In the old days bloodletting was considered to be a universal cure to diseases. Later when it was realised that it could have only negative effects it still continued for quite a while. Old habits die hard.
There are many similar practises today and the guy sitting on the chair is a typical SME letting himself be subject to a plethora of painful reporting and paperbased practises - even if there are modern cures to his disease = lack of time for real business due to an uncontrollable mass of difficult to understand practises, unnecessary auditing, non-harmonised reporting to authorities, customers, suppliers, financiers etc. All causing high stress levels and from time to time give-up mentality in this by-volume and often also by-agility most important enterprise segment.
The EU Commission has set a goal of cutting costs caused by administrative burdens in enterprises by 25% by 2012. Much more can be achieved by moving away from the expensive habit of de-electronizing invoices by printing or PDFing and thereby losing most of the valuable information - only to use time and big money to re-electronize it. Once a critical mass of migration from this "bloodletting" has happened there is a platform for:
1. eventually totally automate accounting for SMEs (link the e-invoice duplicat to the electronic account statement)
2. automatically produce a realtime cash flow forcast
3. automatically link payment behavior and credit scoring information to e-invoicing, e-ordering, e-rfps and e-offers (same template poducing mostly the same data elements)
4. automate invoice-financing
5. move to real time VAT-payments - instead of costly accumulating+reporting+paying+reclaiming in case of non-payment etc
6. unify reporting codes used both in relation to public sector and other reporting - and thereby create and support also unified accounting charts
All this and more - in one package. Who could be against it? Especially with the coming nosediving of number of EU citizens in working age.