The major bank has launched an invoicing payment tool to provide SMEs “quicker access to funds” ahead of the impending national rollout of e-invoicing.
Westpac has announced the launch of Biz Invoice, an integrated invoicing payment tool that will allow businesses to create and send secure and customised invoices direct from Westpac Live online banking.
The major bank’s general manager of SME Banking, Ganesh Chandrasekkar, said the introduction of Biz Invoice follows a joint research with Deloitte, which found that small businesses spend 12 hours each week completing paperwork to comply with government regulation and eight hours each week chasing invoices.
Further, four in 10 business owners will receive payments from debtors later over the Christmas period.
“We know that many small businesses are doing it tough and making significant sacrifices to keep their business running over Christmas,” said Mr Chandrasekkar.
“In addition to sacrificing their wellbeing, small businesses are spending up to one working day every week chasing invoices. Cash flow is the life blood of any business and being able to manage it is extremely important, especially in the lead up to a busy period like Christmas.
“Our goal is to provide the capability for business owners to leverage quicker payment terms and quicker access to funds. Biz Invoice positions us well ahead of the federal government’s roll out of e-invoicing next year, which will standardise electronic invoices to help reduce admin costs and boost productivity for small businesses.”
Earlier this year, research from Deloitte Access Economics said e-invoicing could result in economy-wide benefits of up to $28 billion over 10 years.
Last month, Treasury released a discussion paper consulting on the e-invoicing governance arrangements between the Australian and New Zealand governments, as both governments ramp up their commitment to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment.
The ATO has backed the incoming e-invoicing initiative and believes it will help the industry move towards a total digital environment.
The federal government also recently announced that large businesses (with more an annual turnover of more than $100 million) will have to pay SME invoices within 20 days or risk losing future government contracts.
The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, called the initiative a “game-changer” for SMEs who often struggle with late payments and poor payment times.
“Backed up by the requirement by large businesses with $100 million turnover to publish payment times in their annual reports, it is definitely a game-changer," she said.
“This is already a requirement in the UK and it is important that Australia learns from the UK experience to ensure compliance and transparency.”
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