SYDNEY, 20 October 2021 – SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced Australian small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) could save tens of thousands of dollars a year by transitioning to e-invoicing. This is among the key findings in a new report – The connected SMB: Embracing digital strategies to fuel growth – released today.
The research found Australian SMBs process an average of 168 invoices each month. With a Deloitte study estimating that e-invoicing could deliver savings of up to $20 per invoice*, Australia’s SMBs could save up to $40,320** a year.
The benefits are clear, with 75 per cent of those who have transitioned saying the biggest impact has been time and money saved. More than half said it improved the accuracy of recordkeeping (56 per cent) and was more secure (53 per cent).
“Running an SMB comes with its challenges but switching to digital processes has been key to the survival of many businesses during the pandemic. It frees up time and money to focus on other priorities like developing new products and finding new customers,” said Sofiane Ainine, SMB Segment Lead, SAP Australia and New Zealand. “Now is the time for SMBs to review their adoption of technology. This will help them through the current crisis and set them up for future growth.”
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of technology adoption in helping small businesses innovate – increasing efficiency and productivity, attracting new customers in different markets, improving customer and employee experiences. This helps them create more jobs,” Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson, said.
“It’s encouraging that the research in this SAP report shows SMBs accelerating digital technology adoption. Technologies like e-invoicing improve process efficiency and, importantly, will see small businesses paid more quickly for the products and services they provide.”
Switching is easier than many SMBs think
The research suggests that the fear of switching to e-invoicing is bigger than the challenge of implementing it, with 88 per cent of SMBs that had made the jump saying it was easy, and almost one in five (18 per cent) making the transition without external support.
Some will still need help to get there, with integrating the process into computer systems (36 per cent) and understanding what software to use (31 per cent) perceived as the biggest challenges.
Nearly half (46 per cent) of SMBs are mostly digital in their invoicing and recordkeeping. Of this group, 26 per cent sought advice from their internal IT department, followed by an external IT company (24 per cent), their accountant (26 per cent), a consultant (22 per cent) or The Government (18 per cent).
“SMB owners shouldn’t feel like they are alone on this journey. There are many sources of support ready to help them overcome hurdles and make the most of opportunities by sharing experiences and advising on the best approaches for their business,” Ainine said. “It’s about taking it one step at a time, learning what works and implementing digital initiatives that align to their goals.”
The outlook: A digital future
The past 18 months has fast-tracked the transition to digital processes for many SMBs and increased their appetite for transformation. The research found most SMBs who use e-invoicing (75 per cent) are looking to digitise other business processes. Payroll is the top focus (72 per cent), followed by forecasting (42 per cent), debt collection (38 per cent), customer experience (33 per cent), and talent management (28 per cent).
Over half (54 per cent) of SMBs say they will have digitised all account and account management processes within the next two years, with 44 per cent planning to do so within the next 12 months.
To help them get there, more than half (57 per cent) of business owners/managers agree that increased government support in the form of information, services, subsidies and grants would help their business continue to drive forward digital initiatives and change.
Innovation in action
Mining equipment manufacturer Geographe needed to update its business technology in support of its strategic vision to expand into new markets and refine its product sets around continued innovation.
Implementing an intelligent ERP system built on SAP S/4HANA Cloud® has helped the business reduce lead times by as much as 50 per cent. Automated core processes and greater operational efficiencies have reduced some workloads by more than 15 per cent.
Geographe CEO, Sam Hyder, said: “Due to COVID-19, we have moved to hybrid working. Having a scalable IT landscape with greater transparency and real-time data helped us become more responsive to customer needs. We can now confidently predict customer demand and optimise production, inventory, and our supply chain accordingly.”
The full report and key tips on how to transform your business, please visit: www.sap.com/australia/connectedsmb
Note to editors:
About the SAP report: The connected SMB: Embracing digital strategies to fuel growth
The research was commissioned by SAP Australia and undertaken by YouGov to understand where Australian SMBs stand with their current e-invoicing and broader digitisation efforts. The sample comprised of 802 Australian business owners/managers with less than 200 employees:
- 1-19 employees n= 252
- 20-99 employees n= 518
- 100-199 employees n= 32
Fieldwork took place between 29 June and 13 September 2021.
** 168 invoices per month x 12 months x $20 saving per invoice = $40,320 per year