Electronic Invoice Management Grows, But Will Microsoft Dynamics ERP Customers Become Believers?

The economic recession has had some long-lasting impacts on businesses, many of which continue to struggle with the realities of the "new economy." One particularly challenging effect is the fact that many customers aren't paying as quickly as they once did. It's a problem that some Microsoft Dynamics ERP users are tackling with electronic invoice presentment and payment (EIPP). 

EIPP solutions continue to gain acceptance, including an acceleration into the cloud, but recent survey results indicate that many companies remain reluctant to adopt them in any deployment model.

Generally focused on business-to-business billing and payment, EIPP allows companies to submit electronic invoices and accept payments via the web. Rather than waiting for a paper-based invoice to be received, recorded, processed for payment, and mailed, companies are implementing electronic processes to handle those steps.

"Any time you can speed up receivables by delivering bills to customers faster, you wind up getting paid faster," says Henry Ijams, managing director at PayStream Advisors in Charlotte, NC. "With larger organizations slowing down their payment schedules there's definitely more incentive to move to EIPP."

The cloud is also opening new doors for companies with its easy-to-implement and cost-effective options for converting paper-based invoicing setups over to more streamlined, electronic versions. Rather than investing in expensive on-premise installations, companies can layer cloud-based options on top of their ERPs and begin reaping the rewards of EIPP.

Ijams says Dynamics users of all sizes are particularly well positioned to leverage these new cloud-based solutions. "We're seeing an explosion of cloud-based tools that allow firms to put up online portals and either send or receive (or both) electronic invoices," he says.

But not all Dynamics users are taking the EIPP bait. In fact, PayStream Advisors' internal customers surveys consistently reveal a reluctance to adopt EIPP. The key barriers are a lack of awareness and the fact that other IT projects tend to claim higher priority than accounting-related initiatives. "Changing business processes isn't easy," says Ijams, who still expects EIPP to gain ground among companies of all sizes over the next year. "It's an exciting time for EIPP as more cloud-based options surface and as companies strive to gain more visibility over their invoicing processes."

About Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea covers business and technology topics for various publications. She can be reached at bridgetmc@earthlink.net.

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