Tuesday, September 25, 2012

e-Invoicing is not a goal in itself

E-invoicing as such does not save the 250bn/year cost. It is an enabler - and that is why the focus should move to the next layers.

Experts tend to dig so deep into details that they forget to communicate the big picture. What is the WHY for e-Invoicing? From the EC Expert Group angle the targets are clear:

1. Improve enterprise competitiveness. Structured e-invoicing (not e-mailed PDFs):

- enables automation of business processes at large (important part of cutting administration cost in half in the SME-sector - 65% of total corporate turnover - also the new-jobs creating sector)

- brings real time financial management

- cuts the need of and costs for financing

- cuts the cost of risk and risk mitigation (estimated to amount to 4% of corporate turnover)

2. Speed up migration to real Single market.  Harmonized rules for invoicing, accounting and VAT-reporting are the most important practical steps that can be taken for the moment. A seldom seen opportunity that is enabled by digitalization and supporting a natural migration to SEPA-payments.

3. Cutting the Grey Economy. One of the central reasons for the euro-crisis is the grey economy - taxes not being collected. With e-invoicing (and banning cash payments of invoices) the needed transparency can be achieved (especially with automated VAT-reporting) - without adding administrative costs for enterprises.

So - everything should be done to make the transition fast - like:

1. making it very clear that the business controls used for paper invoicing are perfectly sufficient also when using e-invoicing (the very target of the VAT-directive). Stop integrity&authenticity scare mongering.

2. setting deadlines for accepting paper and e-mailed PDFs - pressing send is easier than pressing print once the mass-market e-invoicing concepts introduced by services providers (especially banks) are in place

3. Set price for having to send unstructured invoices and for having to receive.

4. Stop scanning - set target date for starting to return paper and e-mails to senders.

Is there anything more important around in the business infrastructure field?

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