Update on developments in e-invoicing Vol. 6 Issue 5, 31 May 2013

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1 The Paypers Updates: Focus on the challenges & opportunities of SCF 1 SMEs & e-invoicing - An uneasy partnership 4 Experts take the stand: Enrico Camerinelli, Senior Analyst, Aite Group 2 Oliver Belin, Director of Marketing, PrimeRevenue 3 Scott Lewin, CEO, Invoiceware International 5 Lars Rolf Jacobsen, VP Financial Solutions,Tradeshift 6 A WORD FROM THE EDITOR FOCUS ON SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE: A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES OF THE GLOBAL SCF MARKET The current issue of the E-invoicing Paypers newsletter is focused for the most part on providing readers with expert opinions and analyst insight on Supply Chain Finance (SCF) a topic closely connected to e-invoicing and one of great relevance for companies looking to optimize the management of their working capital and improve operational efficiencies. Perhaps underlining the growing significance of SCF, in May 2013 the Supply Chain Working Group of the Euro Banking Association (EBA), a country-neutral banking association for payment and transaction banking practitioners, has made available a first edition of its Supply Chain Finance European market guide. The Guide, which addresses the European transaction banking community, focuses on a number of key areas that it identifies as extremely relevant: describing the ecosystem for supply chain management and SCF; proposing a number of key definitions for market terminology in the area; identifying the key risk and regulatory issues impacting SCF; linking SCF to the trend towards automated supply chain processes; and finally, offering a number of recommendations on managing financial industry collaboration and partnerships. EBA SCF European market guide co-author Enrico Camerinelli, Senior Analyst - Wholesale Banking with Aite Group, contributes to the current issue of our E-invoicing Paypers newsletter with an expert opinion focused precisely on who needs to take the lead in SCF (page 2). In an exclusive expert opinion for The Paypers, Oliver Belin, Director of Marketing with PrimeRevenue examines some of the risks that threaten supply chains, with particular emphasis on the role of banks in this volatile ecosystem and on the importance of diversifying funding sources by distributing credit limits among a number of institutions (pages 3 4). The way that businesses connect is changing. From global enterprises to one-man consultants, companies are increasingly connecting through electronic platforms that establish lasting electronic relationships between them. Lars Rolf Jacobsen, VP of Financial Solutions, Tradeshift in an exclusive comment for The Paypers Scott Lewin, President & CEO of Invoiceware International, takes an in-depth look at the opportunity for supply chain finance associated with electronic invoicing in Latin America. In his expert opinion (page 5), he examines the benefits for Treasury and Accounts Payables associated with achieving regulatory compliance in Latin America. Lars Rolf Jacobsen, VP of Financial Solutions with Tradeshift, looks at the advantages of allowing companies to connect and exchange data via true electronic business platforms a step forward that renders supply chain finance easier to implement and integrate with existing business processes for buyers and suppliers (page 6) Copyright 2013 The Paypers

2 ANALYSTS DISCUSS LATEST INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS WHO NEEDS TO TAKE THE LEAD IN INTRODUCING SCF? Enrico Camerinelli, Senior Analyst - Wholesale Banking, Aite Group Enrico Camerinelli is a senior analyst at Aite Group specializing in wholesale banking, cash and trade finance, and payments. Based in Milan, he brings a strong European focus to Aite Group s Wholesale Banking practice. Mr. Camerinelli has been widely quoted by publications ranging from American Banker to Financial Times. He has contributed editorial content to publications such as Supply Chain Europe, and serves as a consulting editor with gtnews. He has spoken at leading trade shows and conferences in Europe, including Sibos and EuroFinance. Supply chain finance (SCF) is defined (in the Supply Chain Finance- EBA European market guide, version 1.0, May 2013) as the use of financial instruments, practices and technologies to optimize the management of the working capital and liquidity tied up in supply chain processes for collaborating business partners. Until recently SCF has been the synonym of reverse factoring, a way for organizations to help their supply chain access credit and improve cash-flow at lower cost. With this form of SCF, banks are notified by companies that an invoice has been approved for payment. The bank is then able to offer a discounted advance immediately to the supplier at lower interest rates, based on the buyer s credit worthiness knowing the invoice will finally be paid. This means that large businesses in Europe could provide as much as $150 billion of new cheaper, finance to their suppliers. SCF is therefore a major step that could be taken by European governments to protect jobs and boost growth, particularly for SMEs. So why is the uptake of SCF in Europe so slow when nearly three quarters of small businesses in the European Union report that they have been paid late in 2012, placing pressure on cash flow and meaning they find it hard to grow? Well, SCF is dependent on the nature of individual supply chains to work effectively, so is not a one size fits all solution. It