Three key developments in the e-invoicing market
| 4 April 2012
During my research for developing our e-Invoicing Europe conference
agenda, I thought about what has developed in this market since last year's conference. I asked myself "How has the industry changed and what direction was it heading?" Here are a few things that sprung to mind:
A stronger link between payments and e-invoicing
Banks are now realising the potential to provide e-invoicing to their existing clients who use their payment services. They have also started to partner with e-invoicing providers to bridge the gap in functionality that make the invoice-to-pay process far more automated. In addition to this, with maturing e-invoicing practitioners, there is increased demand for additional savings from complementary functionalities to e-invoicing, such as supplier portals and dynamic discounting.
Around the time of our 2011 conference, a group of e-invoicing service providers formed the European e-Invoicing Service Providers' Association (EESPA) for three main reasons:
- To promote interoperability
- To advocate and support the wide adoption of e-invoicing and its benefits
- To represent the industry, engaging in the public policy debate and recommending best practice within appropriate European forums
The fact that a Working Group for Interoperability
within EESPA has recently been set up means there is now a drive to take interoperability seriously. Charles Bryant, Vice Chair of EESPA will be giving a fuller update in July at this year's conference and also chairing a live debate with operators on interoperability for practitioners.
Public sector mandating e-invoicing
More and more national governments are mandating e-invoicing due to austerity measures, where back-office spend will be significantly reduced. Another reason is to promote growth via paying suppliers early or offering early payment or dynamic discounting, increasing liquidity into a country's supply base. According to a 2011 Billentis report, the public sector is responsible for 15-18% of all purchases in a country. 45-65% of all companies are suppliers for the public sector and send invoices to its administration. And 100% of enterprises and households receive invoices from the public sector.
Several European governments has recently mandated e-invoicing, including Norway, Denmark, Spain and most recently Greece. The BRICs countries have slightly different motivations for e-invoicing mandates. Brazil have done so to stop tax fraud and evasion. Russia has finally made electronic invoicing legal. China's Golden Tax Project progressed their e-invoicing journey, but the big nation likely to mandate will be India.
To gain insight into how Norway has mandated e-invoicing this year, read my next blog 'How keeping it simple can help to convert 5.5 million invoices to electronic'