Trans-Tasman partnership introduces a new era of invoicing

Find out why e-Invoicing was a winner at the recent Australian Government Digital Awards.

Three people standing in front of a plant wall receiving an award.
Caption: Larissa Walker from ATO and Alyse Thompson from Treasury, with AIIA CEO Ron Gauci

As we continue to recognise the great work being done across government in digital transformation, we will showcase each of the Digital Awards winners over the next few weeks. You’ll see what they worked on, and what set them apart from the competition. 

e-Invoicing, The Treasury & Australian Taxation Office 

Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) were joint winners of the award for excellence in multi-agency partnership at the Digital Awards. The award acknowledged the e-Invoicing service. This was co-developed with the NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

In 2018, Australia & New Zealand agreed to a common approach to e-Invoicing as part of the Single Economic Market agenda. The partnership then developed the Trans-Tasman Electronic Invoicing Arrangement.  

This will allow Australian and New Zealand businesses to use a single invoice specification for e-Invoicing across the Tasman.

Anyone involved in finance will tell you traditional invoicing is error-prone. Over 20 per cent of late payments are due to invoicing errors. e-Invoicing saves time and money by directly exchanging invoices between financial systems.

Deloitte Access Economics estimates e-Invoicing could benefit the Australian economy by up to $28 billion over ten years. e-Invoicing will also play an important part of the Australian Government’s faster payments policy.

The partnership is finalising the specification and hopes to make the framework available by late 2019. Further information on e-Invoicing is available from the ATO website

Breaking down silos 

The 2 Australian partners drew on their differing strengths to create the service. The ATO used their strong relationships with industry to develop the most efficient solution. The Treasury took the policy advice role and coordinated Ministerial communication.

The partners worked with other agencies to put in place the e-Invoicing framework.

Reference groups worked with the Department of Finance on the Shared Services initiative and Payment Policy terms. Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business represented small business. The Department of Human Services built components of the infrastructure for sharing across government.

Working with users 

Initial user research included technical working groups and joint public consultations. The ATO and NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has since done more user research to maintain a common approach.

User research led to the adoption of the Pan-European Public Procurement On-Line (PEPPOL) Framework for e-Invoicing. PEPPOL demonstrates international best practices and common infrastructure platforms. PEPPOL is now used in over 30 countries across Europe, Asia and North America.

The team customised the framework for Australian and New Zealand requirements by cooperating with industry through a series of open and targeted engagements, including at the transTasman Ministerial level.

We thank all nominees for this Award. It’s great to see digital transformation taking place across federal, state, and local government.

For any questions about the Awards, please email awards@dta.gov.au

Nicole Murphy is an event manager at the DTA.