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    Recruit Announces Launch of AirINVOICE New Invoice Management Service Enables Users to Make Payments from Their Smartphone

    Jul 27, 2022 | Recruit

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    AirINVOICETo an external site is a service that allows users to take a picture of an invoice with their smartphone, with the app automatically converting the necessary information into data for the bank transfer, making it possible to reserve and execute the transfer with a single smartphone. Transfer fees are the lowest in the industry. *1 With AirINVOICE, the app checks the number of transfers and payment due dates and notifies users, freeing them from the worry of forgotten or late payments. *2

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    1. Background

    Changes in the business environment: Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) move toward great digital transformation (DX), such as the implementation of the invoice system

    In December 2021, the Japanese government approved the "Priority Policy Program for Realizing Digital Society" by Cabinet decision, which includes the promotion of "digitalization of transactions (ordering, invoicing, and settlement)" and "digitalization of SMEs." In addition, in order to support the DX of SMEs, the "IT Introduction Subsidy 2022" program, which provides subsidies for the introduction of business support services, has been established again this fiscal year.
    The digitalization of transactions is just around the corner, with the invoice system coming into effect in October 2023 and the "Revised Act Concerning Preservation Methods of Electronic Books" becoming mandatory in January 2024. However, our survey of "those who have decided to introduce invoice processing-related services for SMEs and those who have been involved in such decision" revealed that only 48.5% *3 were aware of the invoice system, which is only about half of the total respondents.

    "Disadvantages" on the frontlines: Paper-centered transaction culture causing mental stress in addition to labor, time, and cost

    Recruit has been supporting business owners through its Air BusinessTools, business and management support service that includes AirREGI, AirPAY, and AirSHIFT. In the process, we uncovered issues that have long affected purchasing and payment operations at business sites. Specifically, we found that the paper-centered transaction culture was causing mental stress in addition to labor, time, and cost.

    • Receiving paper invoices by mail or fax and making cash transfers at ATMs is still the customary practice, which is cumbersome and complicated

    • The need to transfer multiple invoices received from suppliers at differing times each month is time-consuming and labor-intensive

    • The fee for paying invoices is a heavy burden

    • The payment deadlines and timing of the invoices are not always the same, which causes anxiety about forgotten or late payments

    AirINVOICE enables business owners to digitize invoices, reserve and execute transfers with a single smartphone, without the need for a PC, even in limited time and limited store space. It reduces the labor and cost of analog procurement and payment operations.

    2. Overview of AirINVOICE

    AirINVOICE is an invoice management service that enables users to make payments from their smartphone. By taking a picture of the invoice with users’ smartphone, the app automatically converts the necessary information for the bank transfer into data, even allowing them to make payments immediately. Transfer fees are the lowest in the industry. *1 With AirINVOICE, the app checks the number of transfers and payment due dates and notifies users, freeing them from the worry of forgotten or late payments.
    We will continue to support business owners in operating their businesses as they envision them and creating stores that are uniquely their own.

    About AirINVOICE: https://airregi.jp/invoice/To an external site

    Three Values Provided by AirINVOICE

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    Conceptual image of AirINVOICE usage

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    ■ Launch date: Wednesday, July 27, 2022
    ■ Signup process: 1) Download the AirINVOICE app from the AppStore, 2) Register users’ AirID (or log in)
    ■ Usage fee: 5,500 yen per month (per store)
    *Bank transfer fee will be charged separately.
    *There is no monthly fee for the first month of use and the following month as a free trial period.

    For more information, please visit the AirINVOICE websiteTo an external site.

    3. Message from Kyohei Asano, Product Manager of AirINVOICE

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    Kyohei Asano *Available for interviews Product Management Division, Recruit Co., Ltd. Product Manager, AirINVOICE

    After joining Recruit, Kyohei Asano was engaged in service planning for the beauty business domain and Air BusinessTools. While visiting and conversing with a wide range of SMEs, including restaurants, beauty salons, and retail stores, he realized that the processing of invoices was a source of hassle for many owners. He continued to test hypotheses at SMEs, leading to the launch of AirINVOICE.

