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Keywords: einvoicing, electronic invoicing, electronic data interchange, EDI, sharing and processing data, spreadsheets, e-invoicing
Susie West | News | 18 June 2012
Around 36 per cent of companies in the B2B community use electronic data interchange (EDI) to share information with other firms, according to new research published this week.
However, B2B.com, the website behind the report, found that a surprising number of businesses still use other means of sharing key data.
Some 28% of those questioned said that they use spreadsheets, while 26% said that XML was their main source of sending information.
As the website explains, using an Excel spreadsheet as the main means of sharing data can lead to problems when collecting accurate information through invoices. A lot of the time, spreadsheets end up lying unattended in people's emails while information does not reach its intended target.
Surprisingly, the majority of chief finance officers and other finance executives still rely on spreadsheets at important times in a company's fiscal year. A survey conducted by Oracle and Accenture, published last month, revealed that 70% of 1,100 global executives still track and manage financial reporting through spreadsheets on a daily basis.
This percentage increases for different countries, with the United Kingdom (86%) and the United States (76%) leading the way.
John O'Rourke, a vice-president of product marketing at Oracle, concluded: "Companies rely heavily on spreadsheets even in the financial-reporting process.
"We see a lot of spreadsheets being used in the budgeting, planning, and forecasting area. That's an area that's ripe for spreadsheets, but it did surprise us that with financial reporting we saw 72% [of executives] using spreadsheets in some way."
Spreadsheets, however, are open to manual errors - both in data input and whether it reaches its desired recipient.
The Aberdeen Group, which suggests avoiding paper invoicing, recommends introducing a centralised invoice management system across all locations and units in a business as this can help eradicate these errors, with EDI the best method for transferring information.
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