Is electronic invoicing at the tipping point?
Mr. John Hill, Assistant Commissioner for Payments and Chief Disbursing Officer at the U.S. Treasury's Bureau of the Fiscal Service, discusses a historical parallel, international adoption of electronic invoicing, benefits to business, and the potential for federal savings with the Invoice Processing Platform (IPP). Click here to read Part 2 in the Electronic Invoicing: Why It Matters series.
The Invoice Processing Platform (IPP), U.S. Treasury’s centralized, electronic invoicing service for Federal government agencies, has earned a key data security and control certification: compliance with the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16 (SSAE 16), Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization. This certification demonstrates IPP's commitment to the highest standards of operational excellence for the 74 federal government agencies and over 86,000 government vendors using IPP. According to Mr. John Hill, Assistant Commissioner for Payments Management at the U.S. Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal Service, "This certification will allow federal government agencies who use IPP to save a great amount of time and effort when undergoing annual financial statement audits."
The CPA firm conducting the audit of IPP’s internal controls issued an unqualified opinion in its report – indicating that IPP’s control activities are effectively designed and operated correctly throughout the ten-month reporting period.
SSAE No. 16 is a reporting standard for services organizations put forth by the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). SSAE16, which replaces Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS70), addresses engagements undertaken by a service auditor for reporting on controls at service organizations (e.g., data center providers) that provide services to user entities, for which a service organization’s controls are likely to be relevant to a user entity’s internal control over financial reporting (ICFR).
Mr. John Hill, Assistant Commissioner for Payment Management at the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service, talks about improving payment processing, Treasury’s commitment to electronic invoicing, and the role that the Invoice Processing Platform (IPP) plays in making government invoicing more efficient. Click here to read Part 1 in the Electronic Invoicing: Why It Matters series.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is one of the largest and most complex organizations in the world. The Department’s financial management has been on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) list of federal programs and operations at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement since 1995. It continues to be plagued with numerous material internal control weaknesses that affect its auditability. One of the key material weaknesses is DoD’s inability to reconcile inter/intra-governmental (IGT) activity and balances. In an article published in the Armed Forces Controller, DoD introduced its strategic direction and policy regarding IGT activity, including the adoption of Treasury’s Invoice Processing Platform (IPP) to address reimbursable business activity that contributes to this material weakness. Click here to read the full article.
USDA recently partnered with the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service to complete a 14-month, phased implementation of the Invoice Processing Platform (IPP). IPP is Treasury’s electronic invoicing shared service, designed to more effectively manage Federal Government vendor invoicing from purchase order through payment notification.
Launched in 2007, IPP is currently used by 70 Federal entities and more than 80,000 vendors. IPP saves taxpayer dollars by improving Government financial management and makes it easier for vendors to do business with the Federal Government. It is also part of the Office of Management and Budget’s Shared First initiative, which encourages the use of secure, shared-service delivery models. USDA’s implementation of IPP supports key initiatives focused on eliminating redundancy and improving efficiency in administrative operations, including Secretary Tom Vilsack’s Administrative Solutions Project and the Financial Management Modernization Initiative.
USDA saw several opportunities to streamline its invoice processing and achieve cost savings with IPP. Prior to IPP, invoice processing was a heavily paper driven and resource intensive process. With localized USDA field offices across the United States, vendors could submit invoices through multiple channels (mail, fax, and email). Invoices were then scanned into an electronic content management (ECM) system, manually indexed, matched to the appropriate purchase order and receipt documents in the acquisition system, and uploaded to USDA’s core financial system to process payments.
With IPP, vendors now create, submit, and track invoices and payments online, and USDA can easily route, approve, or reject invoices electronically. IPP’s workflow increases efficiency and provides transparency into the status of an invoice. Additionally, USDA anticipates improved Prompt Pay compliance, decreased interest penalties, and reduced volume of payment and Treasury offset-related inquiries. In fact, invoices are automatically escalated to a supervisor based on the Prompt Pay code.
At USDA, IPP has been deployed to more than 6,000 users and 19,000 vendors, and is now the required vehicle for submitting and approving invoices for contracts awarded through IAS. As of February 2014, USDA has processed more than 26,000 purchase orders, 29,000 invoices, and 150,000 payments through IPP. Implementation of this single invoice submission process has helped unify Department business processes across all USDA Agencies.
The Second Annual IPP Agency Forum was held on March 6, 2014, at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington D.C. At this year’s event, over 70 participants from 31 federal government agencies and organizations learned more about how IPP is advancing electronic invoicing to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.
Among the featured speakers were:
One of the event highlights was an interactive panel featuring representatives from the Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, and Booz Allen Hamilton. This panel discussed the benefits to the federal financial, acquisition/procurement, and vendor communities of using IPP.
In conjunction with the IPP Agency Forum, IPP hosted a User Group meeting designed to create an open dialogue with IPP users about planned enhancements and requested changes to the application.
