Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson, is encouraging small businesses to adopt eInvoicing as a more secure and faster way of getting paid.

“There are real opportunities for small business in engaging with eInvoicing,” Mr Billson said.

“It’s a great way of sending invoices in a secure way, with improved cyber protection, simplicity and efficiency.

“Cash flow is the oxygen of enterprise, and this is a more secure and efficient way of dealing with what is a vital part of getting paid, replacing what can be a tendinous, mundane and error-prone activity.”

Mr Billson said eInvoicing, also known as electronic invoicing, allows a business to digitally exchange invoices through a secure network using existing business software, making it easier and safer to send and receive invoices digitally with other businesses such as suppliers, contractors or government.

“The process is entirely digital and eInvoices are not PDF invoices that need to be printed, posted or emailed,” he said.

“Small businesses have been particularly vulnerable to invoice substitution scams – also called payment redirection scams or business email compromise – where nefarious cyber criminals get into their computer system and intercept emails to customers and insert different bank account details for payments.

“A small business sends an invoice to somebody and the criminal changes the banking details. When it lands in the customer’s inbox, it looks legit and is a bill they were expecting so they pay it. The money goes to the criminal’s bank account and is quickly shifted, usually to crypto currency, and is gone.

“Scamwatch data shows small businesses lost millions of dollars in such scams last year. Using eInvoicing can reduce this risk.”

Mr Billson said eInvoicing would also help streamline the business of running the business.

“No one wants to spend all their life sending out Invoices. Imagine if that system was connected with your customers and your suppliers. You can send the information off, you validate that it’s the right people with all the critical information to execute the payment,” he said.

Mr Billson welcomed the Australian Government’s commitment in last month’s budget to spend $23 million to help small businesses adopt eInvoicing.

“I commend the software providers for embracing eInvoicing in their platforms and for making registration as straight-forward as possible, and the Government for incentivising its use with faster payment times its suppliers,” he said.

“For small and family businesses, I urge taking up the eInvoicing option to really streamline their dealings with other business and government customers, expand the use of eInvoicing across a growing network of users and increase the benefits to individual businesses and the economy that the technology offers.”

/Public Release.