The E-invoicing Checklist: adoption tactics [part 16]

October 8, 2012  |  Electronic Invoicing, Publications

This E-invoicing Checklist series wouldn’t be complete without a section about the adoption of e-invoicing. How do you achieve mass e-invoicing adoption? It is important to inform your customers and suppliers of your and their transition to e-invoicing. This approach provides you with a number of benefits: (1) your customers or suppliers will not be surprised by your switch to e-invoicing and (2) chances are that you will achieve a higher adoption rate than when you go through a cold turkey e-invoicing upgrade. Here are some examples of instruments and activities you could use (in combination):



First, determine your savings per invoice when turning to e-invoicing. Next, determine a timeframe for your ROI. Then determine how your ROI will change with several adoption rates. This will give you a clue of how many paper invoices (and/or documents) need to be converted to e-documents. Then, determine which marketing instruments and activities need to be deployed to change your customers’ behaviour. Finally, add the marketing investments to the equation.



You can start in a fairly early stage to contact customers or suppliers that have shown interest in switching to e-invoicing. You can also select customers and suppliers based on their respective volume of sales, orders or just invoices. Use these partners to start up a pilot. The results of the pilot can then be presented to convince the remaining customers/suppliers.



Provide your customers and suppliers with information that allows them to get informed about how they can prepare for receiving your sales invoices, or for the transmission of their invoices to you.



Bring your customers together; present your transition to e-invoicing during a meeting. Your supplier/customer/pilot group can provide the audience with best practices, experiences and so on.


E-mail marketing

Inform your customers and suppliers about your intention, the process and the expected start date. Add a link to the e-invoicing registration page. Make the enrolment lightweight: require just basic information for starters, use just a few process steps and avoid massive authentication protocols. Make sure that enrolment is a matter of minutes; at the most!


Terms and conditions

When doing business with each other, terms and conditions play a vital role. You can include e-invoicing in your terms and conditions. Just make sure that your customers accepted your terms and conditions prior to the agreement.


Compulsory in e-commerce process

Require your customers to agree to e-invoicing, by making it a compulsory process/button in the online purchase process.



Sweepstakes are often used to promote e-invoicing and increase the adoption rates. In some cases, for every person or organisation that enrols in e-billing or e-invoicing, a Euro or Dollar is donated to a charity organisation or “green movement”. In other cases enrollers can win iPads or even a hybrid car.


Try to change your behaviour, instead of your customers’/suppliers’

E-invoicing is perceived as the art of sending e-invoices to your customers. From that perception we all believe that our customers will be facilitating you by happily going to deal with all of these different invoices that their suppliers dropped into their office in all kinds of ways.
Using the same philosophy, we also believe that all of our suppliers (with even more different processes and IT capabilities) can be forced to change their behaviour and happily facilitate you with invoices in a uniform format, at a uniform address.
However, these approaches lead to lower than expected adoption rates. What would happen if you changed your behaviour (you initiated this e-invoice thing, right?), facilitating your customers and suppliers?


Don’t: Penalties

Don’t: punish your customers with a higher cost for paper invoices if they don’t change their attitude because you want to send your invoices in a specific way.
Don’t: punish your suppliers with longer payment deadlines or even contract dissolvent when they cannot or will not provide you with e-invoices in the format you have required.


Recommend: Reward

Do: give your customers a discount every time they are willing to receive your e-invoice. That way they have the notion of receiving a kickback from the savings that they provide to you by receiving your e-invoices (get it?).
Do: pay your suppliers earlier when they deliver the invoice in accordance with your wishes/requirements.

Want your own personalised E-invoicing Checklist? No problem, just surf to and download it for free.

Previously published articles in this series:
New series: The E-invoicing Checklist [part 1]
The E-invoicing Checklist: Manual [part 2]
The E-invoicing Checklist: Current EU e-invoicing basics [part 3]
The E-invoicing Checklist: The new EU E-invoicing Directive [part 4]
The E-invoicing Checklist: content – tax requirements [part 5]
The E-invoicing Checklist: content of the simple invoice [part 6]
The E-invoicing Checklist: content clarity and comprehensibility [part 7]
The E-invoicing Checklist: content payment instructions [part 8]
The E-invoicing Checklist: create your invoice [part 9]
The E-invoicing Checklist: It’s issuing time! [part 10]
The E-invoicing Checklist: receiving invoices [part 11]
The E-invoicing Checklist: verify your data [part 12]
The E-invoicing Checklist: manage your master data [part 13]
The E-invoicing Checklist: let’s archive [part 14]
The E-invoicing Checklist: ensure controllability [part 15]

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