Thurrock businesses to benefit from changes in the way Thurrock Council pays its invoices.

THURROCK Council is amongst the first in the country to move to online invoicing.

The new approach should ensure local and small businesses are paid more quickly and regularly – while facing less paperwork themselves.

The council will organise information events for local businesses over the summer.

It cuts the risk of invoices being lost or of processing errors delaying payment. As well as speeding up payment to local businesses, it should ensure the council receives all the discounts available for rapid payment.

Kathryn Adedeji, Thurrock Council’s head of commercial services, said: “The council processed nearly 70,000 invoices in 2012/13 and nearly two-thirds of them were for under £500. All those relatively small payments required as much processing time as one for a million pound project.

“This is the council catching up with what many of us do when we buy a DVD from Amazon or pay our council tax online. Councils receive tens of thousands of invoices each year so this will produce cash savings and improve efficiency. We are also helping local companies to have a good cash flow by paying them quickly for goods and services.”

All contracts signed since April have required the supplier to invoice electronically and the council is planning to phase out the handling of paper invoices from April 2015.

More than 50 suppliers are already using the system. As well as faster and more reliable payment, they can check progress on the authorisation of their invoice and manage and update their accounts online.

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