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Picture source: Swedish Institute of Space Physics, IRF.

Picture source: Swedish Institute of Space Physics, IRF.

Case IRF: Compliance and efficiency through e-invoicing

IRF, the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, is a governmental research institute that conducts basic research and postgraduate education in space physics, space technology, and atmospheric physics. With four offices across Sweden, IRF has approximately one hundred researchers, engineers, and administrative staff dedicated to ensuring the smooth operation of the institutes space projects.

Financial Manager Anna-Karin Ukonsaari and her team of two accounts administrators have a lot on their plate. In addition to managing the institute’s financial transactions, they assist researchers in applying for funding. Implementing a smooth and highly automated invoice handling process has been paramount in freeing up the team’s time for more critical tasks.

IRF’s researchers and engineers need a lot of specialist equipment from around the world, making the organization’s supplier pool wide and very international. In 2023, IRF received a few thousand purchase invoices from its suppliers worldwide. “This is a niche community. We have a lot of suppliers, but often only one invoice from each”, Ukonsaari explains.

Picture source: Swedish Institute of Space Physics, IRF.
Picture source: Swedish Institute of Space Physics, IRF.

Persistent work to increase the e-invoicing rate

In addition to space technology, IRF is a forerunner in electronic invoicing. The organization has sent and received e-invoices since 2011, well before business-to-government (B2G) e-invoicing became mandatory in Sweden in 2019.

While compliance is an important factor in IRF’s invoicing process, the main reason for pushing e-invoicing is to save time and resources. Before implementing OpusCapita’s Invoice Receiving solution, the team had to manually process paper and PDF invoices.

Currently, the organization’s e-invoicing rate is an impressive 98%. Ukonsaari is happy with the rate but says that pumping the number up has not always been easy.

What does it take to achieve an impressive 98% e-invoicing rate? The right tools, a process that caters to global suppliers and above all persistence.

Anna-Karin Ukonsaari from the Swedish Institute of Space Physics.

“We have to be persistent. We want our suppliers to understand that if they want to sell to us, they must send an e-invoice. And if their system can’t manage that, we have OpusCapita’s tools to help them.” If IRF’s suppliers don’t have e-invoicing capability, they can use OpusCapita’s free supplier tools to send their invoices electronically. Ukonsaari explains that this feature has been crucial in raising the e-invoicing rate.

While some suppliers may initially insist on sending a traditional paper or PDF invoice, they soon discover that IRF is not the only party benefiting from using the supplier tools. “E-invoicing allows us to pay invoices at the right time. The entire invoice process is quicker: invoice arrives in the system, goes through approvals, and gets paid much faster than earlier when we had to do things manually.”

Ukonsaari believes reaching a 100% e-invoicing rate is impossible, at least for now. “Large multi-national companies are the most difficult to get e-invoices from and the reason why we are not reaching 100% yet”, she explains. “But I’m sure they are coming along at some point.”


How to receive e-invoices from all suppliers and getting rid of paper?


Having the right tools at your disposal and a strong dose of persistence!

Right-sized solutions for a small team

The financial team at IRF is pleased with their long-lasting partnership with OpusCapita. Ukonsaari says that the standard Invoice Receiving and Invoice Sending solutions are a perfect match for their small organization. “OpusCapita’s solutions are just right for us. The experts are very creative and helpful and assist us whenever we have issues.”

Ukonsaari’s team feels that the invoice handling system is easy and intuitive to use. She also praises OpusCapita’s proactivity in offering new solutions. “OpusCapita is a good partner to work with. We are a smaller organization, but they always ask if we need changes or improvements.”

For organizations looking into increasing their e-invoicing rate, Ukonsaari has one tip above all: staying persistent. Getting almost all suppliers to send e-invoices makes a big difference in daily operations. “We have been successful because we haven’t given up.”

About IRF

The Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) is a governmental research institute under the Ministry of Education. IRF conducts basic research and postgraduate education in space physics, space technology, and atmospheric physics. IRF has 60 years of experience in developing instruments for space research projects and participates in several major international collaborative projects using satellites and ground-based equipment.

About OpusCapita

Service provider and network operator in one, OpusCapita is a leading European provider of electronic invoice and supply chain document exchange, invoice automation, and procurement solutions. Our cloud-based solutions help businesses manage their procurement, supply chain, accounts payable and accounts receivable processes, lowering costs while improving control and supporting growth. 

OpusCapita’s solution for IRF:

  • E-invoice Receiving
  • Supplier onboarding tools (including portal for key-in)
  • E-invoice Sending

Sounds like a solution you’d benefit from?