Once invoicing has migrated from paper and PDF to structured form - increasingly in the soon ready open global ISO standard - a wealth of productivity enhancing practices can be launched. Examples:
- automated accounting (as e-invoices carries increasingly common posting codes) especially for the SME-sector - creating de-facto real time accounting based on electronic bank account statements
- unified reporting codes - eliminating much of the disadvantages of non-unified accounts charts (allowing automated tax returns already for this year in Finland)
- automated and real time cash flow estimates (every outgoing, incoming and paid invoice updates the estimate it automatically)
- automated routing of selected group of invoices for financing, currency risk hedging or credit risk mitigation
- automated reporting and payment of VAT
- and many more
None of these can be achieved without moving away from todays habit of de-electronizing invoices via printing and PDFing (only to re-electronize at great cost). So it is time to take resolute action in expanding the base from todays 5-7% to 90% of invoicing soonest. We know very well what it takes (set the deadlines and ask service providers to interlink) - but keep meeting a lot of people who know why NOT (as always in early stages of innovations) - and then we have the sheer inertia (that we cannot afford).
The VAT area is very complicated - populated by devils in details. Still there must be a very serious attempt to use the opportunity with technology and standards - to get away from the negative spiral of growing complexity. Here especially we need a majority asking WHY not - and then create the Single Market migration program for split-payment based real time VAT. Not only to collect the missing over 100 billion € VAT and contribute seriously to cutting enterprise administrative cost in half - but also to make rule of law much more real.
One could ask the following questions:
1. Is a real single market not the key opportunity for enterprise growth in EU?
2. Does not the demographic trend mean that the shrinking workforce (baking the welfare state cake) has to become more productive and move to new jobs?
3. Is it not clear that we have the ingredients - the VAT-directive for equal treatment, the ISO-standard, cloud service opportunity (eliminating need for buying, installing, upgrading or continuing to run software in the enterprise), burning need to save costs in the public sector, CO2 reduction need, omnipresent use of Internet and so on?
4. Is it not clear that the next step must be to get an open network in place (working just like payments or telecommunication)?
If this is clear - then no more why NOTs but "Action is ALL" for the base - migration to e-invoicing - and WHY nots for all that can be built on this base.