An Australian Government promise to pay its suppliers faster has led to a collaboration between an e-invoicing startup from South Australia and the federal Treasury.
Based in Adelaide, South Australia, invoice delivery service provider Link4 will connect Treasury with the Pan-European Public Procurement Online (PEPPOL) network, allowing the government department to instantly receive invoices from anyone sending them via the network.
Link4 co-founder and CTO Sam Hassan said the project, which kicked off last week and is expected to go live in October, would simplify the invoicing process by removing the need for suppliers to manually input data from emails and PDFs.
He said Australian federal government invoices were expected to be paid within five business days to help increase cash flow and assist businesses doing it tough during the economic downturn.
“This project started back in 2016, when the government was looking at ways to streamline the interaction with the supplier and find ways to pay suppliers faster,” Hassan said.
“In January, the government promised to pay suppliers in five days if they delivered an invoice, helping with the cash flow for small businesses during this COVID time.
“So any business can send their invoices to the Department of Treasury and we can deliver those invoices electronically to the department systems.
“The ultimate goal is to allow small and medium businesses to deliver their invoices to the department and get paid faster.”
Last year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia and New Zealand would adopt the PEPPOL interoperability framework for e-invoicing in a bid to increase opportunities to integrate with global trading from January 2020.
A spokesperson for the Department of Treasury said it was implementing the e-invoicing capability in accordance with the government’s policy.
“Treasury undertook a procurement process in accordance with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, from which Link4 was selected,” they said.
“The Commonwealth Government is encouraging State Governments and the business community to move to e-invoicing to facilitate more streamlined payment of business invoices by Government.”
E-invoicing, or electronic billing, is 60 to 80 per cent more efficient than traditional paper-based processing according to the Council of Small Business Australia.
Hassan founded Link4 with Robin Sands in 2015 in a bid to streamline the invoicing process through its digital invoice translator which helps manage accounts across multiple cloud platforms in real time.
The cloud platform has since been developed for a range of different vendors including Xero, MYOB, Reckon One, QuickBooks, Saasu and Sage One and begun servicing small and medium companies across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK, including BOC Australia, state government departments and BGW Group.
Link4 said it allowed TechnologyOne users to connect with the PEPPOL network, which included the Department of Treasury.
Small business ombudsman Kate Carnell welcomed the government’s move to electronic invoicing.
“It is pleasing to see the Australian Government adopt e-Invoicing, as we know this helps Australia’s small businesses get paid faster,” she said.