is also likely that large companies will further extend their payment terms as a result of SCF, potentially affecting suppliers outside the agreement and increasing the likelihood of late payment. If large customers dictate longer payment terms justified on the basis that a SCF agreement allows the SME to be paid faster, then this will cost the SME interest. Therefore, the ultimate cost of SCF would be about the same as small companies relying on their own funding arrangements. Slow uptake of SCF can also be attributed to the practical impossibility of banks to perform non-domiciled supplier on-boarding compliant with stringent Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. There is a lack of adequate information that allows a financial institution to comply with regulatory mandates when dealing with SMEs based in another country. For domestic supplier companies the KYC issue is resolved. At domestic level another supply chain finance instrument is gaining traction: factoring. Factoring is already offered by specialized companies and by banks and this business is growing rapidly. If banks have profitable business revenues from offering factoring, then they are unlikely to transition to SCF too readily. Therefore, even if SMEs complain of the high costs of the factoring service, they are often unaware of alternative solutions - all of which means that banks have no real interest to divert companies attention to reverse factoring. So, the success of SCF programs is not dependent on the lack of demand from companies, but more on banks reluctance to change what is already a recipe for their own commercial success. About Aite Group: Aite Group is an independent research and advisory firm focused on business, technology and regulatory issues and their impact on the financial services industry. It seeks to become a partner, advisor, and catalyst by exchanging ideas and challenging basic assumptions to ensure that its clients stay ahead of the competition. 2 7

3 EXPERT OPINION WHY THE MARKET IS MOVING TO OPEN, BANK-INDEPENDENT SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE PLATFORMS Oliver Belin, Director of Marketing, PrimeRevenue Oliver is a thought leader in Supply Chain Finance and working as Director of Marketing for PrimeRevenue, one of the leading providers of multi-bank Supply Chain Finance technology and services. He worked for leading institutions in supply chain finance, such as Global Supply Chain Finance (GSCF) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe (SMBCE), where he was responsible for setting up and managing several SCF programs for multinational clients in Europe and Emerging Markets. Disruptions in physical supply chains such as the ones resulting from the events in Fukushima show that only a few external factors can be controlled and that every supply chain is exposed to risks. However, organization are in better control of they are in a position to support and manage their financial supply chain in order to ensure that liquidity within their supply chain is as efficient and stable as possible. Supply Chain Finance is considered by companies as an important source of liquidity and a significant instrument to optimize working capital. Liquidity can be injected in to the supply chain by external financial partners or self-funded by the buyer. The main external source currently used is financing from banks. After a scramble for credit in 2008, the main lesson learned by Treasurers and CFOs was the importance of diversifying their funding sources by distributing credit limits among a number of institutions. Today, the funding situation in the market is no different and remains volatile. In some case corporates feel the impact on their supply chains and experiencing a shortage of liquidity. There are some cases where banks reduce their credit limits in Supply Chain Finance or increase their financing rates for some currencies. Regrettably many organizations implemented Supply Chain Finance programs, which are funded monolithic without any possibility to switch easily between different funding institutions should issues arise with one of their financial partners. One should be aware that funding in Supply Chain Finance is uncommitted. This bears the risk that funders can reduce credit limits or stop financing at any time increasing the exposure for corporates in terms of supply chain disruptions. In addition there is growing need for corporates to increase their scope of Supply Chain Finance from small, domestic programs to large, global facilities involving a large number of jurisdictions and outstandings worth several hundreds million of dollars. Any bank must recognise current market expectations for openness. Linking suppliers with banks proprietary platforms proved to be cumbersome and expensive. Oliver Belin, Director of Marketing, PrimeRevenue, quoting a McKinsey source Today there are very few banks having enough credit risk appetitive to provide funding for such large amounts. In terms of geographic scope there is virtually no bank, which is able to purchase receivables from local suppliers and perfect their interest in every country. As a result, an increasing number of market leaders recognize the best solution to counter these challenges is by allowing multiple funders to pool their resources and finance their supply chain facilities through independent multi-banking platform and, therefore diversify their sources of liquidity should credit appetite diminish within one bank and allowing different banks funding the program in different