NSW DCS starts out on e-invoicing journey

The New South Wales Department of Customer Service (NSW DCS) has implemented an e-invoicing solution to  automate the procure-to-pay process for more than 41,000 invoices processed annually by its shared services centre, although it will continue to allow suppliers to send paper/PDF invoices.

Established on July 1, 2019, NSW DCS comprises more than 30 different agencies, entities and business units of the state government.

EDI specialist MessageXchange was appointed to implemented e-invoicing through its Peppol-certified Access Point, which involved creating a dedicated gateway on the MessageXchange cloud service that connects to the SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system at NSW DCS.

In this gateway, the workflows and business rules have been applied specifically to NSW DCS’s needs, ensuring that invoice data is received correctly the first time. If there are errors, MessageXchange software flags them with both NSW DCS staff and its suppliers immediately.

MessageXchange also established connections to accounting software commonly used in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) so suppliers can send e-invoices. For NSW DCS, MessageXchange provided integrations to both Xero and MYOB AccountRight Live, which covers a large portion of DCS’s supplier base.

The initial pilot was carried out in October 2019 and phase one of the project started in January 2020 and went live in March, with stage two currently underway.

A NSW DCS spokesperson said, “Currently a very small proportion of invoices are flowing through the e-Invoicing channel. Work is currently underway in planning for the Supplier awareness and on-boarding campaign to be launched towards the end of the year.

“We understand that some of the popular accounting software packages are in the process of embedding a PEPPOL Access Point service within their product to offer seamless experience to their clients. A combination of these two initiatives is likely to result in large number of suppliers being able to send e-Invoices thereby increasing the volume of e-Invoices.”

e-Invoicing is currently enabled across 26 agencies that are part of the three NSW Government clusters of Department of Customer Service, Department of Premier & Cabinet and Treasury. Work is currently underway to identify additional agencies for e-Invoicing adoption.

PEPPOL compliant e-Invoicing is currently not mandated across NSW Government.

NSW Health has a detailed e-invoicing policy and process that does not require suppliers to connect via a PEPPOL Access Point, although the data exchange (hub) provider for NSW Health is an accredited PEPPOL Access Point.

In order to submit e-Invoices, suppliers need to connect to a PEPPOL Access Point, and are then charged based on the number of transactions per month. Prices vary based on volumes, file formats and connection protocols. A list of accredited Access Points is available at https://www.ato.gov.au/Business/E-invoicing/Finding-an-E-invoicing-accredited-service-provider/

John Delaney, managing director, MessageXchange, said, “With an e-invoicing solution from MessageXchange, DCS can pay invoices faster and help its suppliers maintain cashflow. The MessageXchange Access Point processes these e-invoices securely and accurately, reassuring DCS that its data and supplier information is secure.

“E-invoicing makes processing and sending invoices faster, more accurate and less expensive for organisations of all sizes, including government departments and private businesses.”