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07 November 2019

E-invoicing policy to fast-track payment times to small businesses

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell has welcomed the federal government’s move to pay e-invoices within five days or pay interest on late payments.

The five day e-invoicing payment policy applies to contracts valued up to $1 million, where both the lead contractor and federal government agency both use e-invoicing.

“This is a game-changer for e-invoicing small businesses that are directly engaged in a contract with a federal government agency,” Ms Carnell says.

“The next step would be to apply this to businesses right down the supply chain.

“Our Small Business Counts report shows that late payments continue to hamper small business viability, with half of all small businesses reporting late payments on 40% of their invoices.

“This policy will improve cash flow for small businesses so they have the confidence and the capital to re-invest.

“We encourage small and family businesses to adopt e-invoicing and make the most of the benefits that flow from that, including reduced administration costs and fewer processing and handling errors.

“We know that around 1.2 billion invoices are exchanged in Australia every year.

“Research shows it costs about $30 to process a paper invoice and about $9 per e-invoice, a significant saving.

“Around 20% of traditional invoices are sent to the wrong person and about 30% contain incorrect information – delaying payment.

“In fact, research shows the Australian economy would benefit to the tune of $28 billion over a decade, if all businesses switched to e-invoicing.

“This federal government e-invoicing payment initiative sets a benchmark for all states, territories and big business to follow.”