Office of Academic Affiliations
Electronic Invoicing: FAQs for submitting invoices to the VA FSC via Tungsten/OB10
What is Tungsten/OB10?
Tungsten/OB10 is the leading global business-to-business electronic invoicing network, used in more than 90 countries. The Tungsten/OB10 e-Invoicing network simplifies and streamlines invoice-to-pay processes between companies and their suppliers. While the Global Headquarters for Tungsten/OB10 is located in the United Kingdom, The VA is doing business with the US subsidiary Tungsten/OB10, Inc. based in Atlanta GA. VA is dealing solely with the US entity, not the international entity.
What is electronic invoicing?
Electronic invoicing (e-Invoicing) is a communication methodology that utilizes the Internet to allow the VA to receive invoice data as well as the invoice image directly from vendors without the need to print and mail paper invoice copies. As defined, emailed invoices and fax are not acceptable because the ability for the computerized system to automatically read the invoice data and route it for payment is lost.
How does it work?
Tungsten/OB10 receives invoice data from you through the Internet and verifies certain data fields on behalf of the VA key to AP routing and approval, and sends a confirmation report to a contact (or group email) of your choosing. Tungsten/OB10 will then create an invoice PDF from that data and have the data and PDF image delivered into the VA accounts payable system. The certifying official at the station can then have the data and image available for certification. This process typically takes no longer than 30 minutes.
Who can use the service?
VA vendors who are issued Purchase Orders payable from the FSC in Austin, TX are eligible for the service. Fee based and invoices paid by credit card are not in scope.
How do I get started?
Once Academic Affiliate Disbursing Agents have been registered and your account has been created on your behalf by the VAFSC with Tungsten/OB10. Subsequent to this communication, Tungsten/OB10 will be contacting you to introduce the program and set you up on the Tungsten/OB10 network. If you do not hear from Tungsten/OB10 or would want to expedite the process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the name of your company for priority. After setup, you will then receive a “Ready to Transact” email from Tungsten/OB10 at which point you can begin invoicing the VA.
Is Tungsten/OB10 HIPAA compliant?
Yes, Tungsten/OB10 is HIPAA compliant as of 2010.
How do I enroll for ACH Payments?
If you are registered in the Federal Government’s System for Awards Management (SAM) website, all you need to do is fax your DUNS # to 512-460-5221, or you can provide it on your invoice and the VA can extract the data from SAM. If you are not registered in SAM, please complete and return the SF 3881 ACH Vendor Enrollment Form. SF3881.
Is this initiative for all electronic requests for payment?
No, this initiative and requirement encompasses commercial invoicing and payments. All Fee and Champ VA requests for electronic payment should remain consistent with current invoicing practices.
- All Fee should be directed to the Station
- All Champ VA invoices should be issued directly to Champ VA
What if I already subscribe to the Tungsten/OB10 network?
If you already have an account with Tungsten/OB10, please log on with your credentials, and log a support ticket requesting the VA be added as a new buyer to your account. Tungsten/OB10 will then update the account to allow invoicing after verification by the VA FSC.
What are the restrictions of the paid service?
The program began February 1st, 2009. All suppliers who use Tungsten/OB10 exclusively for FSC invoicing will have all Tungsten/OB10 fees waived. Those suppliers who invoice other companies will have all VA FSC invoices free of charge, but fees will be assessed for all other transactions. No reimbursements will be issued for any fees incurred prior to February 1st, 2009.
Why do I need to invoice through FSC in Austin instead of through the local station?
The FSC is the designated agency office for receipt and processing of commercial invoices for the Veterans Health Administration. All invoices (excluding fee-based and credit card payment statements) must first be sent to FSC for data entry into the VA payment and approval system prior to being sent electronically to the local stations for certification.
Do I need to provide supporting documentation?
The requirements for certifying the invoice are determined by the local certifying official. In some cases, supporting documentation will be required to accompany the invoice. Please go to http://www.ob10university.com/attachment101.htm for instructions on how to submit attachments with your invoice. This can be provided by creating an electronic file either by using print drivers on your computer or scanning the paper. Currently supported files are limited to TIF (or TIFF) files, however in the future the VA will support PDF files generated by any number of free PDF print drivers available on the web, or as a direct output from a scanner. Once uploaded at the time the invoice is entered into Tungsten/OB10, the supporting documentation is permanently attached to the electronic invoice and sent to the VA FSC certifying official.
Can I send my invoices via EDI directly to the VA, instead of Tungsten/OB10?
The VA has chosen to partner with Tungsten/OB10 to receive electronic invoices due to the value added services EDI alone does not offer. If your system is capable of sending EDI today, you can send your invoices directly to Tungsten/OB10 as a standard EDI 810 or any other structured data file your software will output.
Are there fees associated with the e-Invoicing service?
There are no fees for invoices sent through Tungsten/OB10 to the VA FSC. Additional charges will occur should you decide to send invoices to other companies on the Tungsten/OB10 network.
I can make invoices available to my customer to view via the Internet. Can I use this?
No. The VA FSC requires invoices to be submitted by the supplier to the FSC, and not retrieved by VA FSC staff. The Tungsten/OB10 network ensures that the VA receives the invoice data you send in a format that will automatically upload into our accounting software and is in full compliance with the Prompt Payment Act.
Do I need to install any software?
No, the Tungsten/OB10 service is non-intrusive. Suppliers can use a standard Internet browser to upload electronic files created by your existing accounting system.
What if I don’t have a system capable of creating electronic invoices?
All you need is an Internet connection and standard Internet browser.
Can I send electronic invoices using Tungsten/OB10 to other customers?
Yes, once you are subscribed to the Tungsten/OB10 network, Tungsten/OB10 will enable you to send electronic invoices to any other customers that are on the Tungsten/OB10 network. Please note additional charges will be incurred for invoices non-VA customers.
Will the VA make payments using Tungsten/OB10?
No, The VA will continue to make payment via existing means until further notice.