countries. Today is the right moment for treasurers and CFOs looking at Supply Chain Finance to ask themselves: What would happen if my bank suddenly stops funding my Supply Chain Finance program? Can I grow my program on a global scale in order to generate significant working capital benefits? And for how long? The truth is that any company that relies on uncommitted funding in Supply Chain Finance may need to rethink its strategy in terms of single-bank versus multi-bank structure. About PrimeRevenue, Inc. PrimeRevenue is the leading, global, multi-bank Supply Chain Finance (SCF) service provider and platform. The PrimeRevenue OpenSCi SCF platform and working capital advisory services provide organizations with the control and flexibility required to drive superior SCF results, reducing cost, capital and risk throughout their supply chains and forging stronger supplier relationships. 3 7

4 SMEs - STILL A LONG WAY FROM MASS-MARKET ADOPTION OF E-INVOICING For the past twenty years, large corporations have been automating their invoicing processes, in order to take advantage of the savings and efficiencies that e-invoicing can provide. Thus, e-invoicing has been mostly the prerogative of large enterprises which derive significant operational efficiencies by receiving and issuing large amounts of invoices. As the e-invoicing ecosystem is becoming broader and more diverse, new players from different backgrounds including B2B integration and enterprise resource planning (ERP), SMEs and banks or document management companies are joining the game. Within this context, we will take a closer look at a very important category of businesses, SMEs, which according to EC figures (April 2012) represent over 99% of all businesses in Europe. However, despite their large number and the benefits and cost-saving potential of electronic invoicing, the overall adoption levels remain low among this category of businesses. This state of affairs is mostly triggered by the fact that so far e-invoicing has largely been adopted by large enterprises which receive and issue significant volumes of invoices. As a result, the use of e-invoicing by large enterprises has a more immediate effect by boosting operational efficiencies in a much more visible manner. A very interesting model that is currently emerging has to do with the possibility of combining electronic invoicing with working capital management services and allowing SMEs to tap into one by use of the other. In other words, companies which provide working capital management solutions have the possibility to offer e-invoicing targeted specifically at SMEs. This on the other hand enables SMEs to also access their core services automated workflow applications, electronic payment tools, supply chain financing, dynamic payables discounting services, etc. The need to bring SMEs on board in order to be successful in e-invoicing has changed the traditional state of affairs where access to working capital management tools was reserved only for very large companies. According to the 2013 Billentis report, sponsored by Finnish e-invoicing services provider Itella Information, a higher number of SMEs have started to implement e-invoicing projects. Although the majority may be motivated by the requirements of trading partners, SMEs becoming more familiar with the new tools and processes can only contribute to mass market adoption of e-invoicing. There is no doubt that the use of electronic invoicing by SMEs offers multiple benefits. According to a report titled Global E-invoicing Market and published by Infiniti Research, one of the major drivers in the market is the need to automate the invoicing process and reduce the operational cost. E-invoicing enables companies within or across organizations to automate invoice generation and enhance the overall business process. It also reduces the total operational cost and the time spent on the purchasing process. Apart from cost and time savings, the use of e-invoicing provides access to liquidity early in the process through early payment supply chain finance initiatives allowing SMEs to reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)as well as improved cash flow and reduced credit losses. Despite the large number of benefits that SMEs may derive from the adoption of e- invoicing, they are still facing a number of challenges. According the report published by Infiniti Research, the complexity involved in electronic purchasing process could pose a challenge to the growth of the e-invoicing market. Additionally, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has published the results of a survey (February 2013) in which 38% of respondents had no plans in what concerns e-invoicing. They cited a number of barriers, most notably the difficulty in linking the technology to current credit control procedures alongside the need to link with other software. The impact of e-invoicing (in the sense of whether it would improve or hamper prompt payment) was found to be depended on anticipated usage. More precisely, those looking to send e-invoices to all customers tended to indicate that this would improve prompt payment, whilst those more likely to receive e-invoices (i.e. those who do not currently use them) were found to be least likely to see it as a benefit. According to a study conducted by Paystream Advisors and sponsored by Direct Insite (2012), two out of five SMEs cite budget constraints and a lack of ROI as the biggest 4 7

