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Monthly Archives: February 2018

E-Invoicing

By mapping out your ‘as is’ process you will come to understand:

  • Why invoices fail
  • How e-invoicing can remedy problems in your process flow
  • How many invoices would be ‘in scope’ should you proceed with e-invoicing
  • What your ‘as-is’ cost is, and how much it will go down by moving to electronic
  • How many days it’s currently taking to process an invoice, and how e-invoicing would reduce the time
  • How, by reducing the number of days, your capturing of negotiated discounts might be favorably effected

Step One is likely to take you 3 to 6 months, but by the end of it you’ll be clearer and more realistic when you make your business case.

Importantly, knowing your cost-per-transaction is essential for negotiating effectively with the provider you end up signing.

Step Two: Know the vision of the company:

Process change makes sense to stakeholders when it is contextualized against the overarching ambitions of the company.

This means it’s worth taking the time to understand where the company wants to be in 6, 12 or 24 months’ time, and you can extrapolate that intention back to how e-invoicing might accelerate or bolster the realization of that goal. Take the time to lift yourself from the ‘day to day’ and understand where the company is headed. (Ask lots of questions, and really listen to the answers.) Then you can:

  1. Understand and communicate the wider purpose of e-invoicing and position e-invoicing as a key enabler for realizing goals
  2. Use the language of the senior management to present e-invoicing back to them
  3. Move e-invoicing up the priority list

This endeavor requires planning, and an investment of time outside your day job, but it will pay off down the road, when your CFO and CPO and CTO (Chief Treasury Officer) see e-invoicing as their single point of failure.

Step Three: Get procurement on board early

This is easier for an organization where Finance and Procurement are already aligned, already share reporting lines and objectives, and operate as one team.

But in organizations where this ‘joined-upness’ doesn’t exist, it’s common for Finance to own the project, because they get the more immediate gains, and involve Procurement almost as an afterthought. This can kill the project on the spot.

This is largely because e-invoicing is a supplier-focused program, and even though Finance, or rather Accounts Payable, pays suppliers, they are actually owned by Procurement. This means suppliers will listen to Procurement regarding the e-invoicing project first, and finance second. So if procurement are not brought in, or are at all dismissive of e-invoicing, your suppliers will feel this mood, and drag their heels in signing up.

This is perhaps the key to getting e-invoicing right, and so easily overlooked as a small detail. It’s not. It will make – or catastrophically break – your project.

When working with Procurement, consider the following:

  • Drivers – why are we doing e-invoicing?
  • Scope – all suppliers, invoice types, AP transaction types, countries?
  • Solution scope – just e-invoicing or an end to end solution?
  • Message – mandatory or optional?
  • Quality of the database – will the comms ‘land on the right desk’?
  • Signatory – how senior will the signatories be? The CPO and the CFO? (Ideally, yes.)
  • Targets – are Finance and Procurement KPI’d on the same targets?
  • The non-compliant – who will respond to the suppliers that resist?
  • Who will own the project? Perhaps Finance and Procurement together?

Investing time in seeking out a partnership from Procurement early on is fundamental to a successful project.

Step Four: Give the project a name

You will likely find that the nameless projects stay in project status for a long time, and rarely move to operational or ‘go live’. This is not a coincidence.

By giving your e-invoicing project both a pre- and post- contract name, you:

  1. Give it an identity which helps people ‘get it’
  2. Create interest and curiosity (‘what is this Globe project everyone’s talking about?’)
  3. Avoid confusion because you’re all talking about the same thing
  4. Heighten engagement and inspire greater emotional attachment, especially, I find, if you stay away from the obvious like Globe, Probe, e-Procurement Project – all decent names, but how about something more fun, like names of characters from movies or fiction? Or having a competition (with a really good prize) to come up with the most creative name?

Step Five: Know what you’re shopping for

What do you want? Is it a best-of-breed e-invoicing solution? Is it e-invoicing with dynamic discounting? Is it e-invoicing with workflow and routing, or an e-procurement functionality for your upstream procurement process? Do you need it to be VAT compliant and language sensitive because you are rolling out across multiple countries? And do you need to use their onboarding capabilities? (This is always advisable.)

Knowing what you want, and then capturing these requirements in a document is key.

You will have:

  • Commercial and business requirements
  • Process requirements
  • Scope requirements (impacting the legal treatment and the languages supported)
  • IT requirements (but these are probably weighted lightly, as all e-invoicing solutions I know of are system agnostic)
  • Resource or/and timing requirements

Then make sure that the companies you invite to respond to the RFP all offer similar-ish services, so you are not comparing one solution type against another completely different solution type in order to make a decision.

Step Six: Determine the cost of delayed-implementation

Quantifying the cost of doing nothing – ‘continuing as per’, and having this as a daily, weekly, monthly and annual figure, will help drive a deadline.

