Lighthouse supports new government procurement initiative

Lighthouse has recently signed deals that will see our Integrated Payables platform support new public sector procurement and payment processes. This new initiative will see suppliers to the Irish government get immediate payment on their invoices, all processed and managed using the Lighthouse online portal.

Minister Brian Hayes announces the Purchasing Card Framework initiative

See this anouncement in The Journal for more details.

Is there really a demand for early payment?

Supply Chain Finance is an effective, low-cost way for suppliers to large businesses to get paid immediately. Sometimes we hear people say “But do small businesses really need cash that badly?”. If you wonder the same thing, take a look at this TEDxWallStreet video by Ami Kassar of the 10 DayPay campaign. You won’t wonder any longer.

Lighthouse hiring plans for 2012

Lighthouse BCS plans to increase its workforce significantly throughout 2012.

We are currently looking for a number of excellent candidates for these positions:

  • Java developers

Shortly, we will also advertise for the following positions:

  • Cloud technology infrastructure specialists
  • Customer support specialists
  • Pan-European financial business development experts

If you would like further information on any of these positions, please contact us.

To hear Lighthouse director Padraic Moran discuss Lighthouse hiring plans, listen in to this New Job Radio podcast:


Basel III may kill traditional trade finance?

The new Basel III rules for banking regulation and capital requirements look likely to greatly increase the capital reserves for off-balance sheet financial structures. Inadvertantly, this may affect trade finance instruments, such as letters of credit. A new report from the World Bank suggests that the current commercial model for trade finance may no longer hold water.

Trade finance is already expensive and complicated, so where does this leave trading companies?

It seems to make an even stronger case for alternative funding methods.

First Public Sector e-invoicing pilot kicks off in Ireland

eInvoicing Launch, Dáil Éireann_sml

Brian Hayes TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) recently launched a pilot project on e-Invoicing across a number of Government Departments and other public sector bodies.  The project will be overseen by the National Procurement Service (NPS) of the OPW. The Institute of Technology in Sligo is providing research and technical co-ordination.

Speaking in Dublin at the launch of the pilot, Minister Hayes said: “The pilot projects will take two months to complete.  The objective after the pilot is to have a paperless billing system that operates across the public sector.  That’s good for business because it cuts down on red tape and cuts down on costs.  The seven public sector bodies taking part in the pilot are: The Office of Public Works, the Department of Defence, the Department of Justice, HSE East, HSE North West, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Government Computer Services Board.  Once the findings of the pilot projects have been compiled and reviewed we will take a report to Government on the suitability of rolling out e-Invoicing across the entire public sector.  The cost-saving benefits of this project could genuinely help SMEs to compete and win additional Government business”.

The Minister concluded: “The full rollout of e-Invoicng could lead to multi-million euro savings for the exchequer in terms of reduced administrative and transactional costs, as well as providing savings to suppliers to the public sector. In addition Irish service providers in this area could become leaders in this technology across the EU Member States “.

The Economics of Early Payment

Paying your suppliers early not only keeps your suppliers in business, but can provide double-digit percentage returns on your free cash.

If you are a regular buyer of materials, supplies and services, you may have considered how best to optimise your payment strategy. On the one hand, deferring payment to your suppliers gives you extra working capital to run your business, but on the other hand it can create havok in your supply chain.

It is likely that your suppliers would be prepared to give you a discount if you offer to pay them early. Rather than paying them 30 days or 60 days after invoicing, if you pay them immediately on approval you can stand to gain an additional 2-5% discount.

How do I submit an invoice?

So now you’ve finished the registration process – super. What now? Usually the next step will be to submit an invoice to your customer.

It’s very simple. Just raise an invoice as you normally do – using any accounts package, an MS Word document or even a text file, we don’t mind – and then print your invoice to your new Lighthouse eInvoice printer driver. That’s it! You will get an acknowledgement message back, and then you can log onto the Lighthouse Supplier Portal and view the invoice.

New equity partners for Lighthouse BCS

This morning we announced that Lighthouse BCS has raised additional equity funds from Delta Parters, Bank of Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.
This is great news for the company, as it allows us to extend our marketing reach, and develop new working capital management and supply chain finance services for corporates, governments and small business.
For more details, see the download in our Documents section.

"Buy now, Pay early." Huh?

Recent reports all point to the increased pressure on working capital – for the supplier, to get paid early. For the buyer, to pay later. In some sectors, the supply base can no longer sustain long trade terms and payment extensions. How to solve this issue?

There is an opportunity to arbitrate for a middle ground. Buyers can be convinced to pay early in return for a discount. If suppliers feel that the discount rates are reasonable; if they are offered early payment as an option; and if they have the opportunity to lock in their receivable immediately, then they will view early payment as a good deal.

Traditional trade finance doesn’t tick all these boxes – discount rates can be between large and extortionate. Suppliers may be forced to commit their entire order book to a finance house. The may still have to wait for 10-15 days for payment. All of these issues make traditional trade finance a last resort.New, integrated financial supply chain models make early payment a viable alternative, even for business as usual receivables. A new report shows that 35% of all companies would always use early payment, if the terms were right. Of the rest, 65% would use it sometimes.Some buyers have lots of cash. Some have lots of debt. Some have lots of both. How can early payment be achieved for everyone? In some cases, external funding can be used to support a supply chain (the Supply Chain Finance model). Internal cash reserves can also be used – even in parallel with external funding. This can all be done to maintain and even improve Days Payables Outstanding (DPO) – and with no impact on the buyer’s Balance Sheet cash position.

Magic? No, but certainly clever.So. Buy now, Pay early? Yes, it does make sense.