Språkservice Sverige AB in Malmö is working very methodically in its transition to electronic invoice processing—and it has succeeded.The company provides interpreting services. This is a sector where purchasing routines often follow the same old pattern. When old payment methods and current electronic options collide, this sometimes results in stumbling blocks, requiring a good problem-solving ability. With its continuous, systematic approach, Språkservice has digitized the invoicing flow, agreement by agreement. The aim to achieve 100 percent e-invoicing in all agreements was realized in 2018. It is now working as resolutely with e-commerce.
It is fun to talk electronic invoicing services with Kerstin Forssman,
because she has such conviction about how much it helps with everyday operations and which development opportunities there are in the area.
As chief accountant at the Malmö-based Språkservice AB, she has seen and noticed the advantages up close.
Kerstin gives multiple examples during the discussion.
“We think that there is an incredible difference from sending paper invoices.
And it is so easy to locate the invoice printer, GLN number, addresses, etc.,” she notes happily in a sudden moment of reflection.
In another moment, Kerstin recalls how it was before, when she and other employees would sit and fold paper invoices. It took two or three days to send off the invoices. “We are now saving so much time,” she says happily.
She also puts the differences into a perspective that benefits us all.
“Paper consumption has decreased radically. As well as transport. The environmental benefit is significant. Which is important.
Helping to save the Earth’s resources permeates our everyday life at the company,” explains Kerstin, and that statement is emphasized by Språkservice receiving the 2019 InExchange environmental award.
Gone about it successively
Språkservice’s journey hand in hand with InExchange has been ongoing since 2013 when it became an invoice printer customer. Three years later, the interpreting and translation service provider from Skåne took the next step by upgrading its computer system using the integrated services that InExchange provides.
Invoice processing has therefore become more streamlined each year.
A clear-cut explanation for this, as mentioned, is that Språkservice works methodically and constructively.
“We’ve gone about it successively, agreement by agreement. Sure, it’s taken time, but at any rate in 2018 we achieved 100 percent e-invoicing in all our agreements, apart from the customers who, for whatever reason, still could not accept them electronically,” emphasizes Kerstin.
Språkservice therefore took action long before the act on mandatory e-invoicing in all public procurement, which came into force in April 2019. With a large number of authorities as customers, it was naturally prescient to make the switch so early.
Implement pure e-commerce
However, at the same time, Språkservice wanted to utilize the connection pathways to an even greater extent.
“We are striving to successively transfer our electronic invoices to a server environment to be able to invoice one invoice per order,” declares Kerstin.
Språkservice intends to implement a pure e-commerce system. This has not been possible to achieve so far because the customers do not place orders or purchase items.
“They stress that they must have e-commerce and that it should use electronic invoicing, but at the same time they ask for it to be monthly and in the form of a summary invoice. These are concepts that don’t actually work together,” believes Kerstin and states that this demand means that some of the company’s invoicing takes place using the invoice printer.
The complicating factor is the actual ordering of interpretation services.
It is straightforward for a municipality to purchase tomatoes or cucumbers as items, for example. An invoice therefore becomes an order, but it may contain several hundred items. When the supplier is set up in the system, it is just a matter of making a weekly order.
But if you are hiring an interpreter, the procedure is more complicated. You cannot quickly search through a directory. “It’s not like we have any interpreters sitting in a warehouse,” as Kerstin humorously puts it.
The order flow therefore takes on another form.
“A booking with us is just a booking. There is an interpreter session as well as the booking number. The majority therefore receive a monthly summary invoice from us with different customer numbers and delivery numbers,” explains Kerstin.
But the ambitious chief accountant at Språkservice notes that things are slowly starting to point in the right direction.
“There are customers who insist that there must be an e-commerce system. Item numbers, purchase order numbers and an invoice must be included with each order.
So, it’s in progress. Even with public authorities and interpreting,” she adds optimistically.
Simplified item structure
To accommodate the switch, Språkservice is working to find a simplified item structure.The program environment where the orders are created must be clear and we must try to keep the number of item numbers down.
“We must also try to do away with having invoice attachments. We must instead have one invoice so that we can send it via Peppol, or rather so that Peppol can receive an invoice from us via InExchange, even though it’s a negotiation invoice. It could be a type of consultancy invoice of perhaps 50 pages with a summary at the very end where the booking session is stated on the invoice,” explains Kerstin Forssman.
Språkservice offers professional language services with solid commitment and a focus on the customer’s wishes and what is best for the industry.
Språkservice is a family-owned company that provides language services to authorities and companies 24/7. The business was started in 1995 and the founders/owners are actual certified interpreters and translators with extensive experience.