Don’t get left behind - why businesses must be the driving force for governments to go paperless (Part 1)
Monday, 21 Sep 2015
With businesses the world over continuously looking for ways to save costs and be more efficient, it is surprising that there are not more lobbying the government to adopt, or even mandate, e-invoicing.
Senior Product Marketing Manager
According to Billentis’ 2015 report, 170 billion invoices are sent and received between businesses and government each year. With proven savings of up to 90% through electronic processing of invoices, it’s easy to question why adoption of paperless invoicing has been so slow. Some regions are leading the way, such as the Nordics, which embraced it years ago. Brazil, Mexico and a few other South American countries are also very advanced. However, this Summer marked a potential tipping point, with huge steps forward by some of the financial powerhouses in the world.
The UK announced in June that government organisations must be prepared to accept e-invoices from June 30, should suppliers choose to submit them in that format. It is no longer permitted to insist on paper invoices. It also made the commitment to agree a consistent approach and standards for the acceptance of e-invoices going forward. All this acknowledging that e-invoicing speeds invoice dispatch and receipt, reduces the risk of missing invoices and reduces printing and postage costs as well as the need for physical storage of invoices.
Not to be left behind, this was followed by the US taking a stance to improve the working capital of America’s small businesses through mandating e-invoicing by 2018. The SupplierPay initiative encourages companies to commit to paying small businesses faster or help them get access to lower-cost capital. In turn, they can invest in new equipment, staff and boost the economy. The idea was built on the QuickPay concept, whereby federal government agencies commit to paying small business contractors within 15 days. It’s an initiative that has expedited $220billion and saved small businesses more than $1 billion since 2011.
The US mandate now coinsides with the European 2018 B2G mandate and are huge steps forward that are very promising for our industry. Personally, I’ll be tracking their progress closely and am keen to hear any views on these initiatives if you’d like to get in touch.