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You’re likely seeing the term eInvoicing more and more frequently (along with Peppol, more than likely). What is this new technology, and why are mentions of it popping up everywhere now?

The main reason for its sudden fame is that, as of July 2022, eInvoicing is now standard for the Australian federal government. Businesses that sell or provide services to governmental agencies are scrambling to adopt it, and the process is gaining steam throughout the private sector as well. New Zealand is also pushing for wider adoption of eInvoicing, though it has not yet moved to eInvoicing as a new standard.

If you’re unsure what the fuss is about or simply want to learn more about eInvoicing and Peppol, this article serves as your crash course.

What is eInvoicing?

Electronic invoicing, often referred to as eInvoicing, represents a seamless and automated approach to exchanging invoice data between suppliers and buyers. This digital method eliminates the traditional need to print and physically mail paper invoices or exchange PDFs through email.

One of the key advantages of eInvoicing is its ability to eradicate the time-consuming and error-prone process of manual data entry, where information often needs to be transferred between various documents or systems. With eInvoicing, the entire invoice transaction takes place securely and intelligently, as data seamlessly flows between integrated systems. This not only enhances accuracy but also ensures that invoices are processed efficiently, leaving businesses with more time to focus on strategic tasks rather than chasing invoices or dealing with invoice errors.

Canon Business Services ANZ (CBS) is proud to offer comprehensive eInvoicing solutions throughout Australia, leveraging the Peppol framework that the Australian Government has recently adopted as the common standard. Our eInvoicing services often integrate seamlessly with our Automated Accounts Payable solution, further enhancing speed, accuracy, and automation capabilities, and making it easier for businesses to start eInvoicing with their partners. By embracing eInvoicing, organisations can save time, reduce paper consumption, and strengthen their invoice processing while also potentially benefiting from early payment discounts.

Is eInvoicing the same as PDF invoicing?

No, eInvoicing and PDF invoicing are not the same. PDF invoicing involves creating a digital invoice in PDF format, which is then typically exchanged through email or stored on servers as a PDF document.

While PDF invoicing represents an advancement from traditional paper invoices, it falls short in terms of security, reliability, and intelligence when compared to eInvoicing. PDF workflows still rely on manual processing, where Accounts Payable teams need to read the PDFs and manually transfer or retype data into their Accounts Payable ERP systems. This manual and time-consuming process introduces the risk of human errors, leading to delays in payments and downstream errors.

In contrast, eInvoicing operates on a more advanced level. It captures invoice data electronically and facilitates direct transmission between the systems of suppliers and purchasers. Invoice data seamlessly populates the appropriate fields and databases without the need to extract information from paper or PDF documents.

This streamlined process not only ensures faster payments but also reduces the risk of invoice fraud, enhances productivity, and eliminates the need for labor-intensive tasks like chasing invoices and manually inputting data.

CBS offers Digitisation and document capture services for organisations seeking to make their existing paper or PDF records digitally accessible and intelligent. Embracing eInvoicing can lead to faster processing, increased productivity, and improved security, benefiting both trading partners and organisations looking to get paid faster and more efficiently while avoiding email scams and saving valuable man-hours. See them at work in this video:

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How does eInvoicing work?

The combination of eInvoicing with the Peppol framework provides a unified, standardised framework for invoice data and a secure centralised network for transmitting that data. Instead of mailing paper invoices (or emailing PDFs), organisations using eInvoicing transmit invoice data directly and securely to their clients. So, how does Peppol work? Peppol, which stands for Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line, is an international network that facilitates electronic document exchange, including eInvoicing, among businesses and public sector entities. It operates on a set of open and interoperable standards, allowing seamless communication between different systems and countries. When an organisation sends an eInvoice using Peppol, the invoice data is securely transmitted through the Peppol network to the recipient's access point, ensuring a standardized and efficient electronic invoicing process across borders and industries.

Because all accounting and ERP software providers that can connect to the Peppol network must use its formats and protocols, users no longer need to worry about compatibility or formatting issues. No matter what systems or devices you use, Peppol eInvoicing transactions will work properly.

eInvoicing AAP

Is eInvoicing mandatory in Australia?

At this time, eInvoicing is only mandatory in certain sectors; namely, government agencies and the suppliers who wish to do business with them.

