Frequently Asked Questions
The content contained in this section is targeted at businesses, advisors and the media.

How can we help you?

Choose a category to find the help you need.

eInvoicing FAQs (Business)

Benefits of eInvoicing for businesses and government are significant. It is estimated savings in the order of $7.8 billion annually to the Australian economy.

^

eInvoicing is potentially 60-80 per cent more efficient than traditional paper invoice processing and will allow businesses of all sizes the ability to transact seamlessly using a common Australian framework of standards.

For buyers, it will decrease costs, eliminate processing errors and reduce processing time.

For suppliers, by eliminating process errors, it will provide efficiencies in receiving payments, reduce costs and improve accounts reconciliation.

^



Businesses

If your software provider has eInvoicing capability then eInvoicing should be easy. Speak to your software developer or look for it as an option.

Large businesses

Large buyers are already seeing the benefit of eInvoicing within their own trading communities. Your service provider will be implementing the Framework which will allow for eInvoicing across any trading communities.

^

The short answer is “no”. If you are a business that sends or receives invoices, your software provider will have made arrangements and/or have modified their product to conform to the Digital Business Council Framework.

If you are a B2B or eCommerce service provider then there will be some investment required to modify your capability to map to the eInvoice semantic model. Feedback from service providers to date suggests that the cost and risk of doing this are low.

If you are a software developer, then you may decide either to build the capabilities of an eInvoicing Access Point into your software or to form a partnership with a specific access point.

^

eInvoicing is not new. eInvoicing is used around the world and by some businesses in Australia.

Large buyers have seen the benefit of eInvoicing and created their own trading communities, with standards suiting their own business needs.

The Digital Business Council’s open approach to eInvoicing can help bridge these islands of trade and allow standardisation across all business communities to trade with one another.

^

eInvoicing is an industry led initiative that receives support from the Australian Government through the Australian Business Register. This support includes secretariat resources and subject matter expertise. International studies and practical experiences also support the view that the take-up of eInvoicing has accelerated in countries where the government procurement agencies have adopted eInvoicing. Within the public sector there is ongoing work with the three levels of government to introduce policies, if any are needed, to encourage the use of digital technologies for eInvoicing. Any relevant policy changes for the public sector are expected to be published by the Government.

^

eInvoicing is a broadly used term that covers the exchange of invoice related documents between a supplier and a buyer in an integrated electronic format. The Digital Business Council’s open approach standardises and digitises invoice information and the way that information is exchanged between a supplier and a buyer. Businesses can create and process invoices consistently, securely, reliably and predictably.

^

Interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged. In a practical sense, it means that businesses can connect once to the eInvoicing framework and exchange their invoices with any other business using the network – even if the trading parties use different technologies to do so.

^

An industry-led Digital Business Council (Council) has been established to oversee the creation of the Australian national framework of standards. The Council is an industry driven initiative of peak industry bodies, technology providers and Government Agencies, with the Commonwealth Government providing secretariat support and is Chaired by the Council of Small Business Australia. The Council is leading the creation of the Framework by setting up working groups comprising of a broad range of industry stakeholders.

^

The costs associated with eInvoicing are absorbed by the software systems used by businesses to run their businesses. The degree to which that cost would be passed on to a business is a matter for the software developer concerned. The terms of the accreditation agreement to the Framework and standards do not allow an Access Point to charge to exchange a message with another Access Point. Software developers will reach agreements with Access Points to transmit messages (unless they decide to be an Access Point themselves).

^

Invoicing drives revenue or cash collection. Research tells us that it is an error-prone process. A survey by Atradius finds that over 15% of invoices in Australia are unpaid after 90 days. Almost 20% of businesses surveyed say that late payment on domestic sales is often due to the invoice being sent to the wrong recipient.

Late payment of invoices has a direct effect on cash flow and the ability to grow a business. eInvoicing can reduce errors and even eliminate addressing problems. It can be the start of a journey that will see the accuracy and availability of the information you need to run your business.

^

Currently, many common invoicing processes are manually intensive, time sensitive and error prone. Time spent on chasing missing and late invoices is also time spent away from managing a business.This imposes a significant cost to the Australian economy.  It has been estimated that Australian businesses issue 1.2 billion invoices a year. Widespread adoption of eInvoicing is an opportunity for transformational change in the Australian economy, with estimated savings of $7-10 billion a year.

^

eInvoicing will be voluntary for Australian businesses.

^

eInvoicing is based on an open Interoperability Framework (Framework). It is the Framework that facilitates the open exchange of eInvoices. Eventually, other eCommerce transactions or exchanges of information will become enabled.

The Framework provides a set of “train tracks” with a common gauge that can support the transport of messages (“trains”) that adhere to a common standard.

An eInvoice is a collection of data that is standardised and can, therefore, be carried by the Framework and translated as necessary at points along the way.

^

x

eInvoicing FAQs (Technical)



Software providers

A diverse group of software developers, participating in working groups, have contributed to the development of the Framework. Each group member has indicated that they will incorporate an eInvoicing solution in future updates. The cost of this to a business is expected to be similar to the regular costs of purchasing or renewing the financial software package. As the market appetite for eInvoicing increases, the software industry will continue to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions to accommodate businesses of all sizes and from all industries.

eCommerce Service Provider

Implementation guides are available for service provider interested in becoming an accredited Access Point or Digital Capability Publisher. Please visit our Accreditation page to be able to implement eInvoicing.

