Yes, electronic archiving will reduce the space and resources you need to store invoices.
Yes, it will maximize data security and integrity.
Yes, it gives you instant access to any invoice in your company’s history.
Yes, it can easily put you in compliance with local tax requirements around the world.
Yes, it can make you far more efficient and help you realize significant cost savings.
But if you’re looking around for a cloud-based electronic invoice archiving solution, you’ve already figured these things out. Now, how do you select the right provider?
Due diligence for multinational companies
If your company operates globally, you need to comply with the tax requirements of local tax authorities wherever you do business. Keeping up with every regulation in the world is a challenge, whether you’re using paper records or electronic ones. Archiving rules are specific, strict, and continually changing in each country and state.
Value-Added Tax (VAT) rules for example, are extremely complicated, even for the large companies with the deep resources. But complexity is no excuse for missing VAT, and if you’re found out of compliance, the penalties can be severe.
To compound the challenge, your invoice archives may be located at various regional subsidiaries, departments and service providers. Regions may make their own decisions about which records they keep and how they share them throughout the organization. Compliance problems, inconsistencies and information sharing issues are often unavoidable, even though each individual archiving choice may be made for good reasons.
A generic archiving system simply won’t cut it. You need one that
not only helps you navigate the day-to-day complexities of doing business in different countries with different governments, but also updates automatically as laws and regulations change.
As you evaluate potential cloud-based electronic invoice archiving solution providers there are a few vital questions to include on your RFP.
How is data integrity guaranteed?
Twenty years from now, how will you be able to prove that the invoice data you see is the same as the data showing in the system today? And how can you make sure nobody changes or deletes the data in the meantime?
A provider should assure you that every archived document will be digitally signed and timestamped. This verifies that the content of each document is unchanged since its original archiving. You should also be looking for a provider to deliver unalterable WORM storage (write once, read many) and online storage, with backups.
What is the retention period policy?
How long will your invoice information be preserved? Do you need to define an archiving period for every document you store? Who removes documents from the system when the retention period ends? How does the system keep you up to date with changing regulations?
Different countries have different retention requirements, and most expect a company to hold on to records for five years or more. But local rules often change, and keeping up with them can be overwhelming.
The right solution should automatically archive invoices for the period of time required by local regulations. If you operate in multiple countries, the system should allow you to define the right retention period for each one. Every invoice should automatically be stored in the right folder and location, and automatically deleted at the end of the specified retention period for that geographical area. This will also keep you in compliance with privacy laws, such as Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation that becomes law in Spring of 2018.
How do they give you access to the invoice data you need, when you need it, even if it’s stored on another continent?
Keeping up with all the paperwork and electronic files that come in to your own office every day is challenging enough without trying to keep track of every document that comes in to all your subsidiary offices at the same time. An electronic, cloud-based archiving solution should keep every invoice in one central location, accessible at any time, and access privileges can be granted individually.
An electronic solution like Paybox offers you all the organizational and compliance benefits of cloud-based invoice archiving, so you can get on with your daily business without worrying about potential international auditing problems. Paybox is a single platform for vendor management, invoice processing, invoice status updates, payment notification and AP customer service. It reduces the amount of time and paper used in processing AP, to save you money with no cost to your vendors. For more information, and tips on invoice archiving, contact us at (954) 510-3750.