The European Commission (EC) is setting up a steering committee to oversee the establishment of a common invoicing framework that would allow businesses across the region to send invoices and receive corresponding payments electronically.
According to a report produced by an "informal task force" on e-invoicing, the introduction of the European electronic invoicing (EII) network could reduce supply chain costs by EUR243 billion across Europe, and help to streamline business processes and drive innovation.
The introduction of an e-invoicing system for public sector firms in Denmark has saved an estimated EUR100-134 million per year, says the paper.
The new EEI network would cover both the public and private sector and allow for the standardised exchange of e-invoices by all market participants in a commercial supply chain.
The report calls for the establishment of an EEI steering committee that will be responsible for developing policies to support the establishment of a pan-European e-invoicing network and monitoring progress. The group will also have the remit to assist in drafting regulatory incentives if necessary.
The group says "key stakeholders" are eager to use the framework, particularly following the introduction of the single euro payments area (Sepa) in January 2008.
As Europe moves to adopt the single euro payments area "it is logical that this is linked to the business processes that necessitate a vast majority of business-to-business and business-to-government payments", says the report.
Read the European electronic invoicing report here:» Download the document now 203.1 kb (PDF File)