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Introduction of E-Invoicing Starts

Members of the university community are invited to join in a "Connected Services" project workshop on 3 December 2019

Freiburg, Nov 20, 2019

Introduction of E-Invoicing Starts

Photo: leszekglasner/

Modernizing administrative structures and processes: The subproject "E-Invoicing" of "Connected Services" opens with a workshop on 3 December 2019. University employees who would like to take part in contributing can register until 26 November.

Photo: leszekglasner/

The project launch was a success. Around three hundred members of the University of Freiburg community – students; researchers; and administrative, service, and technical staff – joined together to begin the "Connected Services" project on 14 October 2019. In workshops and plenary sessions, they discussed how they could together continue to develop and modernize administrative structures and processes at the university in the coming years. The project is aimed at mastering the challenges that are linked primarily to digital transformation. "Our objective is to modernize administrative processes at the University of Freiburg, namely by working in cooperation that extends beyond the different areas and administrative units. Research, teaching, and transfer will profit from a more efficient, reliable, and innovative administration," says Andreas Friedrich, a project team member. In addition to already ongoing subprojects, the latest – "E-Billing" – will begin with a workshop on 3 December 2019. All university employees who would like to contribute and shape the process as key users have until 26 November to register.

Digital workflow

According to a European Union (EU) directive, starting in the spring of 2020, all universities will be required to accept electronic invoices.  "That doesn't mean pdf-invoices," says Martina Muy, the head of the Financial Transactions Office. Muy belongs to the core team of the E-Invoicing project. What is planned is a portal of the state of Baden-Württemberg that companies can use to submit their invoices in a way that's comparable to the entry template for online banking. The portal will only serve as a type of post office, from which an invoice is to be forwarded to what is being called the "incoming invoice processing system" of the university.  Now, a joint project of the University of Freiburg and the University of Mannheim is to develop the entire digital workflow – from receipt of the invoice to verification of accuracy, payment requests, and on to booking.  "Our aim is to make the process paperless and as simple as possible," says Muy.

Once that is done, plans are to introduce E-Invoicing first for procurements via the web-based SAP ordering module SRM, then at selected institutions, and finally for the entire university in a step-by-step process. As the project continues, the core team working on E-Invoicing is hoping to receive valuable tips from colleagues who are involved in different stages of the invoicing process – regardless of whether they work in central administration, academic departments, or other decentralized units. "We want to recruit key people to accompany the development of E-Invoicing, test it, and to work in their relevant organizational units to propagate the system," explains Muy.

Using co-creation to reach an objective

Cooperation within project teams that brings together different groups of stakeholders and facilities is a significant element of "Connected Services." Expertise, experience in a specific task area, and motivation to improve and modernize a process are decisive in the selection of team members. As a result, staff members from administration and service as well as technical staff will be just as involved as the users – researchers and teachers – who are to benefit from the improved procedures.  Co-creation is the name of the management approach that is widespread among innovative firms and start-ups. "No one knows the current processes, the need for improvement, and the development potential better than those who are directly involved with it or use it daily," explains Friedrich. "Connected Services" creates a framework to use this expertise consistently and in this way improve structures and processes sustainably," he adds. 

Consistent with the concept of co-creation, the "Connected Services" project has several objectives: making processes more efficient, streamlining structures, lightening staff workloads, and reducing the effort involved for users. That all should set a course for a new university culture which includes even more trusting cooperation within the university, the further departure from hierarchical thinking, an enriched sense of personal responsibility, as well as up-to-date communication platforms or leisure and work spaces that promote creativity.  Once they have proven themselves in a test phase, all of the projects that contributors have worked on will be directly implemented, with the first successes to be seen during the course of the year 2020. The university leadership intends to implement the full process gradually over the course of the next five years.

Nicolas Scherger


For more information

Registration for "E-Invoicing" workshop

Documentation on the opening event at the Dialogue Workshop (in German)