Getting Started with UniLink
Why choose UniLink?
Since 1996, The UniLink Group has been providing companies worldwide with e-invoicing services that drastically reduce operating costs. Our approach is to build a customized network for each client, based on their trading partner community, monitored and maintained by UniLink 24/7.
UniLink can send and deliver any type of live document from any trading partner, whether it’s from an ERP, accounting, or basic PC application, without having either party change how they do business today. By utilizing UniLink’s software as a service (SaaS) model, companies don’t have to invest in expensive hardware, software, and expertise to manage electronic invoicing in house.
Our objective is to maximize the benefits of your electronic invoicing solution by connecting as many of your trading partners as possible. We conduct a recruitment campaign on your behalf, allowing you to focus on running your business.
Recruitment involves four elements:
- Letter of introduction: Prospective partners receive an announcement from you that explains the program and gives step-by-step details of what partners can expect. It's helpful to include answers to frequently asked questions, an overview of the UniLink service, and the pricing structure. (Pricing and payment breakdown can vary based on client preferences, so it's important to determine how much of the cost the partner will be responsible for. Payment terms are typically not an issue, as there are significant benefits and Return on Investment for both parties.)
- List prioritization: We work with you to prioritize your trading partner list. The highest priority connections provide you with the most significant process improvements or the largest cost reductions.
- Partner contact: We contact each trading partner to discuss the benefits of going electronic. Acceptance is usually very high, but we are prepared to document the mutual benefits of e-invoicing with any partners that express concern.
- Ongoing management: We create and manage a list of all partners who have agreed to the conversion, as well as those who are undecided or can’t justify the change. We continue the recruitment process until we connect as many of your partners as possible.
If you deal with thousands of vendors in several countries, so in their minds, how do you decide which ones to connect first? We have assisted many clients in identifying which vendors will create the biggest impact.
Factors to consider:
- Number of monthly transactions: Since the average cost of processing a paper transaction is $12 to $15, the number of transactions is the top determining factor.
- Number of order lines: Invoices with hundreds or thousands of order lines create complex and costly processing issues, so automating these is a priority.
- Vendor interest in e-invoicing: Almost all of our clients have a backlog of partners that have been waiting to convert. We’ll identify the high-volume ones and start with them.
- Early payment discounts or cash flow incentives: Many vendors provide incentives for faster invoice payments. An electronic model eliminates numerous manual steps that add days and weeks to the invoice payment process.
We will help you identify and prioritize every potential benefit, along with your vendor list, to establish the most successful campaign.
UniLink’s goal is to provide a standard way to send or receive data without affecting either trading partner’s current processes. Therefore, we work with any file format each party can deliver or receive, providing a seamless translation for each transaction.
These are the process steps (inbound invoices):
- You determine how you want to receive data from UniLink, and we establish a connection with you. We create a standard file format and layout for your e-invoice, with little or no change to your current processes. This can also include customized business process rules built directly into the document map.
- You simply create a directory for us to send files to for distribution into your ERP/Accounting system and/or ECM workflow system.
- UniLink contacts each trading partner and establishes their method of communication (FTP, VAN, etc.), as well as their preferred file format. Again, there will be little, if any, impact on their current business processes.
- We test connections and data transmissions with each party, and then make the connection live.
Ongoing e-invoicing management
UniLink provides ongoing transaction monitoring and management services, making sure each and every transaction is delivered. These services include periodic reporting (daily, weekly, monthly) so you stay informed of all activity. If there are any service issues, our services team notifies the designated contact for you and your trading partner. In the event a transaction fails (typically due to a dropped communication line), our services team will identify the cause for the failure, communicate the issue and resolution to each party, and resend transactions if needed. An escalation plan is in place as well.