This article originally appeared in Benzinga on January 15, 2015. Follow this link to read the original article.
“Imagine every transaction between a buyer and a seller has to pass through the government twice,” posed Invoiceware International President and CEO, Scott Lewin.Speaking to Benzinga, Lewin noted that this is currently the state of business-to-business transactions in Latin America. “In Latin America,” Lewin said, “many companies had two or three sets of books. It was very difficult to track revenue and income.”
As a result, and in an effort to capture this tax leakage, Brazil led the way with a complex, but more effective way of monitoring transactions.
How It Works
Lewin described the process, using Invoiceware International customer Kellogg Company as his example.
“A grocery store sends a purchase order to Kellogg,” he said. “Kellogg sends the information to the government, which validates the order and sends the validation back to Kellogg.” Kellogg then ships the product, which the grocery store receives along with an invoice from Kellogg. Finally, the grocery store sends the invoice to the government for validation, at which point the grocery store can pay Kellogg.
Even though these transactions happen over the Internet in real time, multinational companies such as Kellogg, The Coca-Cola Co , Siemens AG (ADR) and others who are among Invoiceware International’s 200+ customers, struggle to adhere. Different types of information go to different areas of government and, according to Lewin, the rules change constantly.“If you screw it up,” he said, “your business literally stops.”
Mexico Has Upped The Ante
Mexico, which is asking businesses to report on all of these transactions on a monthly basis beginning March 2015, has added another layer. The payoff for companies is a tax refund based on value added taxes (VAT) they have paid. According to Lewin, “For large companies this represents tens of millions of dollars a month.”
The Invoiceware Solution
Invoiceware connects with its customers’ internal systems, where it converts information into a format the government wants and delivers it to the proper department, according to Lewin. Acting as intermediary, Invoiceware handles all transactions between the company and the foreign government.
One reason for Invoiceware’s success, according to Lewin, is its use of a hybrid cloud. “We put stuff onto our customer’s site as well -- as we have the cloud connected to all the governments,” he said. “If the Internet is down, we can create a contingent invoice,” he said. Then, when the Internet is back, the invoice is validated and paid. The system, Lewin said, is unique to Invoiceware.
Fastest-Growing Business Network
Invoiceware International has grown from zero dollars to $84 billion of invoice value since 2011. This makes the company the largest network across Latin America and the fastest-growing business network in the world.
Supply Chain Financing
“We are now rolling out supply chain financing based on these LATAM (Latin American) processes,” Lewin said. Thanks to government validation, suppliers to large companies can obtain financing based on the buyer’s credit rating, resulting in more savings for both the supplier and the buyer. Lewin summed it all up by saying, “There really are benefits when you digitize an entire economy.”