Posted this in 2008 - edited now
Had a discussion last week with a representative of a consumer organization at a conference in Brussels. It did strike me - again -
how little interest these organizations have to further cost cutting in enterprises - in this case by moving to e-invoicing.
The cost of paper invoicing to the consumer segment in EU can be estimated to over 40bn€ a year.
Consumers are of course paying every cent (without knowing it) - and should understand, that by helping the invoice sender to save cost, there will be at least a
fair chance to get lower prices for the services they buy. Without saving costs there is hardly any chance for it.
Now the counterargument is that these cost savings do not go to customers, but to shareholders. My own experience from e-banking has told me that
if there is competition most of the savings go to the customers. The part that goes to shareholders as improved dividend is mostly benefitting the largest capitalist in the world - pension schemes - where most citizens are the end-beneficiaries.
Then there is the counterargument that all do not use internet. Agree - but for those who use - it should be made clear that they benefit by moving away from paper (now there is an e-invoicing solution also for no-internet please > e-invoices are sent to
bank branches and handled automatically there) - and should be encouraged to do so by
being charged separately for paper invoices - as is the case in many countries already.
And we should naturally all of us understand that the potential to cut 2,8 million tons of CO2 should be done asap.
When will consumer organizations start to fight unnecessary process costs? Start to really protect consumers - not old fashioned high costs. Start to realize that each demand put on service providers - be they private or public is causing
a cost - to be paid by the consumer. Become progressive and thus encourage business to join in much needed co-regulation and furthering of level playfield competition.