Link4 co-founder and CEO Robin Sands said the startup, which currently serviced “thousands” of small and medium business across the country, anticipated a flood of new customers in the coming months as a result of the Australian Tax Office’s pre-approval, with the majority of federal government agencies looking to use electric billing before mid-2022.
It follows an announcement by the ATO mandating all Commonwealth agencies to invoice electronically by July 1, 2022, with more than 80 per cent of invoices to be electronic in the next eight months.
The ATO has also said it would “consult on options for mandatory adoption of e-invoicing across all levels of government”.
Link4 is among 22 of the ATO pre-approved service providers, which also include Victorian company Luca+ and the American-based IBM.
Sands said while the Australian e-invoicing market had begun to grow in the past 12-months, it was still a relatively fresh industry for the country and the pre-approval placed Link4 in a great position to expand its customer base.
“Link4 believes e-Invoicing is very important for small business. These are the ones who will benefit the most from e-Invoicing. However, they can’t do it alone. Government and Enterprise need to be active in the network so we can all experience real benefits,” Sands said.
“Therefore, this announcement is a great boost for SMEs around Australia, and in turn it is very good for Link4 as we are leaders for e-Invoicing for SMEs in Australia. ”
Earlier this year, Link4 connected Treasury with the Pan-European Public Procurement Online (PEPPOL) network, allowing the government department to instantly receive invoices from anyone sending them via the network.
Sands said the project simplified the invoicing process by removing the need for suppliers to manually input data from emails and PDFs.
He said since being named on the federal government’s “pre-vetted list of service providers” Link4 had been contacted by local governments in Queensland and New South Wales which sought to be e-invoicing by January.
He said the move would ultimately benefit small and medium businesses.
“As soon as governments get on board and do it small business’ cash flows and things start to be positively impacted,” he said.
“At the moment, if someone sends an invoice to the government it sits in a pile waiting to be physically scanned.
“They have got a good process in scanning but the paperwork doesn’t always go in the right order and people can wait weeks, if not months for their invoices. So it slows down the payments for businesses.”
Sands said as a result of the mandate, federal government invoices were expected to be paid within five business days but the same rule did not exist in South Australia.
“South Australia is happy paying invoices within 28 days and it has a big impact on businesses,” he said.
“The bottom line is, once they start doing e-invoicing South Australian businesses will benefit, so the sooner they can do it the better.”
According to the Council of Small Business Australia, e-invoicing, or electronic billing, is 60 to 80 per cent more efficient than traditional paper-based processing.
Sands said the State Government planned to have its electronic billing strategy “sorted out” by 2020 with an aim to do a pilot in 12 months time.
“It’s a shame they’re not taking the lead but we’re excited they are moving forwards,” he said.
Sands founded Link4 with Sam Hassan in 2016 in a bid to streamline the invoicing process through its digital invoice translator, which helped manage accounts across multiple cloud platforms in real time.
The cloud platform has since been developed for a range of different vendors including Xero, MYOB, Reckon One, QuickBooks, Saasu and Sage One and begun servicing small and medium companies across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the UK, including BOC Australia, state government departments and BGW Group.
Link4 said it allowed TechnologyOne users to connect with the PEPPOL network, which included the Department of Treasury.
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