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Electronic Delivery of Invoices (EDI)

Modified: 2017/06/07 15:10 by admin - Uncategorized
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Electronic Delivery of Invoices (EDI)

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NOTE: Need to update the above diagram to include Copy, Rotations, "insertion order", "traffic instructions".

CS - This document is specific to the EDI file format which is very different from other electronic document formats such as PDF, Excel, etc.

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Introduction

Electronic Delivery of Invoices (sometimes referred to as "Electronic Invoicing") uses the industry standard electronic document format adopted by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA or sometimes "4 A's").

Electronic Data Interchange Providers are designed to be used primarily by advertising agencies in order to facilitate the transfer of these documents from stations.

The advantages of Electronic Delivery of Invoices (in addition to the fact that more and more advertising agencies are refusing to accept hard copy invoices from radio stations) is that human data entry errors for the invoices are minimized or (hopefully) eliminated on both the radio and advertising agency sides. This makes it possible for agencies to pay more quickly because processing is streamlined.

Large advertising agencies are also trending towards using this standardized format.

RadioTraffic.com interfaces with all major Electronic Data Interchange Providers that support this industry standard. You are welcome to comparison shop from several providers which include:

  • mediaocean (formerly Donovan Data Systems) - Free, if the agency accepts it.
  • AdCore LOCAL (formerly eMediaTrade) - $65 per month per station for unlimited invoices. A special $25 per month per station rate for unlimited invoices using the RadioTraffic.com co-op special pricing deal. In order to secure this deal, you need to select "RadioTraffic" when prompted. Note: This fee is collected by RadioTraffic.com and passed onto AdCore LOCAL; this amount does not cover the cost of the EDI add-on.
  • RADIO Invoices.com - (Usually) $75 per month but subsidized by some representative firms.
  • spotdata - Spotdata has a client base of over 1400 stations and offers Spotdata to all Traffic Vendors. They adhere to the "4 A's" rules, attend "4 A's" meetings and are working with agencies on stricter adherence. Spotdata offers full service client support both on the agency and station side. The fee for Broadcasters is $1.00 per invoice uploaded (based on volume) to the Spotdata website. They bill on a quarterly basis and the quarters start on the 10th in order to give the stations time to complete their billing and send the EDI files. They also supply your customers with a secure portal at no additional charge. Note: We've heard they also require a $750 deposit.

CS - If you do not currently have the Export to EDI add-on and are interested in adding it to your account, the cost is $10 per month per station. To get started, please create a ticket to set the wheels in motion.

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Agency Configuration

In order to initialize the process of sending an EDI document to a Electronic Data Interchange Provider; we need to inform the system that the agency will be participating in such a process. To do so, you need to enter the EDI# (provided by the Electronic Data Interchange Provider) for the target agency and this is done through the agency window.

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On this window, you see an EDI# field. Enter the unique code (identifier) you have been given for this agency (from the Electronic Data Interchange Provider) into this field. Make sure that you enter the value in exactly as it is provided as it seams in many cases this value is "case-sensitive".

Once completed, this agency is now prepared and participating in the EDI process.

If you are using AdCore LOCAL you can find your EDI# codes here.

See Agencies.

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Contract Routine

The EDI document contains both required and optional fields. Following are additional details regarding the fields of note that are specific to each contract.

Agency Estimate Number, Agency Advertiser Code and Agency Product Code

According to the specification, Agency Estimate Number, Agency Advertiser Code, and Agency Product Code are optional. These values are typically received from the agency as part of the agency insertion order. Although these values are considered "optional" by the specification, many agencies require them and, if not available as part of the EDI document, will reject the invoice.

Note the following characteristics that we typically see with these values:

  • The agency estimate number is typically a number between 1 and 250.
  • The agency advertiser code is typically a 2 or 3 character alphanumeric code.
  • The agency product code is typically a 2 or 3 character alphanumeric code where the first character is alpha, the second and third characters are alpha or a number from 0 to 9, or the third character might be blank.

You can find these fields on the Contract window as shown in the following image...

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CS - As a best practice, if the insertion order contains these values... use them. If the insertion order does not contain them... ask the agency.

Product

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Product, not to be confused with "agency product code" (above), is a required field. This value should be provided as part of the agency insertion order and is typically referred to as the "product name"; if it isn't, please follow up with the agency as, again, it is a required field and the agency will most likely reject the EDI delivery if it is not included.

P.O. Number

The P.O. Number field typically contains the Rep Order Number which is provided as part of the agency insertion order. More and more agencies are requiring this field, so please confirm with them as to whether or not it is needed.

