The way of the freight invoice: driving data value

November 2, 2015 Pieter Kinds


Working 11 years at ControlPay, our implementation director Maria Lisovenko has seen some major changes in the freight audit & payment industry. One of the most influential changes for logistics and finance has been the way paper invoicing was replaced by electronic payment. From the Freight Audit provider perspective, this change had a huge impact on the way we drive value in today's transportation landscape .

For starters, let me explain the basic principles of our business. The core service provided by ControlPay is freight auditing. For our clients this means that none of the carrier invoices will be sent for payment until the data is verified by ControlPay. This means that each carrier has to deliver its final invoice to ControlPay, which will be send for further payment, after auditing and approval by ControlPay.

When starting the business 13 years ago, ControlPay processed thousands of paper invoices on weekly basis. During those early days, electronic invoices were still a kind of myth. The freight payment process between large corporations and logistics carriers consisted of large paper trails going back and forward, pending for a big 'approval' stamp. As you can imagine, a lot of time and money were spent until an invoice reached the final point.

A standard flow of paper invoice was in such way:

Day 1: Carrier got billing instructions from ControlPay
Day 2-5: Carrier issued paper invoice and sent it by post to ControlPay
Day 5-7: Paper invoice received at ControlPay and entered to the system
Day 8: if invoice created correctly – approved and sent via post to Shipper; if invoice incorrect – denied and carrier has to issue the new one.

It was obvious that above process had to change. The high grade of ineffectiveness and complicated paper trails were a thorn in the side for shipper, and carrier. For starters, it took a minimum of 8 days to approve the audited and correct invoice for final payment. Many invoices had to be rejected due to improper/incorrect data and sent back to the carrier, which meant another 8 days required to receive the paper invoice and be able to verify and approve it before payment.

Freight Invoice: What logistics and finance should know

- 10 Freight invoice facts that affect your freight spend
- How Logistics & Finance benefit from freight invoice consolidation
- Freight invoice auditing: The ever-increasing importance of technology

Freight invoice automation tool

When the industry techniques started developing, the freight payment process changed. About 6 years ago ControlPay created a freight invoice tool which allowed logistics service providers to create their final freight invoice directly in the ControlPay system. This digital invoice can be created just in one click the same day when billing instructions are available in the system. This tool reduced significantly the time on final invoice audit and provides a 100% guarantee that the carrier invoice will be paid within agreed payment term.

We created this tool because paper invoicing still raises many difficulties for businesses, including a lack of flexibility and a higher risk of human error or invoices getting lost. By moving the invoicing process online, technology is providing flexibility and visibility to both businesses and their suppliers, as well as reducing fraud and limiting the room for mistakes.Late payment of invoices causes risk

About Maria
Maria is with ControlPay since 2004 when she started as an Invoice Auditor. With a clear analytical mind she has been active in customer implementations from an early phase and started to manage the newly formed Implementation Team in 2010 which she still does today.

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