2012 Global E-invoicing Study: PDF invoices will only take you half way

Director, Center of Excellence, Global Sales

I’m excited to announce that today is the launch of our 2012 Global E-invoicing Study. It’s the second annual report we’ve done, along with our friends at the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO) and the results present an interesting picture of the e-invoicing landscape. E-invoicing is what we live and breathe everyday but it’s always great to go out and speak to finance professionals to see what they think. I’ve recapped below a few of the key findings of this year’s research to whet your appetite

 

The good news is that e-invoicing adoption is on the rise, but there is still a heavy reliance – by businesses of all sizes – on basic and manual tools and processes including email and PDFs.

 

In fact, PDFs continue to be the most common format for ‘electronic’ invoices (58%) and whilst this is a progression from paper invoices, it shows a large percentage of companies are still unfortunately quite a long way from full automation.

 

The companies surveyed that use ‘true’ e-invoices and more sophisticated systems such as sending XML e-invoices, using point-to-point connections and third party web services or portals, report fewer errors and increased cost savings and they get much more out of their supplier-buyer relationships than their peers that rely on PDF-based paperless processes.

 

There is further good news in that the perceived barriers to e-invoicing adoption are in decline. Supplier resistance to e-invoicing adoption has significantly decreased from 46% in 2011 to 26% in 2012 as suppliers begin to realize the benefits that e-invoicing could open up to them.

 

What’s more, e-invoice benefits are now strongly aligned to improvements in process speed and resource efficiencies. Faster invoicing cycles and reduced invoice costs are the top two e-invoice benefits experienced by the respondents of the survey and businesses have an increasingly higher awareness of the benefits of e-invoicing. It really has come a long way!

 

We might not be at a point where e-invoicing has been adopted by every business but we are seeing a noticeable shift in the understanding of the benefits it can offer and PDF, whilst is a step in the right direction (understanding that paper and manual processes are hurting business), is only going to take a business half way towards the benefits of full automation.

 

The report is a recommended read for anyone that wants to know what businesses think about e-invoicing and attitudes towards it. Check it out here.

Category: E-Invoicing