Abbey is integrating its in-house e-invoicing platform into its core banking system in a move that will offer businesses faster invoicing and what Abbey describes as a new form of financing.
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The bank is integrating its Supplier Payments system into the Parthenon banking platform developed by Abbey’s parent company, Santander, to offer a service that will allow businesses to send electronic invoices in as little as 20 minutes.
The European average time for invoices to be processed and paid is 59.2 days, according to Abbey.
The system supports a new way of funding suppliers to make goods where suppliers get paid immediately while the bank takes on the buyer’s debt.
Under Abbey’s new system, the bank pays the supplier a reduced amount and collects the full payment from the buyer once the goods are delivered, rather than the supplier getting a traditional loan and paying interest.
Even with Abbey’s cut taken into account, it is a cheaper way for suppliers to finance the products and services they offer, said Tom Crowe, director of sales and delivery, financial supply chain solutions at Abbey. “Although e-invoicing is not a prerequisite for [this method of lending], it maximises the benefits by reducing the time taken for invoices to be processed,” Crowe said.
Abbey can send the invoices via e-mail, a web browser or Swiftnet. The invoices go through software supplier OB10, which has an application to check invoices, allowing them to be approved quickly.
Crowe said there is minimal integration required for users. “All suppliers need to do is send a data file from their [accounts system] to the system,” he said.
The service, which is hosted in Madrid by Santander, has more than 270,000 suppliers already invoicing through it in continental Europe. In the UK it has just singed its first public sector customer.