Three large businesses will this month start using a service that enables them to automate the distribution and payment of invoices.
The companies have signed up to use an e-invoicing service from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) which links into their ERP systems. The service replaces slow paper invoicing which relied on people and the postal system.
Ian Watkinson, head of e-invoicing at RBS, said the e-invoicing service will help businesses get the most out of their investments in technologies such as ERP software.
"Our customers have invested heavily in accounting systems. This type of e-invoicing service makes it easier for them to get information into these systems," he said.
When an invoice is received it is sent to a server known as the e-invoicing hub and matched with the purchase order for the related product or service. It is checked for errors and possible fraud before being automatically dealt with by the company's accounting system.
Watkinson said the firms going live are "very large organisations" and represent the first of a handful of customers initially using the service.
Benefits to the customers include getting discounts through paying invoices early, reducing the resources required to process invoices and reducing the amount of paper used, he said.
Separately, logistics company DHL is using the Accountis e-invoicing system across Europe, and expects to save millions of pounds by reducing billing costs by at least 15% across the region.
Watkinson said the bank has been working on the Accountis product to make it fit in which its own technology strategy.
"We have been industrialising the Accountis platform so we were happy to put our name on it," said Watkinson. "We have been building it for the future."
Abbey offers a similar service in partnership with e-invoicing service provider OB10.
RBS' technology is provided by Accountis as a white label service.