Driving change in a country or industry often depends on the public sector. Those governments that lead by example have a huge opportunity to improve financial stability and security in society. For governments to achieve this, they need to embrace innovation that will not only change the industry and the economy but also the way organisations and people think.
This is where e-invoicing comes in. In the private sector we have seen how e-invoicing and the automation of financial processes can accelerate the movement of cash between companies and ensure predictability in finance. This is key for economic development on domestic and international level.
So, the benefits are clear but we need faster progression and deeper adoption. This is illustrated by two recent trends. One points to the high volume of e-invoicing currently in the market: according to a report by EESPA, 840 million electronic invoices were processed and delivered to invoice receivers in 2013, a significant growth of 19 per cent from 2012. The second trend is around slow adoption: less than ten percent of governments and organisations have adopted e-invoicing, according to a Billentis 2014 report.
In a nutshell: there is a huge opportunity and need to adopt e-invoicing but not enough effort is being made to address it.
We need change, and governments can to drive it because good public governance inspires both businesses and people. For this, two things must happen. Firstly, the benefits of e-invoicing need to be raised and showcased by local and international bodies. Secondly, we need better collaboration between governments (and businesses and suppliers). This can be achieved with an interoperability system based on a single e-invoicing standard.
Some governments are leading lights. Just look at the Nordics and Latin America. In Denmark, since 2005, all government institutions are required to only accept invoices in electronic format which has driven significant efficiencies in the region. In Mexico, e-invoicing was made mandatory for businesses and individuals earlier this year in a landmark initiative towards eradicating fraud.
Leadership within the public sector is paramount if there is to be greater adoption of e-invoicing in the world. If governments innovate and lead, economies will grow and cash will flow.