The Trade Standard Evaluation Group approved the ISO 20022 (UNIFI) standard for electronic invoices on the 29th of October 2010.
The opening address by Jorgen Holmquist (Director General at the EU-commission) to the first meeting of the EC Expert Group on e-Invoicing in February 2008 clearly stated the need for a standard for Europe – but a global one. Now it is also formally in place.
So we can tick off one more roadblock. Not many excuses left now as also the VAT-directive is being implemented ahead of the deadline (Germany being the latest example).
Still there are people who for some odd reason do not believe that unstructured invoicing should be made history fast. One reason for this may be that it has not happened already – and the fainthearted take this as a reason for believing that such an obvious development will not happen at all.
For those that have been working on mass market innovations (like e-banking, mobile telephony, the Internet) it is self evident that it always take time – especially as 23m enterprises need to change their behavior – and the direct benefits are rather small. But as large organizations (including the public sector where saving tax payers’ money should be the first thought) are the ones that call the shots there cannot be any doubt – paper and unstructured PDFs have no future – the sooner this happens the better.
And now this migration can also be a milestone for the building of a European Single Market. Many will ask if also banks now will contribute actively to this. The answer should be very clear – not only because it makes business sense.