Your RFP for an e-invoicing solution: Key features to look out for
A request for proposal (also known as an RFP) is a formal document that outlines the requirements for a project or service. An RFP typically includes information on the scope of work required, the technical specifications involved, contact information for those managing the process, and a timeline for submitting proposals.
Businesses use RFPs to solicit bids from potential vendors and to ensure a project or service is completed on time, within budget, and to the desired specifications.
In this article, we’ll discuss e-invoicing RFP tips, highlight what to look for in an e-invoicing solution, and explain the key product features an RFP for an e-invoicing solution should focus on. We’ll also assess what critical business needs can be addressed by finding the right e-invoicing solution.
What to look for in an e-invoicing solution
When choosing an e-invoicing solution, interoperability should be one of your primary concerns. Interoperability is the ability of different systems to communicate and exchange data with each other. When it comes to e-invoicing, interoperability allows e-invoices to be exchanged seamlessly between organisations, regardless of the software they use.
There are several benefits to using an interoperable e-invoicing solution, including:
- Reduced costs: Interoperability can help reduce the costs associated with e-invoicing by eliminating the need to manually enter data into different systems.
- Increased efficiency: Interoperability can also improve the efficiency of e-invoicing by streamlining the process and reducing the risk of errors.
- Improved compliance: Using an interoperable e-invoicing solution can help improve compliance with e-invoicing regulations by ensuring invoices have a consistent and standardised format.
Interoperability gives businesses more flexibility to scale their operations and choose the e-invoicing solution that best meets their needs without being locked into a single vendor. For example, if your company is a small or medium-sized business, it’s essential to have solutions that integrate with many different platforms, from Microsoft Excel to more complex EDI platforms. This way, you can maximise both your supplier and customer base to foster scalability.
Questions to ask beyond implementation
If you’re looking to trade across borders, your selected e-invoicing solution should have the capacity to handle the various legal and regulatory mandates of different territories around the world. It should also be able to provide high-quality data and perform data quality checks. To be certain this is the case, ask the following questions:
- How does the solution reduce research, matching, and resolution tasks associated with invoice validation?
- How does the solution see to it that mandatory tax data is present and verified?
- How does the solution ensure invoice data matches purchase orders and goods received data within tolerances?
Key product features
Ideally, an RFP highlights the key features your business is seeking from an e-invoicing solution, such as:
An automated e-invoicing solution can help your company comply with the requirements of multiple countries and markets. Businesses looking to expand across borders might face a variety of e-invoicing mandates, as countries vary in their e-invoicing requirements and regulations. The selected e-invoicing solution, therefore, must be able to handle these varying requirements.
Efficiency and accuracy
Businesses that automate their invoicing processes are more likely to achieve compliance, as an automated e-invoicing solution can reduce the risk of human error. Automated e-invoicing solutions are often far more accurate and efficient than manual methods. As such, e-invoicing solutions are essential if your organisation wishes to remain compliant and reduce the chances of submitting incorrect invoice formats, overpaying, or overcharging on tax.
Critical business needs
Coverage and scalability
If your business is expanding abroad, you’ll need a solution that helps you comply with various e-invoicing mandates, as they tend to differ from country to country.
Additionally, scaling up your business means you’ll be dealing with a higher volume of invoices. As such, your e-invoicing solution should be scalable and capable of dealing with medium-sized to large business needs.
You should also consider including specifics in your RFP and a timeline for growth. Timelines can be critical if your business has an established plan for expanding into a particular region and that region has a strict e-invoicing mandate; it’s important to mention this time constraint in your RFP.
Security is vital to any business. As invoices are critical financial documents (and can contain purchasing and location information that falls under GDPR rules), any e-invoicing solution you use should be able to protect the privacy of both your business and your customers.
Your data security needs must be precise in any RFP you issue. This may include highlighting specific security software you wish to have implemented by your solution provider.
Fulfil your e-invoicing needs with Avalara
From improved compliance and increased efficiency, to scalability and robust security, Avalara E-Invoicing and Live Reporting can help you overcome e-invoicing challenges to support keeping you compliant now and in the future.
Avalara can help keep your operations running smoothly, allowing your business to grow domestically and overseas without confusing e-invoicing regulations holding you back.
Not quite at the RFP stage yet? Take a look at our 5 steps for preparing to purchase an e-invoicing solution infographic to learn more about the initial stages to consider when you’re targeting a new solution.
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