It’s advisable to build this figure with the main stakeholders, so they all agree on it, and understand that, allowing the project to slip by a month is actually costing the company X.

Having the daily figure will help drive the pace of the project.

Step Seven: Follow the best practices of the provider

The provider you end up selecting will have likely rolled out 20 – 100 e-invoicing programs (if it is one of the bigger providers like Tungsten, Ariba, Taulia or Tradeshift). This means you will be benefiting from their experience, which is now structured, and documented.

Some providers swear by their best-practices so much that they attach a guarantee to their invoice conversion.

Offshore Banking

Offshore banking is done through a bank that is known as an offshore bank. Offshore banks are banks that are located in another country, other than the country that you reside in. For instance, if you live in the Untied States an offshore bank would not be located in the United States. Many popular offshore banks are located in Switzerland. There are a number of advantages to offshore banking, but there are disadvantages as well.

The biggest advantage of offshore banking is that you are offered privacy and stability. There are many individuals who place their money in offshore accounts for security purposes. When your money is in an offshore account, you can access it, but many choose not to. It is easier to access and spend your money if it is at a local bank. That is why a large number of individuals use offshore banking to help them increase their savings.

Another advantage of offshore banking is that just about anyone can open an account. The most common users of offshore banking are corporations, the self-employed, or individuals who wealthy. Offshore banks may have restrictions on the amount of money that is needed to open an account, but it is not always a large amount. Whether you are a small business owner, wealthy, or you consider yourself middle class, you should still be able to open up an offshore bank account.

As previously mentioned, offshore banking is often associated with illegal activities. One of these illegal activities is tax evasion. If you set up an offshore bank account, you will still need to report your savings. Not reporting all of your money in an offshore account can lead to you be brought up on tax evasion charges. It is important to note that you have the ability to prevent this from happening. As long as you choose to use your offshore bank account legally, there shouldn’t be any disadvantages to having one.

The decision to open up an offshore bank account is a large one. If you are interested in opening up an offshore bank account, it is advised that you fully examine your decision. Many benefit from offshore banking, but not all do. If you are planning on using your offshore account to avoid a lawsuit or to evade taxes, you may want to reexamine your decision. As previously mentioned, there are serious consequences for doing this. As long as you plan on using your offshore account in a legal way, you can benefit immensely from offshore banking.

Credit Card Wisely

You must ask yourself “ Do I Need a Credit Card” Here are some things to think about…

For purchasing over the Internet is a real must to have a Credit Card as most of the time you will be asked for one. With the ever increased security nowadays it is very safe to purchase online as long as its from a reputable company.

You wont have to walk around with large sums of cash on you and take the risks that come with that. Taking a Credit Card on holiday or on business means you will not have to worry about exchange rates and getting local currency. Also for emergencies, cash withdrawals and spreading the cost of a large payment or that unexpected out lay. Credit Cards can be a real safety net if used correctly.

Some of the terminology used can be a bit confusing but here are a few pointers for you.

The APR or Annual Percentage Rate means simply the rate of interest you will pay on the balance outstanding.

Balance transfer means that if you have another Credit Card you can make huge savings by transferring you balance to a new card. Some offer 0% for up to 12 months as I mentioned earlier. So used correctly Credit Cards can be a great thing, especially if you can pay the balance off. I use mine all the time and never use cash unless its for small things, then I pay it off as my salary goes into the bank, so I earn max interest on my Bank Account. If you have a Mortgage that offsets the money in your account to what you owe then you can even pay your Mortgage off quicker saving even more money.

Grocery Shopping

Grocery Shopping Suggestions:

* Eat before you go grocery shopping so you won’t be tempted to make impulse purchases.

* Don’t forget to buy the generic or store brand for those items where a brand name is not necessary: sugar, flour, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, etc.

* Stock up on food staples when they are on sale.

* Buy store-brand cereal instead of national brands. If your household goes through a box or more per week, you can save over $100 per year by purchasing store brands.

* When buying pre-packaged fruits and vegetables for a flat cost, i.e. 5 pounds of potatoes for $1.88, actually weigh the bags and find the bag that weighs more than 5 pounds.

* Check out the price per ounce/pound/piece. Just because it is a big box, doesn’t mean it’s cheaper! Sometimes two smaller packages are cheaper than the big box. Compare prices ounce per ounce.

* Stretch the food that exists in your cupboards. I bet you have enough odds and ends to last you at least a week in meals if you’re creative. I have learned to make wonderful meals out of rice and beans, noodles, and herbs.

* When you cook a meal, cook twice as much and freeze the leftovers. This works great with cookie dough too.

* The weeks when the sales are not so good could be light buying weeks. If you have some food in reserve, on these light weeks the extra food is like money in the bank. If you ever hit a rough patch, you might have enough to carry you through that time.