Opt-in or opt-out? – Importance of e-invoice rollout strategies

Director, Center of Excellence, Global Sales

How can you maximise the number of invoices you process? And how can you become more efficient and ultimately realise the cost savings that drive the investment decisions in the majority of companies today?

There is a relatively easily solution, but it requires detailed planning and determined implementation: we’re talking about an e-invoice rollout strategy.

Pre-requisite to the successful rollout of e-invoicing is providing solid and smart options for your suppliers and customers. First of all, it’s important that all country and industry related demands are met.

Second, as large companies have demanding needs and more advanced capabilities than SMEs, multiple ways to send and receive invoices, plus easy on-ramps for participation are needed.

Third, we should avoid creating unnecessary obstacles, like over-engineering the processes or setting fees for your supplier/customer. They’re not necessary and can slow down the rollout considerably.

To actual strategies: Billentis speaks about Opt-in and Opt-out as different rollout models for e-invoicing. An Opt-out sees you as an invoice sender/receiver set a deadline for your customers/suppliers, after which you will only deal with electronic invoices. Paper is not an option anymore, though there typically is an option to “opt-out” with an associated charge.

This kind of enforcement works well if you have a strong position as a buyer/seller. If you also can provide smart and easy options for your business partners to send/receive e-invoices, the results are guaranteed.

Opt-in is more about informing your business partners of your e-invoicing capabilities and encouraging them to start sending /receiving e-invoices. This approach is indirect as it demands actions from your partners. It works well in a mature e-invoicing market, where e-invoicing networks already exist.

Billentis estimates the following success with different approaches one year after project launch:

ModelElectronic proportion of all invoices
Issuer driven OPT-IN1-5% with free market range
5-50% within existing supplier-buyer networks
Issuer driven OPT-OUT85-90%
Recipient driven OPT-IN1-5% for organisations without much purchasing power
50-70% with strong purchasing position
Recipient driven OPT-OUTUp to 90% for organisations in strong purchasing position and providing electronic orders


Do we see these strategies being implemented by companies? Yes we do - and the results are very positive.

The way that our customers have achieved high e-invoice penetration levels is by selecting a strategy and systematically working towards the targets set. But, before getting started in implementing an e-invoicing rollout strategy please remember one more thing: Communication.

A great deal of the success relies on how easy it is; how many different steps your customers or suppliers have to go through to get started with e-invoicing. Clear and firm communication with easy and logical instructions about what you expect from your business partners will increase the success of your e-invoicing.

Category: E-Invoicing