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Keywords: EU, European Commission, e-invoicing, electronic invoicing, einvoicing, VAT, government
Blog Post | 20 July 2012
Author: Sarah Feurey
If you didn’t join sharesdserviceslink.com’s e-Invoicing Europe conference this month, you missed the discussion on how the European Commission is influencing the market.
This topic doesn’t quite qualify to sit at the heart of the e-invoicing agenda, but it’s an area worthy of keeping your eye on. Susie West moderated the panel discussion and the overarching question was ‘how will EU policy determine the future of e-invoicing?’
The panelists were:
Here are my observations and key takeaways from the discussion:
Will EU policy determine the e-invoicing future of vendors, buyers and suppliers?
Conclusion: wheels are in motion, but the Commission is certainly not leading this market. You could argue that they do not fully understand the business application of e-invoicing and are looking at the adoption of electronic payments as a past reference against which to benchmark their treatment of e-invoicing.
Why does the EU care about e-invoicing?
Conclusion: These agendas are great. However it would seem that there is no compelling event driving a stronger and more unified voice from the Commission. It was generally agreed that the Commission will become seriously interested in this as a topic once adoption has reached critical mass. Also the representatives driving certain discussions at a Commission level are bureaucrats rather than business leaders. So the context within which they have their discussion are very different to the context businesses (the adopters) have these discussions. You can imagine therefore that the outputs of these discussions are very different.
Will the EU intervene?
Conclusion: This sounds positive, but the Commission moves relatively slowly so don’t expect any sudden movement.
What should the private sector do?
My overall conclusions:
It would be great if the Commission supported e-invoicing. It would be great if the Commission was aligned with the corporate world on e-invoicing drivers, issues, and practicalities. It would be ideal if member state governments rolled out e-invoicing programmes to all their suppliers. And it would be great if member state governments spread the e-invoicing word to each of their respective business communities.
But the reality is that none of the above is the case.
There is a way to go as you can clearly tell. For the time being, drive your own agenda and keep an eye on what’s happening at Commission level, but don’t let them determine your pace… you’d be waiting a while for progress.
What is your take on the EU’s policy and the future of e-invoicing?
How far are we from the tipping point?
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