The Australian Government has adopted Peppol eInvoicing, the Pan-European Public Procurement Online framework. This framework has been widely in use for a decade in Europe and has seen adoption in certain other countries.

Since 1 July 2022, all Commonwealth agencies have been required to use the Peppol framework for eInvoicing (and all vendor invoicing must be conducted as eInvoicing).

What this means to businesses and nongovernmental entities is that, if you want to do business with any Commonwealth agency, eInvoicing over the Peppol framework is mandatory for those transactions.

While the Australian Government has made clear its desire that eInvoicing become the de facto standard, it is not at this time mandatory outside government contracts.

If your business isn’t yet Peppol-ready, CBS can help you make the transition. Watch our Peppol Readiness webinar:


Watch the recorded webinar hosted by CBS and guest speaker from the ATO.


What are the benefits of eInvoicing vs traditional invoices?

If you’re in the private sector and don’t deal directly with governmental offices, your business is not obligated to transition to eInvoicing at this time. But you may want to consider doing so for the many benefits eInvoicing offers over traditional paper or PDF invoicing. Organisations that make the switch to an electronic invoicing solution realise at least these five tangible benefits.

eInvoicing benefits

1. Numerous cost savings opportunities

Once set up with a Peppol eInvoicing framework, you’ll begin to find numerous cost savings opportunities. The cost of printing and mailing an invoice (or sending a static PDF by email) seems nominal, but the reality is that there are numerous hidden costs in terms of manual labour and error correction.

The Australian Tax Office concludes that processing either of these methods costs between $27 and $30 per invoice, whereas eInvoicing drops the cost to under $10 thanks to the power of process automation.

You may also realise cost savings in terms of efficiency and scale, and in reduced labour costs, and you’ll reduce environmental impact by eliminating paper use and the emissions associated with post service. How much can you save by adopting eInvoicing and Peppol? 

2. Increased accuracy

With paper or PDF-based invoices, you cannot control what the other party does or does not include. Receiving an inaccurate or incomplete invoice creates numerous logistical problems for you. eInvoicing sidesteps these issues by validating that parties have provided accurate, complete information before the eInvoice can be sent across the network.

For those on the receiving side, manual invoicing usually requires retyping data, which introduces the possibility of human error. The same goes for making corrections, where humans may make an incorrect assumption. Issues like these go away with eInvoicing because the information must be validated before you ever see it, and you’ll no longer have to copy or retype data from one place to another.

3. Get paid faster

For vendors and suppliers, using eInvoicing makes it possible to get paid faster than with legacy methods because your customers no longer have to manually process your invoices. Australian federal agencies are paying out eInvoices on average within five days.

Private-sector customers may not conform to this standard, but shortening the overall workflow should net some reduction in payment wait time.

4. One reliable central system for all your vendors/suppliers/clients

By setting Peppol as the national standard, the Australian government has enabled all parties using eInvoicing to operate on the same central Peppol network. Once you’re connected, you can share information with any other entity connected to the same network.

The results of this change are significant: transactions operate identically no matter what software either party is using (so long as it accommodates Peppol). You’ll no longer need to worry about juggling different invoice types, formats, or compatibility issues.

5. Enhanced security

Last, the Peppol network is time-tested and has maintained high levels of security for over a decade. Invoices cannot be lost. The risks of fraudulent or scam invoices are much lower. The risk of data exposure through a security breach is much lower as well.

Should my business use eInvoicing?

The answer is an emphatic “yes”; the only question is the timing.

As we’ve mentioned above, transitioning to eInvoicing offers a host of benefits to your business. Also, if you want to sell or provide services to Commonwealth agencies and an increasing number of state agencies, this transition is not optional.

If you are weighing the prospect of using Peppol invoicing (or have recently become aware that you must begin doing so right away), you need an experienced business process optimisation partner to help you manage this transition.

CBS is one of only a handful of approved Peppol members operating in ANZ with the knowledge and expertise to set up eInvoicing for Peppol. Our international scope led us to develop this capability years ago, and we stand ready to assist any ANZ businesses seeking to make this transition in light of the new requirements.

Our Peppol-ready eInvoice solution can seamlessly integrate with your own ERP system or work within our Automated Accounts Payable solution to truly transform your accounts payable and receivable processes.

Contact us today to learn more.

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