    I want to provide SMEs with invoice management that is in line with legal systems as well as business practices that don't allow for computers to be opened in the store.

    In Japan, SMEs account for 99.7% *4 of all businesses, and I recognize the importance of improving productivity through DX for a Japanese society where the working population is declining. In this context, we conducted a survey in November 2020 and found that 70% of SME owners are experiencing mental stress as well as the labor, time, and cost associated with invoice payment.

    When I visited SMEs' business sites, I saw that the owners were facing a great deal of hassle in processing invoices, as they were not comfortable opening a PC in a store with customers, were busy posting and transferring invoices in between busy month-end operations, and sometimes could not make payments in time when sudden reservations or staff absences occurred.
    Therefore, when we offered a limited beta version as a test service in 2021, we received comments such as "I no longer forget to organize and transfer invoices because I just take a picture of the invoice with my smartphone the moment it arrives," and "I spend less time on paperwork and more time thinking about my store."

    In the future, with the implementation of the invoice system and the mandatory compliance with the “Revised Act Concerning Preservation Methods of Electronic Books,” the operational burden of checking qualified invoices, bookkeeping, and storage will further increase. In addition, as the industry as a whole continues to move toward DX, such as the shift to digital invoicing, we believe that improving the efficiency of back-office operations centered on invoicing while also complying with the legal system will become a source of competitiveness for SME businesses.

    We will continue to develop products in response to feedback so that business owners can devote more time and energy to creating their own unique stores – their essential purpose.

    4. What Are Air BusinessTools?

    Air BusinessTools are Recruit's business and management support services including AirREGI, AirPAY and AirSHIFT. The tools reduce the time, effort, and costs associated with analog business operations, from reservation and reception management, accounting, and payment, to recruitment, shift management, financing, and invoice management. With 640,000 accounts, *5 more stores use AirREGI than any other POS register app. *6 AirPAY is a payments service for businesses that supports 36 types *7 of payment brands. Meanwhile, other services continue to add yet more accounts and member stores across Japan. They come from a wide range of sectors, including restaurants, retail, and services. They also have cross-generational appeal, with users ranging from high school teenagers running a school culture festival to a fruit-and-vegetable shop owner in their 80s. With a single AirID, *8 a user can access all Air BusinessTools. This single, user-friendly service combines different apps and web services into one. Using the suite of services in Air BusinessTools can dramatically streamline daily operations. Recruit will continue to support business owners in running their business the way they envision it and creating a store that is uniquely their own.

    *1 (1) Survey subject: Recruit Co., Ltd.; (2) Survey implementing agency: INTAGE Inc. (as of November 22, 2021); (3) Comparison conditions: Compared with 133 banks(*) based on normal transfer fees to other banks (conditional transfer fees are not considered).
    (*) Those registered as city banks, trust banks, and regional banks among banks in the list of licensed (registered) financial institutions published by the Financial Services Agency. 133 banks excluding foreign bank branches.
    *2 Separate agreement with SB Payment Service Corp. is required for the transfer function.
    *3 (1) Survey subject: Recruit Co., Ltd.; (2) Survey implementing agency: INTAGE Inc.; (3) Survey period: Thursday, March 24, 2022 to Tuesday, March 29, 2022; (4) Target population: Men and women aged 20-69 who work in the restaurant, beauty, retail, medical or nursing care industries with 29 or fewer employees and 14 or fewer stores, who receive 5 or more invoices per month in their work and have decided to introduce an invoice processing-related service or have been involved in such decision; (5) Sample size: n = 1,713
    *4 The Small and Medium Enterprise Agency, "Number of Small and Medium Enterprises and Small Businesses (as of June 2016)"
    *5 Recruit research (as of the end of March 2022)
    *6 (1) Survey subject: Recruit Co., Ltd.; (2) Survey implementing agency: INTAGE Inc.; (3) Survey period: Thursday, November 11 – Monday, November 15, 2021; (4) Target: MF18-69 who will install or are currently using a register at a store or facility where they work, and are in the restaurant, retail, or service industry for a business with no more than 30 locations; (5) Sample size: n=1,063
    *7 As of October 2021
    *8 Some services not compatible

    Click hereTo an external site to read the original press release.