^

The short answer is “no”. If you are a business that sends or receives invoices, your software provider will have made arrangements and/or have modified their product to conform to the Digital Business Council Framework.

If you are a B2B or eCommerce service provider then there will be some investment required to modify your capability to map to the eInvoice semantic model. Feedback from service providers to date suggests that the cost and risk of doing this are low.

If you are a software developer, then you may decide either to build the capabilities of an eInvoicing Access Point into your software or to form a partnership with a specific access point.

^

Digital Capability Publishers (DCPs) are providers of a service for Buyers and Suppliers to store details of their capabilities, and includes what scenarios they can process, the data formats they support and the delivery address for their eInvoices.DCPs are rich stores of B2B metadata that enable Access Points to not only determine the digital endpoint for eInvoicing messages but also other key metadata related to quality of service and fault resolution.  The Digital Business Council has provided guidance to support Accredited Service Providers to build their own DCP, configure open source solutions or to partner with another DCP Provider.

^

An Access Point connects a business with the open and secure business-to-business (B2B) ecosystem. Access Points can provide a range of eCommerce services (connectivity, message translation, data validation etc) to enable businesses to trade with buyers and suppliers in a consistent and seamless manner. Access Points will need to be accredited to adopt the Framework. You can find out more about Access Points in our blog post here

^

Interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged. In a practical sense, it means that businesses can connect once to the eInvoicing framework and exchange their invoices with any other business using the network – even if the trading parties use different technologies to do so.

^

The Digital Capability Locator (DCL) is a central service for looking up the location of the Digital Capability Publisher for a Business (Buyer or Supplier).  The DCL’s lookup services are based on the DNS protocol which is the robust and scalable technology that underpins website addressing.The DCL supports the discovery of the DCP address for a business using a variety of business identifiers including:ABN – Australian Business NumberGLN – Global Location NumberDUNS – Dun and Bradstreet Number SystemHowever, it is anticipated that the ABN will be the most common identifier used in the Australian context.  Further details on use of Business Identifiers can be found in the Council’s Policy on use of business identifiers .If you are planning to provide an Access Point or a Digital Capability Publisher you will need to consume the services provided by the Digital Capability Locator.  Specifications for the DCL lookup and maintenance APIs are included in the DCL Implementation Guide

^

x

Security and Privacy FAQs

The Council’s Framework is designed to ensure secure transport of data between Access Point Providers. Access Point Providers need to ensure the security in transmissions between themselves and their customers. Further security related guidance is provided in the Council’s threat model which can be provided to service providers. Service providers can use the threat model as a guideline when conducting their own threat and risk assessments on their implementations. The only infrastructure the Council provides is the central digital capability locator (DCL) infrastructure. The DCL only allows accredited service providers with the appropriate credentials to update the DCL.

^

x

Early Adoption FAQs

The Council is assisting software and service providers in early adoption implementation. Early adoption takes the form of a pilot or a proof of concept and is directly supported by the Council in the form of marketing and adoption resources. Pilots are intended to promote eInvoicing for a particular market segment or scenario. Participation in a pilot requires the service provider to nominate a client or themselves to exchange eInvoices with a willing trading partner. Nominations can be sent to contact@digitalbusinesscouncil.com.au. A proof of concept, or other form of testing, is also encouraged.

^

The establishment of a national framework of standards for eInvoicing will create certainty in the market and make it cheaper and easier for all businesses to adopt.Having a common Australian framework will provide a seamless system for all businesses to use and give software developers the confidence to produce eInvoicing integrated software.

^

x

Digital Business Council FAQs

The members of Digital Business Council were chosen as they are a broad representation of peak bodies in the economy that will use eInvoicing and have experience in this area.Other sector specific groups will be consulted during the targeted consultation phase.

^

The Council was formed to lead and oversee the definition of a national framework of standards for exchanging data between software solutions with an initial focus on eInvoicing. This industry group will promote the widespread adoption of the framework; monitor the extent to which solution providers are adopting the framework and businesses are adopting eInvoicing; identify barriers to adoption; and commission further work to agree recommendations for other business transactions.

^

x

Service Provider Accreditation FAQs

Signed interoperability agreements need to be current and service providers must be able to prove (on demand) that they have tested their capabilities as per the test assertions and with at-least two other Council designated service providers (the Council’s secretariat is responsible for creating and maintaining the testing roster).

^

Yes, accreditation is an essential governance tool used to enforce interoperability and to enable trust. It is in recognition that a service provider adheres to the Council’s requirements along with the policies, standards and guidelines articulated in the Framework. Accreditation has also been accepted by service providers as a desirable status and a precondition to being listed under the business discovery capability, i.e. an access point’s address can be automatically discovered via the digital capability locator and publisher components.

^

eInvoicing is the first step to digitising the entire procure to pay lifecycle, which in turn overlaps with other lifecycles such as logistics/distribution, trade facilitation, financial services supply chain and digital reporting. eInvoicing establishes basic reusable building blocks that can be used when digitising these other lifecycles.  Companies involved in eInvoicing will be able to leverage their existing investments and experiences to expand their services to offer innovative solutions to the Australian business community.

^

x

Can’t find what you need? Click here to ask your question..