Additionally, some agencies require both the Rep Order Number and Station Order Number to be provided. To handle this, you can combine the two values in the P.O. Number field separated by a pipe (|) symbol. When the export exports the P.O. Number that contains the pipe symbol, the first value will be exported as the Rep Order Number and the second value will be exported as the Station Order Number; otherwise, without the pipe symbol, the value entered will be exported for both Rep Order Number and Station Order Number.

See Contracts.

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Copy/Rotation Routine

Once you've received the agency traffic instructions, you can proceed/complete the overall contract process in order to prepare for actual log placement.

Ad-ID

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The Ad-ID field is a required field an is provided as part of the agency traffic instructions. However, in some rare circumstances, we've found that it might not be provided by the agency. In the event that one is not provided (the Ad-ID is missing), in order to facilitate successful transmission of the EDI document through the Electronic Data Interchange Provider the default value of "NOT AVAILABLE" will be used. This allows for the circumstances where there really shouldn't be an Ad-ID (because one wasn't provided) and leaves the acceptance of this up to the agency instead of the Electronic Data Interchange Provider. It is best to confirm this to be the case prior to billing; as, under most circumstances, this value is indeed required by the agency.

Rotation(s)

Be sure to update any and all rotations that are affected by the traffic instructions once you've verified that all copy is prepared.

See Copy (List). See Contract.

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Billing

An additional "phase" has been added to the billing process. You will see the addition of the EDI tab on the billing window. This tab (phase) contains all agency invoice items that are pending to be exported to EDI documents so that they can be uploaded to an Electronic Document Interchange Provider. Once processed, the Open button will launch Windows Explorer to the location where these file(s) are located so that they can be uploaded accordingly.

EDI One-File

You can generate a single file to upload; saving a ton of time and effort. By default, this option is enabled; to disable, uncheck the "as combined (single) file." checkbox.

To process EDI go to Billing and select the EDI tab. Clicking the Process button will export all of the checked invoices as a single / combine EDI file.

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It is going to ask you if you are sure about your choice to proceed.

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It will give you a reminder.

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To simplify the process of finding the file that needs to be uploaded to the Electronic Data Interchange Provider, you can leverage the "Open" button.

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Click the "Open" button to launch Windows Explorer automatically navigated to the correct location.

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At this point you will need to follow the instructions provided to you from your Electronic Data Interchange Provider as to how to transmit the file through their system.

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Manual Export

Under most circumstances you will be utilizing billing to handle the review and exporting of EDI documents; however, in some instances you may need to either re-export (fix transmission errors) or resend for any number of other reasons.

To do so, you will need to find the invoice in AR. Once found, you can right click on the invoice to access the context-sensitive menu (tools). Choose the Export... tool.

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From here, be sure to select a file location that you can easily find and, most importantly, be sure to change the export file type to EDI. Once the file is created, transfer it using the instructions provided by your Electronic Document Interchange Provider.

EC - The manual export ability will only be available if you have an invoice for an Agency and the Agency Account is properly configured for EDI.
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Fixing Transmission Errors

CS - The following issues represent actual real-world EDI support responses from Electronic Document Interchange Providers to clients that we have in common.

There were invoice(s) uploaded today that failed to process because they were the wrong format. The files are PDF, but we need to receive an Electronic Data Invoice (EDI) file in order to successfully process and send the invoice(s).

As stated at the top of this document, EDI is not the same as PDF, Excel, etc. and should not be confused with one another. In order to successfully transmit through Electronic Document Interchange Providers, the file format must be in the EDI file format. This is done automatically in Billing; however, when manually exporting in AR you must be sure to select the correct file format.

The invoice(s) listed failed to auto-send because the Agency ID of 3947 is invalid.

Please refer to your Electronic Document Interchange Provider for a list of valid agency identifiers that are valid for their system. Once found, update the agency EDI# field with the appropriate number and resend the related invoices.

Please note that we've learned that these code are "case-sensitive"; in other words, "emt10264" is not the same as "EMT10264". Be sure to enter the code EXACTLY as it is provided to you from your Electronic Document Interchange Provider.

The invoice(s) listed cannot be sent because the agency does not accept calendar month invoices. or The invoice(s) listed failed to send because they are all November media (broadcast) month, but there are spots for both October and November on them.

Agencies require the use of the broadcast billing cycle; please make sure you configure your contracts appropriately.

