway, to your customers invoice – which typically receive by email. Once the EIPP system has asked the customer to verify their identity they will be able to access their present invoice and any past ones they may have. Electronic invoice presentation and payment then allows the customer to pay their invoice using online banking, or pay the money directly via online card payment, or through a debiting link on the EIPP system. This results in a money transfer in real time, meaning EIPP saves you time and money!
The use of EIPP in the invoicing workflow inherently digitizes what were traditionally paper processes, massively improving speed and efficiency of the accounts receivable process as well as bringing many other benefits to both senders and recipients of electronic invoices.
What are the benefits of a paperless office?
In the early days of businesses trying to reduce paper usage, optical character recognition, or OCR, systems were extensively used to scan and digitize paper documents. The drive to do so was largely driven by the improved efficiency in storage of electronic documents, over their paper equivalents, the sheer amount of office space for filing cabinets to house the amount of paper used by paper processes in a traditional office would seem almost incomprehensible to many of us in the modern business world.
As businesses have switched to using dropbox, evernote, google docs and other apps to create and store information as digital files, backups have become electronic and automated, driving down the need for printed copies and their storage.
The cost savings from creating, storing and processing digital documents have far outweighed the investment in electronic document management software and staff training to use these new systems.
Maybe it’s a little ambitious to expect an entire organization to go paperless, but with the improved efficiency of the work environment and the associated project management benefits, it may not be so difficult to reduce the rest of your business’s reliance on paper documents as the benefits of a paperless office are felt.
Electronic documents, cloud storage and apps to work with these technologies more efficiently are fast replacing hard copy and the inefficiencies of paper processes throughout the business world.
How does electronic invoice presentation and payment contribute to a paperless office?
EIPP eradicates the need to print and send invoices to clients and customers. A company who uses EIPP to present all customer invoices would have little need for a printer in their office. The savings on printers, paper, toner, management and maintenance costs can be significant. Furthermore, scaling invoicing electronically (either up or down) is extremely easy – not so with physical printing and postage requirements!
The payment part of electronic invoice presentment and payment is another area where paperwork is saved. As a company, receipts of payment will be presented to customers as they make their payments using EIPP. The decision to print that receipt lies with them, and if they decide not to, it can still be made available when they log on to their EIPP system – held as a record for years, if needed. With these documents available online there is far less need to print them, and so electronic invoice presentment and payment saves both you and your customers money.
Business partners will thank you for embracing new technologies to support electronic invoicing. Receiving invoices electronically makes AP automation far easier for them to achieve (without the need for OCR or manual rekeying of invoices), allowing for improved workflow and significant cost savings.
What if my customers do not want Invoices via EIPP?
It is understandable, to an extent, that some customers may not appreciate the full value of electronic invoice presentment and payment. Some may have yet to embrace the internet, or fail to realise that EIPP is actually more secure than the postal service. As a company aiming to achieve a paperless office you can help dispel myths about EIPP and its security when talking to your customers.
When sending customers their invoices in paper form, it may help to include information and advice on how to switch to EIPP in the same envelopes that contain their invoices. In fact, you can find more tips and recommendations along these lines in our guide to converting customers to electronic invoicing.
However, it’s likely that there will remain some customers unlikely to acknowledge your message about EIPP; these may include the elderly or those who are unable to use a computer for other reasons. In these cases a paperless office may not be completely achievable. The best you can do is to ensure your communication with those customer choosing to avoid electronic invoices is as paper-efficient as possible.
Where retaining some level of paper invoicing, communications should be on recycled, thin paper, and kept to a minimum number of pages. Alternatively you may wish to contract this job to a company like Corcentric, who can manage print and postal delivery alongside electronic document distribution, as a managed service. Corcentric can also provide you with a single, unified interface to manage, report and access the invoicing process.