The Interoperable E-Invoicing Future

For many businesses, invoicing presents a variety of challenges. Paper or e-mail based invoicing is often performed manually, which can be costly, inefficient and prone to error and/or fraud. Organizations that have adopted electronic invoicing systems may have developed their own vendor and service provider-specific invoices that are customized to their business processes. While these customized electronic versions may be more technologically advanced than paper or email, organizations with different Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems or e-invoicing service providers are still not realizing the full benefits of e-invoicing.

The Federal Reserve has created the Business Payments Coalition (BPC), formerly the Remittance Coalition, to address these issues and create a more efficient system. Comprised of more than 400 organizations, the BPC is working to address the issues and create a more efficient system.

A Vendor Agnostic Network

The BPC has developed an e-Invoice Interoperability Framework with an approach called the Four-Corner Model. The Four-Corner Model aims to create a vendor agnostic network and messaging protocol enabling organizations to easily share invoices across platforms. It would be similar to the SMS (Short Message Service) protocol used to send text messages or the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) model that allows computers to communicate over the internet. The BCP estimates that, in the United States alone, use of the Four Corner Model could save organizations $45 to $150 billion in overhead costs annually. 

The model's four corners include the Seller Systems, Access Point* Service Provider (Sender), Access Point Service Provider (Receiver), and the Buyer Systems. There is also a set of federated registries** that include public, non-confidential, information about how to e-Invoice an organization.

The Interoperable E-Invoicing Future

*Access points provide the mechanism for buyers and sellers to exchange invoices and related documentation.

**Federated registries are used to present distributed data in a unified manner. In the case of e-invoicing they are used to locate the digital address of the buyer and the business and technical requirements to communicate.

What Does This Mean for Organizations?

The framework is currently undergoing a pilot, with a goal of launching an operational business-to-business exchange network within the United States in 2023. The pilot aims to iron out and formalize the technical requirements needed to have true interoperability between e-Invoicing solutions.

While the launch may happen near-term, it will take time for finance and accounts receivable teams to adopt this new and far-reaching system of exchanging invoices. In addition to addressing the impact on business process and bill/payment systems, organizations will need to address cybersecurity issues.

As we enter the interoperable e-Invoicing future, Weaver is here to help. We have a diverse group of cybersecurity, banking, finance, and accounting professionals with the ability to help organizations comply with standards and regulations, improve cybersecurity processes to protect payment data, and identify sensible methods for reducing fraud. Contact us for information and assistance.

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Neha Patel

Neha Patel

Partner-in-Charge, IT Advisory Services

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Neha Patel, CPA, CISA, CDPSE, has more than 17 years of experience in public accounting and internal audit, with an emphasis on…

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