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    Why Covid-19 Might Be The End Of Paper Invoicing For Good


    Covid-19 has thrown the wheels of the global economy into a state of limbo in many ways, and small and large businesses are adapting at lightning speed. 

    In the field of billing, companies are making the transition to e-invoicing to keep operations running smoothly. 

    This digital and paperless form of invoicing is playing a role in lubricating the controls of the global economy, keeping cash flow sustained, and pedaling the supply-chain. 

    The current crisis seems to be speeding up already-increasing trends, while giving a boost to virtual or digitized versions of processes. 

    This stems from the following reasons:

    • Social distancing - People around the world are opting for non-physical processes wherever they can
    • Lockdowns - Due to restrictive government policies around the world, businesses are needing to adapt 
    • Cutting Costs - In an age of uncertainty, budgets are being tightened wherever possible, and things that were previously perhaps not considered (for example, paper), are being explored

    To be clear, the paperless invoicing trend had started before the Covid-19 crisis and a transformation was well underway already. 

    This was mostly due to environmental aspects as well as ease of use. 

    However, for many businesses right now, e-invoicing is a necessity.

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    AP Staff Working From Home 

    One of the greatest shifts in working dynamics is marked by the more relaxed work-from-home policies made inevitable for businesses of all sizes. Many members of AP staff within accounting departments have started working from home. 

    Covid-19 has called for a social-distancing plan that has locked out the traditional modes of order fulfillment, invoicing, cash flow, response to POs, and collaboration between buyers and sellers.

    The homebound AP staff is in dire need of a digital way to sustain connection with suppliers, maintain an uninterrupted supply chain and cash flow. 

    Businesses that are now facing difficulty in ensuring this fundamental flow, for the most part, have been slow in internalizing updated and digitized modes of invoicing. 

    The Benefits Of Paperless Invoices 

    When conventional modes seem to be leaving social interactions behind, going paperless might be your best option. 

    Regardless of whether you are a large or small scale company, several invoicing software options for freelancers and growing industries have surfaced that cater to supply chain invoicing and payment. 

    Here are the benefits of going paperless:

    • Paperless invoicing leverages digital networks to create a value-based system of onboarding suppliers that simultaneously cuts-back on the amount needed to expend on traditional invoicing initiatives
    • One of the most tangible benefits for both buyers and suppliers is tracking invoices in real-time, combined with a system that allows making and receiving payments possible via the same software. This saves both buyers and suppliers significant capital otherwise needed to exhaust on external sources 
    • Software solutions provide sellers with mobile-friendly, cloud-based platforms that, upon activation, lend valuable insights into buyer-supplier relationships, on-the-go payables that need financing, and real-time transaction statistics
    • E-invoicing is extremely time-efficient making it compatible with today’s need to set-up quick networking for easy cash flow and uninterrupted business

    Four Challenges For AP Teams

    AP staff confined to a working-from-home mode of productivity have at least four basic issues that need to be immediately addressed. 

    • Equipping Staff At Home - The greatest challenge in working from home is the non-availability of equipment, internet, and other resources that make up the setting responsible for an uninterrupted flow of work. In addition to worktools themselves, accounting staff are also having to reinvent thor communication methods within the teams
    • Establishing A New Workflow - When shifting entire business operations to one’s home, there is a new need to establish an adjusted workflow. This is due to people being surrounded by family members, customers’ shifted needs, and more. The sooner a new and agile workflow is adopted, and the staff trained in this regard, the better it is for a business’ survival and growth
    • Setting Internal Controls - This refers to emergency procedures an organization adopts to guarantee cumulative success in the long run. Creating a controlled environment, assessing all associated risks in making great internal transitions, successfully communicating and implementing control measures, and strictly monitoring workflow will ensure a higher success rate in this uncertain environment
    • Tackling Fraud - As with any unprecedented period of transition, fraudulent practices and similar risks climb to an all-time high. Every crisis is an opportunity, and this is extremely true in the eyes of fraudsters. This risk is exacerbated for the sensitive and crucial accounting department that manages a company’s funds. Setting up strong internal controls is one way to tackle any risk of fraud. Also, accounting segregation, widespread and unhindered communication amongst employees, scrutinizing and auditing accounts, and training employees to reduce risks of fraud all contribute to these efforts


    During this time, substituting conventional and traditional modes of conducting businesses with digitized networks that require going paperless may be your best option. 

    For small businesses and large enterprises, specifically in the Middle East and Africa, have still a long way to go before they can successfully internalize digital technology for their benefit, but research has shown that the sooner the transition occurs, the better.