The U.S. Treasury announced yesterday that it is mandating that all Treasury Bureaus implement electronic invoicing by the end of the 2012 fiscal year. Moreover, in fiscal year 2013, the Treasury will require all of its commercial vendors to submit their invoices using electronic means only.
The government’s invoice processing solution of choice will be the Internet Payment Platform (IPP), which has been in use among several other federal agencies like the Small Business Administration (SBA) and, most recently, the Social Security Administration (SSA), since November 2007.
In the announcement, the Treasury noted that saying the e-invoicing mandate will apply to the department means that it will apply to the Treasury itself and to its many bureaus. IPP is actually supported by the Treasury Financial Management Service (TFMS), a bureau existing beneath Treasury’s umbrella, but now, IPP will be adopted by the department’s remaining bureaus, which are the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Bureau of Public Debt, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Financial Management Service, the Inspector General, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the U.S. Mint and the Departmental Offices. All of these will have to implement IPP and begin processing invoices electronically by the end of FY 2012. Suppliers and sellers to these bureaus and agencies will have to submit their invoices via IPP by FY 2013.
“Electronic invoicing will mean lower costs for taxpayers and faster payments for private sector companies doing business with the federal government,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin. “Treasury is continuing to move forward to identify innovative ways to use technology to cut waste and improve efficiency.”
IPP, as both an invoicing tool and a processing tool, offers the federal government the same advantages that a similar electronic system would offer to a company and its customers. IPP is expected to reduce Treasury’s invoice processing costs by 50% and save approximately $7 million annually, while offering vendors who use IPP the advantage of quicker payments for their services, greater assurances that their invoices are received and processed accurately and immediate online access to their invoice status for all agencies using IPP.
"The U.S. Treasury's announcement today is another positive step as we work toward improved government efficiency and transparency, and overall better governance," said Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management. "As we work to rein in our massive federal debt and deficit, we have to look in every nook and cranny of the federal government to find ways to save taxpayer money while still delivering the services that Americans need and expect from the government.”
Jacob Barron, NACM staff writer