10 Dec Daimler and AutoScout24 benefit from the advantages of digital transformation
From zero to one hundred with a click of the mouse: Daimler and AutoScout24 accelerate their invoicing processes
The VeR Roaming standard facilitates electronic processing of invoices in 24 hours. Automotive companies like Daimler AG have long since discovered online business. Mainly for bringing used vehicles onto the open market. But pursuing sales over the Internet is also accompanied by new accounting processes: if a Daimler subsidiary or dealer offers vehicles over the online portal AutoScout24, for example, they have to pay a monthly fee. AutoScout24 sends Daimler some 1,400 invoices each year. Daimler received these invoices for a long time in the conventional way in paper format. Alexander Wache, International Process Management, Shared Services Purchase Accounting (FAO/G) at Daimler, recalls: “An external service provider then dealt with scanning all the paper invoices. The information on the invoices was frequently unclear or a mistake was made in the scan. In some rare cases, invoices even got lost in the mail.” The result: once AutoScout24 had sent the invoice, Daimler needed an average of 21 days until it was posted.
Digital transformation in invoice processing
No wonder Daimler then decided to ask AutoScout24 to send the documents digitally. In 2013 alone, Daimler received some 1.35 million electronic documents from 3,300 different suppliers. Daimler works together with the purchase-to-pay provider Basware for this purpose. Basware receives the invoices and controls the release and posting processes at Daimler over their platform. AutoScout24 also processes invoices externally using XimantiX as a service provider. Theoretically, AutoScout24 could have sent electronic invoices to Daimler previously. But, while AutoScout24 and XimantiX use openTRANS as an electronic XML calculation format, Daimler receives invoices from Basware and sends them in EDIFACT format.
A common standard for electronic transmission
Here, the association for electronic invoices, “Verband elektronische Rechnung (VeR)”, of which both service providers are members, came to the rescue. The VeR bundles the comprehensive expertise of specialised e-invoicing providers, consulting firms and experienced participants in the market. A declared goal of the association is to set standards for electronic invoice exchange. The agreement on what are known as roaming agreements is designed to facilitate the digital transfer of invoices for companies. Basware and XimantiX entered into an agreement on the VeR Roaming standard with Daimler and AutoScout24 in the spring of 2013. After it had been decided which mandatory information should be included in the invoices, the first documents from XimantiX arrived at Basware a few weeks later, which were then forwarded to Daimler and were able to be verified by the respective departments and assigned for posting. The process works similar to roaming between mobile providers: Autoscout24 hands XimantiX the outgoing invoices containing structured invoicing data in the openTRANS format, and XimantiX then converts them into the VeR Roaming format. Subsequently, the information is sent to Basware over a secure AS2 connection. Basware converts them to the EDIFACT standard and forwards them to Daimler.