eProcurement has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses operate all throughout Southeast Asia and the world. eProcurement has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years as a way to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase transparency in government and private sector procurement.
But what exactly is it, how does it work, and what are its primary benefits?
How does eProcurement Work?
eProcurement, also known as electronic procurement or online procurement, refers to the use of technology to automate and streamline the procurement process. It typically involves the use of specialised software and online platforms to manage the various aspects of procurement, such as sourcing for suppliers, automating approval workflows, issuing purchase orders and matching goods receipts to invoices.
The eProcurement process usually starts with the creation of a purchase request. Once the purchase request is approved, the procurement team can then use an eProcurement platform to search for and evaluate potential suppliers. Once a supplier is selected, the platform can then be used to automate and streamline a number of tasks, such as creating and issuing purchase orders, tracking deliveries, and managing invoices.
eProcurement platforms typically include a variety of features, such as supplier management, electronic bidding, and integrations with other financial software and platforms. Additionally, some eProcurement platforms can also provide real-time visibility into the status of purchases, purchase orders, and invoices, which can help to improve communication and collaboration between different departments and teams.
eProcurement in Singapore
eProcurement in Singapore is well-established and generally user-friendly. The Singapore government has actively promoted eProcurement and digital transformation for both businesses and the public sector.
The Singapore government even uses an eProcurement platform called GeBIZ that brings together more than 8,500 vendors, making it easier and more efficient for them to tender and bid for contracts.
In addition, the government has also provided incentives to encourage the adoption of eProcurement and build a more digitised and modernised public sector.
Key Benefits of eProcurement
eProcurement offers a number of benefits that can help businesses improve efficiency, reduce costs, and much more. Here are a few primary benefits:
- Faster processing times: eProcurement can help to speed up the procurement process by automating many of the manual tasks that are typically involved, such as creating and issuing purchase orders, and matching goods receipts to invoices.
- Improved supplier management: eProcurement platforms typically include tools for managing suppliers, such as supplier data management and supplier evaluation, which can help businesses to more effectively manage their supplier relationships.
- Increased access to a wider range of suppliers and products: eProcurement platforms can help to increase access to a wider range of suppliers and products, which can help businesses to find the best possible deals.
- Reduced risk of fraud and corruption: eProcurement can help to reduce the risk of fraud and corruption by providing real-time visibility into the status of purchase orders, invoices, and budget spend, which can help to improve communication and collaboration between different departments and teams.
- Improved compliance with regulations and policies: eProcurement platforms can help businesses to comply with regulations and policies by providing automated tools for managing purchase requests and approval workflows, and providing 3-way matching for purchase orders, delivery orders, and invoices.
- Better spend visibility and cost control: eProcurement systems can provide data, analytics and reporting, giving an organisation an overview of spend patterns, supplier performance and cost savings.
- Increased collaboration and communication: eProcurement platforms allow for better communication and collaboration among different departments, teams and suppliers, leading to better decision-making and improved overall performance.
Electronic Invoicing In Singapore
Once a supplier has been selected, it’s time to invoice and collect payment (or perhaps wait until the service is provided, depending on the agreement). Because the eProcurement process is entirely electronic, it wouldn’t make sense to then revert to traditional paper invoicing.
One of the best options for electronic invoicing in Singapore is the government’s new invoicing initiative, InvoiceNow. It’s a nationwide E-invoicing method that facilitates the direct transmission of invoices in a structured digital format across financial systems. Utilising the Peppol network, it’s sure to be an incredibly helpful tool for small and mid-sized businesses across Singapore.
For those outside of Singapore, many Southeast Asian countries are making similar e-invoicing solutions mandatory, like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines – though it’s still voluntary in other nations like Thailand and Vietnam.
Tax Compliance Requirements
Ensuring global regulatory compliance with invoicing and tax mandates is a challenge for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Thankfully digital solutions like eProcurement and e-invoicing can actually make tax compliance easier, not harder.
Non-compliance can be hard to track when purchases and supplier communication are handled offline or through emails. Paper documents can be easily misplaced or edited after it has been processed, which makes it harder to ensure corporate governance. Similarly, most e-invoicing solutions make tax information and data easy to track and retrieve if necessary.
Thankfully, most eProcurement solutions help you keep track of all necessary information and make it easily accessible should it be needed for an audit.
In Singapore, not all companies are subject to an audit, but should an audit be deemed appropriate, documents for all invoices and payments made should be easily accessible.
eProcurement Software Solutions
There are a number of eProcurement software solutions in the market that are changing the way businesses purchase. Instead of searching for qualified suppliers, these softwares allow you to simply create the purchase request and let the marketplace go to work.
If you’re evaluating eProcurement software options, make sure you seek out a software that:
- Digitialises and automates the grunt work of purchasing, sourcing and approvals
- Supports custom approval workflows
- Centrally manages communications with suppliers
- Integrate with your financial software for seamless procurement
- Makes it easy to manage your supplier list
- Allows you to invite many or just 1 supplier to submit a quote
Make Procurement Easier with eProcurement
Overall, eProcurement is a powerful tool that can help businesses to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase transparency in the procurement process. It can also help to reduce the risk of fraud and corruption, and improve compliance with tax regulations and policies.
eProcurement has the potential to revolutionise the way businesses operate in Singapore and across Southeast Asia, and can help to create a more sustainable, efficient, and effective procurement environment.