Lansigt moves towards fully electronic invoicing

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Logo Lansigt 200x200Ready for the future with Simplerinvoicing e-billing

Interest in electronic invoicing is growing all the time. An e-invoice is a fully electronic document, which bookkeeping software can import and process automatically without any intermediate steps. As well as being extremely efficient, e-invoicing eradicates bookkeeping errors.
Working with the assistance of financial software suppliers and the support of the Dutch government, Simplerinvoicing is bringing the benefits of e-invoicing to the SME sector and accountancy industry. Innovative accountancy and tax consultancy Lansigt is one of the first firms to opt for fully electronic invoice processing – and the switch has been a great success.

Lansigt is a medium-sized business employing 130 people at offices in three Dutch towns: Gouda, Alphen a/d Rijn and Ridderkerk. The firm serves a wide range of clients, with the emphasis on SMEs. In total, Lansigt processes about fifteen thousand invoices a year, about 80 per cent of them outgoing and 20 per cent incoming.

Clients like the new invoicing process
Machiel Roos, Team Leader Finance and Control at Lansigt, is responsible for the firm’s invoicing process. The trend towards e-invoicing is gathering momentum all the time, he says. “In the last couple of years, lots of our clients had already switched from sending paper invoices to sending PDF invoices by e-mail. That’s a step forward, of course, but it isn’t true electronic invoicing.” A PDF still needs to be manually checked and entered onto the recipient’s system. By contrast, an e-invoice is a fully electronic UBL-based document that can be read into the recipient’s bookkeeping system and processed without any manual steps, such as printing and scanning. E-invoicing is therefore extremely efficient and does away with the risk of input mistakes and typing errors.

“With so many of our clients already using some form of digitised invoice, the news that we planned to introduce true e-invoicing went down well. Naturally, we made sure that we provided our clients with plenty of information, and only a very small number decided to stick with paper,” Roos explains. “Just a short time in, about 15 per cent of our total invoice traffic is in UBL form. And that figure is constantly rising, partly because we have continued to talk to clients about the benefits.”
Feedback from Lansigt’s clients has been positive. “Most see the change as a natural progression and simply take it in their stride,” Roos reports. “And our more innovative clients, such as those in the ICT sector, are often quite enthusiastic. They tell us that electronic invoicing reinforces our image as a forward-looking company.”

E-invoicing with MUIS Software
Lansigt uses MUIS Software – a popular bookkeeping program in the Netherlands – to send and receive UBL-based e-invoices. MUIS is connected to Simplerinvoicing via eVerbinding and therefore operates in accordance with the network agreements. Whenever Lansigt sends an invoice using the software, the best electronic delivery method is automatically identified and used. Where possible, that means delivery straight to the recipient’s own accounting system. If the recipient isn’t yet set up for true electronic invoicing, outgoing invoices are sent by e-mail.

MUIS Software can receive UBL invoices from the Simplerinvoicing network, process them and book them in – all on a fully automated, error-free basis. The recipient can always be sure that an invoice comes from an identified and trusted source, because connection to the Simplerinvoicing network guarantees that. Simplerinvoicing therefore provides added security by excluding the risk of spoof invoices.

Easy implementation
Rollout of the new invoicing process within Lansigt was so straightforward that Machiel Roos describes it in a single sentence. “The bookkeeping software needed to be updated and connected to Simplerinvoicing, and that was it,” he says. “Now that we are on the Simplerinvoicing network, all other network members can reach us electronically. There were no ICT issues at all. Naturally everyone was a little nervous when it came to actually flicking the switch, but really it couldn’t have been easier.”

The future of e-invoicing
In its role as accountant, administrator and auditor, Lansigt also helps clients to implement e-invoicing. The firm provides bookkeeping services to more than four hundred client businesses and expects everything to become electronic in due course. Incoming invoices that aren’t yet supplied in true electronic form are converted to UBL format using an electronic exchange platform. That is an important feature of the set-up, because realising the potential efficiency benefits depends on having a single invoice flow. Machiel Roos envisages a rapid rise in the percentage of invoices supplied in fully electronic form. “We are already seeing influential market players, such as wholesalers, starting to offer true electronic invoicing. That is bound to drive adoption,” he suggests. “Software suppliers are also doing a lot to make people aware of the benefits. I see this becoming a key trend. In fact it’s a trend that’s apparent now, because a lot of the leading software systems already feature Simplerinvoicing support, enabling users to exchange financial documents in electronic form. Accountants and bookkeeping firms that don’t make the switch will simply be out of business ten years from now. Universal platforms and protocols are very important for adoption, because SMEs can’t be expected to set up lots of different processes for all their suppliers and customers.”

Big cost savings and valuable management information
E-invoicing can reduce the cost of managing customer accounts considerably. But the benefits don’t end there. Digitisation also facilitates the processing of data on individual billable items. Wholesalers such as Sligro send long, detailed invoices. They are much easier to process when delivered in a fully electronic form that can be read straight into a receiving system. That means that the recipient’s accounts are always up to date, opening the way for generating valuable additional management information.

Machiel Roos – Teamleader Finance and Control at Lansigt – on the implementation of Simplerinvoicing: “The bookkeeping software needed to be updated and connected to Simplerinvoicing, and that was it. Naturally everyone was a little nervous when it came to actually flicking the switch, but really it couldn’t have been easier.”