We've also been told that the station can email a PDF copy of the invoice to their contact at the agency or mail them a hard copy.

The invoice(s) listed failed to auto-send because the agency does not accept non spot charges electronically.

Officially, the EDI specification do not allow for anything other than per-spot billing; however, some agencies apparently allow for non-spot billing. Unfortunately, most (if not all) Electronic Data Interchange Providers will reject anything that doesn't look like a spot. To work around this, you can "trick" the invoice so that the line item looks like a spot but clearly isn't.

Modify the invoice, tweaking the OAR line item(s):

  • Setting the time to midnight (00:00:00).
  • Setting the length to 1 second.

Please understand that even if the provider accepts and sends this through, it is ultimately up the agency to accept or reject... so please confirm with them.

We've also been told that the station can email a PDF copy of the invoice to their contact at the agency or mail them a hard copy.

The invoice(s) sent appear to have no dollar amounts on the spots, no gross amount due and no net due; these invoice(s) clearly show no dollar amounts at all except for the agency commission.

We've found this to happen when the use of a semi-colon character is used incorrectly within one of the fields such as the Ad-ID on the copy. To be on the safe side, do not use a semi-colon character in any of the data fields that are to be exported as part of the EDI document as the EDI document utilizes semi-colons as the separation character between the data fields; adding them to the actual data will offset the fields in such a way that there will be more columns than expected.

The invoice(s) listed cannot be sent because the Client, Product and/or Estimate (CPE) codes are missing or improperly formatted.

See above.

The invoice(s) listed cannot be sent because the Rep Order Number is improperly formatted.

The "Rep Order Number" maps to our P.O. Number field of the Contract. Although technically option according to the EDI file specification, more and more agencies are requiring this value. This value should have been received as part of the agency insertion order.

The invoice(s) listed cannot be sent because they all have one spot that has an ISCI Code that is "NOT AVAILABLE". For the system used by the agency, "NOT AVAILABLE" is an invalid ISCI Code.

By default, if the Ad-ID is blank on any copy, "NOT AVAILABLE" will be automatically used in an effort to assist the transmission process for the times that "NOT AVAILABLE" would be accepted on the "other side" (agency). However, it is up to the agency to accept or reject; in this circumstance, the agency rejected with clearly indicates that they expected (and most likely provided) a proper Ad-ID.

If you replace the Ad-ID on the associated copy with the same codes used on the other spots on the invoice(s), then the invoice(s) can be re-uploaded. Otherwise PDF copies of the invoice(s) will need to be emailed, or hard copies mailed.

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FAQ

How do I gracefully handle enabling an agency that has been active (not EDI) for years before switching to EDI?

Instead of creating a new agency, open the existing agency. Add the EDI# code provided to you by your selected Electronic Data Interchange Provider. At this point the agency is now able to participate; however, it is important to understand that it would be impossible for us to know which prior invoices you'd want to export to the agency. So this means the very next step in the process should be to go to Billing and switch to the EDI tab. Review the available invoices to determine which ones you do not want to export by toggling the check mark(s) next to those that you do want to keep (uncheck). Once you've reviewed and are sure you do not want to export the ones you have still selected (checked), you can press-and-hold the shift key which toggles the "Process" button to a "*FLAG*" button. While holding down the shift key, click the "*FLAG*" button; this will simply "flag" the items as having been exported without actually exporting them. From this point forward, business as usual.

I need to create and send a file of previous months invoices, but I'm not sure how to do this. The original invoices were sent via email (PDF) and they must be sent via EDI.

If you need to sent prior invoices through EDI and these invoices are available in billing under the EDI tab, you can use the batch process available in billing to do so.

If, however, they are not available in billing (under the EDI tab) you will need to export these manually from AR. To do so, please see here.

Can someone please help me add notary to my EDI invoice file(s)?

Notary cannot be added to an EDI file. If/when an agency requires a notary, a notarized hard copy of the invoice will need to be mailed and the agency can file that hard copy. The EDI file should also be transferred so the agency can process the invoice through their system.

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Additional Information

See Agencies.
See Copy (List).
See Contracts.
See Billing.
See EDI_Technical_Details.


ADD-ON:
$10 per month per station

NOTE:
Requires service through an Electronic Data Interchange Provider; third-party charges (if any) are not included as part of this add-on.

SPECIAL RATE:
We have partnered with AdCore LOCAL in order to provide a special cooperative rate of $25 per station per month for unlimited EDI transmission. This rate is in addition to the base add-on price; resulting in an effective rate of $35 per station per month.