5 barriers to going electronic. SMEs also identified gaining supplier adoption of e-invoicing and internal change management as barriers to electronic invoicing. The 2013 Billentis report explains that, despite current differences in legislation, cultural background and even in process optimization focus, organizations in all business areas can benefit from successful e-invoicing projects, provided the selected solution enables: timely and effective response to market dynamics; automation along the entire business value chain, on-boarding assistance for all trading partners; and compatibility with cross-border invoicing, even if such arrangements are not needed immediately in the project. Given the fact that big companies receiving and issuing large volumes of invoices clearly derive more considerable profits from e-invoicing than SMEs, the latter clearly need to be further motivated with additional benefits in order to fully automate their invoicing processes. Some of these benefits could be the combination of e-invoicing with e-financing and other working capital management offerings or the possibility of making e-invoicing mandatory in the B2G sector. Even so, for SMEs, the journey to e-invoicing adoption has been and is likely to continue being quite tough. EXPERT OPINION LATIN AMERICA E-INVOICING: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE Scott Lewin, President & CEO, Invoiceware International Scott has been in the technology industry for over 25 years. His primary focus has been helping companies grow their businesses and expand operations around the world. Prior to joining Invoiceware International, Scott was the President of Crossgate and helped launch Crossgate in the Americas resulting in the purchase of the company by SAP AG. Prior to Crossgate, Scott launched Seeburger Inc. in the US and grew the business 10x over 5 years. He is currently the CEO of Invoiceware International and is focused on helping organizations comply with financial regulations across multiple countries. Unlike the US and Europe, Latin American countries including Brazil and Mexico have forced the adoption of electronic invoicing. And yes, most people when they first realize the complexity are more then taken aback by the workload ahead. However, there are huge benefits for Treasury and Accounts Payables. The process in Brazil and Mexico creates an environment for supply chain finance success: The dreaded scanning and OCR technologies are removed, as the government has mandated the use of an electronic invoice. Multiple invoice formats go away because the governments in Mexico and Brazil have standardized the invoice XML and data format. Supplier rollouts and conversion to electronic invoice are simplified as the government mandates that the XML invoice. Many accuracy issues are removed as what is on the invoice will match what is on the truck. Part of the process mandates that a truck cannot leave the warehouse without a special printed version of the invoice accompanying the truck. Time constraints shrink because the XML invoice can be made available to the Buyer even before the goods arrive at the unloading dock. Your invoice can run through the majority of matching even prior to the truck arriving. This accelerated matching and time savings make the Latin America market an opportune target for supply chain financing and reverse factoring. Being able to accurately state that the invoice is approved for payment, in some cases as soon as the goods arrive from the supplier, creates the perfect environment for Dynamic Discounting and Supply Chain Finance. Brazil s government, for example, went a step further to promote supply chain finance. They established the Fundo de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios (FIDC) which is a financial instrument widely used in the Brazilian credit markets. A FIDC is a type of fund composed of receivables (direitos creditórios) from different types of issuers. Additionally, they are afforded beneficial tax treatment compared to traditional 5 7

6 securitization vehicles. Many companies are taking advantage of the FIDC in multiple ways: Corporations with large volumes are establishing their own investment funds (FIDC) where they actually manage to concentrate monetary flows between subsidiaries using non-taxable trade instruments to net their financial position. Corporates are creating their own FIDC to factor their own receivables. Corporates are sponsoring supply chain finance opportunities in conjunction with a FIDC to offer their suppliers access to capital at a lower cost. This is a win-win-win scenario for the buyer, the supplier and the FIDC. Buyers want to extend working capital to their suppliers to address liquidity concerns. Suppliers need access to capital at lower costs and can utilize the Buyer s credit rating to obtain capital. The FIDC needs to maintain a certain investment baseline of direitos creditorios (receivables) in order to maintain their preferred tax treatment and having a revolving line of investment grade opportunities from within a buyer s supply chain is critical. The environment is set for cost savings and cash management in the larger countries of Latin America. More and more countries are adopting these models, so ensure your financial team is involved in the selection of your Latin America e-invoicing provider. Most companies limit the discussion to basic compliance and information technology reviews. And many finance executives will miss the opportunity to optimize working capital in this region of the world. About Invoiceware International Invoiceware International helps multi-nationals comply with the constant