Essex County Council expects to cut its annual budget by £500,000 a year using an e-invoicing system developed...
for the public sector and its suppliers.
The system, which has been deployed in every department of the council, will cut costs by automating the invoicing and payment process, which will free up staff for redeployment.
"The council was looking to make big efficiency savings because of budget pressures, and electronic invoicing had huge potential for achieving that the streamlining processes," said Nicole Edbrooke, purchase to pay manager at Essex County Council.
The council plans to move to the automated system in phases, starting with its top 100 suppliers, which account for 80% of the more than 65,000 invoices received each year.
"As each new supplier comes on board, we will reduce the budget of departments, which will have less paper to process," said Edbrooke.
Technology supplier EGS developed the web-based system in partnership with a number of local authority customers, including Essex County Council, to enable the secure exchange of invoices, especially for public sector organisations.
"Suppliers of all sizes will be able to switch to the e-invoicing system because all that is needed to access it is a web browser and an internet connection," said Edbrooke.
For larger suppliers, the e-invoicing system has been designed to integrate with back end enterprise resource planning and financial management systems such as Oracle and SAP.
The council, which was already using an e-procurement system from EGS, decided to extend the relationship after failing to find any suitable e-invoicing systems from any other suppliers.