IPP Announces New Name: "Invoice Processing Platform" and the Support of Intragovernmental Buy/Sell Transfers
By Peter O'B. Moore, Agency Enterprise Solutions
With strong support from Treasury, the Financial Management Service's (FMS's) Invoice Processing Platform (formerly the Internet Payment Platform, but still IPP) is moving forward on many fronts. IPP is Treasury's official government-wide offering for electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) will support and standardize intragovernmental buy/sell transfers. As a result of these changes, IPP staff has increased agency outreach tempo and will begin implementing an accelerated product development cycle. To support these reinvigorated efforts, the program also has revamped its marketing and communications effort with a new name, logo, messaging, website, brochures, and more changes to come.
Designed as a comprehensive, easy-to-use e-invoicing portal, FMS offers IPP at no charge to all federal agencies and their vendors. Utilizing IPP for commercial invoices, agency and vendor staff can readily access this centralized government-wide electronic invoice platform to exchange purchase orders, invoices, and payment information. IPP's e-invoicing capabilities automate existing error-prone and costly paper-based, manual processes to improve government efficiency and reduce costs for taxpayers. In processing purchase orders and invoices, the need for agency staff to field inquiries from vendors is reduced, as vendors can readily access transaction and status information through an online self-service interface.
In July 2011, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin mandated that all Treasury bureaus implement e-invoicing using IPP by the end of Fiscal Year (FY)2012. By Fiscal Year (FY)2013, Treasury will require all of its commercial vendors to submit their invoices using IPP. In implementing IPP department-wide, Treasury will reduce its invoice processing costs by 50 percent, saving approximately $7 million annually.
As part of the Treasury-wide rollout, FMS is now using IPP to process commercial purchase orders, invoices and invoice approvals. Two other Treasury bureaus, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the Bureau of the Public Debt (BPD) are existing users of IPP. BPD's Administrative Resource Center (ARC), a shared service provider, has also deployed all 34 federal organizations it serves, including smaller Treasury offices and bureaus. As part of the Departmental mandate, the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are also implementing IPP independently.
Treasury estimates that adopting e-invoicing across the federal government would reduce the cost of entering invoices and responding to invoice inquiries by as much as $450 million annually, equal to roughly one quarter of the $2.1 billion of the efficiency savings that the President's Fiscal Year (FY)2012 Budget called upon agencies to identify.
In addition to savings identified with commercial invoices, Treasury has identified intragovernmental buy/sell trades between agencies as an area of potential savings and improved accountability. In support of this initiative, recent IPP system enhancements enable a standard intragovernmental buy/sell business process flow, from the online creation of a standard inter-agency agreement to settlement confirmation, in one central location. The new IPP intragovernmental module leverages the best-in-class commercial features of IPP by using IPP as the front end to the settlement capabilities of the existing Intragovernmental Payment and Collection system on the backend. In addition to a much improved process for the trading partners and simplified reconciliation, automating the intragovernmental buy/sell process will help address the long-standing audit finding on the U.S. Government's financial report, which has a significant elimination entry between departments. Treasury estimates the improved process and reconciliation will also save $60-$70 million annually, if implemented government-wide. IPP is piloting this limited functionality for the intragovernmental system with select agency trading partners through September 2012, to gather requirements for future enhancements.
In the meantime, the IPP program continues to implement new agencies with its e-invoice capabilities. The Architect of the Capitol (AoC) is the first IPP agency that uses Momentum as its core financial management system. As it has with other commercial financial management systems, IPP is working to ensure that the interfaces between IPP and AoC are reusable for other interested agencies, that use Momentum as well, thereby reducing future agency deployment costs. IPP also has the capability to translate agency formats to IPP's format. Additionally, the Department of Agriculture is currently expanding its IPP implementation department-wide, and the Department of Education has now begun their department-wide deployment.
Agencies seeking more information about implementing IPP or Intragovernmental buy/sell transfers, should contact Peter.Moore@fms.treas.gov, Agency Outreach Liasion with IPP at 202-874-6578.