A recent study from Deloitte has illustrated that Australian SME’s could potentially save over $40,000 a year if they choose to transition into electronic invoicing.

The recently published report revealed that Australian small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) process an average of 168 invoices each month. With a Deloitte study estimating that electronic invoicing could deliver savings of up to $20 per invoice, Australia’s SMBs could save up to $40,320 a year.

Three quarters of business who have transitioned to e-invoicing have said that the biggest impact has been time and money saved, according to the report, while more than half said it improved the accuracy of record-keeping at 56 percent and was more secure 53 percent.

“Running an SMB comes with its challenges but switching to digital processes has been key to the survival of many businesses during the pandemic. It frees up time and money to focus on other priorities like developing new products and finding new customers. Now is the time for SMBs to review their adoption of technology. This will help them through the current crisis and set them up for future growth,” said Sofiane Ainine, SMB segment lead, SAP Australia and New Zealand.

Echoing a similar opinion, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson says that the covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance of technology adoption as it has helped small businesses innovate in ways that increase their efficiency and productivity. Implementing the new technology has also helped businesses attract new customers in different markets, improving customer and employee experiences. This consequently helps these businesses create more jobs.

“It’s encouraging that the research in this SAP report shows SMBs accelerating digital technology adoption. Technologies like e-invoicing improve process efficiency and, importantly, will see small businesses paid more quickly for the products and services they provide,” Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson.

The results from the recently published research outlines that the fear of switching to e-invoicing is bigger than the challenge of implementing it. 88 percent of SMBs that have made the change have said that it was easy, and almost one in five 18 percent have revealed that they made the transition without external support.

Some will still need help to get there, with integrating the process into computer systems 36 percent and understanding what software to use 31 percent perceived as the biggest challenges.

Nearly half 46 percent of SMBs are mostly digital in their invoicing and recordkeeping. Of this group, 26 percent sought advice from their internal IT department, followed by an external IT company 24 percent, their accountant 26 percent, a consultant 22 percent or the government 18 percent.

“SMB owners shouldn’t feel like they are alone on this journey. There are many sources of support ready to help them overcome hurdles and make the most of opportunities by sharing experiences and advising on the best approaches for their business. It’s about taking it one step at a time, learning what works and implementing digital initiatives that align to their goals,” said Sofiane Ainine.

The past 18 months has fast-tracked the transition to digital processes for many SMBs and increased their appetite for transformation. The research found most SMBs who use electronic invoicing 75 percent are looking to digitise other business processes.

Payroll is the top focus at 72 percent, this was followed by forecasting in second place at 42 percent), debt collection at 38 percent, customer experience at 33 percent, and talent management at 28 percent.

54 percent of SMBs say they will have digitised all account and account management processes within the next two years, with 44 percent planning to digitalise within the next 12 months.

To help implement the changes 57 percent of business owners and managers agree that increased government support in the form of information, services, subsidies and grants would help their business continue to drive forward digital initiatives and change.