changing electronic invoice regulations in Latin America. The company operates the Latin American Compliance Network, a cloud-based platform that delivers financial and supply chain managers the regulatory processes that they need while eliminating ERP configurations and customizations for the IT staff. A single connection to the network, simplifies the mandates, the implementation, and the ongoing change management associated with regulations in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. EXPERT OPINION SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE CAN ONLY SCALE THROUGH SMART TECHNOLOGY Lars Rolf Jacobsen, VP of Financial Solutions, Tradeshift Lars is VP Financial Solutions at Tradeshift. He is responsible for the development and implementation of financial solutions. With a solid background from investment banking Lars is in charge of developing new financial business applications. Supply chain finance is all about the quality and timing of information. The easer it is to define the risk of the transaction, the lower the funding fees. Traditional working practices have been very bad at capturing high quality data shared in real time between buyers, suppliers and the financier. And they ve been even worse at helping this huge opportunity scale to a point where also smaller businesses are able to take advantage of it. But the way that businesses connect is changing. From global enterprises to one man consultants, companies are increasingly connecting through electronic platforms that establish lasting electronic relationships between them. While the business world has moved to electronic tools for most common tasks, they still tend to emulate old analogue processes. For example, an is a one off message from one person to another. An on-going relationship may exist, and you may have a network of businesses that you regularly work with. But there s no on-going and establish connection that can be used in perpetuity. The current situation with supply chain finance is not so different -- each transaction is almost like an , often created manually and generating a large degree of work around it, while the programs are operated via old fashioned websites. But on a true electronic business platform, it can work differently. 6 7

7 Because businesses working together on such platforms are already connected and exchanging data, supply chain finance becomes a simple addition to this mix. If the buyer is someone like a public body, that pays in predictable and guaranteed ways, this will be clearly shown in the data. And the whole transaction can be carried out in parallel to the standard invoicing function in real time. It also becomes much, much easier to scale programmes on a platform like this. In regions like the UK, SCF has started to spread with support from the Government. YOUR OPINION IS IMPORTANT TO US In the next editions of the E-invoicing Paypers, we will focus on specific thematic areas of the global electronic invoicing /electronic billing / supply chain financing market, such as the role of banks in providing a compelling business case & delivering cost savings, the competition between banks and billers, non-bank service providers offering e-invoicing services for corporates, the future of supply chain financing and the shifting paradigm in driving adoption of e-invoicing among SMEs. But this requires manual outreach and a selection of preferred enterprises to start using it. The key to real mainstream rollout of this opportunity is scalability. Smart technology provides that scale. And a flexible, open platform can do so in a way that opens up the whole area of supply chain finance at once benefiting both the buyers and suppliers as well as the financiers. Also, in some of our upcoming issues will we are planning to continue our series of newsletters dedicated to the analysis of regional e-invoicing ecosystems in areas such as Europe (Germany, France, UK), Latin America (Argentina) and Asia-Pacific. If you would like to contribute with an expert opinion on any of the topics above or make any other suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us at What we think of as the opportunity today could well change fast in a world where all companies are connected electronically. And with free, open platforms available for this, that may be sooner than you think. About Tradeshift As a platform for all your business interactions, Tradeshift helps companies run more efficiently, harnessing the power of their network to create new value from old processes like invoicing, payments and workflow. Tradeshift was founded in 2009 and launched in 2010, with the goal to change how business is done. Headquartered in San Francisco, Tradeshift has offices in Copenhagen, London & Amsterdam. About: E-invoicing Paypers is a monthly update on developments in e-invoicing by The Paypers, the portal for payment professionals. Editors: Monica Gaza, Adriana Screpnic, Sabina Dobrean and Mélisande Mual. Website: For more information, please visit our websites: Contact: For more information, you can contact us at: Subscription info: E-invoicing Paypers is a product of The Paypers and is published 12 times per year. Copyright: 2013 The Paypers. All rights reserved. Reproduction or redistribution in any form without explicit prior written permission of The Paypers is prohibited. Disclaimer: The Paypers sees to the utmost reliability of all its news products. Nevertheless we do not accept any responsibility for any possible inaccuracies. 7 7

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