IPP would like to thank all of the presenters, panelists, and attendees for their participation in this event!
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal Service, has completed the phased deployment of the Invoice Processing Platform (IPP) for all its bureaus and offices. IPP is U.S. Treasury’s secure, e-invoicing shared service that more efficiently manages government invoicing from purchase order (PO) through payment notification. IPP saves taxpayer dollars, improves government financial management and makes it easier for vendors to do business with the federal government. IPP is also part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Shared First initiative, which encourages the use of shared-service delivery models. First launched in 2007, over 60 federal government entities and 74,000 vendors now use IPP.
Over the past four years, DOI transitioned bureaus and offices to IPP in conjunction with the rollout of its Financial and Business Management System (FBMS). FBMS replaced DOI’s many administrative systems with a modernized, fully integrated enterprise-wide solution based on standard business management processes. Beginning in October 2009, DOI first piloted IPP with several of its bureaus and vendors in order to prove the benefits of e-invoicing. Other goals were to determine if implementing IPP would have a positive impact on DOI workload and to validate DOI’s configuration of IPP. DOI bureaus and offices were transitioned as they were deployed in FBMS. The final Interior bureau, the Bureau of Reclamation, transitioned to using IPP to process any invoices for contracts awarded on or after October 1, 2013.
Implementing IPP has improved invoice processing and helped the agency successfully comply with the U.S. Government Accountability Office and OMB requirements regarding use of shared services, internal controls, and prompt payment. “IPP has streamlined and standardized DOI's invoicing process. Our overall implementation experience was positive.” said Rebecca Reilly, IPP Lead with DOI’s Business Integration Office (formerly known as the FBMS Program Management Office).
August 20, 2013
In 2012, Treasury launched a proof-of-concept pilot using IPP to help federal agencies manage intra-governmental buy/sell transactions. Several agencies participated in the pilot, including the Department of Defense (DoD), who found that IPP helped increase visibility into intra-governmental buy/sell transactions, as well as helped with difficult, labor-intensive reconciliation and elimination efforts.
On August 5, 2013, the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) issued a memo that it is partnering with the U.S. Department of the Treasury to implement the Invoice Processing Platform as DoD’s core system to manage all inter- and intra-governmental transactions and documentation. According to the memo, this partnership will strengthen management and accountability for nearly $273 billion in intra-governmental business.
The phased implementation will initially include only DoD-to-DoD transactions. At a later date, transactions between DoD and its civilian agency trading partners will be included. Excluded from this effort are commercial transactions (which will continue to be managed using DoD’s Wide Area Workflow) and DoD's interfund transactions.
For more information on the DoD IPP intra-governmental buy/sell implementation, contact the DoD Business Integration Office (BIO)
at (703) 697-1096.
For more information on IPP’s intra-governmental capabilities, contact Michael Bolin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the features and benefits of IPP’s intra-governmental module, visit: http://www.ipp.gov/about-ipp/intra-governmental.
In August 2013, attendees at the 23rd Annual Government Financial Management Conference in Washington, D.C., heard first-hand how IPP is transforming the way government works. A panel discussion included perspectives from agencies, federal shared service providers, integrators and vendors.
In July 2013, the IPP team presented “Invoice Processing Platform: How Federal Agencies Are Eliminating Paper Invoices” at the Association of Government Accountants Professional Development Conference in Dallas, TX. Panelists included Mr. John Hill, Assistant Commissioner for Payment Management of the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service and representatives from the Fiscal Service’s Administrative Resource Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Other panelists included representatives from the integrator and vendor community including CACI and SOURCE, Inc.
November 27, 2012
On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, over 80 representatives from 37 federal agencies attended the Invoice Processing Platform (IPP) First Annual Agency Forum in Washington, DC. Mr. John Hill, Assistant Commissioner for Payment Management with Treasury's Financial Management Service (FMS), welcomed attendees and shared his perspective on the importance of electronic invoicing in the federal government. Since its implementation in 2007, the number of agencies and vendors enrolled in IPP has significantly increased helping to reduce government spending. Ms. Wanda Rogers, Deputy Commissioner with Treasury FMS, then gave an overview of IPP and Treasury’s broader efforts to improve financial management government-wide; urging agencies to enroll. According to Ms. Rogers, “IPP is a prime example of a shared service that transforms agency operations with efficiency, transparency, and accountability". Next, Mr. Andrew Ganahl with Treasury's Office of Financial Innovation and Transformation (FIT) discussed how IPP is one of several platforms FIT believes will be used across the federal government over the coming years. The highlight of the morning session was a candid panel discussion where the Department of the Interior, Architect of the Capitol, Bureau of Public Debt, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing shared how IPP helped meet strategic goals. In the afternoon, current IPP agencies attended sessions covering topics such as reporting, invoice approval processing and vendor outreach. In addition, attendees were given a detailed overview of upcoming enhancements.