Originally published: 2/3/2016
Increasing efficiency is almost always the primary goal within any company’s supply chain. Electronic data interchange (EDI), the transfer of standardized electronic documents between businesses, is a viable solution for streamlining invoice practices and as a result, increasing efficiency.
What is EDI?
EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange and refers to a standardized format of electronic communication between two firms that do business together (commonly known as trading partners). EDI has many advantages over manual paper transaction processing including saving businesses money, improving transaction accuracy, and improving the speed of payment processing.
3 Benefits of EDI Invoicing
1. Speed of Transactions
One of the most tangible benefits of EDI is the speed with which transactions are sent and received, specifically when compared to alternate invoicing methods.
Paper invoices require the carrier or vendor to generate or manually key data, print, and mail invoices. Invoices spend a minimum of one business day in transit before reaching their intended location, where they then require sorting, scanning, uploading and re-keying.
Email submission is a more expeditious process than paper invoicing but still requires manual entry upon receipt which can be prone to errors.
On the other hand, EDI invoicing requires no manual intervention and are more readily visible to all parties.
2. Accuracy of Invoicing
EDI invoicing ensures greater accuracy from the onset of invoicing activity. This accuracy is achieved through automation, standardization and confirmation.
The reduction of human intervention is the first component ensuring greater accuracy in the invoicing process. The automation of EDI Invoicing eliminates the need for a second round of data entry, drastically reducing the potential for human error. The preservation of the integrity of the invoice data results in greater accuracy for both auditing and payment purposes.
Standardization in EDI is an additional measure toward increasing invoice accuracy. With defined criteria for both content and format, the margin for erroneous records is diminished. Unique segments are assigned for individual fields, removing any need for data interpretation. EDI chard codes are uniform, which ensures consistency even in organizations with incredibly high invoice volume.
While automation and standardization increase the accuracy of the content of an individual or group of invoices, the most basic element for assurance that a bill is processed for timely payment is receipt by the responsible party. An invoice sent via mail or email has the potential to be lost in transit, with the billing party unaware of the failure of receipt.
EDI invoicing provides a confirmation of receipt. This confirmation is automatically generated and sent for both successful and failed submissions, allowing for timely resubmission, when necessary.
3. Cost Savings
Cost reduction is often the most obvious, and persuasive, benefit of EDI. When invoices are received and processed in a timely manner, additional fees and late charges are avoided and firms may be able to take advantage of early payment discounts.
The minimization of human errors resulting from the automation and accuracy of EDI is directly tied to a reduction in labor costs. Funds no longer have to be dedicated to the time-consuming manual process of keying invoices.
In addition to savings in both billed charges, fees and labor costs, EDI fosters a paperless environment, which results in reduced expenditures on office supplies. The implementation of EDI invoicing allows for the elimination of paper, printing, physical storage space and postage, which aggregates to significant savings for your business.
Conclusion: Finding an EDI Provider
EDI is a process designed to promote efficiency. Through standardization and automation, EDI invoicing ensures that organizations operate with greater speed and accuracy. Such advancements in speed and accuracy lead to significant cost savings, going from as much as $23 per transaction to $1 per transaction.1
The improvements in procedure and price are compelling reasons to explore implementing or upgrading your EDI capabilities. If you’d like to learn more about EDI, explore enVista’s EDI solutions or book a consultation with an EDI representative.
1. Association for Information and Image Management, Overcoming the Top Pitfalls of Manual Invoice Processing