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The latest eInvoicing questions from advisors, answered

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Simon Foster

Feb 11, 2022

eInvoicing, a new way to exchange invoices directly between accounting software, is the next stop on the small business digitisation journey. It holds the promise of a way to send and receive invoices and bills that is faster, more efficient and more secure.

The adoption of eInvoicing has been steadily rising since its launch in Australia in 2020. As more people test it out within Xero, we’ve heard from our partner community on everything you want to know. Continuing on from our last blog post, we’ve captured your most recent eInvoicing queries via the Facebook Partner Community. Here are your latest questions answered:

Can I attach documents to eInvoices?

Yes, files can be attached to outgoing eInvoices within Xero. Accepted formats include: PDF, CSV, JPG or PNG file. This function can be used for sharing source documents (like timesheets, copy proofs or promotional material) if needed.

Can eInvoices be sent in batches?

This capability isn’t currently available within Xero. You can, however, copy a previous invoice, making it easier to replicate the content. If there’s a certain feature such as this that you’d like to see in eInvoicing, please request it with our team.

Is there an alert sent at the same time as an eInvoice to flag to the receiver that there is a new draft bill requiring their attention?

We don’t currently have this function in Xero. In markets where eInvoicing is more advanced, like Singapore, having eInvoices automatically arrive as a draft bill has proven to be very effective. This may just take some getting used to at first.

Some of you may be familiar with the email-to-bills function, which works in the same way. We are actively monitoring usage across the system to check that Draft Bills are being converted to Approved and Paid, and this information is part of our feature request prioritisation process. We’re keeping a close eye on this to make sure it’s going as smoothly as possible.

How does Peppol create a secure network?

All eInvoices go through the Peppol network, which is a more secure way to send invoices than traditional email or mail. Since senders access the Peppol network via a Certified Access Point (like their accounting software), there are certain security protocols that need to be met. Xero is a Certified Peppol Access Point, so you don’t need to arrange this for yourself – it’s included within your subscription.

Cybercriminals will always attempt to exploit systems, however the Peppol network – and eInvoicing – offers a more secure way to manage the exchange.

Most scams work by sending millions of messages and, unfortunately, a few people will fall for it and respond. That’s very difficult to do on Peppol as you can’t send an anonymous message. 

With email, not only can the sender and email software be anonymous, the contents of emails can also be intercepted and tampered with via business email compromise. On Peppol, the access point is tracked; this means if anyone does attempt fraudulent activity, they’re highly likely to be caught.

Are there any limitations when sending invoices to a recipient registered for eInvoicing? For example, voiding invoices?

Changes made by the sender to the invoice after it has been sent as an eInvoice will not be passed to the recipient (like voiding an invoice). This is the same as any other invoice within Xero. 

Peppol has a concept called ‘invoice response’ which is used to communicate any action made by the eInvoice recipient – like rejection due to a missing PO number, confirmation the invoice is approved, or queuing it for payment. We don’t currently support updates based on invoice responses, although we do record whether the invoice has been successfully received by the buyer’s access point (or not). You can view this from the History & Notes section in New Invoicing.

Can I include spaces in the ABN number in the Xero Organisation Settings and the Contact ABN field for readability?

Yes, you can. Spaces don’t have an impact on ABN numbers. 

Does the contact name have to exactly match the format of the name on the ABN Register for eInvoicing to work?

When signing up, your contact name and phone number are used for any issues with the registration – these aren’t matched with a user.

Your business name/legal entity within Xero does, however, need to match what is registered on the Australian Business Register. Double check this if you’re running into any hiccups.

eInvoices must be created in New Invoicing in Xero. Do I also have to be using New Invoicing to receive an eInvoice into draft bills?

No – incoming eInvoices will land as draft bills no matter which version of Invoicing you’re using in Xero.

To find out more about eInvoicing and what it means for advisors and your small business clients, visit the Xero website. And if any more questions pop up, please be sure to let us know via the Facebook Partner Community, our social channels or customer support – we’re always here to help. 

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